Jimmie Johnson – No Rest for the Wicked, but Still Wicked AwesomePress Release
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 28, 2013) – It was a long week for the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet fielded by Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. And while there was certainly no rest for the wicked after the five-time champion won the Daytona 500 last Sunday, Johnson wouldn’t deny that it was wicked awesome and well worth the chaos that ensued.
Highlights of the week: visits to the Late Show with David Letterman and Good Morning America, cupcake making in Los Angeles, stops in Las Vegas, Dallas and New York, a contract extension with Johnson’s longstanding sponsor, Lowe’s, and a late-night video that went viral with the 48 crew dancing on the front stretch of Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and crew chief Chad Knaus popping wheelies on a dirt bike.
Now, a little rest is in order as Johnson gets back to his day job Friday morning at Phoenix International Raceway. His victory in the Great American Race has him atop the point standings. It’s a precarious hold, but one he looks to keep as he visits the mile oval in the Arizona desert.
Johnson’s record has been strong at Phoenix. He has 12 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s in 19 starts. But, in typical Team 48 fashion, he never wants to stop improving on those finishes. In fact, Johnson is slated for double duty in the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet fielded by JR Motorsports in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race.
Rest may have been at a premium after winning the sport’s premiere event, but there were enough awesome perks that Johnson is sure to say it was a wicked good time.
Driver, Team and Sponsor Notes
· Hendrick Motorports and Lowe’s signed a two-year contract extension securing the full-season primary sponsorship of the No. 48 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson in 2014 and 2015.
· Following his second career Daytona 500 win Sunday, Johnson went on a whirlwind tour organized by NASCAR that included stops in eight cities over four days.
· Monday – Daytona 500 Champion’s Breakfast at the Daytona International Speedway Tours and Tickets office; flew to Charlotte for “car wash” at SPEED; flew to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., for another “car wash,” which included co-hosting a half hour of the evening SportsCenter broadcast. Radio interviews with The Jim Rome Show and The Dan Patrick Show. Ended the evening by flying to New York City in preparation for Tuesday’s media.
· Tuesday – Started the day with an appearance on Good Morning America, followed by appearances on Morning Express with Robin Meade, CNN, Fox Business and the Late Show with David Letterman. Also visited the SiriusXM studios, where he joined several shows including a guest-hosting spot on The Spectrum. The appearance included Johnson picking some of his favorite songs from artists such as Jack Johnson, Neil Young, Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons. The guest DJ session is scheduled to air Friday at 10 p.m. EST and will be rebroadcast at noon Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday. Also talked with the Huffington Post, TMZ (not scheduled) and Fox Sports’ Jay Mohr Sports. Participated in the NASCAR media teleconference, as well as an online chat through Reddit called Ask Me Anything. Ended the day by flying to Dallas.
· Wednesday – Attended a fan event for Texas Motor Speedway, which included media interviews with the local market. Then flew to Los Angeles for an event for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Ended the evening in Las Vegas with more than 5,000 Lowe’s store managers at the Lowe’s National Sales Meeting.
· Thursday – Left Las Vegas and flew back to Los Angeles to conduct more media interviews, among them, Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews, and Good Day L.A. Johnson is scheduled at a Thursday-evening event in Phoenix hosted by the track and is then scheduled to drop the puck at the Phoenix Coyotes hockey game, where he was to appear in the game broadcast. He then was scheduled to go to the racetrack, where he is expected to promptly collapse and get some sleep in preparation for a weekend of Nationwide and Sprint Cup racing.
· Johnson will drive the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet fielded by JR Motorsports in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Phoenix. This is the second time he has driven for the organization owned by his teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. He finished second at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2011. Knaus will call the race this weekend for Johnson.
Johnson’s Phoenix International Raceway Quick Stats:
· Johnson has four wins at Phoenix International Raceway, including a sweep of both 2008 events, and one pole.
· His most recent win came in November 2009. The win helped pave the way for his record-setting fourth consecutive championship.
· Johnson has earned 12 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s in 19 starts.
· His average start is 13.0 and average finish is 6.7. He has completed 5,966 of 6,005 laps (99.99 percent) and led 931 of them.
