Would JJ walk away from fourth title for $100M?

July, 31, 2009
LONG POND, Pa. -- Would you quit your job for $100 million?

I'm guessing 99.99 percent of us would answer yes to that question.

But what if you are on the cusp of making history, close to doing something that's never been done?

Now that's a little more interesting, right Jimmie Johnson?

Johnson was asked that question (ridiculously hypothetical, of course) on Friday.

He has a chance to become the first driver to win four consecutive Cup titles, guaranteeing him a future spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame and sealing his legacy as one of the best drivers of all time.

Would he walk away for $100 million?

"Man, I don't know," Johnson said, chuckling. "That would be a tough one to consider. That's a lot of dough. Tax-free?"

Yep. You take it all. Uncle Sam doesn't get a dime.

"I guess I would have to seriously consider $100 million tax-free," Johnson said.

Now that we've established price, would the other drivers start a fund to get Johnson and the No. 48 Chevy off the track?

"If [Johnson] is not here, I don't consider it a win," Denny Hamlin said. "You want to know you can beat the best."

So count Hamlin out as far as donating to the cause. But who else might take $100 million to walk away and give up on beating Johnson?

"It would take more than 100 million for me to do it," Carl Edwards said.

For guys like Edwards, that's not as much as it sounds. It's about 10 years of income, give or take a year.

Nevertheless, put $100 million in the bank and you should be good to go as long as you don't call Bernie Madoff.

Johnson had fun with it, but he'll stick to reality and concentrate on the task at hand.

"I've got a great drive to succeed," he said. "But inside my own head, there are a lot of doubts every time I climb in the race car.

"As I get older I become more aware of history and more interested in it. So the fact that I could be a part of history in our sport, who wouldn't want that legacy?"

Of course, but what about that $100 million?

"OK,'' he said. "We could talk."

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?