News & Media

Forbes names Johnson Most Influential Athlete

April 24, 2012, Joe Menzer,

Five-time Cup champion joined by Hendrick teammate Earnhardt Jr. in top 10

For the second year in a row, Forbes magazine has ranked five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson the Most Influential Athlete in America.

Forbes determined its annual rankings by polling 1,100 adults about dozens of well-known athletes to measure the athletes' overall likeability as well as their appeal to marketers. Johnson was joined on the 2012 list by fellow Cup driver and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., although Earnhardt dropped to seventh from third a year ago. A third Hendrick driver, Jeff Gordon, disappeared from the list altogether.

"It's just a huge honor," Johnson said. "Not only is it very good for me in my career and for what I do in my race car, but I think it's very good for NASCAR as well. Of all the athletes in America, to be ranked most influential, I'm very proud of the award and happy to receive it."