News & Media

Johnson not worried about 'SI' cover jinx

October 12, 2011, Joe Menzer,

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR's five-time defending Sprint Cup champion, chuckled Tuesday at the suggestion that a jinx may accompany his face's latest trip to the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

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"I was made aware of this jinx during a function [Tuesday] at the [NASCAR] Hall of Fame," Johnson said. "To tell you something about how up I am on other sports, I thought it had something to do with being on the cover of the Madden football video game.

"I guess it's out there for some other sports teams -- but in my heart of hearts, there is no way the photo on a cover of a magazine is going to change the luck of a race team. If we lose a championship, it's because of what happened on the race track -- not because of a photo that was on a magazine."

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Johnson is pursuing an unprecedented sixth consecutive Cup championship. After winning last Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway to move into third in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings behind Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick, Johnson was the choice for the cover of the SI edition that will be made available on newsstands across America on Wednesday.

This is the second time Johnson has graced the cover of SI. He also was on the cover of the Nov. 24, 2008, edition just after he sewed up that year's Cup championship and before he went on to capture the next two.

"It's usually considered an honor to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine," Johnson said. "I was fortunate enough to be on the cover of it back in '08, and things turned out pretty well for us that year. So I don't have any fear about being on this cover. None at all."