Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway represented the last Jimmie Johnson would race in the Cup Series. It was quite simply an emotional moment for all of his fans, considering the seven-time champion had provided exhilarating entertainment to become a NASCAR icon.
Over the course of a career that has lasted nearly 19 years and countless race wins, Johnson has made many friends and acquaintances along the way. Dale Earnhardt Jr remains one of his closest friends.
As part of a collection of memories, Earnhardt Jr recollects his most valued moment with Johnson. Make no mistake, the story exemplifies why Jimmie Johnson is a much-respected person and a true friend to some.
Owing to Johnson winning a race, Rick Hendrick had invited Earnhardt Jr to a party as part of the celebrations. But following a swimming pool incident later that night, the former Hendrick Motorsports driver suffered a big cut to his forehead.
Earnhardt Jr said, “It’s about two o’clock in the morning, and I got this inch-and-a-half split my forehead. And I don’t know what I’m gonna do.”
Jimmie helped him out during that time and drove him to a doctor that was familiar with Hendrick. Such was their camaraderie, that Johnson stayed with Earnhardt laughing and talking, as the doctor stitched him up.
“And he drove me about a 15-minute trip over this office in the middle of the night. And sat in the room while the guy sewed my forehead up, talking to me and just laughing and joking.”
This gesture really seemed to touch Dale Earnhardt Jr. The fact that he speaks fondly of the incident to this day as the most memorable story is a testament to that.
“That happened a long time ago. And just kind of showed me what kind of character Jimmie is, even though we were there to celebrate his day and his victory.
“And everybody was there for Jimmie, and he was like, ‘Look, man, I got you. I’ll take care of this.’”
“And that’s just such a cool thing to do. And that’s who he is. He’s just a really good guy, who happens to be very, very good at what he does.” concluded Earnhardt Jr.
Johnson will take up IndyCar racing for the next two seasons with Chip Ganassi Racing. Wherever he will be, people will certainly seek to remember the special times they spent with a champion who has done so much for the sport.