Jimmie Johnson admits he has been 'blown away' by his run of success in the NASCAR Sprint Cup after securing his fourth straight title at Homestead Miami Speedway.
The Hendrick Motorsports driver went into the season finale needing to finish inside the top 25 if he was to become the first driver to secure four successive titles and successfully brought the #48 Chevrolet home in fifth place to take the crown.
It gives Johnson the stunning record of having won the title in half of his seasons racing in the Sprint Cup and he admitted he couldn't believe what had been achieved.
“I am just blown away by the things we've been able to accomplish over the last eight years in the sport,” he said. “Obviously the last four years have been just unbelievable. To love the sport like I do and respect it like I do, and the history, the pioneers of this sport from Bill France, Sr., to the Petty family, you go through many eras up to Mr. Hendrick and what he's done over the last 25, to look at all of that and to have done something that's never been done in the sport before is so, so amazing and something I am so proud of.
“I've always set my marks high and really wanted to try to set high marks and all those kinds of things, but I had no clue this stuff would happen. I'm just so honoured, so happy, so fortunate.
“At the same time I've worked my entire life to be in this position. So has Chad [Knaus], so has Rick [Hendrick]. So it's not that we backed into any of this. It's not that it just happened. We've gone out and worked really, really hard and have dedicated our lives to it, and it's paid off. It's extremely rewarding to have that pay off, and we're really going to enjoy this.”
Johnson added that he hadn't had time to think about how his latest success would place him amongst the legends of the sport but warned his rivals that there was still more to come.
“When you look at the stats, it is definitely towards the top and that is something I am very proud of,” he said. “I have a lot of racing ahead of me so it is tough to really say at this point. We've have covered some territory in a short period of time and I feel the years ahead of us we can even get higher in the record books.
“in this sport, you're as good as you were last week, you're as good as you were the year before, there's a few marks that we look at. It's just tough to not want to win or win championships, regardless of how many you've won or if you have not yet. It's just what we do. It's why we put all the time and hours into this deal, and that's the ultimate reward. We think about it.
I don't know what to really think about a fifth. We're certainly going to show up next year and try and go about business as usual. That's just kind of what we do. But if we can keep it rolling, I mean, I can't believe we've made history now, and if we were able to do it a fifth year, even if it doesn't come next year, we've got to be very thankful for what we've accomplished, for what we've been able to experience.”