#48 Team News Archive

(NOTE: some older links may not work)


2013 News


    Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet,
    celebrates in Champions Victory Lane after winning the series championship
    following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at
    Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2013 in Homestead, Florida.
    (Image from Getty Images via NASCAR)


  • 2013 Lowe's Sponsor Schedule:
    Sprint Unlimited, 2/16, Lowe's Yellow Chevy
    Daytona, 2/24, Lowe's
    Phoenix, 3/3, Lowe's
    Las Vegas, 3/10, Kobalt Tools
    Bristol, 3/17, Kobalt Tools
    Auto Club, 3/24, Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation
    Martinsville, 4/7, Lowe's
    Texas, 4/13, Lowe's White
    Kansas, 4/21, Kobalt Tools
    Richmond, 4/27, Lowe's "Dover White"
    Talladega, 5/5, Lowe's
    Darlington, 5/11, Lowe's "Emerald Green"
    Charlotte, All-Star Race, 5/18, Lowe's Patriotic
    Charlotte, 5/26, Lowe's Patriotic
    Dover, 6/2, Lowe's, Monsters Univeristy
    Pocono, 6/9, Kobalt Tools
    Michigan, 6/16, Lowe's
    Sonoma, 6/23, Lowe's
    Kentucky, 6/29, Lowe's Dover White
    Daytona, 7/6, TBA
    New Hampshire, 7/14, Lowe's
    Indianapolis, 7/28, Kobalt Tools
    Pocono, 8/4, Lowe's / Disney's Planes
    Watkins Glen, 8/11, Lowe's
    Michigan, 8/18, Kobalt Tool's [was Lowe's, went to backup]
    Bristol, 8/24, Lowe's Dover white
    Atlanta, 9/1, Lowe's Dover white
    Richmond, 9/7, Kobalt Tools
    Chicago, 9/15, Lowe's
    New Hampshire, 9/22, Lowe's
    Dover, 9/29, Kobalt Tools
    Kansas, 10/6, Lowe's
    Charlotte, 10/12, Lowe's Doved white
    Talladega, 10/20, Lowe's
    Martinsville, 10/27, Lowes
    Texas, 11/3, Lowes
    Phoenix, 11/10, Kobalt Tools
    Homestead, 11/17, Lowe's

  • Johnson 3rd in voting for Male Athlete of the Year: #48-Jimmie Johnson's sixth Sprint Cup championship wasn't enough to earn him the Associated Press' 2013 Male Athlete of the Year award, which wound up going to the Miami Heat's LeBron James. The leader of the "Heatles" earned 31 of 96 votes cast in a poll of news organizations, enough to beat out Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in second (20 votes) and Johnson, who finished third with seven votes. Nonetheless, the Hendrick Motorsports driver didn't seem too perturbed by coming up short in winning the award, which has been given out annually since 1931. In fact, he took the loss in stride on Twitter, even taking time during a tweet on the subject to deliver an apparent jab toward all of the people who look down upon his job as un-athletic. He tweeted, "So I'm told the @AP or @AP_Sports ranked me as the 3rd best athlete of 2013 .. not bad for a non-athlete".(NBC Sports)(12-27-2013)


    Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet,
    celebrates after winning the series championship after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
    Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2013 in Homestead, FL.
    (Image from Getty Images via NASCAR)


  • NASCAR honors Jimmie Johnson as 6 Time Champion: Ultimately, the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards were all about Jimmie Johnson and his sixth series championship, but there were some pointed jokes and some return barbs before the Friday night program at Wynn Las Vegas got there. After team owner Rick Hendrick, sponsor Lowe's and crew chief Chad Knaus all received their due, Johnson took the podium to acknowledge those who had helped make his sixth title possible.
    "Rick and (wife) Linda, you've created the winningest racing organization in NASCAR history by caring for the people you employ and treating us all like family," Johnson said after receiving his championship ring from NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "And I'm honored to call myself a Hendrick employee."
    Johnson thanked Knaus for pushing him to make him better and acknowledged the bond, both personal and professional, formed between driver and crew chief over the past 12 years.
    Johnson's speech was the climax of the evening, but the humor that preceded it often brought the house down. Comedian Jay Mohr, the master of ceremonies, revved up the crowd with some well-researched jokes that poked fun at Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick and Clint Bowyer in particular. Mohr highlighted Gordon's last-minute addition as a 13th driver to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, after manipulation of the outcome of the final regular-season race at Richmond by Michael Waltrip Racing changed the course of the 2013 season. Mohr interrupted his own routine with "news" that Gordon had just been added to the BCS championship in college football, that the four-time champion had been added to the Best Picture category for the Academy Awards and, finally, that a 13th month had been added to the calendar, called "JeffGordonary."
    Mohr surmised that Patrick, who was sitting close to the stage with her boyfriend, Sunoco Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse Jr., might feel uncomfortable being so close to the front.
    He congratulated Bowyer, whose late-race spin started the sequence of events at Richmond that led to a record $300,000 fine for the organization for being "so good at apologizing for things you may or may not have done."
    Before Johnson took the stage, series runner-up Matt Kenseth, who moved from Roush Fenway Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing this season, offered his congratulations with a pointed suggestion. "I will start by congratulating Jimmie, Chad, Rick and the 48 team & but, honestly, I have to say, your dominance is getting old," Kenseth said. "If I were you Jimmie, I would seriously contemplate retirement. Winning that much has to be tiring. Go buy yourself an island somewhere, hang out with your family, find a new hobby, spend some of that money and enjoy yourself."
    But as usual, Johnson had the last word, as he and the #48 team prepare for a run at a record-tying seventh championship next year.(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-7-2013)

  • Championship Tire Specialist award announced: Champion Tire & Wheel has announced the recipient of the 2013 Sprint Cup "Consistently Smooth" award is Kyle Collins of Hendrick Motorsports. The award recognizes the skill and effort of the team's tire specialist in overseeing the Lowes #48 teams' tire and wheel program. The tire specialist is an important piece in the performance formula for a championship effort as it requires managing a program of over 2,500 tires and wheels throughout the full Sprint Cup season. When the call for a pit stop comes, the efforts to find the right combination of tires, wheels, and air pressure is critical in the overall handling and performance of the race car. The lead crystal trophy will be presented to Collins at the team's shop in Charlotte, NC with owner Rick Hendrick, Crew Chief Chad Knaus, and Team Manager Michael Landis. In addition to the Sprint Cup series recipients, Champion Tire and Wheel will also present Richard Childress Racing's Dustin Keath, the Championship tire specialists award for the Austin Dillan driven Nationwide Series team, and Chris Rock, the tire specialist for Thorsport Racing and the Matt Crafton driven Camping World Truck Series Championship effort.(Champion Tire and Wheel)(12-7-2013)

  • NASCAR Champion's Week In Las Vegas Officially Begins Jimmie Johnson's four-day, Las Vegas whirlwind odyssey has begun. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas officially is underway. The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion's rounds of Las Vegas media outlets began early Tuesday with interviews with a pair of top-rated rock and country music radio stations; CBS, FOX and Univision television outlets; MRN Radio and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Johnson also participated in a Q&A session at the 2013 NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum and then visited the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign at the south end of the famed Las Vegas Strip where he signed autographs for waiting fans. Tuesday's activities wound down with a round of photos and the annual Champion's Dinner with NASCAR President Mike Helton and others. Champion's Week activities for Johnson began Monday in Los Angeles where the Californian visited the FOX Sports campus. He appeared on FOX Sports 1's FOX Sports Live and taped segments with The OT and UFC Tonight. Before flying to Los Angeles, Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus visited the corporate headquarters of the #48 team's sponsor Lowe's in Mooresville, N.C., where they presented the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship trophy to a large crowd of associates.(NASCAR)(12-4-2013)

  • Johnson wants to give Donovan McNab a ride: Jimmie Johnson is giving Donovan McNabb the chance to change his mind. Two-and-a-half weeks after McNabb said on "FOX Sports Live" that Johnson was not an athlete, Johnson said they've talked and he might get McNabb in a car next year. Johnson and McNabb, a former NFL quarterback, talked on the phone Monday. "He'd been trying to track me down," Johnson told Motor Racing Network on Tuesday after an appearance at the annual NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum. It was McNabb. "I met Donovan a few years ago at a Super Bowl event. He's a super-nice guy," Johnson said. "He has an opinion, and he seemed open to the notion of following through on the opinion and what our sport is about. We joked about it. Hopefully, we can get something set up in the spring and get him in a car." McNabb upset many NASCAR fans and some competitors when he said Johnson was not an athlete.(Motor Racing Network)(12-4-2013)

  • Johnson's 2006 Chevy added to NASCAR Hall of Fame exhibit: As part of the revamped Glory Road set to debut Saturday, Jan. 11, the NASCAR Hall of Fame announced the fifth of nine exclusive sneak peeks included in the exhibit. The 2006 #48 Lowe's Chevy Monte Carlo SS that was driven to victory by Jimmie Johnson for his first of six championship titles will join the 18 historic cars that will comprise the exhibit. The reveal took place online via a video message from Jimmie Johnson on the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages on Nov. 29. Jimmie Johnson drove the 2006 #48 Lowe's Chevy Monte Carlo SS at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the final race of the season on Nov. 19, 2006, capturing his first of six championship titles. During the 2006 season, Johnson picked up five wins and 24 top 10 finishes in his 36 starts.
    Glory Road, which features 18 historic stock cars encircling the Great Hall, has served as one of the Hall's most prominent focal points since opening. Speedways from across the country are illustrated here as well, where guests can touch the texture of various tracks and feel the intense banking that drivers face week-to-week. Glory Road 2.0 will see 18 new cars that reflect the six generations of premier series race cars that have been driven and built by some of the sport's most celebrated drivers, owners and mechanics.(NASCAR Hall of Fame)(12-2-2013)

  • Jimmie Johnson to guest DJs on SiriusXM's The Spectrum: 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, shortly after winning his sixth career title, was in the SiriusXM studios in New York for a guest DJ session on SiriusXM's The Spectrum channel. Jimmie's song selections will begin airing Wednesday, November 27, at 12:00pm/et on The Spectrum (SiriusXM channel 28) and can be heard throughout the Thanksgiving holiday and through Friday, Nov. 29. Johnson's playlist includes songs from a wide variety of artists including: Bob Dylan, Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson, Jane's Addiction, The Lumineers, and The Rolling Stones.(SiriusXM)(11-26-2013)

  • Odds to win 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup: #48-Jimmie Johnson hasn't even completed his victory lap around the television talk show circuit after his 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup title, yet on Tuesday afternoon William Hill sports books in Nevada opened up their odds to win 2014's Sprint Cup with, of course, Johnson listed as the driver to beat once again at 3-to-1. 2013 Sprint Cup runner-up #20-Matt Kenseth is the second choice at 11-to-2 odds. Last season also saw the defending Sprint Cup winner #2-Brad Keselowski and his Penske Racing team switch manufacturers from Dodge to Ford. The transition proved to be rough as Keselowski failed to make the Chase and didn't win until race No. 31 at Charlotte, his only win of the season. With a year under his belt in the new car and with Ford, Keselowski is 15-to-1 to win in 2014.(Sporting News)(11-25-2013)

  • Pittenger: Jimmie Johnson "a champion on and off the track": On Sunday, Ninth District resident Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, his sixth championship in just eight years. Jimmie Johnson is a remarkable race car driver, but Im even more impressed with his work off the track, commented Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09). Since 2006, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation has contributed more than $5 million to charity, with a special focus on improving K-12 education in North Carolina, Oklahoma, and California. Jimmie Johnson is a champion both on and off the track, and while his racing exploits will one day be memorialized in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, his quiet, off-the-track efforts to improve education will be his most significant, lasting legacy. Congressman Pittenger will soon give a speech on the House floor to honor Jimmie Johnsons community involvement, and also plans to extend an invitation to Jimmie Johnson and his #48 Lowes team to attend a special Congressional reception in honor of their championship season.(Congressman Robert Pittenger site)(11-23-2013)

  • How does Johnson stack up against Petty and Earnhardt? #48-Jimmie Johnsons sixth championship came in his 12th full season; Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt won theirs in their 15th full season (full season meaning they started at least half of the races). Earnhardts seventh title came in his 16th season, Petty's in his 19th, meaning Johnson has plenty of time left to match and surpass the record. Petty and Johnson were 38 years of age when they won their sixth championship, Earnhardt was 42.(more stats at ESPN.com)(11-20-2013)

  • Johnson comments on McNabb's statement: On Friday, while discussing the most dominant athletes in sports, Donovan McNabb said NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson wasn't an athlete. "He sits in a car and he drives," McNabb told Fox Sports. "That's not athletic. What athletically is he doing?" McNabb went on to rank Johnson third on his all-time list, behind Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant. On Sunday night - after winning his sixth NASCAR championship in 8 years - Johnson addressed the situation in a Fox Sports interview. "Yes, I am an athlete, and so is every other driver in one of these race cars," said Johnson. "Even Tony Stewart." The Stewart reference was, of course, a joke. But Johnson found nothing funny about McNabb's comments. "I think it came from an uneducated frame of mind because he hasn't been to a race," Johnson said. "I did find it interesting that if I'm not athletic I'm still third on his list. So evidently I fall into athleticism somewhere."(Philadelphia Daily News)(11-20-2013)

