NMPA names Jimmie Johnson its Driver of the Year

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Add a sixth Richard Petty Driver of the Year award to Jimmie Johnson’s six NASCAR Sprint Cups. The National Motorsports Press Association named Johnson the Richard Petty Driver of the Year for 2013 during its annual convention in Concord, N.C., on Saturday. Johnson also claimed the honor in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. He is the only six-time recipient of the award.

As Matt Kenseth finished runner-up to Johnson for the 2013 Sprint Cup title, he also took runner-up honors to Johnson in NMPA voting for Driver of the Year. Johnson barely beat out Kenseth, taking 50 percent of the votes. Kenseth garnered 48 percent, while Tony Stewart took the other two percent.

Johnson visited victory lane six times in 2013, running his career-wins total to 66, second among active drivers (Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon leads the way). He also posted 16 top-fives and 24 top-10 finishes. When the checkered flag fell on the 2013 season, Johnson claimed his sixth Sprint Cup by a 19-point margin over Kenseth.

“I’ve worked so hard and long to get to this point,” Johnson said. “I’m finally on top of my game. I’ve worked a lifetime to get here.”

Kenseth led the series with seven victories in 2013, his first year driving for Joe Gibbs Racing.

– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

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