J.J. poses for S.I. cover
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Jimmie Johnson doesn't go in for superstitions or curses or hexes. The five-time defending NASCAR champion now enters black-cat territory. He's on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The magazine goes on sale Wednesday and it...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Jimmie Johnson doesn't go in for superstitions or curses or hexes.
The five-time defending NASCAR champion now enters black-cat territory. He's on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
The magazine goes on sale Wednesday and it's the second time he's on the cover -- the other in 2008 after his third title. This is only the 10th time the magazine has featured NASCAR nationally on the front of the magazine. Bill Elliott was the first NASCAR driver on the cover in 1985.
Johnson, going for a sixth consecutive title, said Tuesday he was unaware of the so-called SI cover jinx.
"There's nothing to worry about. If I lose the championship it has nothing to do with being on the cover of a magazine," he said at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "It would mean we didn't do our jobs, or we had some bad luck and didn't win a race. It's no concern. I didn't realize there was a curse. I thought it was being on the cover of a video game, that was the curse."
Legend has it that bad luck follows athletes and teams featured on the cover. Braves third baseman Eddie Mathews was widely considered to be the first person affected by the jinx after his 1954 cover in the debut year of SI. He broke his hand afterward and missed seven games.
More recent examples: Olympic gold medal hopeful Lindsey Vonn injuring her leg the same week she was on the cover in 2010; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler injuring his knee and the Bears losing to Green Bay after Cutler was on the cover before January's NFC championship game. Last month, the Buffalo Bills were featured regionally for the first time since 2003 and promptly lost to Cincinnati.
Johnson has always believed he's in charge of his fate and isn't superstitious beyond admittedly fixating on his car No. 48 when setting alarms.
"I was (superstitious) early in my career and over time nothing ever, ever really made a difference and I quickly aborted," he said. "I just don't think it changes the setup of the car or makes anything work any better, you know?"