Jimmie Johnson Wins AP Athlete of the Year; Cloris Leachman is Second

If you haven’t heard by now, Jimmie Johnson has been crowned the Associated Press’ 2009 Athlete of the Year.

The NASCAR driver beat out Roger Federer, Usain Bolt, and every football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and hockey player on the face of the earth. Johnson is the first NASCAR driver ever to win the award.

Actress Cloris Leachman finished second.

Alright, not literally. But she might as well have.

Johnson won the award because of his uncanny ability to lead a parade around in circles for 4 hours. Week after week. Unfortunately for Leachman, who lead the 2009 Tournament of Roses Parade, she only got to lead one parade around for a few hours. And that happened 355 days ago.

The AP probably forgot about her already.

In all seriousness, congrats to Johnson on his award. And if nothing else, at least this officially means, contrary to popular belief, that NASCAR is indeed a sport.

I think…

Tags: Cloris Leachman Jimmie Johnson

  • Jeff Burton

    This is unconfirmed, but the rumor is that Joe Gibbs Racing is in negotiations to sign Cloris “Lightning” Leachman for the 2010 NASCAR season. It is true that Leachman did lead the Tournament of Roses Parade earlier in 2009, but let’s not forget all the experience she has behind the wheel….dating back to Ford’s Model A.

    • hopper

      Well that could be a little thunderstorm over Danica’s parade now couldn’t it. haha

  • Alex Camby

    If a car driver is an athlete then I must be one helleva of one as a truck driver. Like Golf, car drivers are not athletes. It’s a Joke.

  • hopper

    Yeah, just ask if you can lead a town parade and you’ll be a shoe-in for next year’s. haha

  • http://www.redstatebluecollar.blogspot.com Vicki

    Eat your hearts out, guys! Congratulations, Jimmie, couldn’t happen to a more deserving ATHLETE! Just have to wonder why all the others who say they could do what you do, don’t. I’m sure you make more $$ than all of them combined. Oh, I guess they’re too busy talking smack on sports websites.

  • MarcDiecast

    I just want to point out that Jimmie Johnson has been caught cheating more than Barry Bonds, and just like Bond’s accomplishments nobody cares what Jimmie wins. Cheaters rule in Nascar!

  • http://www.redstatebluecollar.blogspot.com Vicki

    I haven’t been a NASCAR fan as long as some of you but even I know that the winners have crew chiefs that push the envelope and finesse the technology, starting back with Junior Johnson, who admitted to trying to get away with slicking innovations past NASCAR. Many of the teams have been caught “cheating”, if that’s what you want to call. If your crew chief isn’t creative in making your car go fast, you’re right, Marcdiecast, you won’t win. That’s part of it.

  • MarcDiecast

    Nascar will let the GM boyz do whatever they want. When Toyota was kicking butt last year, Nascar quickly took all of them to the R+D center, then all the GM’s and Fords were quickly caught up.

    Cheaters win is Nascar, and Nascar is scratching their heads wondering why the stands are empty.

    You can worship a cheater, Barry Bonds has fans too.

  • Steve

    I do believe that Hemingway spoke the truth about sports. The only true sports are auto racing and bullfighting. The others are only games.

  • Mustapha

    Dont get me wrong, JJ is a great competitor and stock car racing is quite a physical/mental challenge, but this doesn’t add up to me.

    Usain Bolt is generations ahead of the rest of the world at the most fundamental athletic endeavour that there is. I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there who have the genetic makeup to be Jimmie Johnson.

    “I’m just waiting for the lights to flash ‘game over,’ because I felt like I was in a video game” – Shawn Crawford, former 200m Olympic gold medalist

    That is genetic talent that only appears once in a lifetime. That is dominance.

    Furthermore, NASCAR is a total team effort, and largely about the pit crews and car staff who manage thousands of parameters to miniscule detail, despite the constraints of time and rules. You cant call Jimmie Johnson solely responsible for his success, or confidently say that Mark Martin or Carl Edwards wouldn’t have won the same titles with his team.

    Final thought: if Usain Bolt were an American and Jimmie Johnson were a Jamaican, would this even have been a possibility?

  • http://www.redstatebluecollar.blogspot.com Vicki

    Mustapha – You’re right about Jimmie being part of a team but so are baseball, football, basketball, hockey players, etc. so if you were going to deny members of teams, you’d be taking a lot of sports out of the competition.

    I’m not so sure there are lots of racers who have the skills to duplicate Jimmie’s achievement in light of the fact that it has taken 60+ years to do it.

    Your final thought is the most credible point you make. There’s no doubt that the most commercial sports get the most nominations for various awards.I think it is that rather than nationality that makes the difference. Lots more people, especially Americans, watch NASCAR than follow Track closely. I wouldn’t be surprised though if Usain doesn’t get his due in time.