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Jimmie Johnson: Is the ‘Sports Illustrated’ Cover Boy What NASCAR Really Wants?

A NASCAR Sprint Cup driver who sweeps championships and exudes a California cool, calm demeanor is hardly the symbol of the drivers who built the sport as hard-driving guys from the heart of the south. Jimmie Johnson doesn't fit the prototype of the smattering of drivers who have graced the cover of Sports Illustrated. Johnson was first on the cover in November, 2008, after securing his third consecutive Cup title. His second cover on the iconic magazine was the mid-month October, 2011 issue. You might think Richard Petty, the seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion would have been the first driver to appear on the cover of the magazine, but it was Bill Elliott in a September, 1985 issue. As one might expect, the two drivers who ha...

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