  • Hendrick Motorsports' 2013 Championship Notes: *When referencing "major American professional sports," the following have been factored in: Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League.
    SIX-PACK: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowes Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, extended his lead among active drivers and inched closer to catching Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. after earning his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title with a ninth-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. Petty and Earnhardt have seven titles apiece, followed by Johnson with six. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon ranks fourth all-time with four.
    11TH TITLE FOR HENDRICK: Johnsons 2013 Sprint Cup title is the 11th for Hendrick Motorsports and car owner Rick Hendrick. Hendrick is the all-time leader in Sprint Cup owner championships and remains the only owner to win titles with three different drivers: Johnson (6), Gordon (4) and Terry Labonte.
    ALL-TIME CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2013 Sprint Cup car owner championship is the 14th for Hendrick Motorsports across NASCAR's three national series, extending the team's all-time record. Richard Childress Racing ranks second among owners with 12 combined titles. In the car owner category, Hendrick Motorsports has won 11 titles in the Sprint Cup Series and three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hendrick Motorsports also has won a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship, which came in 2003.
    NEVER STOP IMPROVING: Lowes has been the primary sponsor for Johnson since the #48 teams inception in 2001. Since then, the home improvement retailer has been on board for all six Sprint Cup championships, 66 victories and numerous milestones, including two wins in the Daytona 500 and four in the Brickyard 400. Hendrick Motorsports relationship with Lowes is one of the longest-running driver-team-sponsor partnerships in NASCAR.
    KNAUS SETS THE STANDARD: With six career Sprint Cup championships, crew chief Chad Knaus ranks second all-time behind only Hall of Famer Dale Inman, who has eight Cup titles as a crew chief. Knaus holds the distinction of being the only crew chief to win more than two Sprint Cup titles in a row, a feat he accomplished when he coached the #48 team to five straight from 2006-2010.
    KNAUS CAREER: Knaus has led the #48 team since Johnsons rookie season in the Sprint Cup Series in 2002. In that 12-year span, he has helped Johnson achieve six titles and an average finish of 2.4 in the championship standings. The duo never has finished lower than sixth in Cup points.
    YOUNGEST TO SIX: At 38 years and 61 days old, Johnson is the youngest driver (by 83 days) to win six Sprint Cup championships. At 38 years and 144 days old, Petty earned his sixth title in 1975, a little more than two months after Johnson was born. Earnhardt was 42 when he won his sixth title in 1993.
    HALL OF FAME VOTE: Johnson will be the first active athlete to have a say in his sports Hall of Fame voting process. He will cast a ballot for the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame class thanks to a new provision that includes the reigning Sprint Cup champion in the process.
    CUP VICTORIES: Hendrick Motorsports has tallied 218 Cup victories in 30 seasons, a figure that leads all teams in the modern era and ranks second all-time behind Petty Enterprises (268 wins). This season, Hendrick Motorsports posted nine victories with the new Generation-6 Chevrolet SS race car.
    COMPARISONS: In the major American professional sports leagues, Hendrick Motorsports' 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships are tied for seventh all-time behind the New York Yankees (27 World Series titles), Montreal Canadiens (24 Stanley Cup titles), Boston Celtics (17 NBA titles), Los Angeles Lakers (16 NBA titles), Toronto Maple Leafs (13 Stanley Cup titles) and Green Bay Packers (13 NFL championships). Hendrick Motorsports is tied with the Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cup titles) and St. Louis Cardinals (11 World Series titles).
    CHAMPIONSHIP STREAKS: Prior to Johnson's run of five consecutive Sprint Cup titles from 2006-2010, Hendrick Motorsports scored four in a row from 1995-1998 with Gordon (1995, 1997 and 1998) and Labonte (1996). No other organization has won more than three Sprint Cup championships in consecutive seasons.
    WINNING PERCENTAGE: Hendrick Motorsports is the most efficient team in major American professional sports, earning 11 titles since its inception in 1984 for a 36.7 all-time title-winning percentage. The Boston Celtics rank second with 17 NBA titles in 67 seasons (25.37 percent), while the Montreal Canadiens are third with 24 Stanley Cup titles in 95 seasons (25.26 percent). The New York Yankees rank fourth with 27 World Series championships in 113 seasons (23.89 percent). Hendrick Motorsports has won 11 of the last 19 Sprint Cup championships (1995-2013), putting the team's title-winning percentage during that span at 57.9.
    SINCE 1984: No other major American professional sports team has earned more championships than Hendrick Motorsports since 1984, the organization's inaugural season. In that time, the Los Angeles Lakers have earned eight NBA championships and the Chicago Bulls have recorded six. Both the New York Yankees and Edmonton Oilers have tallied five titles apiece since 1984.
    ROAD WARRIOR: Apart from Johnson and Knaus, car chief Ron Malec is the only member of the #48 Lowes team who has been on the road crew for all six championships. Malec started working as a mechanic with Johnson in the ASA Series in the late 1990s. When Johnson joined Hendrick Motorsports, Malec also came on board. As car chief, he manages the crew members who work on the car both at the shop in Concord, N.C., and during the race weekend. He is responsible for the preparation of the race car and seeing it through technical inspection.
    STILL ROLLING: Hendrick Motorsports never has run a Sprint Cup campaign without winning a pole position, recording at least one in 30 consecutive seasons (1984-2013). The team scored seven in 2013, including three from Johnson, two from Dale Earnhardt Jr. and two from Gordon.
    WIN STREAK: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 28 straight seasons, the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Geoff Bodine won Hendrick Motorsports first Daytona 500.
    ANOTHER ONE FOR CHEVY: Chevrolet captured its 37th Sprint Cup manufacturers' championship and 11th straight this season after winning 15 races. Johnson led all Chevy drivers this year with six victories, including the 2013 Daytona 500, as he helped the manufacturer record its first title with the Chevrolet SS race car that debuted this season. Kasey Kahne contributed two victories to the total, while Gordon recorded one.
    YEAR IN REVIEW: For the second straight season, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers were contenders in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The organization posted nine victories and seven pole positions as its drivers finished inside the top 12 in the championship hunt. Johnson finished first, followed by Earnhardt (fifth), Gordon (sixth) and Kahne (12th).
    30TH ANNIVERSARY: Next season, Hendrick Motorsports will celebrate its 30th anniversary in NASCAR. The organization began in 1984 with five employees and 5,000 square feet of work space. It has grown to more than 500 employees with a 430,000-square-foot facility that sits on 140 acres.
    See notes and slideshow at hendrickmotorsports.com.(11-19-2013)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson To Guest Host SportsCenter: Tuesday nights recipe is simple, yet untested. Take one part Stuart Scott, one part Billy Crystal. Add a handful of Chris Berman, and a pinch of Ken Jeong. The result: Television history, as six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson becomes the first athlete to guest host ESPNs flagship news and information program SportsCenter. Johnson will join regular anchors John Anderson and Lindsay Czarniak for the 6:00pm/et show on Tuesday, Nov. 19, on ESPN. The aforementioned actors Crystal and Jeong are the only other celebrity guest hosts of SportsCenter in the shows 34-year history. Crystal was the first in 2012 and Jeong hosted earlier this month on Nov. 1.
    Johnson, who wrapped up his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title in 12 full seasons this past Sunday, has appeared on SportsCenter numerous times during his racing career both in-studio and via satellite, but always as a newsmaker. He also appeared in a humorous and memorable This Is SportsCenter commercial in which he used a pickaxe to remove speed bumps in the ESPN parking lot.
    But this time the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports #48 Lowes Chevrolet will perform all of the duties of a SportsCenter host, including presenting news and highlights and conducting interviews from around the world of sports. And just like SportsCenter veterans Scott and Berman, and every other anchor who has sat behind the desk, Johnson will spend the day Tuesday preparing for his guest-hosting responsibilities.
    I dont know if SportsCenter knows what they are getting themselves into, Johnson joked. Its probably a good thing Im there pretty much all day preparing. Ive got some tough shoes to fill with Billy Crystal and Ken Jeong but Ive met most of the anchors and I am really looking forward to becoming the first athlete to ever guest host SportsCenter. Since its debut on ESPNs launch day of Sept. 7, 1979, SportsCenter has aired more episodes than any television show in U.S. history, reaching the 50,000-episode mark in 2012.
    Were always looking for opportunities to change it up and give SportsCenter viewers a different take on the days news, have some fun and do some memorable television, said Jack Obringer, SportsCenter senior coordinating producer. And having a six-time champion like Jimmie Johnson on your set is pretty cool. Fans are encouraged to join in on the conversation using the hashtag #JimmieOnSC. In addition to his SportsCenter guest-hosting duties, Johnson will also appear on Late Show with David Letterman Monday night and LIVE with Kelly and Michael Tuesday morning to talk about winning his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.(ESPN)(11-19-2013)

  • Jimmie Johnson Wins 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship: #48-Jimmie Johnson took another step closer to stock car racing history on Sunday, claiming his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Johnson, who entered the race with a 28-point lead over 2003 series champion #20-Matt Kenseth, finished ninth in the Ford EcoBoost 400, putting his final margin over Kenseth at 19 points.
    The championship is a record-extending 11th in the series for Hendrick Motorsports. Rick Hendricks organization also won four titles with Jeff Gordon, co-owner of Johnsons #48 Chevrolet, and one with Terry Labonte. Johnsons crew chief, Chad Knaus, has led the team to all six titles.
    The 38-year-old Johnson is one of three competitors to win six or more NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. He trails only seven-time champions and NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
    Johnsons five previous championships  all consecutive  came from 2006-2010. He has finished first or second in eight of the 12 seasons in which hes been a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor. His 66 victories rank second among active drivers, behind only Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordons 88 wins.
    Johnsons six championships have come in three distinctly different NASCAR Sprint Cup cars  including the Gen-6 Chevrolet SS that debuted this season.
    After winning his second Daytona 500 to open the season, Johnson led the series standings after all but three races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup regular season. He entered the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as the No. 2 seed  behind Kenseth  with four victories. A dominant victory on Nov. 3 at Texas Motor Speedway gave Johnson the Chase lead for good. In addition, Chevrolet won its 37th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series manufacturers championship.(NASCAR)(11-17-2013)

  • Johnson named NASCAR Illustrated Person of the Year: As he puts the finishing touches on yet another remarkable season, Jimmie Johnson has been named NASCAR Illustrateds 2013 Person of the Year. Johnson, who will be racing for his sixth Sprint Cup championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, has won six races this season and carries a 28-point lead into the seasons final race. Perhaps more importantly, Johnson is being honored for helping others. The five-time champs Jimmie Johnson Foundation has raised more than $5.6 million to help children, families and communities across the country. See full story at the Sporting News.(11-16-2013)

  • No Crew Chief Changes for Hendrick: Team owner Rick Hendrick said before Sunday's race at Phoenix that there's no basis to rumors of impending crew chief changes among his four NASCAR Sprint Cup teams. "That's right -- no changes," said Hendrick, who swapped crew chiefs among three of his teams at the end of the 2010 season, leaving only the combination of driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus intact. "I don't know where any of that came from, but there's not going to be any changes. Nobody's even discussed anything. Everybody's pretty happy with what we've got& good momentum in the Chase and winning races. Take the things like blown tires and engines out of the equation, and it's one of the best Chases we've had, so there's no reason to change anything."(NASCAR Wire Service)(11-12-2013)

  • Johnson hopes history doesn't repeat: With his win in Sunday's AAA Texas 500, Jimmie Johnson moved ahead of Matt Kenseth by seven points heading into the final two races of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The position of being seven points up with two to go is all too familiar for Johnson. Just last year, Johnson also won the AAA Texas 500 to move seven points ahead of Brad Keselowski only to lose the lead the following week at Phoenix International Raceway after a blown tire resulted in a 32nd-place finish. Ultimately, it cost Johnson his sixth Sprint Cup Series crown. "I hope history doesn't repeat itself," Johnson said after his record-tying, third Sprint Cup Series victory at Texas Motor Speedway. "That is the perfect example of this thing isn't over until it's over. Last year, we had eight races and two bad ones and didn't get the championship. Very important to finish strong. There are two very important races left." For Johnson, this year's momentum he carries into the final two races has a different feel than last year. A dominating performance in the AAA Texas 500 where he led a race-high 255 laps, coupled with a recent test session at Homestead-Miami Speedway, has him confident about the stretch run. "I feel better about Phoenix, honestly, than I did last year leaving here," Johnson said. "Then last year we did not test Homestead and we just came back from Homestead, and that test went really well. So I'm optimistic. I feel good. But man, it's so weird because I've been in position before where I've had these amazing sensations and feelings that a championship was going to happen, and we were able to do it for those five years in a row."(TMS)(11-9-2013)

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation Announces $470,000 in Education Grants: During a visit on Tuesday to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson announced the recipients of the 2013 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowes Toolbox for Education Champions Grants. The grants, which are awarded to schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnsons respective hometowns of Muskogee, Okla., El Cajon, Calif., and where they currently reside in Charlotte, N.C., totaled $470,000. Students from the three Charlotte schools that were awarded grants attended as Johnson made the announcement on behalf of the foundation he cofounded with his wife, Chandra, in 2006 as well as partner Lowes. Johnson shared that these schools, along with six others from Muskogee and the San Diego area, have been selected to receive the grants.(JJF), see full PR on Jayski's NASCAR Racing Charities page.(11-6-2013)

  • Johnson dominates Texas: #48-Jimme Johnson won the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for his 6th win of 2013, his 3rd at Texas and 66th career win. Johnson led the most laps with 255. Johnson took the lead of the Chase, leading #20-Matt Kenseth by 7 points.
    #88-Earnhardt Jr finished 2nd followed by #22-Logano, #20-Ksenth, #5-Kahne, #2-Keselowski, #11-Hamlin, #29-Harvick, #39-Newman and #15-Bowyer.
    Pole winner, #99-Edwards lost an engine midway and finished 37th. #24-Gordon, who came into Texas down 27 points, hit the wall early in the race and finished 38th after returning to the track to pick up a few spots and points. Gordon drops to 6th in points, down 69 points and out of the championship hunt.
    #30-Parker Kligerman, making his Sprint Cup Series debut, finished 18th. There were 28 lead changes among 10 drivers and only 5 cautions for 26 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 151.754mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
    See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Texas Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Texas Penalty Report (pdf).(11-3-2013)
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Texas Race & Points Report (pdf)

  • Biffle would like to have handled frustrations with Johnson differently: If #16-Greg Biffle could go back to Sunday, when he grabbed #48-Jimmie Johnson by the collar and spun him around to confront him, he'd probably reach for the five-time champion's arm. And he would maybe ask for a private conversation rather than interrupting Johnson during post-race interviews. For the way it actually transpired, Biffle said, he plans to apologize to Johnson. But that's where it ends. Biffle remained adamant that Johnson rammed into the back of his car at Martinsville Speedway, causing heavy damage to Biffle's rear bumper cover and preventing him from his first career top-three finish at the track. "Maybe I overreacted a small amount, but I wanted him to know I was not happy with what took place," Biffle said Tuesday during an appearance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.(Associated Press)(10-30-2013)

  • Hendrick hosts Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown: Despite rules to restrict engine development, today's NASCAR engines are more intricate and detail-oriented than ever. A testament to that trend was revealed during the 12th annual Randy Dorton Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown last week. Jay Wiles, a dyno technician inside the Hendrick Motorsports engine department, teamed up with Robert Marock, who works out of the Hendrick Automotive Group's Honda dealership in Concord, North Carolina, to win the competition by assembling a Chevy R07.2 engine in 24 minutes and 38 seconds. Wiles is a repeat winner, having captured the inaugural competition in 2002. The showdown was renamed a few years later to honor Randy Dorton, the chief engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports who died in a 2004 plane crash. Wiles and Marock survived a one-minute penalty for a loose bolt on the intake manifold to win the final round by just 14 seconds over Van Nguyen, a valvetrain technician at Hendrick Motorsports and Brad Lyne of Hendrick's Chevy dealership in Merriam, Kansas. The competition pairs 12 master technicians from the Hendrick Automotive Group with 12 members of the engine team at Hendrick Motorsports. After qualifying rounds over two days, the two teams with the best preliminary engine-build times go head-to-head in the championship round. The overall goal is to have the fewest errors in the quickest time. All teams are required to assemble 358ci Chevy R07.2 engines designed with 12:1 compression ratio and electronic fuel injection. Components include Bosch spark plugs and ignitions, Purolator filters and GM Racing block, heads and intake manifold. Last year's winning time was 27 minutes, 46 seconds. 2012 was also the first time that engine builders worked with EFI, which slowed down the winning time about six minutes from the previous year when a single 4-barrel carburetor was used.(Engine Labs)(10-26-2013)

  • Johnson, Busch Kenseth getting most TV coverage: According to data compiled by Joyce Julis, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth & Kyle Busch have accounted for 40% of all driver mentions during NASCAR telecasts though the Kansas race this year:
    Driver..........Interviews...Interview Time.......Mentions
    #48-Johnson.........30.........0:32:45...............4,536
    #18-Busch...........33.........0:35:20...............4,053
    #20-Kenseth.........32.........0:33:05...............3,621
    #5-Kahne............30.........0:28:41...............2,846
    #24-Gordon..........33.........0:34:46...............2,742
    #2-Keselowski.......25.........0:20:06...............2,607
    #20-Logano, J.......19.........0:20:50...............2,510
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr...23.........0:21:40...............2,352
    #78-Busch...........22.........0:22:05...............2,215
    #99-Edwards.........22.........0:22:44...............2,169
    Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season through Kansas (Race #30).(Joyce Julius)(10-23-2013)

  • Hendrick to receive Lifetime Achievement Award at The Washington Auto Show: Rick Hendrick, tireless philanthropist, creator of an automotive empire and the most successful NASCAR owner of the modern era, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at The Washington Auto Show. "Rick has become an auto industry icon through his charity, hard work, grit and determination," said Keith Crain, Chairman of Crain Communications and Editor-in-Chief of Automotive News. "He has achieved unimaginable success as an automotive dealer and NASCAR owner and he has persevered through unspeakable grief and continues to give back and that combination makes him unique and the perfect recipient of the lifetime achievement award." The Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at the close of the 2014 Washington Auto Show Public Policy Preview Day. Previous recipients of the Keith Crain/Automotive News Lifetime Achievement Award include: Edsel Ford II, Roger Penske, Carroll Shelby, Ralph Nader and Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI). The 2014 staging of the 71st Washington Auto Show in Washington, DC, known in the industry as "The Public Policy Show", will offer a showcase of more than 700 vehicles from over 42 domestic and import manufacturers and a special exhibit of the world's most luxurious rides.(Washington Auto Show PR)(10-22-2013)

