Jimmie Johnson's career may be just taking off. The now two-time Nextel Cup champion is rapidly closing in on the rate of success of his Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon, who was impressed by this fellow Californian back in 2000 and suggested his name to Rick Hendrick to start a fourth team in his organisation.
Since his first full season in the Nextel Cup, Johnson has finished not lower than fifth in the standings, has 33 wins so far and is quickly becoming the most productive driver financially speaking, earning more than $15 million (£16.2m) in prize money for the second year in a row, which is the most a driver a has ever made during a single season.
Of course, none of these would have been possible without a team of Hendrick's calibre. This year, between their four drivers, Hendrick Motorsports took 18 wins out of 36 races, and also dominated with the new Car of Tomorrow, which they put on Victory Lane in nine different events. No other team came even close to matching those numbers in 2007.