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Jimmie Johnson, champion of the people? He absolutely should be

Do you know the real Jimmie Johnson? His friend Dale Earnhardt Jr. does, and he figures you would give JJ the credit -- and love -- he deserves if you did, writes Ed Hinton.

Updated: November 1, 2008, 6:34 PM ET
By Ed Hinton | ESPN.com

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. just wishes you knew Jimmie Johnson as he does.

If you did, Earnhardt wouldn't be the only one cheered thunderously, unanimously during driver introductions on Sundays.

"It's unfortunate," Earnhardt says of the sad situation, "and I talk to Jimmie about it all the time."

Johnson, whose father ran heavy equipment for a living and whose mother drove a school bus to make ends meet, is as much of a man of the people ...

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