Who is the most famous athlete on the planet? ESPN recently put together a list of the 100 most famous athletes on the planet and two NASCAR drivers were able to crack the top-100.
First off, how does one decide the 100 most famous athletes on the planet? Well, the answer to that is simple, or at least ESPN makes it seem simple. According the ESPN, a formula was used that combined endorsements, social media following and internet search popularity. The result of this formula is a list of the most popular athletes on the planet.
In the world of NASCAR, two drivers were able to crack the list. The highest driver was Dale Earnhardt Jr. (69th) and the other was seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson (86th). Also cracking the list from the world of Motorsports were Lewis Hamilton (84th) and Felipe Massa (92nd).
For Earnhardt Jr., his spot as the highest driver on the list maintains his position as the most popular driver in NASCAR and most likely the United States. Earnhardt Jr. has won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award 14 consecutive times and with 2017 being his last season in the Cup Series, he should be a guarantee to win it for a 15th consecutive time this season.
While Johnson doesn’t have the popularity that Earnhardt has, he makes up for it with accomplishments. Johnson is tied with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty for the most championships in NASCAR history (7). In 2017, Johnson has already won a pair of races (he has 82 wins in his career) and the last time that he won less than four races in a season was back in 2011. The 2011 season also happens to be the only season in which Johnson didn’t win more than twice in the Cup Series.
Topping the list of athletes was Cristiano Ronaldo (1st) and LeBron James (2nd). Lionel Messi (3rd), Roger Federer (4th) and Phil Mickelson (5th) round out the top-five. Other names of note of the list are Tiger Woods (10th), Tom Brady (21st), Cam Newton (47th) and Odell Beckham Jr. (64th). The entire ranking can be seen HERE.
On Sunday Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson will be back on the track at Dover. Johnson, who has dominated Dover in the past will be looking for his third win of the season while Earnhardt will be looking for his first win since 2015.