Christmas Gift Kick Started Johnson's Career

Jimmie Johnson

"I think I was five years old at Christmas, and walked out and under the tree there was a motorcycle sitting there for me." (Photo: Getty Images)

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Jimmie Johnson's path to greatness in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series could very well lead back to a particular Christmas Day when he was young.

Johnson, who is coming of his unprecedented fifth consecutive Sprint Cup championship, started his racing career at an early age thanks to a present he received under the Christmas tree.

Honda 50"I think I was five years old at Christmas, and walked out and under the tree there was a motorcycle sitting there for me," Johnson said. "That's what started racing for me, so that would probably be the most memorable."

Like many kids on Christmas Day, Johnson couldn't wait to try out his new gift.

"We've got some footage that's absolutely hilarious of me riding that day," Johnson said." My parents took me out to an area to ride and I could ride a bicycle at the time, but my dad was holding the back fender and trying to show me how to twist the throttle and ride off. I can't believe I was on a bike that young, but it's pretty funny to see it."

After that Christmas, with the help of his family, Johnson went on to race his 50cc motorcycle and then won the 60cc class championship by the time he was eight years old.
Asteroids
But all memorable gifts Johnson received when he was growing up did not always relate to racing.

"I think I was probably seven or eight, my parents found an old arcade style video game and we came out in the morning and saw that thing sitting there," Johnson said. "I think it was Asteroids was the video game. We never left the house. We sat there for days just playing that dang game."

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