Since entering NASCAR's top division in 2002, Jimmie Johnson has been the ultimate nearly man. Nobody doubted that he had the speed and consistency needed to win a title, but for some reason he was always coming up short, until now.
Johnson started 2006 with victory in the Daytona 500, and ended it with his first NASCAR Nextel Cup title secured. As if those two trophies weren't enough, he also wrapped up the non-championship All-Star race and took the spoils at Indianapolis.
Those stats paint the picture of a flawless year. But Johnson so nearly fell victim to the Chase for the Cup system, which was responsible for him missing out on the 2004 title by just eight points to Kurt Busch.