DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Jimmie Johnson might have had an easier time had his 6-year-old daughter asked for help with an art project. Genevieve Johnson instead left dad briefly bewildered with a messier question:

What does famous mean?

“At school, the kids are asking her, saying, ‘Your dad’s famous,'” Johnson said. “How do you answer that question?”

Let’s try.

Does your dad dress in a Lowe’s fire suit, slide into the No. 48 Chevrolet and race on national television every weekend? Does your dad have more than 2.3 million Twitter followers? Is he besieged by autograph seekers and asked to voice cartoons on the Disney Channel?

Yes, Genevieve, your father is famous.

But the more contemplative question is this: Is Johnson the greatest to ever drive a stock car? That’s up for debate, though arguments for other contenders thin as Johnson continues to add to his championship collection.

Seven, if you’ve lost count.

An eighth would push Johnson past Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most ever, leaving him alone as NASCAR’s best.

Outside his motorhome, Johnson scratched his beard, tinged with a touch of grey, as he considered what an eighth title would mean. Johnson had retreated to Aspen, Colorado, over the winter, where the snow and ski-filled days made him want to grow his beard to roughly ZZ Top length. The King has his feathered cowboy hat. Maybe a wavy beard could become Johnson’s distinguishing feature.

What seemed cool in Aspen made him hot at Daytona.

“I was really uncomfortable,” he said. “It just hits you the whole time.”

Johnson’s shot at history hit him in 2010 when he won his fifth straight Cup title and talk about eight intensified. He won his sixth in 2013, and his surprising seventh last year now makes an eighth championship seem more inevitable than a longshot.

With 80 career wins and a pair of Daytona 500 victories, the 41-year-old Johnson won’t let the record define him.

“No,” he said, “but I’m going to try (to win it), though.”

Long before he fires up the Chevy, Johnson’s championship pursuit begins near dawn with a run. Johnson long ago traded his race helmet for a bicycle helmet during off hours at the track and put a twist on his Sunday finish line by running the occasional marathon before a race.

At Daytona, he biked 42 miles on Sunday morning hours before he pulled double duty and raced in the Clash at Daytona and qualified for the 500.

With a wife, two daughters and enough trophies to stuff a storage unit, the fitness freak has never been happier. Johnson has even won over fans who had grown tired of the 48 dynasty built with owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Chad Knaus. Before the championship race at Homestead, Johnson was greeted by fans holding up seven fingers, not the one he’d grown accustomed to receiving.

“I get the respect from being around a long time, now” he said. “I think the age kind of does something.”