Jimmie Johnson Reveals How One of His Biggest Fears Came True: “Painful in Many Ways, Long-Lasting”

Published 01/08/2022, 12:38 PM EST
AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 06, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In a recent conversation with Graham Bensinger, Jimmie Johnson spoke about his early racing days, and the 7-time champion shared some interesting details about himself. In what may come across as a surprise for many NASCAR fans, the NASCAR legend did not start off immediately on the NASCAR trajectory. Instead, he harbored dreams of competing in the motocross arena. However, he did have a bit of fear with regard to racing on two wheels, and it did come true.

He said, “There was a time in Oklahoma, for the mini Nationals. I fell and a rider rode over, kind of on the side of my chest to my armpit. It was Day 1 of seven days of racing over the summer. Painful in many ways, long-lasting. There was a crash at the first turn of Barona Oakes, my local track. Which then led to a few laps later, crashing and breaking my knee and having reconstructive knee surgery.”

When he turned 12, his father forced him to stop racing on bikes. This was largely from a safety perspective, as there were many youngsters getting injured. Johnson himself confessed that he was fairly injury-prone, and he broke several bones over the course of his bike career.

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What else did Jimmie Johnson say about the crash?

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My 8th birthday. Wasn’t the first turn or being run over so much. I was on a small bike and the jumps were built for bigger bikes. Some of the faster kids in my class were brave enough to try these, and I didn’t have that bravery to just send it off the jumps. At a certain point in my career on bikes, it held me back and kept me from moving forward.”

DAYTONA, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Ally Chevrolet Camaro, during final practice for the Daytona 500 on February 15, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He acknowledged that there were a few fatalities around the sport. This often happened to kids via head injuries. In fact, broken bones were fairly common. Johnson also admitted that he was ‘bummed’ to give up on a budding bike racing career. However, he always felt that racing was always his calling, even though his last injury saw him break both feet and seven toes.

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Well, NASCAR fans can only be glad that Johnson graced the sport where he made his name as one of the greatest of all time.

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Dhruv George

13072 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author 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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