· He has finished every race in which he’s competed at the mile oval.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, Driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports:
www.twitter.com/jimmiejohnson, www.twitter.com/lowesracing and www.twitter.com/teamhendrick
Assess the start to the season and how do you see the No. 48 team over the course of the next few races?
“Definitely a great start for the team. When we were sitting discussing things before the season started, we felt good about the 500, but we’re really excited for everything after the 500. So, very hopeful and excited that our No. 48 car will be really fast in Phoenix, Vegas, moving forward. I think it’s going to be a very strong year for us.”
How is the new track configuration, and will anything be different this time around?
“I expect each time we go back that the groove will get a little wider. That just comes with age. The more the track ages, the more character it will get. It’s a great track and the reconfiguration is good. It just takes a little while once a track is repaved for things to start to age and the grooves to come in and the racing kind of evolves. We started to see it last year and I expect more of it again this time around.”
Why are you running the Nationwide race for Junior Motorsports in the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet?
“Honestly, we race at Phoenix twice a year and, the second time we come here, it’s typically been a pretty important race for us. With this new configuration, it couldn’t hurt to get a little more track time. I joked earlier that I don’t have the best Nationwide record. I just hope I don’t disappoint my team owner. He might not have me back.”
Jimmie Johnson NASCAR Sprint Cup Career Statistics:
· Johnson has 61 wins in his Sprint Cup career, his most recent coming in Sunday’s 55th Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
· El Cajon, Calif., native Johnson is eighth on NASCAR’s all-time wins list, trailing Dale Earnhardt, who is seventh with 76 wins.
· He is second in total wins among active drivers behind Jeff Gordon (87).
· Johnson needed only 296 starts to hit the 50-win mark. Only three drivers have reached 50 victories sooner – Gordon (232), Darrell Waltrip (278) and David Pearson (293).
· Of the 23 tracks on which the series competes, Johnson has won Sprint Cup races at all but five – Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
· Johnson’s 10 wins in 2007 was the highest number recorded in a single season since Gordon posted 13 victories in 1998.
· Johnson earned his fourth Brickyard 400 victory July 29, 2012, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, tying him with Jeff Gordon as the winningest driver in the famed race. Johnson and Gordon also are tied for second on the all-time Indianapolis Motor Speedway win list with four-time Indianapolis 500 winners A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears. (Seven-time Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher is the track’s all-time leader with five United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis victories.)
· Johnson has collected 29 poles in his Sprint Cup career
· The championship driver earned at least one pole a year in the first 10 years of his full-time career.
· He had a career-high six poles in 2008.
· Johnson’s most recent pole position was on Nov. 2, 2012, at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
· Johnson finished in the top-10 in the Sprint Cup Series point standings each year since his first full season in 2002 and in the top-five in 10 of those 11 years.
· Johnson is the only driver to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup every year since the format was adopted in 2004.
· In 400 Sprint Cup starts, Johnson has posted 167 top-five finishes and 249 top-10s.
· He has a top-five finish at every track on the Sprint Cup circuit.
· Johnson has led a total of 13,873 laps (of 114,912 possible) in his Sprint Cup career, covering more than 153,433.2 miles.
· He has finished on the lead lap 310 times.
· Johnson was named by Forbes magazine as its Most Influential Athlete in 2012 and 2011.
· In 2009, Johnson became the first racecar driver to be named Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in its 78-year history.
· Voted Driver of the Year four times in his career (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010), joining Gordon as the only other four-time winner of the prestigious award.
· Johnson has won an ESPY for Best Driver four times – 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
· For his work throughout the year in social media, Johnson ranked as the top driver in NASCAR for strongest and most engaging use of social media in a study by Tuckahoe Strategies.
· Won four #Sports Awards for use of social media in sports, including Best Overall Brand on Social Media, Most Engaging Athlete on Twitter, Most Engaging Athlete on Facebook and Best Instagram Photo (for his 2012 photo of Bristol Motor Speedway).
· With his wife, Chandra, launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in 2006. The foundation is dedicated to helping children, families and communities in need. To date, more than $5.6 million has been contributed to various organizations.
Source: True Speed Communication for Team Lowe’s Racing, Press Release
Article Tags: Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson, NACAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS, NSCS, Phoenix (AZ), Phoenix International Raceway, PIR, SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500(k)