Jimmie Johnson Pays Emotional Tribute to Fellow 7-Time NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt Sr

Published 02/19/2021, 7:45 AM EST
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – JULY 23: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, sit in his car prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Super Start Batteries 400 Presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


February 18th, 2001, will forever remain one of the darkest days in NASCAR history. That was the day when the sport lost an icon in the form of Dale Earnhardt in a crash. Two decades down the line, Dale Sr is still revered in the NASCAR community. In light of that, newly-retired driver Jimmie Johnson paid tribute to the late legend.

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The former Hendrick Motorsports driver confessed that he longed to battle with Earnhardt for wins. Sadly, that notion will never come to pass. However, Johnson is honored that he is an official member of the 7 NASCAR championships club with Earnhardt and Petty.

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In addition to that, Jimmie Johnson also confessed that he was honored to race some of Dale Sr’s iconic liveries. Of course, Johnson still has a hard time believing that Dale Sr has left this mortal realm. So, on the anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr’s passing, Johnson paid an emotional tribute.

Jimmie Johnson has a lot of respect for Dale Earnhardt Sr

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Obviously, Jimmie Johnson greatly admired his fellow 7-time Cup champion. It is also worth mentioning that Johnson even managed to surpass Dale Sr’s tally for race starts. To be precise, Johnson has notched up 686 starts to Earnhardt’s 676. Without a doubt, Dale Sr is an icon and nobody will be able to forget his contribution to the sport.

DARLINGTON, SC – SEPTEMBER 3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Sr. pose for a photograph after the Pepsi Southern 500 at the Darlington Raceway on September 3, 2000 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)

Johnson also overtook Dale Earnhardt in terms of race wins, with 83 compared to 76. Unfortunately, Dale Sr still managed to trounce him in the Top 10 finishes and laps led counter. To be exact, the late veteran finished 428 times in the Top 10. Meanwhile, Johnson could only notch up 373 Top 10 finishes.

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In addition to that, the former Richard Childress Racing driver completed 25,713 laps as the race leader. On the flip side of the coin, Jimmie Johnson could only muster 18,936 laps in the lead.

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Dhruv George

11409 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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