Are NASCAR fans finally beginning to appreciate how good Jimmie Johnson really is?
Judging by the reaction in pre-race ceremonies, where Johnson and the other drivers all do a lap standing in the bed of a pickup truck and wave to the crowds, maybe things are changing.
“Honestly, when I jumped in the back of the pickup truck after driver intros and they had the four of us and we were going around the track, I usually get flipped off a lot,” said Johnson after winning his record-tying seventh NASCAR Premier Series championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
gallery: Seven-time Sprint Cup champion: Jimmie Johnson season highlights
“They shoot me the bird everywhere we are, every state, everywhere we go,” Johnson said.
But that wasn’t the case Sunday afternoon at Homestead.
“I kept looking up and seeing hands in the air thinking they’re shooting me the bird again,” said Johnson. “It was actually seven. All they way around the racetrack everyone was holding up seven, and it just gave me goosebumps, like, ‘Wow, what an interesting shift in things.’
“So I think the fact that we were in the position we were today to tie history, you know, even people wearing other hats and other tee shirts that normally shoot me the bird were holding up seven. It was really cool.”