Jimmie Johnson Opens Up on the “Uncomfortable Pressure” He Felt in His Final NASCAR Season

Published 01/31/2021, 4:00 PM EST
BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)

One of the most celebrated motorsports athletes, Jimmie Johnson, is currently enjoying an entirely new and exciting phase of his career. The 7-time NASCAR Cup Champion is trying his hand at different racing disciplines. He is feeling a new rush that he has not experienced in some time now.

While Johnson is feeling the excitement, all of this comes after a very tough 2020 season. Johnson’s final NASCAR season did not go as planned and he felt the disappointment even more as he had set very high expectations from himself.

Johnson could not bag a win all year, and midway through the year he also tested positive for the Coronavirus. In early July, Johnson was forced to sit out during what should have been his final Brickyard 400 race, due to the positive test.

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The 45-year-old superstar emerged strongly from the setback, but his on-track results did not go as per expectation. During his media duties at the iconic Rolex 24 race at Daytona, Johnson opened up about the stress he went through in his final NASCAR season.

LOUDON, NH – JUNE 27: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, performs a burnout to celebrate winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson explains the challenges faced in his final NASCAR season

Last year was a really intense year. I had very high expectations from myself. The year didn’t go as planned. Obviously, having my positive COVID-19 test, then missing the Brickyard, missing the Playoffs. There was a lot of negative stress on me during all of that,” Johnson expressed.

Johnson also expressed that stress and pressure is something he cherishes. It pushes him further to perform well and come out on top. However, last year’s experiences were more negative than positive.

At the same time, he realizes that such stresses could return anytime in motorsports.

It can come back, this is motorsport and I do recognize that. But last year, at least the middle part of the year, into the start of the playoffs, that was an uncomfortable pressure.

“A different type of pressure that I don’t like to experience too often,” the former Hendrick Motorsports driver added.

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 20: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, poses for a portrait after winning the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

The legendary driver aims to use all his experience

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Additionally, Johnson is not getting carried away by the optimism he has right now, ahead of his IndyCar Series debut. He is experienced enough to know that many challenges arise going deeper into a season.

This year is young. In full honesty, to start a year, there is a lot of optimism in any situation. Then you get into the year, and often times, there are things that disappoint you or stress you out in a negative way.

“I haven’t made it that far into the season to encounter any of that,” he explained.

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But Johnson is also experienced enough to know how to navigate any challenges as he proceeds further in 2021. He will not let anything negative hamper something he termed as a ‘dream come true’ in his illustrious career.

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Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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