Really? Pressing an accelerator and turning a steering wheel require athletic ability? Seriously? I think NOT.
I'm not sure what to call racing. But I know what not to call it -- a sport. The word sport makes me think of athletes. And athletes are those with an unusual strength, endurance, flexibility, etc; & sometimes speed, quickness (not the same as speed), & accuracy. None of these things are required to win a car race. Now, I imagine that some car racers do possess some of these abilities in some measure. In other words, there may be athletic race car drivers. . . , and golfers, and bowlers, etc. But to say that those who drive cars, swing clubs and roll balls professionally are by definition athletes is just absurd.
I should also say that anyone who wins five consecutive championships in any major competition with his peers is worthy of our recognition. That is a noteworthy accomplishment. But to hear sportscasters talk of Johnson (& Hendrick Motor Sports) as being in the same athletic or team class as the dominant Boston Celtics and New York Yankees is a bit over the top. The Celtics and Yanks are teams of athletes that run, throw, slide, hit, catch, dive, etc. I played baseball, and basketball. And I've driven a car. Not the same sort of activities. The athletes in the ballgames have everything to do with winning and losing. In contrast, while the car driver contributes, the strength of the vehicle engine plays a massive role in the race outcome.
Don't get me wrong; I like to drive fast. I like to swing clubs at stationary balls, and to roll balls at defenseless pins. But I am under no illusion that these activities require athletic ability. To do them consistently well does require an ability, a skill. But not athletic ability. That's OK. Not everyone is an athlete. And even fewer have the gifts to be professional athletes. So let's all be happy to do well what God has given us to do well that we actually are able to do well. And let's call it what it is.