Charlotte, NC – For the second year in a row, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson topped Forbes' list of "America's Most Influential Athletes."
Johnson, who won the series championship consecutively from 2006-10, outranked NFL quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning, as well as Tim Tebow on this year's list.
Nielsen and E-Poll surveyed over 1,100 adults about dozens of well-known athletes to measure their likeability and whether they're considered "influential," an important quality for marketers.
Johnson drives the No. 48 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, with Lowe's Home Improvement as the team's primary sponsor.
"It's just a huge honor," Johnson said during a teleconference on Tuesday. "Not only is it very good for me and my career and what I do in the race car and my brand, I think it's very good for NASCAR as well. So among all athletes in America, to be ranked the most influential athlete out there, I'm very proud of the award and very happy to receive it."
While Johnson remained atop the list, his Hendrick teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is NASCAR's most popular driver, dropped from third to seventh. Jeff Gordon, also from Hendrick, fell off the list this year.