Johnson wants to be best ever

Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for NASCAR)

AVONDALE, Ariz. –Jimmie Johnson isn’t just focused on the run for his sixth Cup championship this year. He already has an eye on his legacy.

“I’ve made this reference a few times, but a friend of mine said to me that limits begin where the vision ends,” Johnson said Friday at Phoenix. “I want to be considered the best driver ever to sit in a stock car. The undisputed way to pull that off is to win eight championships.”

With two races left in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Johnson leads second-place Brad Keselowski by seven points. He realizes that his success hasn’t made him universally popular — far from it in some quarters — but the same was true of seven-time champions Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr., and his own teammate, four-time champion Jeff Gordon.

“I wasn’t around to see the Petty era, but I know…Or I can only assume that a lot of people were tired of seeing the King win,” Johnson said. “I know a lot of people were tired of seeing Earnhardt win. I lived it firsthand in watching Jeff Gordon go through that very same thing after his fourth championship…

“I’m not doing anything different than Gordon, Petty, Earnhardt. In fact, I’m awfully damn proud to be in that lump of guys that had to go from cheers to boos — and when you they get back to cheering you again is when you stop winning.

“I don’t want the cheers. I’ll keep the boos. That’s fine.”

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