  • Students get NASCAR engineering lesson:
    About 25 Charlotte middle school students got a hands-on lesson in engineering  NASCAR style  when they visited the headquarters of racing giant Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday. The students, from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, were guests of the racing operation as part of Time Warner Cables STEM in Sports campaign, designed to increase interest by young people in science, technology, mathematics and engineering. NFL player Victor Cruz, professional golfer Ian Poulter and NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon are teaming with Time Warner in promoting the program.(Charlotte Observer)(10-10-2013)

  • Johnson spins in Friday's practice, then a puff of smoke: Early in Fridays NASCAR Sprint Cup practice session, #48-Jimmie Johnson spun off Turn 4- The five-time champion kept his car off the wall, hitting only the orange commitment cone at the entrance to pit road. Later in the session, a puff of smoke shot from the right rear of the #48 Chevrolet as Johnson drove off Turn 2. Johnson brought the car to the garage, where he crew began diagnosing the problem (NASCAR Wire Service). AND Johnson's comments after the puff of smoke: I just spun out trying real hard on that first sticker run and we got things back under control and the balance in the car. Its really fast. Im happy about that. And then as I was coming in, I saw some smoke in the mirror and I could smell it and it looks like we have an issue with the radiator or something up front. Theres nothing wrong with the engine. Its certainly a quick scare when you see that blue smoke and the smell that it has. I was pretty nervous.(Team Chevy), Johnson qualified 3rd for the Hollywood Casino 400.(10-5-2013)

  • Johnson wins Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the AAA 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway for his 5th win of 2013, 8th win at Dover (a new track record) and 65th career win.
    #88-Earnhardt Jr., the pole sitter, finished 2nd followed by #22-Logano, #24-Gordon, #18-Busch, #29-Harvick, #20-Kenseth, #39-Newman, 16-Biffle and #15-Bowyer
    The top 10 finishers were all Chase drivers. #5-Kahne finished 13th with a sour engine, #78-Busch finished 21st after having to make an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel and the worst finishing Chase driver was #99-Edwards who had rear hub go bad late in the race and finished 35th.
    There were 19 lead changes among 8 drivers and 4 cautions for 21 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 130.909mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
    See the Dover Penalty Report (pdf).
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Dover Official Race & Points Report (pdf)(9-29/30-2013)

  • Johnson in New ESPN SportsCenter Campaign - "DaDaDa DaDaDa": #48-Jimmie Johnson is one of many athletes from different sports appearing in a new ESPN promotional spot launched this past weekend. The spot is part of a new ESPN campaign in support of its flagship program, SportsCenter. Entitled "DaDaDa DaDaDa," the campaign focuses on the iconic sound all fans associate with the show, and with great sports moments. The 60-second launch spot features a range of athletes  from professionals to little leaguers  who subtly and not-so-subtly call out their "DaDaDa" moments. Wieden+Kennedy New York is the creative agency. The TV campaign is running across ESPN networks and beyond. After the initial launch phase, will be updated to highlight timely "DaDaDa" moments. Outdoor digital billboards will run in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, and can also be updated to drive fans to SportsCenter for breaking news and highlights.(ESPN)(9-262-13)

  • Valvoline returns to sponsor Hendrick teams: Valvoline, a leading marketer, distributor and producer of quality branded automotive and industrial products and services, will be reunited with Hendrick Motorsports after finalizing a multi-year sponsorship agreement that will kick off next season. The Official Lubricants Partner of Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2014, the Valvoline brand will be featured as a major associate sponsor of the teams full stable of Chevrolet SS race cars through the 2017 NASCAR campaign. The company will utilize Sprint Cup Series drivers #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. as spokespeople to promote Valvoline premium motor oil products and services. In addition, Valvoline will be the preferred oil poured by Hendrick Motorsports sister company, Hendrick Automotive Group, which operates 87 auto dealerships across the United States. The dealerships also will use Valvoline professional series, a line of fuel system preventive maintenance products that increase fuel economy and drivability, and Valvoline antifreeze. Both product lines contain patented technology that provides exceptional performance. Beginning in 2014, Hendrick Motorsports will use Valvoline products in its Chevrolet R-07 racing engines in the elite Sprint Cup Series. Valvoline was a partner of the team from 1993-95, supplying lubricant technology that contributed to the organizations first Cup championship with Gordon.(Hendrick Motorsports), Valvoline will replace Quaker State Oil at HMS.(9-24-2013)

  • Johnson buys New York apartment: Five-time NASCAR champion #48-Jimmie Johnson has bought a $14.25 million pad at the West Village's Superior Ink. Johnson paid the full asking price for the 3,234-square-foot, five-bedroom apartment at 400 West 12th Street. The racer had earlier sold a sixth-floor, three-bedroom unit in the Robert A.M. Stern-designed building that was listed with Halstead Property's Lisa Rose for $10.5 million, according to the New York Post. Halstead's Brian Lewis represented Johnson in that deal, a spokesperson for the brokerage told The Real Deal. Sales transactions at Superior Ink increased by nearly $1,000 a square foot compared to last year, as The Real Deal reported.(The Real Deal)(9-21-2013)

  • Drivers react to adding Gordon to Chase: After NASCAR stunned the garage by installing #24-Jeff Gordon as the 13th playoff driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup - a position which did not exist before Friday  drivers reacted with a mix of shock and confusion. "I'm very happy that Jeff is in the Chase," Hendrick Motorsports teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson said. "But in my opinion, there should be 12 cars. One in, one out should be the deal. It's not."
    When NASCAR Chairman Brian France awarded Gordon an extra spot - he said Friday he believed Gordon was the victim of foul play and was at a disadvantage during Saturday night's Chase-setting race at Richmond International Raceway - no one was quite sure how to take it. Except #56-Martin Truex Jr.
    "I'm not even sure what to say at this point," he said. "I'm kind of at a loss for words. They kick me out to make a spot for somebody and then they don't do the same for the other guys. It's just unfair and (there's) nothing I can do about it."
    Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. seemed confused. "I was probably just as surprised as anybody that anything happened, because we're so far into the week," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's just really extraordinary and unprecedented. I don't know what's fair anymore, you know what I mean?" he said.
    Johnson wondered why the penalties to MWR were "far different" than the probation given to Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing for what he believed were similar actions. "Through all of this, we're all just looking for consistency," he said.
    Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski said the decision "hasn't sunk in yet," but added he was "not shocked." "I don't know if that's good or bad that I'm not shocked," he said. "But at some point, you expect the unexpected."(USA Today)(9-14-2013)

  • Johnson will be featured in ads for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, which has served the people of North Carolina with high-quality health insurance for more than 80 years, has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a corporate partner and will feature #48-Jimmie Johnson in new communications efforts centered on health care reform and wellness. The 2009 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team will help educate consumers on how to navigate health care options and live a healthy lifestyle. Among Johnson's initial efforts will be appearances in BCBSNC's "Live Fearless" campaign promoting the value of healthy lifestyles and BCBSNC health coverage, which will begin running across North Carolina on various media platforms, including television and digital, later this year.(Hendrick Motorsports)(9-14-2013)

  • Johnson wants changes to NASCAR officiating: #48-Jimmie Johnson called for major changes to the way NASCAR officiates races on Wednesday, four days after two high-profile incidents at Richmond International Raceway continued to be the talk of NASCAR. Johnson proposed halting a race with a red-flag to review any questionable circumstances, similar to an NFL-style replay timeout. "In my opinion, if there is a question they don't know, they need to stop the race immediately," Johnson said during a promotional event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Red flag, pits are closed, figure it out and make the best judgment they can. Because trying to go back on Monday or Tuesday to fix the situation is just too much, and then I learn something about a ripple effect." NASCAR announced the largest penalties in its history late Monday night after reviewing actions taken by the Michael Waltrip Racing team to manipulate the outcome of NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup field. Initially, NASCAR said it saw nothing wrong with what MWR did  which included having Brian Vickers make a late-race pit stop to give up a position in the race, which helped teammate Martin Truex Jr. make the Chase. NASCAR later removed Truex from the Chase with its penalty. Stopping the race for an incident like Clint Bowyer's suspicious spin -- he said after the race and in his first public comments Tuesday since the penalties that he did not spin on purpose -- would have been hard for some people to swallow, but also "the lesser of the evils," Johnson said.(USA Today)(9-12-2013)

  • Congrats to the Johnsons - baby is born: Chandra and #48-Jimmie Johnson are pleased to announce the birth of their daughter. She was born Friday, Sept. 6, at 2:02am/et at a Charlotte, NC, hospital. She weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces and was 19 inches long at birth. Big sister Genevieve Marie, 3, is said to be very proud of her new baby sister. Mother and baby and are doing fine and are expected to remain in the hospital overnight.
    Johnson will miss todays events (practices & qualifying) at Richmond International Raceway. Regan Smith will serve as interim driver with Johnson returning to drive the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS in Saturdays NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.(Team Lowes PR)(9-5-2013)

  • Johnson baby due at the beginning of the Chase: Here's the good news for five-time NASCAR champion #48-Jimmie Johnson: In four weeks, wife Chandra is due to give birth to the couple's second child and add another girl to the family. The potentially bad news: Girl No. 2 is due on Chicagoland race weekend (Sept. 13-15), which marks the first race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Johnson told USA TODAY Sports he wouldn't mind if the baby came during the Richmond race weekend (Sept. 5-7). He's already locked into the Chase, after all. However, he said hopefully, "I'll take a weekday."
    "We're getting in the window," he said. "We'll see what happens. Weekdays would be good. I hope No. 2 isn't afraid of Mondays or Tuesdays." As you would expect from Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and all of Hendrick Motorsports, the team has a well-planned substitute driver lineup if Johnson suddenly is called back to Charlotte. Johnson, who is atop the standings and is tied with Matt Kenseth with a series-high four wins, said the plan is "quite complicated," but the #48 car would be driven by either James Buescher or Regan Smith. "It depends on when I need to leave, what track I'm at vs. what track they're at and on what day," Johnson said. "So it moves around quite a bit, but those are the two guys who are set up to fill in if need be." The couple's first child, Genevieve (or "Evie"), is 3.(USA Today)(8-22-2013)

  • #48-Johnson's engine fails early at Michigan: #48-Jimmie Johnson, sidelined in the Pure Michigan 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway with an engine failure on lap 54, was interviewed after, the transcript:
    Q) SOME EARLY PIT STOPS, BUT THEN APPARENTLY AN ENGINE PROBLEM WHAT HAPPENED?
    Johnson: Yeah, we were just putting ourselves in position for later in the race with those early stops. Then we had an issue there with the engine as I came out of the pits and got back up to speed dropped a couple of cylinders. We were trying to get it figured out and see what would happen. On my way into the pits it finally locked up and thats the end of it. Unfortunate day, but Im happy that we have had such a strong opening part of the season and we have points on our side and some wins on side so we are not in jeopardy of anything going into the Chase.
    Q) DO YOU EVER JUST SHAKE YOUR HEAD AND WONDER IF THIS PLACE HAS IT IN FOR YOU?
    Johnson: It does. Its going to make it all the sweeter when we are able to win.
    Q) ONCE AGAIN AT MICHIGAN YOUR DAY IS OVER EARLY. I SAW YOU TALKING TO THE ENGINEERS, WHAT DID THEY SAY WENT WRONG?
    Johnson: The engine broke there. I guess when we came in for a green flag pit stop something started then and made it a few more laps and didnt really notice anything off. Then it finally dropped a cylinder or two down the backstretch. Definitely an unfortunate thing but we had plenty of speed in the car and I think we were going to be a factor with this Kobalt Tools Chevrolet.
    Q) WERE YOU GUYS MAYBE TRYING SOMETHING NEW FOR THE CHASE?
    Johnson: "Not that I am aware of. You know, this track is hard on engines and these guys will figure out what went on there. Days like today, I am thankful for the big points lead that we have and the bonus points we have been able to accumulate to get us to this position for the Chase. It happens and I hope to get all this stuff out of the way now although I hate losing momentum going into the Chase. Its nice to roll in there hot and I think we had a chance to win today. We will dust ourselves off and go again next week.
    Q) CAN YOU TALK US THROUGH WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT DID YOU FEEL?
    Johnson: Coming down the back straightaway I felt it drop a couple of cylinders and knew we were in trouble. So brought it to pit road and unfortunately it finally broke all the way and locked up. It would be nice to have salvaged something and maybe pulled the down cylinder parts out you know the valve train parts out and get back out on the track, but the engine didnt live long enough once it broke. These things break pretty quick and that was the end of it.
    Q) IS THAT THE ENGINE THAT YOU HAD IN THE PRIMARY CAR?
    Johnson: I am not 100% sure, but Jamie Little (ESPN Anchor) just said that it was a new engine and it wasnt the one in the primary, but I dont know for sure.
    Q) ARE YOU AT ALL WORRIED THAT AS GOOD AS A SEASON YOU ARE HAVING LIKE WEIRD THINGS KEEP HAPPENING TO YOU EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE THAT COULD CARRY OVER INTO THE CHASE AT ALL?
    Johnson: When I look back most of it is self-inflicted. Even though its an engine failure we will be able to trace back why and what. Human hands are on these things assembling them and it could be in that or it could have been a simple part failure. The bulk of the stuff has been human error. Im not overly concerned. I hate having momentum not work in our favor late in the regular season. I think we would have had a very strong race today if not a win. That momentum is key rolling into the Chase. That is the biggest downfall to me.(Team Chevy)(8-18-2013)

  • Johnson wrecks in Michigan Happy Hour practice, to backup car: 21 minutes into happy hour (final) practice for the Pure Michigan Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, #48-Jimmie Johnson (scheduled to start 3rd) got loose in turn 3, spun and nosed into the outside wall. His comment: That was definitely part of it. Im a little puzzled as to why I spun out going in because Ive had great entry stability even on that run I had great entry stability. I got a little close to the No. 27 but then again its not like I was right on him. To me it felt like I lost downforce just from the traffic scenario. Im not really sure either way we have a torn up car and we will have to work hard to get this one ready to go. Hopefully make a couple of laps here before this session is up and take it from there.(Team Chevy)(8-17-2013)

  • Johnson Clinches  And Might Stand Alone For A Bit: at Watkins Glen #48-Jimmie Johnson clinched a spot in the 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He continues to be the only driver to make every single Chase since its inception in 2004. Johnsons clinch also matched the earliest clinch in Chase history, tying Jeff Gordon who also clinched at The Glen in 2007. But maybe the most astounding part of it all: We might have to wait an entire two weeks before someone else clinches. Thats how dominant Johnson has been compared to the rest of the field. A few drivers can clinch this Sunday at Michigan, but will need lots of help from others. The magic number for this weekend is 145. Any driver 145 points ahead of 11th place leaving Michigan will clinch a top 10 Chase spot. #15-Clint Bowyer (currently 110 points ahead of 11th) and #99-Carl Edwards (105 points) are in a position to clinch. #20-Matt Kenseth can clinch at least a Wild Card berth with a win, but its not guaranteed, since a win wont necessarily lock Kenseth into the top 20  a necessity for a Wild Card spot.(NASCAR)(8-16-2013)

  • Johnson voted 2nd Qtr Driver of the Year: As NASCAR's #48-Jimmie Johnson's season results accelerated he became the undisputed winner in the vote for the second quarter Driver of the Year Award 2013. The five-time Sprint Cup Champion tallied more than twice the points of his nearest challenger in the regular quarterly voting by an elite panel of American broadcasters and journalists. Johnson bookended the period (May 18 to July 7) which coincided with the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and ended with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, with victories in those events. Despite all the titles and accolades Johnson appreciated the media's acknowledgement of his achievement.
    It's always nice to be recognized for the work we do," said Johnson. "The #48 Lowe's crew has been performing every week and we have had some big wins including the All-Star race. I'm proud of the work our entire team has put in and it's showing on the track."
    Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver of the Year Foundation, commented "if you looked up the definition of champion, on and off the track, you'd find Jimmie Johnson there. His drive for six titles certainly picked up speed as the summer season began."
    In the voting the 37-year old Johnson, who drives a Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports, had 14 first-place ballots and totaled 147 points according to the Driver of the Year points system. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who drives the DHL Dallara-Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport in the IndyCar series, had one first-place vote and tallied 65 points. Tony Kanaan, the Indy 500 winner who drives for KV Racing Technology Dallara-Chevrolet, finished third with two first-place votes and 64 points. NASCAR driver, Matt Kenseth, winner of the first quarter Driver of the Year also had one first-place vote. A total of 23 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting.
    In its' 47th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. The panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determines the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a race weekend at to be determined. President of the Driver of the Year Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.(DOTY PR)(8-14-2013)

  • Johnson and Kyle Busch getting most TV mentions: #48-Jimmie Johnson and #18-Kyle Busch have accounted for 16.6% of all NASCAR driver mentions on TV so far this season according to a report from Joyce Julius. Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season through Indianapolis (Race #20).

