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Why Jimmie Johnson calls Tom Brady ‘super inspiring’

One 40-something, seven-time champion can take something from the other one.
Tom Brady's Super Bowl 55 triumph has inspired racing legend Jimmie Johnson.
Tom Brady's Super Bowl 55 triumph has inspired racing legend Jimmie Johnson. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Apr. 23
Updated Apr. 23

ST. PETERSBURG — The mystique of Bucs star Tom Brady switching teams and winning another Super Bowl at age 43 transcends his sport. Just ask racing legend Jimmie Johnson.

“I’ll add my name to the list of many ... and just say what he accomplished is amazing and super inspiring,” Johnson said Friday.

Related: What you should know about the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (which starts today)

Johnson is one of the few athletes who’s on par with Brady. Both have seven championships. Both are in their forties (Johnson turns 46 in September). And both are still grinding in a demanding sport.

“I just love his success and the message he sends for us 40-year-olds that can’t let go and want to keep going,” Johnson said. “Really impressed.”

Johnson, like Brady, is trying something new. Johnson hasn’t only changed teams. He changed series, going from NASCAR’s prestigious Cup Series to IndyCar, a completely different style of racing and circuits. Johnson finished 19th Sunday in his IndyCar debut and faces an uphill battle in this weekend’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Jimmie Johnson is making his Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg debut this weekend.
Jimmie Johnson is making his Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg debut this weekend. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

But he can still find inspiration from seeing Brady lead the Bucs to a Super Bowl 55 triumph at Raymond James Stadium.

“I think there are some common points, and one is the work required to be at the top,” Johnson said. “I think for some in their thirties and forties, that part of the job isn’t as inspiring as it once was. For Tom, I think it is. And I think it showed in the fact that he can leave one team and go to another and have success because all the work behind the scenes and all the hours spent behind the scenes really make the difference.

“That’s part of the job that I’ve always enjoyed, as well. I hope to have Tom’s type of success and win championships and races.”

Related: Should the Bucs draft a quarterback to follow Tom Brady?

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Through Sunday. Gates at intersections of First Avenue SE and First Street SE; Second Street S and Fifth Avenue S

IndyCar qualifying: 1:45 p.m. Saturday. IndyCar race: 12:42 p.m. Sunday. TV: NBC

Notable: The event will host up to 20,000 fans per day. Advance ticket sales only.

More information and complete schedule here.

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