Jimmie Johnson Named America’s Most Influential Athlete

Forbes has named Jimmie Johnson America’s Most Influential Athlete for the second straight year.

6 of the top 10 on the list are NFL quarterbacks. No. 7 on the list is the only other NASCAR driver in the top 10 – Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Earnhardt was 3rd on the list last year. Jeff Gordon also appeared last year but he did not make this year’s cut

“It is just a huge honor,” said Johnson. “I think it’s very good for NASCAR.

The rankings are based on public opinion polls conducted by Nielsen and E-poll. 1100 US adults were surveyed. The poll measured each athlete’s likability and their marketing influence toward consumers.

He has 5 NASCAR championships, but is Jimmie Johnson really more influential than Tim Tebow (No. 2), or Peyton Manning (No. 3), or Dale Earnhardt Jr (No> 7)? After all, Earnhardt has been voted NASCAR’s popular driver year after year.

I suppose the answer depends on who you ask. Forbes did not say who the 1,100 people were who were polled. Pose the same question to a group of race fans at Talladega and the results could be altogether different.

If influential means being liked and having the ability to represent sponsors and influence purchases then who is NASCAR’s Most Influential Driver?




40 Comments on Jimmie Johnson Named America’s Most Influential Athlete

  1. Steve L. on
  2. Even though to me JR should be higher, but it doesn’t bother me because I know what kind of person JR is. Plus I’m not going to worry about what other people say or think. JR is the type to not worry about what people say about him so why should his fans right? JR isn’t the only driver, but one of very few where I know I wouldn’t have to worry about his actions on or off the track. I don’t have to worry about getting embarrassed.

    There are a few drivers in that category of not embarrassing the sport or their fans. Not just Earnhardt, and Johnson, but I will add Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards to that list.

  3. Vicki on
  4. I think Junior is more influential within NASCAR but Jimmie may be in the larger world beyond NASCAR. I am a JJ fan and when I go to Village Pantry and people see my 48 hat in my back window, they often give me a thumbs up. I think more people outside of NASCAR know Jimmie because of the championships. Most of them perceive him as a nice guy who is a loving family man, generous with charity, a good representative of the sport.

  5. brenda on

    Jimmie Johnson does have a good reputation outside of NASCAR.

  7. Bob on
  8. You are so right.

  9. Mick on
  10. Jimmy has been the man on the stage for many years now. Championships, and the publicity that come with them, will always be the deciding factor on ‘who’ is more important to the sport. I’m a Dale fan too – sort of naturally went to him after his daddy died – and until Dale takes the stage, and does the world wind tours that make the sport as prominent as it is, we all need to wait. I do agree with the aforementioned statement that – when the time comes, Jr. will be a fine representation for NASCAR and all American athletes.

  11. Bob Williamson on
  12. J.J. still comes across a little arrogant and answers questions with a grain of dishonesty. Dale Jr. doesn’t mind saying exactly what is on his mind but J.J. is always extremely careful with his comments and that is what makes it seem like he is just not quit telling the truth or saying what is on his mind. Like last year when he didn’t win the chase, instead of being a little mad, he simply implied that they would try harder this year, like saying, oh well. Just something sneaky.

  13. bonnie mccoy on
  14. what a joke like everything else for the last three years hendrick can write what he likes about that cheater won’t be seein them in heaven jr will be there what a guy without him we won’t be watchin we quit going so go jr you are the best

  15. j d rose on
  16. ask the average person on the street and see who #1

  17. Mary on
  18. I do believe JJ deserves this honor. Just think about his professionalism on and off the track. Think about all he’s done for charity. When you see him with his wife and baby daughter, the love and pride just shines from him. He sets a perfect example for all. I know other drivers do alot of good also, but I still think JJ out shines them all.

  19. Dorothy V Veness on
  20. Dale Jr and Tony Stewart’s are my two favourite drivers – but I can understand
    JJ getting the vote because of his trophies that he has won – but the other two are
    special to me.

  21. pam brooks on
  22. Dale JR influences what I drink and what colors I wear. I refuse to shop for anything at Lowes, and the only blue I like is on the #88 National Guard car and the American flag. So therefore Dale, Jr is my most influential driver.

  23. Swampy on
  24. Forbes? Who the hell is Forbes?

  25. San Can on
  26. Dale Jr. could care less!
    JJ thinks he IS above all the rest…championships: Yes – Personality: No!
    I like JJ, but in a blue collar sport…how arrogant can you BE??? REALLY?

