Four. TheNumber. A number now etched in the annuls of NASCAR racing.
Eight. The length of time to collect four rings.
It may be a coincidence thatflies around the tracks with 48 stenciled on his ride, but nothing has been taken to chance as the King of the roadway captured his 4th NASCAR championship ring in 8 years of racing.
Now the most dominant driver of this decade, Johnson needed a 25th place finish to earn his crown Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he raced hard to finish fifth.
"I grew up on two wheels in the dirt," the 34-year-old Californian said. "I had no clue I was going to end up here racing stock cars and doing something that had never been done before. To do something that's never been done in the sport, and love the sport like I do and respect it like I do and the greats -- Petty, Earnhardt, Gordon -- to do something they have never done is so awesome.
"And to win four championships in eight years, what this team has done -- this is unbelievable."
Johnson shares the Hendrick Motor Racing team stable to a couple of other champions.
Jeff Gordon has four championships under his belt, but not in a row.
, the chiseled veteran, can claim the perennial runner up by earning his 5th runner-up position for the championship.
Johnson recently agreed to a five-year contract extension to drive for Hendrick through 2015, and, his crew chief, has insisted the No. 48 team can keep this pace for the next several years.
"Jimmie is an incredible, incredible talent. He is the most underrated driver in this garage," Knaus said. "That guy can do things in a race car that I've never seen before. I hope this proves it to everybody."