Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson revealed a somewhat secret tradition he started that is exclusive to title winners.
With five consecutive championships between the 2006 and 2010 seasons, Johnson wondered why there wasn't something winning drivers could pass down to or share with each other every year.
So after talking it out with Mike Helton, NASCAR's vice chairman, the No. 48 Chevrolet driver started a journal, filling in the first entry and passing it off to Tony Stewart, who won the Cup Series title in 2011. Johnson shared the champions-only tradition on Instagram.
After winning a few championships I was curious why there wasn't something passed down from champion to champion. I chatted with Mike Helton about it and he gave me the idea of a Champions Journal. So in 2011, I started the journal and gave it to @tsrsmoke at the Banquet. It's been passed along since and last night I had the pleasure of passing it to @martintruex_jr.
According to NASCAR.com, Johnson's first entry reads:
It's hard to believe something like this journal wasn't done before. I thought it would be a great tradition to start between champions, and I'm honored to be the first entry. My thought is the outbound champion writes a letter to the inbound champion. From there, the champ keeps the book until the NASCAR awards ceremony and then passes it along.
Winning the 2016 Cup Series championship, Johnson tied NASCAR legends Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty's record for all-time wins.
In addition to Johnson - who won two more titles since the tradition's inception - Stewart and now Truex, the other drivers who have had possession of the journal are Brad Keselowski (2012), Kevin Harvick (2014) and Kyle Busch (2015).
While that's not too many now, should the tradition be upheld for years or decades to come, Johnson will have contributed a wonderful method of documenting NASCAR history.