    Driver Interviews Interview Time Mentions
    #48-Johnson 18 20:21 3451
    #18-Busch 21 21:02 3022
    #20-Kenseth 23 19:39 2661
    #5-Kahne 21 16:44 2150
    #11-Hamlin 15 14:07 1760
    #2-Keselowski 16 11:59 1722
    #22-Logano 11 10:59 1704
    #24-Gordon 20 20:38 1638
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr. 13 11:48 1611
    #99-Edwards 13 14:06 1609

    Also of note: #14-Tony Stewart is 12th in mentions and #10-Danica Patrick is 19th.(Joyce Julius)(8-13-2013)

  • Johnson can clinch Chase spot at Watkins Glen UPDATE: It's that time of the year. One championship contender - #48-Jimmie Johnson - can clinch a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday at Watkins Glen International. The five-time Sprint Cup champion is the sole driver holding a clinch scenario this weekend. Johnson has to leave The Glen with a 193-point lead over the 11th place driver. Currently, he holds a 178-point lead over 11th, which is occupied by #14-Tony Stewart. Stewart will miss Sunday's race after breaking a leg in a sprint car race on Monday night. Reigning Sprint Cup champion #2-Brad Keselowski is 12th, 180 points behind Johnson. Johnson is the only competitor to have qualified for the Chase field in all nine seasons. A win at The Glen will guarantee Johnson at least a Wild Card entry into this year's post season. He has won four times already  as has #20-Matt Kenseth. But mathematically - and officially - speaking, Kenseth cannot lock up a Wild Card spot just yet. There are other Johnson finishes that would give the five-time champion at least a Wild Card clinch depending on finishes from other competitors.(NASCAR)(8-7-2013)
    UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson's 8th place finish, combined with other drivers' results, has locked him into the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, through at least a wild card spot.(8-11-2013)

  • Hendrick drivers to test at New Hampshire: After battling each other for the win this past Sunday, #5-Kasey Kahne and teammate #24-Jeff Gordon will visit New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of a Hendrick Motorsports test session on Tuesday, Aug. 13 and Wednesday, Aug. 14. The two-day test session is in preparation for the return of NASCAR's playoffs to the Magic Mile for the SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. 22. Five-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson and the decade-long reigning "Most Popular Driver" in NASCAR, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., will join their Hendrick teammates at the test. The grandstands will be open free of charge to the public from 9:00am  5:00pm both days. The test session will come a little more than a month before NASCAR returns to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the SYLVANIA 300, the second stop in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.(NHMS)(8-7-2013)

  • Teams compromising on test sessions: If anything fosters cooperation between race teams in a single organization, it's the testing policy NASCAR instituted this season. With four tests available at tracks that host NASCAR events, drivers and crew chiefs must agree on which four tracks are optimum for testing, and that involves no small degree of give and take. With two drivers solidly in the Chase field--#48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.--and two on the bubble--#5-Kasey Kahne and #24-Jeff Gordon--Hendrick Motorsports has opted to use one of its tests at a track the Sprint Cup will visit before the Chase (Richmond) and three that are Chase tracks (New Hampshire, Texas and Homestead). According to Gordon, the choice of tracks was a collaborative decision. "We discuss it in our Tuesday meetings, and I think all the crew chiefs get together in Monday meetings, and they come up with the race tracks they would like to go to," Gordon said. "They talk to their drivers and get that kind of information, and then on Tuesday, we come up with the best scenario that works for all of us. For me, I think we have a good game plan that works for all of us. Again, I said earlier that it's a compromise with the organization. When you have four teams, not everybody is going to be perfectly suited. But in this case, I think it suits our needs to get ourselves in the Chase, and if we get in the Chase, then it suits our teammates to be very competitive in the Chase."(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-4-2013)

  • Duchardt named General Manager of Hendrick Motorsports: Doug Duchardt, who joined Hendrick Motorsports as an executive in 2005, has been elevated to the newly created position of executive vice president and general manager, effective immediately. He will report to team owner Rick Hendrick and company president Marshall Carlson. In his expanded role, Duchardt, 49, will direct all racing operations for Hendrick Motorsports, which fields four cars in the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He also will manage technical relationships -- encompassing engine leases and chassis purchases -- while serving as primary liaison between Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR's competition group. Duchardt's responsibilities now include oversight of all competition-related personnel and departments, including teams; engines; race car construction (chassis and bodies); research and development; human performance (pit crews); and engineering. Longtime Hendrick Motorsports executive Ken Howes will continue to serve as vice president of competition, a role he assumed in January 2005. He will report to Duchardt.(Hendrick Motorsports)(7-30-2013)

  • Johnson to run Disney Planes scheme at Pocono: Pocono Raceway announced Dane Cook, star of the upcoming comedy adventure "Disney's Planes," will serve as Grand Marshal for the GoBowling.com 400 on August 4. Additionally, Cook will join Jimmie Johnson, who will drive the #48 Lowe's "Disney's Planes" Chevy at "The Tricky Triangle," at Johnson's Fan Question-and-Answer session prior to the 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. "Disney's Planes" debuts in theaters nationwide on Friday, August 9. Cook voices Dusty, a crop duster who dreams of becoming a high-flying aerial racer in "Disney's Planes," which debuts in theaters nationwide on Friday, August 9. Additionally, a crop duster reflecting Dusty's design will perform the flyover prior to the start of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. More info on Johnson's Fan Q&A session and tickets for the GoBowling.com 400, visit www.poconoraceway.com or call 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929).(Pocono Raceway), see images of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(7-26-2013)

  • Johnson wins Daytona: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway for his 4th win of 2013 and 64th career win.
    #48-Johnson led the most laps with 94 of 161 laps. Pole sitter #18-Busch got in a late wreck and finished 12th, leading 30 laps
    #14-Stewart finished 2nd followed by #29-Harvick, #15-Bowyer, #55-Waltrip, #78-Busch, #1-McMurray, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #13-Mears and #39-Newman.
    There were 18 lead changes among 11 drivers and 6 cautions for 27 yellow flag laps and an 8.53 red flag to clean up the track after a wreck late in the race.
    The average speed was 154.313. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Daytona Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Daytona Penalty Report (pdf).(7-6-2013)
    For Official Results & Points, see the Official Daytona Race and Points Report.(7-8-2013)

  • Gordon, Stewart & Johnson looking for first win at Kentucky: In the 2012 season finale at Homestead, #24-Jeff Gordon was victorious leaving only one track that Gordon has not won at in the Sprint Cup Series, Kentycky Speeedway.
    Kentucky is one of only two tracks the Sprint Cup Series visits where #14-Tony Stewart has yet to record a Sprint Cup victory. The other is Darlington Raceway, where Stewart at least has a NASCAR Nationwide Series win (2008).
    Kentucky Speedway is one of five of the 23 tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule where #48-Jimmie Johnson has yet to win. Michigan International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Watkins Glen International and Homestead-Miami Speedway are the others.
    There are 23 tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit.(PRs)(6-27-2013)

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation Golf Tournament Presented by Lowe's Tops $600,000: The Seventh Annual Jimmie Johnson Foundation Golf Tournament and Dinner Auction presented by Lowe's raised more than $600,000. Proceeds from the tournament will be distributed to schools in need through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program.
    "I'm always blown away by the support for the golf tournament from our partners, friends and fans," said Johnson, who grew up in El Cajon, Calif. "I love coming back to my hometown and am just happy we can help make a difference where I grew up."
    Johnson and his wife Chandra hosted more than 100 golfers at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego. A dinner and live auction were held Wednesday evening. NASCAR driver Casey Mears, seven-time SuperCross champion Jeremy McGrath and former NFL star Jason Sehorn attended the events. The highlight of week came Tuesday when Johnson, his wife, Chandra, and daughter, Genevieve, visited Chase Avenue Elementary School in El Cajon, Calif. The school was the recipient of a 2010 grant and used the funds awarded to build a track and outdoor area at the school. Johnson ran with students who comprise the school's newly formed running club and with help from Lowe's, donated trees to help with landscaping needs.
    The tournament, which in seven years has raised more than $3.5 million, focuses on the Champions Grants program, a partnership between the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Lowe's Toolbox for Education. The grants range from $25,000-$100,000 and are distributed to K-12 public schools in the Johnson's hometowns in Oklahoma and California, and where they currently reside in North Carolina.(JJF)(6-24-2013)

  • Keselowski says rivals stole Ford employees, information: #2-Brad Keselowski met with Ford Motor Co. employees in Dearborn on Thursday and signed autographs and answered questions. The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion also found time to chat with reporters and take a sharp jab at Chevrolet-backed Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, which runs Toyotas. Keselowski criticized Hendrick and Gibbs for "stealing away" employees and information from Ford Cup teams, including his own Penske Racing outfit and Roush Fenway Racing. Keselowski didn't mince words about Hendrick and Gibbs' recruitment techniques when he was asked by the media about the recent efforts of Ford teams like Penske and Roush coming together and sharing information. "There are little things you can do," Keselowski said of Ford-backed teams opening up lines of communication in an effort to improve performances on the track. "What keeps it from going too far is the fact that Hendrick and Gibbs have this nasty little habit of going to other teams and outbidding other people and taking those employees and stealing our information, and, when that happens, that puts walls up between the camps because you are giving up more than one piece of information  you are giving up two companies' information and trying to protect yourself against that, it forces you to put up walls.It doesn't necessarily lend itself to working together. But still, we are going to put in a valiant effort where we can and where it makes sense to put Ford in a position to have the best results possible."Keselowski cited two incidents where he claimed Hendrick and Gibbs  who between them run the likes of series points leader and five-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr.  lured away Ford team employees with big offers."Gibbs stole the Roush aero director and took all the information," said Keselowski. "And Hendricks took three employees from our Chase-winning team last year."(USA Today)(6-14-2013)
    GIBBS STATEMENT: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) released the following statement from Owner Joe Gibbs in response to the recent comments made by driver Brad Keselowski: "We were surprised to read the recent comments and accusations made by Brad Keselowski. Clearly those comments are misguided and irresponsible. Brad's candor is well documented, but he would do well to only speak to subjects on which he is properly informed. Obviously NASCAR is a very competitive environment and we take our hiring processes seriously at JGR. The individual he referenced in his comments was working outside of the sport of NASCAR at the time we hired him. We have a great deal of respect for Roger Penske and his organization and I feel like I have always had a good personal relationship with Roger. We look forward to competing with Brad on the racetrack, but hope that he will use better judgment in the future before making such misinformed claims and accusations."(JGR)
    HENDRICK STATEMENT: HMS owner Rick Hendrick also took offense to what Keselowski said. "The comments Brad reportedly made were misinformed,'' Hendrick said. "The truth is that we hired one tire changer, who was a backup for Penske and whose contract was up. We also brought over one mechanic from their Nationwide program and, when the Penske engine shop was closing, added a few of those people. What Brad left out was that his organization also hired one of our tire changers. All of this was above board and is part of doing business in a competitive environment. I take no issue with any of it, and I expect Roger [Penske] would say the same. Brad misrepresents the facts and spends a lot of time making insinuations and accusations about other teams when he should be focused on his own program and competing at a high level. I hope he figures that out and begins representing himself and the sport with more class."(ESPN)(6-15-2013)

  • Jimmie Johnson wins Pocono: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Party in the Poconos 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway for his 3rd win of 2013, 3rd Pocono win and 63rd career win. Johnson led the most laps, 128 of 160 laps and increased his points lead to 51 points over #99-Edwards
    #16-Biffle finished 2nd followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr, #14-Stewart, #39-Newman, #18-Busch, #78-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #29-Harvick & #22-Logano.
    There were 14 lead changes among 4 drivers and 6 cautions for 19 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 144.202mph. NASCAR no longer announces the track attendance.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Pocono Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Pocono Penalty Report (pdf).
    See the Official Pocono Race and Points Report.(6-10-2013)

  • Johnson comments about the restart at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway, and discussed the restart at Dover. The transcript in part:
    Q) DID YOU TALK TO NASCAR ABOUT THE RESTART AT DOVER AND WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON IT NOW?
    Johnson: "I did a little bit after the race and then sat and digested things this week and I'm going to go and speak to them now that we have a lot of time this morning since it's raining and just walk through it some more. It's an interesting thing that took place in my opinion. I feel that in NASCAR and auto racing there are very few moments where maybe a penalty could be drawn or a foul could be drawn like we would see in the NBA Finals or something right now there is flopping that goes on. I really believe that in the restart zone to the start-finish line that Juan (Pablo Montoya) just didn't go and in my opinion, I think he played it right. I think he was smart in letting me get out ahead of him and let them make the call on me to keep me from having the lead and winning the race. It's interesting, I really don't have anything against Juan for doing it, as racers we need to work any and every angle we can to win a race. That's what we do, we race. I put a little more weight into officiating in exactly how the rule reads and the way the rule is intended to be enforced. I think we can look at enforcing it differently. I think everybody looking at it afterwards can see that Juan just didn't go. What happens then when you get out of that restart zone? What happens from there to the start-finish line? I think with the data we have and the technology we have today, we have the tools to maybe make a better decision and make a better decision at that point in time. It's difficult after the race, people look at stuff and that didn't work out. The race had been taken away from us, the championship bonus points are gone and it's very difficult at that point to do the right thing, but in today's world of technology, I hope that we can figure out one, exactly how does that rule read. I kind of get it, but from the restart zone to the start-finish line, if I guy breaks or has trouble NASCAR has the ability to make the call and say that they had trouble and it's fine to go. Someone flops, what then? You think about the restart zone at Indy, you have a couple hundred yards from the end of that zone to the start-finish line and if I'm the leader and on the outside, I could let five or six cars go by and then get to the start-finish line and trap them all down and put them in position to be penalized. Essentially, Juan found a loophole. He found a loophole in the officiating and worked it to his advantage so sure I'm mad I didn't win the race, and I'm not mad at him, but I think we need to look at how we officiate and how we can regulate that and keep that from happening. Dover, it's a very short distance from the zone to the start-finish line. At other tracks, it's a huge distance. Here, it's pretty big. I would have to imagine it's a couple hundred yards as well. You could pin four or five people into that position if they take the bait, which I took the bait clearly."
    Q) NASCAR SAID IT WAS A 'NO BRAINER,' BUT NOT FOR YOU?
    "Not for me, not for the 15 (Clint Bowyer), not for the 99 (Carl Edwards), not for the 18 (Kyle Busch), I mean all these guys have talked to me and I just saw Clint and he was like, 'Dude, I was on the brakes, like I stomped on the brakes to stop because I knew you were in trouble.' I said I knew I was too, I was just hoping that they would see the rest of you check up. It is what it is, I can't change it and can't do anything about it, but moving forward I think we can prevent that situation from happening again."(Team Chevy)(6-8-2013)