  27. Pegi on
  28. I agree!

    Ya sure, Forbes can write what they want and pick their voters in a survey but my independent opinion is the he and his crew are known cheaters. He got his trophies but were they won legally. How many other teams have been caught this many times. Johnson has never been outspoken on anything. He wants to keep a goody two shoes approach so he gets these write ups.

  29. lady red on
  30. There are many of the top drivers that do as much as JJ.
    They have their foundations, donations of a lot of money,
    visits to hospitals, armed forces, etc. I, too, think they only reason they pick JJ is because of the championships he has won. To me, he is so plain vanilla and I do not see him on the world stage as the most influential as I can’t see where he has done any more than the rest except to get in the headlines. I think there are others outside the sport of Nascar that earn this honor. I’m a Dale, Jr., fan, always will be, and as others have said, he isn’t interested in this “honor”, he just wants to race and do his own thing. The voters they polled must have all been JJ fans, only reason I can think of as you would think the most popular driver would carry a little weight. I also think Jeff
    Gordon has done a lot for the sport and the communities.
    Time for someone else to be on that list. Go Jr., always #1.

  31. chris on
  32. Well i feel like JR. can do as much as JJ if he would get the right crew cheif and keep giving him good cars as the 48 & 24.GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO jr , I


  33. NancyEliz Maldonado on
  34. Well, now speaking all the way from NYC where all the ego can be cut with a knife, I just love my Dale Jr. It is such a pleasure to see one without all the ego, sponsor-driven culture, and most of all politics. I feel if there were more Dale Juniors, the world would be such a special place. We can’t even vote in an election without ego and chest beating. Junior is so natural, he can be anywhere at anytime and you just feel so relaxed and knowing that he would accept you in his world. May his spirit continue to represent Nascar and even further, humanity and life itself. Peace NancyEliz

  35. Steve L. on
  36. That’s why I said JR isn’t the only driver but one of very few like that. But I wouldn’t put Stewart in that category because he’s done a few things just last year that would embarrass me. There were a couple times where he had a bad day and he stormed away from the car saying no to an interview. Also what I meant was not just currently, I meant in the past also, Stewart and Carl both used to do embarrassing things. The drivers I can think of right off the top of my head that aren’t embarrassing (at least embarrassing to me) are JR, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Jamie Mac.

  37. AZomah on
  38. Steve Forbes ought to stick with what he knows- finance. He knows nothing about Nascar or who has the largest fan base in Nascar. GOOOO JR!

    So does dale Jr

    I will pick Dale jr, anyday. I think Jimmy Johnson is just a fake, just to be noticed.

  39. George on
  40. Did you see Jr. drive past the pit entrance on Sundays race . He is always getting himself in trouble in the pits and on the track. If he wins a raveI will be suprised

    Get ready to be surprised. At this level of consistency it is coming.

    Didn’t really understand why Forbes was even involved in this. Maybe I should start writing about the stock market?

    OK, Stewart is guilty of that. Just something about his attitude that makes me accept it.

    49%? Did not know that.

    Sorry, it is Forbes Magazine.

  41. Jay on
  42. Jimmy Johnson is a hell alot better that Jr every likes hom because of his father the BEST DRIVER OF ALL TIMES DALE SR

  43. AZomah on
  44. His magazine does this type of article every year. They always include athletes. There are some very wealthy (as you know) athletes in every sport that have large fan bases and are a good influence on the youngsters.

  45. AZomah on
  46. I agree 100% with you!

  47. Steve L. on
  48. Ya Stewart is one of my secondary drivers, I like his sarcastic sense of humor and his tell it like it is attitude not to mention being able to win championships (not just win) in anything he races, but like I said he’s done some things that would embarrass me.

  49. carol brown on
  50. Huh? Do you want to repeat that.

  51. carol brown on
  52. Yea Chevy cars. I love the Hendricks team but mostly my guy, Dale jr.

  53. Mare on
  54. It’s good NASCAR is represented in the survey at least. Jimmie has done something big in his racing, and that is probably a lot of the voting points. I still wonder if some of the races he won in the past have been because Chad didn’t get caught cheating. I’m just saying, we will never know from this standpoint. Anyway, I’m just wondering as to why Jr dropped to 7th and Gordon is out of the top ten. I haven’t checked out the list to see. Guess I shouldn’t comment before I do that.

  55. Denise on
  56. Jimmy may of won 5 championships but the Earnhardt will always be associated with NASCAR longer then Jimmy Johnson

  57. lady red on
  58. oh help us, George is back!

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