Jimmie Johnson honored by press
January 27, 2014, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson can add one more title to his already impressive resume before the 2014 season officially gets underway.
For the sixth time, members of the National Motorsports Press Association have honored Johnson, selecting him as the winner of the Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award for 2013.
The announcement was made Jan. 26 during the NMPA’s annual convention in Concord, N.C.
Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet, edged 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth in voting by the NMPA membership. He received 50 percent of the votes cast; Kenseth received 48 percent while Tony Stewart was named on two percent of the ballots.
Johnson also earned driver of the year honors in 2004, ’06, ’07, ’09 and ’10. He is the only six-time recipient of the award.
The award is named in honor of Richard Petty, a seven-time champion in NASCAR's premier series.
Johnson’s six victories in 2013 pushed his career win total to 66, second highest among active drivers. He ended the season with 16 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes, eventually outpointing Kenseth by 19 for the Cup championship.
Although he’s now one step closer to the record mark of seven Cup titles won by Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Johnson said he isn't driven by the race to match two of the sport's legends.
"I've worked so hard and long to get to this point; I'm finally on top of my game," he said during the 2013 NASCAR awards ceremonies in Las Vegas. "I've worked a lifetime to get here.
"There's more motivation staying on top for those reasons than chasing stats and the historical things that are out there in front of me now; it's really something that comes from within."
In his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, Kenseth led the Cup series in victories with seven in 2013, a career best for the Wisconsin native.
Stewart won once in 2013, but saw his season cut short after only 21 races when the three-time Cup champion suffered a broken leg during a sprint car race in August.