  • Montoya comments about the restart at Dover: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed last week's restart at Dover. The transcript in part:
    Q) JIMMIE (JOHNSON) CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN THAT YOU CLEARLY AND DELIBERATELY DID NOT RESTART YOU STOPPED FORCING HIM TO RESTART AHEAD OF YOU TO GET TO THE LINE. THEN HE CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN HE TRIED TO GIVE THE POSITION BACK AND YOU WOULDN'T TAKE THE POSITION BACK. WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ON THAT:
    Montoya: "If I did that why only Jimmie passed me in his lane? I mean you think about it. Let's say I had a bad start and he beat me by a bumper or half a car length NASCAR wouldn't have said anything. But it was Jimmie  the field so I'm okay with it. He didn't if you pay attention we were coming to the cones he didn't even want to lineup next to me. He was actually dropping back. He wanted to time it. He just mistimed it. It's all good. It's racing."
    Q) JIMMIE (JOHNSON) SAID HE IS GOING TO GO TALK TO NASCAR BECAUSE HE WOULD LIKE IT TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR HE IS NOT CLEAR ON THE RULE AND HE THINKS THAT YOU FOUND A LOOP HOLE IN THE RULE:
    Montoya: "Wow, I'm that good (laughs). Man that is a compliment. The loop hole is that you have to start between the cones and the leader has got to& I think the start says you have to restart between the two cones that I did. And you are not supposed to beat the leader to the line. What is so hard about that? You know what I mean? I read a quote about him this week. I was at my house and I read a quote. He (Jimmie Johnson) said 'if he wouldn't have done that the No. 42 would have beat him.' I'm like well I'm the leader not you. I was thinking I know you dominated the race, but we came to a pit stop and we did a better job than you guys. And as we did a better job than you guys we are the leader not you. Crazy enough if he would have backed off let me go he would have probably passed me again. It would have been all good. He wanted to time it really well where he didn't have to deal with me through turns one and two, but he mistimed it. That is it, no drama."(Team Chevy)(6-8-2013)

  • Johnson disapproves of penalty call: With seven wins at the track, #48-Jimmie Johnson is used to being out in front at Dover. This time it cost him. Johnson's drive for a record eighth win on the mile concrete track ended when NASCAR penalized him Sunday for jumping leader #42-Juan Pablo Montoya off the restart with 19 laps left. Johnson finished 17th in a race won by Tony Stewart. Montoya finished second. "There's always a judgment call in pro sports," Johnson said. "Our sport doesn't have many opportunities for that. Today, it did, and the call didn't go my way." NASCAR states that the race leader (Montoya) has to be the first car across the starting line. Johnson got a huge jump on Montoya and refused to give up his position. Montoya also had the responsibility to speed up and be in the lead once the cars leave the restart zone. Johnson said Montoya wasn't driving fast enough.
    NASCAR said it was an easy call. "He left early and he didn't give it back like we tell them all the time when that type of thing comes up," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition. "It's pretty cut and dried. You can look at the films and the restart zone and where the start was."(Associated Press)(6-3-2013)

  • Johnson also donating Dover winnings to Oklahoma: Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was "shocked and floored" by the devastation he witnessed during a visit Thursday to tornado-ravaged Moore, Okla. Johnson, who said he will donate his winnings from Sunday's race at Dover to recovery efforts, visited the town to distribute supplies to victims of the May 19-20 Oklahoma tornadoes in which two schools were destroyed and 24 lives were lost. The trip was made in conjunction with Lowe's, the primary sponsor on Johnson's #48 Chevy, and the Feed the Children initiative. Johnson was joined by his wife, Chani, who grew up in Muskogee, about 160 miles from Moore. "[I] had to leave yesterday and get out of there as fast as we could because storms were coming," Johnson said. "It was odd, because I'm getting on a plane to fly out and I'm leaving my family behind. They're staying there with Chani's parents this weekend. I'm, 'Oh, my God. I'm so torn. I'm rushing out of here because something bad is coming, but I'm leaving my girls behind.'" Johnson had to leave for Dover, where he's been extremely successful over the years, so his donated winnings to Moore could be substantial. Since the start of 2009, Johnson has led 1,681 laps at the Monster Mile, more than half the total laps run there in that time, and 1,201 more than any other driver. Johnson is the defending champion, taking home more than $319,000 a year ago, a seven-time winner at the one-mile track and winner of four of the eight races held there since 2009.(ESPN)(6-1-2013)

  • Monsters University debuts with Johnson: Characters from Disney Pixar's "Monsters University," which opens in theatres June 21 in 3D, will grace the hood of Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy at Dover. The familiar characters of Mike and Sulley will be riding with Johnson in a special paint scheme to help kick off Lowe's special Disney-themed Build and Grow clinics, which will be offered at Lowe's stores throughout the summer. Kids attending the Dover races Friday through Sunday will have an opportunity to get involved by visiting the Monsters University Admissions Tent. Kids will get a Monsters University Student ID badge for an opportunity to assemble a special-edition Lowe's Build and Grow project of Johnson's "Monsters University" racecar. Beginning June 8, Lowe's stores nationwide will hold free movie-themed Build and Grow clinics, featuring projects from Disney Pixar's "Monsters University," DisneyPixar's "Toy Story" and Disney's "Planes."(Team Lowe's / HMS), see an image of the car on the #48 team paint schemes page.(5-30-2013)

  • Johnson to visit Oklahoma tornado victims: #48-Jimmie Johnson will visit tornado-ravaged Moore, Okla., on Thursday to help distribute supplies to victims of the May 19-20 tornados. Johnson will be accompanied by his wife, Chani, a native of Muskogee. The visit is in conjunction with Johnson's sponsor, Lowe's, and the Feed the Children initiative. Johnson said Monday he hopes University of Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops and other Sooners join him. Johnson also says he'll donate his winnings from Sunday's race at Dover to tornado recovery efforts. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation each year also donates to school projects in Oklahoma, along with California and Charlotte, where he currently lives.(Associated Press/ESPN)(5-29-2013)

  • TV graphic mistake leads to fan confusion: A television graphic incorrectly showed #48-Jimmie Johnson should have entered pit road 11th instead of fourth on the mandatory four-tire stop before the final segment of Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race. It started a social media outcry for those who didn't know the facts. It grew louder when Johnson left pit road second. It grew even louder when the five-time Sprint Cup champion won for the second straight year and a record fourth time overall, breaking a tie with Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and future Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon. "People just want to hate," Johnson said with a laugh inside the media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "That's fine. I'm just lucky. NASCAR rigs the races and whatever they want to believe. I'm going home with a cool trophy and a big check and we all really know what happened. So whatever."(ESPN)
    NOTE: Johnson coming in 4th for the pitstop was correct, see the averages of the four segments and the order of pit road entry on my Jayski's Sprint All-Star Race page.(5-19-2013)

  • Johnson win All-Star race: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, for his 4th All-Star race win. Johnson finished 15th, 5th, 3rd & 3rd in the four segments which meant he had the 4th best average finish of the drivers, so he went in 4th for the madatory 4-tire pit stop before the fifth and final segment, #5-Kahne came out 1st, followed by Johnson, #18-Busch, #22-Logani and #78-Busch. #78-Busch won segments 1 & 4 and led 29 laps and #18-Busch won segments 2 & 3 and also led 29 laps. Johnson led 10 total laps, all of the final segment. Johnson now has the most All-Star wins of any driver with 4.
    #22-Logano finished 2nd, followed by #18-Busch, #5-Kahne, #78-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #1-McMurray (the Showdown winner), #20-Kenseth and #99-Edwards.
    See race results, each segment finish, average of the four segments, links to pdf for results and more on Jayski's Sprint All-Star Race Info page.(5-18-2013)

  • Johnson goes Patriotic at CMS: Jimmie Johnson will drive the #48 Lowe's "Patriotic" Chevrolet SS in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The car will be painted red, white and blue and ringed in stars. Lowe's and its #48 team have a long history of supporting the military and honoring the nation over the years. In 2001, Johnson's first Sprint Cup race came at Charlotte in the Lowe's Chevrolet, which was specially painted to honor the country. In 2009, crew chief Chad Knaus helped create a patriotic-themed car that carried the names of more than 12,000 Lowe's employees who are military veterans or reservists.(Team Lowe's / HMS), see an image of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(5-17-2013)

  • Pit Crew change for the #48 team: The pit crew of the #48 Lowe's Chevy of Jimmie Johnson has been together for nearly 3 years and done a good job on pit road. Over the last few weeks the team is moving in another direction and has made 3 changes. Moving forward on the #48 will be Front Changer Cam Waugh, Rear Changer David Mayo and Rear Carrier Ryan Patton. Cam Waugh pitted the #51 Cup car last year and has been in the HMS developmental program for a while. He will get his chance on the front. David Mayo was changing for the #2 car at Penske Racing last year and was hired as a back up for HMS this year. Ryan Patton was on the #7 NNS team this year and will get his chance as the rear carrier. As of now, all the other crewman on the #48 that were replaced are traveling as back ups with HMS.(Pittalks)(5-17-2013)

  • Johnson goes emerald at Darlington: #48-Jimmie Johnson has his own stripes this weekend, albeit of a different hue but, in either case, he hopes the color doesn't show up on the Darlington walls. Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy SS will sport emerald stripes this weekend. The color was chosen as the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year, which is featured in the new PANTONE UNIVERSE Paint Collection by Valspar.(TrueSpeed Communications), see an image of the car on the #48 team paint schemes page.(5-9-2013)


  • HMS cars to carry special decal: All four Hendrick Motorsports cars: #5-Kahne, #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson & #88-Earnhardt Jr., will carry the above special decal at Kansas Speedway honoring those effected by the Boston Maraton Bombings this past Monday.(HMS Facebook)(4-21-2013)

  • Brother of HMS Machinist killed in Cambridge: Hendrick Motorsports Statement: The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports are with Andrew Collier and his family. Andrew, a machinist in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department, tragically lost his brother, Officer Sean Collier, last night in Cambridge, Mass. We ask that the family's privacy be considered during this difficult time. Andrew, 25, joined Hendrick Motorsports in September 2008.(HMS)(4-19-2013)

  • Johnson says Hendrick Motorsports didn't 'rat out' Penske Racing: #48-Jimmie Johnson met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed many things, including the Penske Pentalties, the transcript in part:
    Q) DID YOU GUYS TURN IN PENSKE LAST WEEK? I'M ASSUMING YOU HAVE HEARD BRAD'S (KESELOWSKI) COMMENTS AS FAR AS, THEY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN TARGETED AND UNDER THE MICROSCOPE THE LAST WEEK OR SO. YOU AND CHAD (KNAUS) OBVIOUSLY KNOW HOW THAT FEELS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHEN YOU DO HAVE SUCCESS HOW MUCH CLOSER NASCAR DOES SCRUTINIZE EVERYTHING THAT YOU GUYS DO:
    Johnson: "When you have success on your side the magnifying glass the viewpoint for everybody, NASCAR, other teams, it gets a lot more intense. The best officiating in the garage area has always been your neighbor. That has just been part of NASCAR for years and years. That is why NASCAR has the procedures in place that they do in the garage area and why even in F1 today they are not allowed to cover their stuff anymore. It's just part of it. With all that being said, no, the Hendrick group and the #48 team did not rat out the Penske cars. There are two decisions teams are faced with in the garage area. Everybody has people watching. We have been very impressed with the #2 cars staff and their ability to have somebody just stand and watch other teams."
    "So this environment does take place in the garage area. Yeah, there are eyes open, but when a team sees something they have two options. One, they go home and try to adapt it to their car and understand it and see if they can make it work or they go in the truck and say something. We don't say something. We are a company built on performance. We are a company that tries to understand the rulebook as close as we can to the law. Sure, we have had our issues with it, but that is racing it has been that way since day one of racing. We go in there and we try to be as smart as we can and conform to the rules and put the best race car on the track. With all that being said, no, sure there was a lot of activity around the Penske cars during the test day, just like all the other cars and everybody is watching, everybody is looking, but in no way shape or form did anybody from the #48 car walk into that truck and say anything."
    Q) WAS THERE ANY PART OF YOU THAT THOUGHT THE PENSKE PENALTY WAS SOMEWHAT JUST IN THE SENSE THAT BRAD KESELOWSKI WAS COMPLAINING OR AT LEAST TALKING ABOUT YOUR REAR END SUSPENSION LAST YEAR?
    Johnson: "I've said this before. Brad is a huge talent. But as we all know, Brad will say things. And when you're in the sport long enough, you learn when you need to be careful. And no team is immune to the issues. I don't want the crew chief's job. Those guys live on the ragged edge and they have to. If not, they're going to run 20th every week. So, I think over time, I've learned and have also clearly experienced some issues where man, you just do your thing and there's no need to spout off what other people are up to. I think there have been a few lessons that Brad has learned along the way this year as to when to say something. With all that being said, it doesn't take away from the fact that with the penalties and with what Penske is going through right now, doesn't take away the fact that they are champions and they did an awesome job last year. And I still think Brad is an awesome driver and that team has awesome equipment and we're going to deal with them week-in and week-out. Again, I've lived through it and good teams survive. Good teams and drivers will always survive. But it's going to put a lot of stress in their world the next six, eight, or ten weeks, depending on how long the appeals last and all that. And we'll all see how they respond to it. But once they get some normalcy back in their lives at-track, they're going to be right there at the front of the pack each week like we've seen so far."(Team Chevy)(4-19-2013)

  • Johnson will have a sub for baby-watch: From a Chevy PR:
    YOU HAD BIG NEWS THIS WEEK (ANNOUNCED HE AND WIFE CHANDRA ARE EXPECTING THEIR SECOND CHILD IN SEPTEMBER) CONGRATULATIONS. IS IT TOO EARLY ALREADY TO START THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU WILL HANDLE IT SINCE THE BABY IS DUE AS THE CHASE BEGINS? DO YOU HAVE A BACK-UP DRIVER? HAVE YOU GONE THROUGH ALL THOSE PARTICULARS YET?
    "We haven't yet. We know that we need to, but we still have some time. We are not sure who will be available come that time. I was joking with Aric Almirola last weekend that if he wanted to be my back-up driver again he clearly has a full-time gig and can't do it. We will just have to see, but we will definitely have a plan like always we will be buttoned up. Our doctor has told me that a father has never missed a birth. That gives me a lot of confidence that I will be able to do my weekend job and then be around during the week to meet number two."(Chevy)(4-13-2013)

  • Congrats: to Jimmie and Chandra Johnson. Jimmie tweeted Tuesday morning, "We are so happy to share news that we're having another baby in September. Genevieve is so excited to be a big sister!".(4-9-2013)

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the STP Gas Booster 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his 2nd win of 2013, 8th win at Martinsville and 62nd career win. #15-Bowyer finished 2nd followed by #24-Gordon, #5-Kahne, #18-Busch, #2-Keselowski, #1-McMurray, #9-Ambrose, #16-Biffle, and #11-Martin.
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr., the points leader coming into the race, fought an ill-handling car and a spin late in the race. He finished 24th and fell to 3rd in the points.
    There were 12 lead changes among 5 drivers and 12 cautions for 85 yellow flag laps. There was a 6 minute red flag with 13 laps remaining after #78-Busch lost his brakes, hit the wall and the car caught fire. He was not injured. The average speed was 72.066mph.
    Starting this season, NASCAR doesn't release the track attendance.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Martinsville Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Martinsville Penalty Resport (pdf)

