Throughout the 22 years that I have been obtaining NASCAR autographs in-person, I have had the chance to meet every driver that has driven in the sport. Many times, these drivers come along and begin their careers as fast drivers and great signers. However, as time goes on or as they become more popular, they stop signing as much as they once did. This is not to say that they do not sign or that they don't like signing for the fans. It usually means that they have more and more demands placed upon them by their teams and/or sponsors.
Time and again, drivers follow this pattern almost like clockwork. thankfully, one driver has remained a VERY willing signer even though he has had the most success on the track since the 1970's. That driver is the three time Sprint Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson.
Jimmie came from a early career of racing motorcycles, off road, ASA series, and Nationwide Series vehicles. After scoring a win in the Nationwide Series in 2001, he was signed to Hendrick Motorsports in 2002. The rest is History. Jimmie raced his way into the current Sprint Cup Series, where he has already scored 43 wins ( including three Brickyard 400 victories at Indianapolis, a 2006 Daytona 500 win, and a Sprint All Star race win ). Jimmies biggest claim to fame however, is that he is the reigning three time Sprint Cup champion. Jimmie is the second driver in NASCAR history to score three consecutive Sprint Cup Championships. The other driver to manage this feat was Cale Yarborough in 1976, 1977, & 1977. Jimmie is currently in a good position to possibly being the first driver to win four consecutive chanmpionships.
All of this fortune and glory has launched Jimmie into NASCAR'S top tier of most popular drivers. However, no matter how many wins, Championships, and fans Jimmie earns, signing autographs remains a major part of Jimmie's life.
I first had the chance to meet jimmie in 2001. at that time, he was the up and coming driver with the funny autograph. Eight years and three NASCAR Sprint Cup Championships later, Jimmie continues to sign for fans every chance that he gets each race week-end. For example, following each 2009 Bristol race week saw Jimmie coming straight from track qualifying and heading directly over to the fans waiting along "autograph row". Jimmie's abreviated autograph allows for him to sign many autographs in a short period of time. As always, Jimmie signs as many items as fans can place in front of him. taking time to personalize items as requested.
Nascar continues to be the best sport for autographs and it only shows how good things are when the sport's current champion and one of it's biggest stars is the best signer in the garage.