On Sunday, Jimmie Johnson won NASCAR's 2013 Sprint Cup Championship and moved a step closer to the top of NASCAR's all time greats by winning his sixth cup championship.  While the focus should be on celebrating his big win, Johnson was also deciding how to handle comments made by Fox Sports analyst Donovan McNabb regarding whether he was an athlete or not.McNabb, a former NFL quarterback, stirred up controversy Friday night by saying Jimmie Johnson is "absolutely not" an athlete.

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NASACAR fans sprang to Johnson's defense and according to usatoday, Johnson finally responded to McNabb's remarks.

Yes, I am an athlete, and so is every other driver in one of these race cars.  Even Tony Stewart.

Regarding his big win on Sunday, only NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr., with seven titles each, have won more championships than Johnson.  How does he feel in that kind of company?

I'm just trying to say the right things and keep my mind in the right space.  I haven't let a lot in, and it's led to more success, and it's kept my work ethic intact and it's kept me honest and humble.

I like that about myself.  I don't know if I want to open my mind up and let it in and consider where I might stand in the sports world.  It's not time for that, in my eyes.

You can rest assured that Johnson will be making a run at Petty and Earnhardt's titles when the season resumes this February with the Daytona 500.

Where do you stand?  Are NASCAR drivers athletes?

Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images