  • Hendrick makes another big purchase at Barrett-Jackson: Rick Hendrick has done it again. The famed NASCAR team owner, who bought the rights to the very first 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in January, has doubled down by winning the Palm Beach bidding for the first 2014 Stingray convertible to be produced. The price tag: $1 million. Although, every penny of the charity sale goes to benefit the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute . Hendrick, a familiar face as a regular buyer and seller at Barrett-Jackson auctions, paid $1.1 million for the coupe in Scottsdale. So it was widely speculated that he would vie for the convertible. Now, he has a pair of No. 1 2014 Corvette bookends costing a total of $2.1 million. Barrett-Jackson charges no auction fees for charity sales. "I paid a little more than I wanted for that car," Hendrick said in a classic understatement. "But I owe so much to Corvette for getting me into the car business in the first place." Part of the deal from General Motors for the first Corvette convertible is a ceremony that will take place at the factory when Hendrick will start up the freshly built Stingray for the first time at the end of the assembly line.(SPEED)(4-7-2013)

  • Jack Roush to be inducted in Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame: Jack Roush's success at Texas Motor Speedway has become a part of the speedway's growing history. It was Roush who became the first team owner to sweep both events at "The Great American Speedway!" during the inaugural season in 1997. His success has not stopped there as he has since gone on to win 18 races as a car owner across NASCAR's top three national series at Texas Motor Speedway, including a record nine in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. His dominance at Texas Motor Speedway has earned him the honor of becoming the 15th member inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. Roush will be honored Thursday, April 11, during the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children's Charities that will be held in The Speedway Club's Grand Ballroom.
    Roush's induction culminates an evening that celebrates the accomplishments of motorsport's most talented drivers and contributors. Other honorees will be five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson; 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch; IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal; and legendary motorsports journalist Chris Economaki posthumously.
    Johnson will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year award. In the AAA Texas 500, Johnson became just the second driver to win from the pole for his second career victory at Texas Motor Speedway.
    Busch has been instrumental in helping Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter raise funds to benefit children in North Texas. He will be recognized as this year's recipient of the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. Busch has helped Speedway Children's Charities-Texas Chapter raise more than $40,000.
    Rahal will receive the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award for displaying a demeanor both on and off the track that exemplifies the meaning of sportsmanship.
    Economaki, motorsport's most noted and accomplished journalist, will be honored posthumously with the Bruton Smith Legend Award.(TMS)(3-29-2013)

  • Johnson announces 2013 "Helmet of Hope" program UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to make a stop in Le Mars, Iowa on Thursday [March 21, 2013]. Johnson will be there to announce the 2013 Wells Blue Bunny "Helmet of Hope Campaign" at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars. This year marks the second year for Blue Bunny as the title sponsor of the "Helmet of Hope" program. Jimmie Johnson, along with Wells Blue Bunny CEO Mike Wells, will announce the event's kick-off, and unveil this year's helmet.(kcautv.com)(3-21-2013)
    UPDATE: Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson made his first trip to Le Mars, Iowa today to announce the 2013 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign. Le Mars is the home of Wells Enterprises, maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream. Johnson was joined by Mike Wells, President and CEO of Wells Enterprises, Inc. to unveil this year's Jason Beam designed helmet, and to recognize the first charity selected, Make-A-Wish Iowa.(Team Lowe's/JJF), see more on my NASCAR Racing Charities page.(3-21-2013)

  • Special scheme for Johnson at Auto Club: Jimmie Johnson will drive the #48 Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation (JJF) Chevy at Auto Club Speedway. This is the seventh time Johnson has run the special scheme at his home track in the Sprint Cup Series (September 2007, August 2008, October 2009 and 2010, June 2011 and March 2012). Johnson has won three times with this paint scheme (2007-2009). His worst finish was 10th in last year's Auto Club 400. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation, founded by Chandra and Jimmie Johnson in 2006, has awarded more than $5.6 million to various organizations (Team Lowe's), see images of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(3-21-2013)

  • Hendrick Motorsports still most valuable team according to Forbes: Hendrick Motorsports is NASCAR's most valuable team with a value of $357 million, up 2%. Hendrick is worth twice as much as second-ranked Joe Gibbs Racing. Hendrick is the only four car Sprint Cup team left and brings in $125 million in sponsor revenue a year. Lowe's extended its deal last month through 2015 as the primary sponsor of Jimmie Johnson's #48 car. Earnhardt Ganassi (ranked #8 with a value of $72 million) announced it would switch engine suppliers from Earnhardt Childress Racing to Hendrick starting in 2013. This will add to Hendrick's coffers, which are already full as NASCAR's most profitable team with an estimated operating income of $16.6 million in 2012.
    Gibbs, worth $168 million, leapfrogs Roush Fenway Racing. Gibbs got a huge boost in 2013 with the addition of 2003 Sprint Cup champ Matt Kenseth, who replaced Joey Logano in the #20 car. Gibbs has been one of the most consistent teams when it comes to selling sponsorships with all paint schemes sold ahead of the season start in 2012 and 2013. JGR signed a 30-race renewal with FedEx last year on the #11 car.
    The value of Roush is down 10% to $166 million. The team has struggled to sell sponsorships in recent years and lost Kenseth to Gibbs. Richard Childress Racing ranks No. 4 with a value of $139 million, down 6%. Childress is at a crossroad as it prepares to lose its top driver, Kevin Harvick, who signed a deal to race for Stewart-Haas Racing starting in 2014. Still to be determined is if long-time sponsor, Budweiser, will follow Harvick out the door.
    The value of Stewart-Haas is up 14% to $123 million and ranks fifth. Tony Stewart and Gene Haas are building one of the top teams in NASCAR.
    NASCAR's top nine teams are worth $143 million on average, up 1% over last year. Each of these teams are profitable by our count (some just barely) with team's cutting budgets in cases where sponsor shortfalls arise. Earnings are down 10% overall compared to 2011.(see more details and the complete list at Forbes)(3-14-2013)

  • Forbes names highest paid drivers: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the highest-paid driver in the sport for the fifth straight year with total earnings of $25.9 million in 2012 by our [Forbes] count. We estimate that Earnhardt earned $12.9 million in combined salary and his share of prize money, which is split with Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt signed a contract extension with Hendrick in 2011 that will keep him part of NASCAR's most valuable team through at least 2017. But what really separates Earnhardt from the rest of NASCAR's top drivers is his off-the-track earnings, which were $13 million last year. While Earnhardt's licensing income is down like all drivers (some as much as 80%), he still generated the most licensing dollars in the sport last year.
    Another Hendrick driver, #48-Jimmie Johnson, ranks #2 with earnings of $23 million. In fact, all four Hendrick drivers are among the 10 highest paid with Jeff Gordon #4 ($18 million) and Kasey Kahne at #9 ($12 million). Johnson barely missed his sixth Sprint Cup title in 2012, but it was still a banner year on the track, as he earned a NASCAR-high $8.1 million in race winnings for the #48 car. His "Special Awards" and Sprint Cup bonuses added another $2.3 million.
    #10-Danica Patrick, ranks #7 with earnings of $12.9 million in 2012. Her merchandise was NASCAR's ninth best seller in 2012, according to Fanatics.com, one of the largest online retailers of officially licensed sports merchandise. But that ranking will jump this year, as she only raced in 10 Sprint Cup races last year and will be running a full-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2013 for the first time.(see more details and the complete list at Forbes)(3-14-2013)

  • Johnson not pleased with Edwards final restart at Phoenix: #48-Jimmie Johnson was none too pleased with #99-Carl Edwards for the way Edwards restarted the race prior to the final two laps of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 on Sunday. Edwards responded to the accusations with incredulity. Who, me? Was it was some postrace gamesmanship or just matter-of-fact truthfulness? It's hard to say just exactly what happened on lap 315 of the 316-lap event at Phoenix International Raceway, which Edwards won.
    "I felt like Carl didn't follow the restart protocol and was slower than the pace car on his last two restarts, and it gives the leader a huge advantage when that happens," Johnson said. "You're supposed to wait until you get between the two lines and take off and this was all going on before it. You're supposed to maintain the speed of the pace car, so I maintained the speed of the pace car and the 99 (of Edwards) is dropping back."
    Au contraire, Edwards says. He believes Johnson was speeding up. "I thought, 'Man, he's playing some kind of trick, he's speeding up,'" Edwards said about the final restart. "I thought, 'What's he doing? Usually the guy in second hangs back a little bit and tries to watch, and he pulled up there, and I thought, 'Man, why is he doing that.' Yeah, so maybe I was slowing down, but I wasn't trying to."
    Part of the advantage of being the leader is being able to dictate how the race restarts. If NASCAR believes a driver is not adhering to the rules, it often will admonish the driver and warn that any recurrences during the race will result in a penalty. NASCAR never warned Edwards on Sunday.(Sporting News)(3-6-2013)

  • Lowe's extends sponsorship of #48 team and Johnson: Lowe's Companies Inc. will continue its successful relationship with Hendrick Motorsports after signing a two-year contract extension that secures the full-season primary sponsorship of the #48 NASCAR Sprint Cup team and five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson in 2014 and 2015. Announced today to more than 1,700 store managers at the Lowe's national sales meeting, the agreement builds upon a partnership launched in 2001 when Johnson was selected to drive for the new #48 Hendrick Motorsports team. Now in its 12th full season, the sponsor-driver-team relationship has become one of the most successful in NASCAR history.
    "It has been a great ride with Jimmie since he started in the Cup Series 12 years ago," said Tom Lamb, Lowe's chief marketing officer. "We are proud to sponsor one of the most elite teams and drivers in racing and have a five-time champion carry the Lowe's brand each week." Since his first full-time Sprint Cup season in 2002, Johnson has earned 61 victories -- the most in the series during that span -- and never finished lower than sixth in championship points.
    On Sunday in his 400th Cup race, Johnson drove the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS to his second career Daytona 500 win. In the process, he became just the second driver (teammate Jeff Gordon is the other) to have the same primary sponsor for each of his first 400 Cup starts. "Lowe's believed in me before I had any success," said Johnson, 37, whose contract with Hendrick Motorsports runs through 2015. "They are all I've ever known in my Sprint Cup career, and their support of me and the #48 team is second to none in the sport. We've been together for this crazy ride, and I'm so happy we're continuing it together. They truly are family, and I'm proud to represent them."
    Led by crew chief Chad Knaus, the #48 Lowe's team has now scored at least one Sprint Cup win in 12 consecutive seasons (2002-13). Johnson's five championships trail only first-ballot Hall of Fame drivers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, who each posted seven. "We caught lightning in a bottle with this combination," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Jimmie and Chad have been successful because they always have a plan and do a great job executing. Lowe's is the same way as a sponsor. The partnership has been incredible, and we're looking forward to working together for many more years."(HMS)(2-27-2013)

  • #48 Team Celebrates Second Daytona 500 Triumph at Champion's Breakfast: Following his second victory in the "Great American Race," driver Jimmie Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and owner Rick Hendrick inducted the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet into the Daytona International Speedway Ticket and Tours Building during Monday's annual Champion's Breakfast. "The night was great," Johnson said of the celebration. "We had a lot of fun in the infield. I think the security guys knew we were here and said, 'Nice job celebrating, now you guys just need to slow down a little bit.' "
    Johnson's late night celebration might have gone well, but his immediate celebration after taking the checkered flag wasn't as successful. His burn out in the tri-oval grass actually damaged the front end of the No. 48 car that is now on display in the indoor Gatorade Victory Lane at the "World Center of Racing." "The damage was pretty bad. I'm not going to lie," Johnson said with a laugh. "I just wanted to get a cool picture on the Daytona logo. I think every driver's goal is to get on the logo and do a burnout. I turned down and pulled it into second gear and thought I had the right angle to spin it off into the grass. As I turned in, the right front tire dug in. I knew instantly, when it grabbed the dirt, that I had a big problem. It just didn't go as planned."
    Joining the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion was long-time crew chief, Chad Knaus, who was unable to serve as crew chief on the team when they won the Daytona 500 in 2006. Knaus was sent home by NASCAR after the #48 car failed post-qualifying inspection. "This is a dream race; everyone wants to come to Daytona," said Knaus. "I remember sitting on the sofa in the early 1970's, watching the Daytona 500 and wanting to be a part of it for years. When we won this race in 2006 that was probably one of my best moments as a crew chief. Unfortunately I wasn't here, so that's the bad thing.
    "To finally be able to be down here in Victory Lane with the #48 car and Jimmie and the rest of my guys, it's a fantastic thing and I'm honored to be the crew chief on this race team."
    "(Chad) didn't get to call the race and he didn't get to experience the fun that followed," said Johnson of the 2006 win. "That's why I'm so happy for him ? to have that moment standing there in Victory Lane."
    There are many obligations that come with winning NASCAR's biggest, richest and most prestigious race. After the Champion's Breakfast, where Johnson and Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood III unveiled the logo for the 56th annual Daytona 500, Johnson left immediately to begin a whirlwind media tour. "(Winning the Daytona 500) was thrilling ? there's nothing like that moment," Johnson said. "What follows winning this race is what happens when you win the championship; NASCAR owns you for a few days. I'm not sure exactly of everything we have in store. I think we go to Charlotte today for some more media and then to Connecticut to ESPN; tomorrow is New York media. I'm not sure what happens after that, but I'm sure it's going to be busy and I'm just going to savor the moment. There's no telling when this will happen again, so I want to enjoy it."(DIS)(2-26-2013)

  • Hendrick willing to help delvelop better fence tech: Winning Daytona 500 team owner Rick Hendrick wants to find out what allowed the front clip of Kyle Larson's car to be sheared off in Saturday's Nationwide Series race. He is willing to work with NASCAR to develop technology that will help prevent another such incident that left 28 fans injured when debris flew into the stands. Larson's car went airborne into the catch fence on a horrific last-lap crash. The engine, built by Hendrick Motorsports, was separated from the car and landed on the concrete in front of the Campbell grandstands between sections H and I. One of the tires with the hub attached sailed over the fence and hit two fans, sending both to nearby Halifax Heath with critical injuries, one life-threatening. Both, according to a hospital representative on Monday, are stable and no longer critical. "I think the fence did its job,'' Hendrick said during Monday's Daytona 500 champion's breakfast for driver Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team. "I've never seen the clip come off before. They say they haven't found parts of the transmission. "What happened to the clip, there might be something else we can do. I've never seen that happen.''(ESPN)(2-25-2013)

  • Johnson denies wrecking car on purpose: #48-Jimmie Johnson laughed when told that fans are accusing him of cheating because he wrecked his car during the celebration of his Daytona 500 victory Sunday. "I can only imagine," Johnson said Monday morning when asked if he knew about the comments. The conspiracy theorists point to October 2010 audio of Johnson crew chief Chad Knaus telling Johnson to make sure the back of his car has hit something either during the race or afterward in order to make sure they pass inspection. Johnson cleared tech after the race Sunday, and Johnson said the damage to the car was more in the front end after he drove through the Daytona tri-oval grass to celebrate his victory. "Luckily they don't measure heights on the front of the car anymore," Johnson said.(in part from the Sporting News)(2-25-2013)

  • Jimmie Johnson win the Daytona 500: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the 55th running of the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway for his 2nd career Daytona 500 win and 61st career win. Johnson is the 10th driver to win multiple Daytona 500's. Johnson won in his 400th career start, the 6th driver to do so. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd followed by #55-Martin, #2-Keselowski, #39-Newman, #16-Biffle, #51-Smith, #10-Patrick (1st career top 10 in 11 races), #98-McDowell (first career top 10 in 155 races) and #36-Yeley (1st top 10 since 2008)
    #20-Kenseth led 86 laps until he blew an engine on lap 149. Pole sitter #10-Danica Patrick finished 8th, the best finish for a female driver, Janet Guthrie finish 11th in 1980.
    On lap 138 #21-Bayne got into the rear of the #2-Keselowski in turn 1, Keselowski went to the apron, Bayne spun and collected #99-Edwards (he was involved in wrecks during practice, the Sprint Unlimited, the Budweiser Duel and now the Daytona 500) #33-Dillon, #34-Ragan, #35-Wise, #38-Gilliland, #32-Labonte and #17-Stenhouse Jr.
    On lap 90, #10-Patrick led a lap, the first woman to lead a lap in the Daytona 500.
    On lap #32, the three lead cars slowed, 4th in linr, #6-Kahne hit the brakes and #18-Busch got into the rear of the #5, causing the #5 to spin. Other cars collected were #29-Harvick, #14-Stewart, #42-Montoya, #1-McMurray, #13-Mears and #78-Busch.
    Early in the race, #38-Gilliland was slow and thought he was down a cylinder, ended up being a plug wire not connected.
    It was the seventh Daytona 500 victory for owner Rick Hendrick. Chevrolet now has 22 Daytona 500 victories, more than any other manufacturer. A Team Chevy driver has won seven of the last 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series openers at the 2.5-mile track.
    There were 28 lead changes among 14 drivers and 6 cautions for 24 yellow flag laps. The average speed was 159.250mph.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Daytona 500 Race Results page (pdf) and Daytona Penalty Resport.(2-24-2012)
    See the Official Race and Points on the Daytona Official Race and Points Report page (pdf).(2-25-2013)

  • Daytona 500 is Johnson's 400th start: The Daytona 500 will mark #48-Jimmie Johnson's 400th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start, his 23rd career points-paying Sprint Cup start at Daytona and his 118th career points-paying start in a restrictor-plate race. In his first full Sprint Cup season in 2002, Johnson earned the pole in his very first race, the Daytona 500. Johnson has one win, six top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 22 starts. His only win came in the 2006 Daytona 500 with Darian Grubb as crew chief. Johnson's last top-five finish in the Daytona 500 was his win in 2006. His average start is 9.6 and average finish is 19.0. Johnson has completed 3,536 of 3,865 laps (91.5%) and led 60 laps in 22 starts.(HMS/Lowe's Racing)(2-19-2013)

  • Drivers run in Daytona Beach Half Marathon: #5-Kasey Kahne apparently had slightly better equipment than Hendrick Motorsports teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson for Sunday's Daytona Beach Half Marathon. Kahne finished the chilly 13.1-mile run -- which began on pit road at Daytona International Speedway and included a brief stint on the beach -- in 1:28:45. Johnson came in at 1:29:48. Aric Almirola and Michael Waltrip also participated. Almirola crossed the lined in 1:46:12. Waltrip, who was hoping for a 10-minute-mile pace, said he had a good time, too.(ESPN)(2-18-2013)

  • Lowe's to return to the #48 in 2014: At the Chevy unveiling, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick was quick to scotch rumors that Lowe's, sponsor of five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, might not renew its sponsorship [after the 2013 season]. "Lowe's will be back," Hendrick said emphatically. "I don't know where that came from, but they'll be back. Wishful thinking, maybe, by some of the other folks, but they'll be back." Lowe's and Hendrick haven't signed a deal yet, but the car owner is confident he has a commitment from the home improvement retailer. "We've got a verbal," Hendrick said. "We'll button it up, but it's early."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-17-2013)

  • Special scheme for Johnson in the Sprint Unlimited: For the 2013 season, #48-Jimmie Johnson's 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the five-time champion once again climbs behind the wheel of the #48 Lowe's and Kobalt Tools Chevrolets. The primary paint scheme for the year mimics last year's sleek, two-color schemes, which marked the first major redesign of the primary paint scheme for the #48 car since Lowe's began its relationship with Johnson. The schemes are a tribute to the American muscle car, including several that will feature some of Chevrolet's classic colors at select races throughout the year. The first of these combinations debuts at the opening race of the season, the Sprint Unlimited. Appropriately, the #48 Lowe's machine features the classis Chevrolet color "Daytona Yellow." The color was used by the automaker on its Camaro and Corvette models in 1969 and 1970.(HMS/Team Lowe's), see images of the yellow scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(2-15-2013)

  • New Hanover Township School in NJ to receive $48,000 technology grant from Jimmie Johnson Foundation: Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson announced during a Google+ Hangout that New Hanover Township School in Wrightstown, N.J. is the recipient of the 2013 Team Up for Technology grant. The $48,000 grant is the result of a partnership between the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Lowes and Samsung Hope for Children. In the second year of this program, it is amazing to see the creativity of the video submissions we received. There was some very tough competition this year, said Johnson, who will compete in NASCARs season opening Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24.
    Danny Nelson, head custodian at New Hanover Township, nominated the school for this grant. During the celebration, Nelson was presented with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 and a Lowes gift bag in recognition of his efforts on behalf of the students. Kim Hill, Director Brand Marketing from Samsung Electronics North America and Earika Khan, Market Director Southern New Jersey from Lowes, were on hand for the live announcement, which took place in the school gymnasium.
    In his nomination, Nelson shared, Our school has lost aid money and really cant afford to purchase any new computers. I see our kids work hard everyday with what we provide and make the best of it. I would like to help these children out some way so I am writing and entering our school, which could really use this makeover. New Hanover Township School plans to use the grant award, which includes $11,500 in Samsung technology and a $36,500 grant from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, to purchase items including projectors, laptops, desktops, microscopes and audio visual equipment.
    In addition to awarding $48,000 to New Hanover Township School, 100 Samsung Galaxy Tabs were awarded to runner-up Barringer Academic Center (Charlotte, N.C.) and 50 Samsung Galaxy Tabs were awarded to third place Pewamo-Westphalia High School (Westphalia, Mich.).
    Ten schools were selected from more than 1,300 submitted applications as Team Up For Technology semi-finalists and given a prize kit that included a Samsung Digital Camcorder and Samsung Laptop to create a two minute video illustrating their schools technology needs. The amazing group of finalists also included Afton-Lakeland Elementary School (Lakeland, Minn.), Central Middle School (Kansas City, Kan.), KIPP Delta Collegiate High School (Helena, Ariz.), Nations Ford Elementary School (Charlotte, N.C.), Ricardo Lizarraga Elementary School (Los Angeles, Calif.), Timpanogos High School (Orem, Utah) and Emiliano Zapata Academy (Chicago, Ill.). Each schools videos are now featured on www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.(Team Lowe's)(2-12-2013)

  • Evernham says he turned down a chance to return as crew chief: Ray Evernham recently turned down a job offer to return to the Sprint Cup Series  and not with Hendrick Motorsports. The former car owner and Hendrick crew chief who won three championships with Jeff Gordon has resisted the urge to return to the racetrack since selling his stake in Evernham Motorsports six years ago. But a recent call from a powerhouse NASCAR team  he wouldn't say which except that it wasn't Hendrick  had the man who was voted the greatest crew chief of all time in 2006 pondering a change of heart. "I got hit with the right opportunity not that long ago, and I really had to stop and think about it," Evernham said Thursday. "I had to make sure not to make decisions with ego and think about why I wound it down the first time, and the reality of what it would be because it's so easy to be 10 years later thinking about how great you are and how you can still do it. You can lull yourself back into thinking I could still do that." Evernham's last race atop the pit box as Gordon's crew chief was at Dover International Speedway in September 1999, but he remained as hands-on as a team owner who spearheaded Dodge's return to NASCAR in 2001. He won championships with Gordon's #24 Chevy in '95, '97 and '98, setting a modern-era record with 13 victories in the last title campaign. "I probably could still do it, but I don't think I could have the results I had," said Evernham, 55, after a news conference at his museum to present a $280,000 check to the Autism Society of North Carolina. "I look back at our stuff with Jeff Gordon. If I couldn't hold up to that 1998 standard, I'd be constantly unhappy and frustrated, so I don't want to do that again. I got that call, and I was flattered to get it, but I had to pass." He will be working at least 15 NASCAR events for ESPN, starting at Daytona International Speedway and focusing on more in-depth features. He also is working with team owner Rick Hendrick on developing a new TV show called "Americarna" that will explore the country's evolving car culture. Evernham also still is working as a consultant with Hendrick's automotive business though he is scaling back to focus on his other projects and remaining involved in NASCAR.(see full stroy at the USA Today)(2-9-2013)

  • Drivers to run Daytona Half Marathon: Prior to turning two high-speed qualifying laps in Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, several NASCAR drivers will first compete in the fifth annual Daytona Beach Half Marathon, which will start and end at historic Daytona International Speedway. The Central Florida Sports Commission and Daytona International Speedway, in partnership with Volusia County, will host the Daytona Beach Half Marathon on Sunday, Feb. 17, just one week before the 55th running of the Daytona 500. The Daytona Beach Half Marathon, which will start at 6:30 a.m. ET, is being held for the first time during Budweiser Speedweeks. Among the NASCAR drivers that have submitted applications to compete in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon are #48-Jimmie Johnson, #30-Michael Waltrip, #5-Kasey Kahne and #43-Aric Almirola. The Daytona Beach Half Marathon is open to runners and walkers, at least 12 years of age or older, who can complete the course in less than 3 hours and 30 minutes.(DIS)(2-6-2013)

  • Hendrick not interested in the Batmobile: Rick Hendrick bought several vehicles and spent well over seven figures at last month's Barrett-Jackson Collectible Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. Some cars are for his business or personal collection while over a million dollars of cars purchased benefited charities. At the auction the original Batmobile from 1966 sold for 4.2-million dollars; however the Chevy team owner had no interest in making a bid. "Hell no, no sir", said Hendrick. "What would I want with the Batmobile? And I'm a Batman fan but I wouldn't know what to do with that car." Hendrick joked, "I wouldn't have hauled that thing home if they gave it to me!" Hendrick said the Batmobile is not his style, but another reason might be that it was also originally a concept car built by Ford.(PRN's Garage Pass)(2-5-2013)

  • 2013 silly season notes for #48-Jimmie Johnson / Hendrick Motorsports:: No changes on the #48 team. Will run a special yelow scheme in the Sprint Unlimited and a few other special schemes thru out the season. Lowe's will be the sponsor on about 2/3rds of the races and Kobalt Tools [Lowe's Tool brand] on the others. See images of the Lowe's, Kobalt Tools and special yellow Lowe's schemes on my #48 Team Schemes page. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(1-31-2013)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Notes from the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour:
    All Hendrick cars are fully-funded except Dale Jr.'s #88. But Rick Hendrick says there's interest and he has no sponsorship worries, the #88 is 13 races short.
    . Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Daytona testing wreck. "I thought long and hard, and that's probably the most embarrassed I've ever been."
    Chase Elliott will run in five ARCA and nine Series races in 2013, his Truck number will be #94, Hendrick Motorsports will field the entries. Elliott's scheduled Truck races: Martinsville (both). Iowa (both), Rockingham, Dover, Bristol. Mosport/Canada and Phoenix.
    #24-Jeff Gordon on Gen-6 car :"I'm a big fan, I love it. I like the body style & I think the teams and crew chiefs feel the same thing."
    #5-Kasey Kahne says he's an "underdog" compared to those who have Cup titles, but says this is his best shot yet in 2nd season, Kahne is sporting a new hair style. (from many Twitter reports/feeds)(1-23-2013)

  • Hendrick to appear on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood Jan 20th: CBS News correspondent Lee Cowan gets a sneak peek at of Chevrolets totally redesigned 2014 Corvette Stingray and talks with NASCAR team owner and Corvette collector Rick Hendrick about the prized vehicles this weekend on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood. The Corvette was just the ultimate car, Hendrick tells Cowan. I mean, it was  you had the styling, the power, all the girls liked them. Timed to the cars 60th birthday, Chevrolet has redesigned the vehicle for 2014 and brought back the legendary Stingray name. Hendrick, a top NASCAR team owner, has one of the largest private Corvette collections in the world, with nearly 150 in his stable. He said he met his wife, Linda, while driving a Stingray. Hendrick, a Chevy dealer, cant wait to get his hands on one of the new Corvettes, Cowan reports. I think this car will probably be one of the most sought-after cars that weve seen in a long time, Hendrick tells Cowan. Cowans report on the new Corvette is scheduled to be broadcast Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 on CBS Sunday morning at 9:00am/et on the CBS Television Network.(CBS)(1-19-2013)

  • Two pit crew members to compete in Iron Man Triathlon: Extreme athletes and pit crew members Blake Haugland rear tire carrier for Marcos Ambrose on the #9 Ford, and Dave Collins front tire changer for Jimmie Johnson on the #48 Chevy are scheduled to be competing in the Bone Island Triathlon, an Iron Man Triathlon in Key West, FL on Saturday, Jan. 12th 2013. Haugland and Collins are scheduled to run the half triathlon. The event benefits The Florida Keys Unit of The American Cancer Society.(1-11-2013)

  • Study names NASCAR's Social Media Leaders: Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and #48-Jimmie Johnson are among NASCAR's strongest and most engaging users of social media, a new social media study of the NASCAR industry finds. The study  conducted by Tuckahoe Strategies, a strategic communications firm - scored drivers, teams and select NASCAR sponsors and partners on a 20-point scale. Joe Gibbs Racing topped the charts with a Social Media Score of 15 points, Hendrick trailed by one point at 14 points and Johnson scored 13 points.
    Gibbs' online accounts comprise one of the broadest social media strategies for reaching fans of the sport. The team site, www.joegibbsracing.com, is up to date with timely features, and the homepage points to six social media platforms, including a mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry or Droid. The team maintains active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and FourSquare. Hendrick also has an active and diverse menu of social media platforms including a mobile app. Gibbs' social media score bested Hendrick's by a single point because of its slightly more effective home page promotion of its social media platforms.
    Johnson is the most comprehensive user of social media among drivers. He reaches his audience on a broad array of platforms including: Facebook, 657,062 page likes; Twitter, 348,402 followers; YouTube, 265 subscribers; and Instagram, with an industry-leading 60,618 followers. Johnson's social media reach (the sum of all social media followers across platforms) is 1,066,347. This veritable "media machine" has a following larger than the circulation of the Los Angeles Times, which is the fourth largest newspaper in the country.
    The sport's largest audience holder and content curator across the board is NASCAR. The sanctioning body regained a voice and a direct connection to its fan base this year after repossessing control of its online assets in a January 2012 agreement with Turner Sports Interactive. NASCAR's total social media reach is an astronomical 5,044,070, more than double the daily circulation of the largest U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. In fact, NASCAR commands the industry's top position in terms of audience on Facebook likes (3,239,504), Twitter followers (841,027) and YouTube subscribers (5,430). The sanctioning body also has 1,420 followers on Pinterest and a staggering 956,689 circles on Google+.(Tuckahoe Strategies)(1-10-2013)

  • Johnson favored to win 2013 title by oddsmakers: A well-known online bookmaker has spoken, and #48-Jimmie Johnson is the 2013 favorite to win the Sprint Cup. In the betting game, it's not even close. Johnson is listed at 4-1 by Bovada . Next comes a three-way tie for No. 2 with defending champ #2-Brad Keselowski, #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-Kyle Busch all at 17-2. Even though Busch failed to make the 2012 Chase, he is viewed as the second-most likely driver to win the 2013 title. Fourth on the list is #5-Kasey Kahne at 9-1, followed by three former champions at 12-1 -- #24-Jeff Gordon, #20-Matt Kenseth and #14-Tony Stewart, the 2011 champ. #99-Carl Edwards, the 2011 runner-up when he tied Stewart for the points total but had fewer wins, gets a decent betting line despite finishing 15th last season and going winless. He's 14-1 along with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #15-Clint Bowyer and #16-Greg Biffle. #56-Martin Truex Jr. is 16-1, and #29-Kevin Harvick has the longest odds among the 2012 Chase drivers at 20-1, probably because he's a lame-duck driver at Richard Childress Racing. Harvick moves to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014. If you want to pick a real long shot, #39-Ryan Newman is listed at 50-1 along with #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. #1-Jamie McMurray, Montoya's teammate at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, is substantially better at 33-1. If you like #22-Joey Logano's chances in his first year at Penske Racing, you can get him at 40-1.(ESPN)(1-9-2013)

2012 News

  • 2012 Sponsor Schedule, so far:
    Bud Shootout, 2/18, Lowe's
    Daytona, 2/26, Lowe's
    Phoenix, 2/27, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Las Vegas, 3/6, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Bristol, 3/20, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Auto Club, 3/27, Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation
    Martinsville, 4/1, MyLowe's
    Texas, 4/14, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Kansas, 4/22, Lowe's "Mountain Green"
    Richmond, 4/28, Lowe's
    Talladega, 5/6, Lowe's
    Darlington, 5/12, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Charlotte - All-Star Race, 5/19, Lowe's / NASCAR Unites
    Charlotte, 5/27, Lowe's / NASCAR Unites
    Dover, 6/3, Lowe's / Madagascar
    Pocono, 6/10, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Michigan, 6/17, Lowe's
    Sonoma, 6/24, Lowe's
    Kentucky, 6/30, Lowe's "Ermine White"
    Daytona, 7/7, Lowe's
    New Hampshire, 7/15, Lowe's
    Indianapolis, 7/29, Lowe's / Kobalt Tools
    Pocono, 8/5, Lowe's
    Watkins Glen, 8/12, Lowe's Cortex Silver
    Michigan, 8/19, Lowe's
    Bristol, 8/25, Lowe's "Ermine White"
    Bristol, 8/25, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Atlanta, 9/2, Lowe's
    Richmond, 9/8, Lowe's
    Chicago, 9/16, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    New Hampshire, 9/23, Lowe's
    Dover, 9/30, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Talladega, 10/7, MyLowes
    Charlotte, 10/13, MyLowes
    Kansas, 10/21, Lowe's
    Martinsville, 10/28, Lowes
    Texas, 11/4, Lowes
    Phoenix, 11/11, Lowe's
    Homestead, 11/18, Lowe's

  • AARWBA Names All America Team: The American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Ass'n has announced its annual All America Team, which the group has done every year since the conclusion of the 1970 season. A unique team of special drivers representing multiple forms of professional motorsports is elected each year by AARWBA. The association's members vote on drivers within their participating categories of racing and the top two from each discipline are elected to the first team.
    Brad Keselowski led the All American First Team voting in the Stock Car category as well as all divisions across the ballot. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion earned the most votes of any driver during the voting process. Jimmie Johnson fills out the other position with a third-place Sprint Cup standings finish, five points-paying wins and a victory in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. In the Touring Series category, James Buescher is recognized for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
    One other tradition that AARWBA has followed is to elect a Second Team to be honored along with the All-America winners. The AARWBA Second Team for stock cars were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Clint Bowyer.(National Speed Sport News)(12-19-2012)

  • Johnson Foundation Announces Nearly $600,000 in Education Grants: More than 6,600 students at 10 schools tuned in this morning to watch a video greeting from five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. Johnson announced that each school had been selected to receive a 2012 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grant. The grants, which were awarded to schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson's respective hometowns of Muskogee, Okla., and El Cajon, Calif., and where they currently reside in Charlotte, N.C., totaled nearly $600,000. This brings the contributions of the Champions Grant program to more than $2.6 million.
    "Chandra and I are excited by the opportunity to impact thousands of children each year through the Champions Grant program," said Jimmie Johnson, co-founder of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. "It was amazing to see how the schools had such different needs, and they were all compelling. We are very proud to partner with our friends at Lowe's to play a part in assisting K-12 public education through this program." Funded projects ranged from a digital fabrication lab to fitness labs to a complete performing arts stage restoration. Several schools also received technology grants to purchase new computers.
    In addition to the video message, each grant recipient received a custom 2012 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grant wallhauler to display. The wallhaulers, which are authentic aluminum race car doors, were provided by The Real Art of Racing. "Jimmie and Chandra Johnson are great partners with Lowe's as we support education together," said Marshall Croom, chairman of the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation. "During a time of education budget cuts and significant funding needs, the grants will fulfill some very important programs for these schools."
    Grant awards included:
    · Science and Technology - $100,696
    · Fitness Programs - $164,046
    · Trade Based Programs - $124,671
    · Arts Programs - $140,509
    · Language & Literacy Initiatives- $69,709
    The 2012 Champions Grants were awarded to the following schools:
    California
    · Construction Tech Academy (San Diego, Calif.)
    · Flying Hills Elementary School (El Cajon, Calif.)
    · Santana High School (Santee, Calif.)
    North Carolina
    · A.T. Allen Elementary School (Concord, N.C.)
    · Billingsville Elementary School (Charlotte, N.C.)
    · KIPP: Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
    · Piedmont I.B. Middle School (Charlotte, N.C.)
    Oklahoma
    · Alice Robertson Junior High (Muskogee, Okla.)
    · Creek Elementary School (Muskogee, Okla.)
    · Irving Elementary School and Pershing Elementary School (Muskogee, Okla.)
    To view Jimmie's congratulations video, and to see a detailed list of the 2012 Champions Grant projects, please visit www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.(JJF)(12-14-2012)

  • Johnson to run special scheme in Shootout: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to run a throwback Daytona Yellow paint scheme in the Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 16. Daytona Yellow was a paint color used by General Motors in 1969 and 1970, on the Chevelle SS, Camaro SS and Corvette.(Team Lowe's Racing Twitter), see image of the scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(12-10-2012)

  • Johnson mentioned most during TV coverage: #48-Jimmie Johnson was the most talked-about driver on NASCAR TV broadcasts this season  and it wasn't even close. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates and provided to SB Nation, Johnson's name was mentioned 7,744 times during NASCAR races  over 2,500 times more than the next driver, Denny Hamlin (5,219 mentions). The series champion, Brad Keselowski, received the third-most mentions with 5,059. NASCAR's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., was only the seventh most-mentioned driver (3,422 mentions). The full list of driver mention/interview data provided by Joyce Julius:

    Driver # of interviews Interview Time Mentions
    Jimmie Johnson 90 1:14:48 7,744
    Denny Hamlin 53 0:59:25 5,219
    Brad Keselowski 69 1:06:50 5,059
    Kyle Busch 21 0:14:24 4,840
    Jeff Gordon 58 1:01:54 4,721
    Tony Stewart 53 0:53:13 3,854
    Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 54 0:54:11 3,422
    Greg Biffle 27 0:22:57 3,338
    Matt Kenseth 41 0:27:56 3,226
    Clint Bowyer 43 0:44:00 3,131
    Kasey Kahne 33 0:34:35 3,008
    Kevin Harvick 18 0:26:50 2,624
    Martin Truex, Jr. 24 0:26:15 2,444
    Carl Edwards 35 0:36:08 2,358
    Mark Martin 12 0:12:47 1,687

    (SB Nation)(12-6-2012)

  • Johnson calls for track changes: After Chevrolet SS was unveiled on Thursday, #48-Jimmie Johnson said the next step for tweaking the competition lies with racetracks. "We all want great side-by-side racing," Johnson said. "I don't have the answer, and I'm like everyone else wondering what it is, but I do know the teams have worked so hard over the off-season the last four or five years, and we haven't seen the impact we wanted, and we need to look elsewhere. As tracks need to resurface, they need to consider more than just (that) but let's do some redesigns and start looking at the racetracks and taking those opportunities to create more racing."(USA Today)(11-30-2012)

  • Johnson favored to win 2013 title: Less than one week after #2-Brad Keselowski clinched the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, Wynn Las Vegas sports book director John Avello posted the first odds on the 2013 championship and made #48-Jimmie Johnson the 7-to-2 favorite. Keselowski may be the defending champion, but he's the listed as only the seventh-favored driver to repeat in 2013 at 11-to-1. Avello cited Penske's transition from Dodges to Fords, as well as NASCAR's new-look car that debuts next season, as the reasons for Keselowski's high odds.(Sporting News)(11-23-2012)

  • What happened to Johnson at Homestead? #48-Jimmie Johnson was leading Sunday's FordEcoBoost 400 at Homestead when he came in for a pit stop with 54 laps remaining in the race. "We were in position and putting the pressure on the 2 car like we needed to," Johnson said. That all changed in a heartbeat on Lap 213 when Johnson came in for what he hoped would be his final stop on pit road. The race lead -- and Johnson's championship hopes -- were initially dashed when a member of his pit crew failed to secure a lug nut on one of his tires after changing it. As if the subsequent pass-through penalty he had to serve for the missing lug nut wasn't damaging enough, Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure just 13 laps later that doomed his chances for good. He ended up completing just 224 of the race's 267 laps and finishing 36th -- while Keselowski secured his first Cup championship by finishing 15th. "When I returned to the track, I could smell gear oil. And my experience is you never smell your own, you smell someone else's. But clearly I was smelling mine," Johnson said.(NASCAR.com)(11-21-2012)

  • Hendrick seeking first Sprint Cup Series win at Homestead: Hendrick Motorsports has yet to win a Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway despite having five-time Champion Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and some of the top drivers in the sport since the first Sprint Cup Series visit to HMS in 1999. Adding further to this challenge is that fellow Hendrick teammates Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are also winless at Homestead-Miami Speedway. All told Hendrick Motorsports is 0-51 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon has claimed one Homestead-Miami victory but it was in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2000. Four-time NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon has yet to win on just two tracks&Kentucky and Homestead-Miami Speedway.(HMS)(11-16-2012)

  • Johnson talks about his accident and 32nd place finish at Phoenix:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson was the points leader coming into the race at Phoenix, but finished 32nd due to an accident when a right front tire blew with 77 laps to go. The team made reapirs and Johnson returned to the race 33 laps down.
    Johnson: "We still have to go to Homestead and race and anything can happen down there. But this is not the position we want to be in late in Phoenix. I feel terrible for my team and how hard these guys work; everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Lowe's and Kobalt Tools and Chevrolet. Across the board there has been a huge effort put in to try to get us a championship and I just hate for our day to turn out as it did today. But, that's racing and we'll go to Homestead and do all we can down there and see how things pan out."
    Q) WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THE RACE CAR AND WHAT WERE YOU TRYING TO DO WITH IT WHEN THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED?
    Johnson: "We were cruising along and I think we would have had a top five day or a top 10 day if things worked out at the end. And I had a slight vibration starting in the right front. I didn't really know where it was coming from but clearly now it was the right front. And as I was coming off of Turn 4, it went down and I went straight in the wall. If I were another 30 or 40 feet around the corner, I probably would just have had a flat and not hit the wall. But, where it let go, I had a direct line to the wall and knocked it down."
    Q) FATE USUALLY SMILES ON YOU, BUT IT DIDN'T SEEM TO THAT TIME
    Johnson: "No, that's the way it goes. Anything can happen in racing. I'm very proud of the year. I'm very proud of the effort my entire Lowe's team has put in. I hate to see it potentially end this way, but again, that's racing. I've been doing this a long time and I've won a few championships and I've lost a lot. Losing isn't any fun; but we'll be back next weekend and next year and do the best job we can."
    Q) WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE ON THE RACE TRACK?
    Johnson: "We blew a tire coming off Turn 4 and I hit the wall real hard and damaged the race car. I think we would have been in the top five maybe at best; maybe 7th or 8th the way the race was unfolding. It's unfortunate to have the day end like this and potentially end our season and hopes for a championship this way."
    Q) DESCRIBE NOW THE EMOTIONS AND WHAT YOU GUYS HAVE TO DO TO REGROUP TO RALLY BACK WHEN YOU GET TO MIAMI?
    Johnson: "Well, that's what this team is made of. We'll always rally and regroup and do all we can. Unfortunately we lost a lot of control or all control in the championship. We can go down there and win the race and do everything on our behalf and it still won't net us a championship. So, we'll go down and do our part and just see how things unfold. Today was proof that anything can happen in this sport and we'll see how things shake out in Miami."
    Q) ON CHAMPIONSHIP:
    Johnson: "It's way, way out of our control obviously with the problem we had today. We still have to go to Homestead and race. Anything can happen down there, but not the position we want to be in leaving Phoenix. I feel terrible for my team and how hard these guys work. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, Lowe's, KOBALT Tools, Chevrolet, across the board this has been a huge effort put into this to try to get us a championship. I just hate for our day to turn out as it did today, but that's racing. We will go to Homestead and do all we can down there and see how things pan out."(See more quotes by Johnson and other drivers at Team Chevy)(11-12-2012)

  • Rick Hendrick talks business with students: Students filled up Nelson Auditorium Wednesday night when Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, spoke to members of the N.C. State community. Though geared toward students in the University's Poole College of Management, all N.C. State community and business members could attend the event for free as part of the Wells Fargo Executive Series. The series is intended for business leaders at the national and global levels to share with students their approaches to business, as well as the challenges they face in their respective industries, according to PCOM. Hendrick's message was consistent throughout the night  that a successful business entails teamwork, taking care of all people involved in a company, and possessing the willingness to change at any given moment in time. Hendrick said he grew up on a farm unaware of what he wanted to do as an adult, but knowing that it would not be farming. Hendrick said since the age of 8 he raced cars, and learned how to fix farm equipment from his dad.(see full story at CSU Student Media)(11-10-2012)

  • Johnson's win is Chevy's 700th: Jimmie Johnson's win of the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in his #48 Lowe's Chevy scored the 700th all-time victory for Chevy in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. This unprecedented win secured an important milestone for Chevy as the most successful manufacturer in NASCAR history. In addition to reaching this 700th win for the brand, Johnson brought the Chevy Impala to Victory Lane for the 151st time in the nameplate's history. Chevrolet's rich heritage in NASCAR competition began when Fonty Flock took the checkered on March 26, 1955 at Columbia Raceway in Columbia, South Carolina in his '55 Chevy. Fifty-seven years later the 'Bowtie Brand' has continued to set the mark.(Chevy PR)(11-5-2012)

  • Johnson wins at Texas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Texas AAA 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for second consecutive win, his 5th of year and 60th career win. He took the lead from Keselowski at the start of a green white checker restart.
    #48-Jimmie Johnson is the first driver to win two races in a row from the pole since #24-Jeff Gordon won consecutive races at Phoenix and Talladega from the pole in April 2007.
    #2-Keselowski held on to finish 2nd followed by #18-Busch, #17-Kenseth, #14-Stewart, #15-Bowyer, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #78-Busch, #29-Harvick, and #20-Logano.
    #48-Johnson led the most laps to maximize his points on the day. He now has a 7 point lead over #2-Keselowski.
    There were 9 cautions for 49 yellow flag laps. There were 20 lead changes among 7 drivers. The average speed was 136.117mph.
    The estimated attendence was 146,000, down from 159,000 in the spring race and down from 151,000 last November.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Texas Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race & Points Report.
    See drivers championship points standings on the Drivers Points Standings (pdf)
    For the owner points standings, see the Owners Points Standings (pdf).(11-4-2012)

  • Lowe's Racing for Relief matching Johnson's winnings: Lowe's announced it will donate $1 million to disaster relief and rebuilding efforts in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. Lowe's will work with its national nonprofit partners to provide both immediate and long-term support to local communities across the Northeast. As part of the $1 million pledge and to help raise awareness for hurricane victims, Lowe's will match the earnings of five-time Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson from Sunday's NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway, with a minimum donation of $250,000 to the American Red Cross. Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports together will donate an additional $48,000 to the Red Cross. In addition to the Red Cross donation, Lowe's will use the remainder of its $1 million commitment to fund local projects in areas of greatest need as identified by its national nonprofit partners. Individuals can join forces with Johnson and Lowe's to help provide assistance by donating at their local Lowe's store. Donations also can be made at Lowe's American Red Cross Online Donation Site, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Since partnering with the Red Cross in 1999, Lowe's and its customers have contributed more than $23 million for disaster relief.(Lowe's PR)(11-2-2012)

  • Johnsons' book gets second printing: Chandra and Jimmie Johnson announced a second edition of "On The Road," the 208-page, hardcover book that chronicles Johnson's 2011 unsuccessful quest for an historic sixth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In addition, a partnership with online retailer Amazon has been formed and the book is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. In less than three months, more than 4,200 books have been sold through various outlets, including JimmieJohnson.com and the #48 Lowe's trackside merchandise hauler - a testament to the passion and loyalty of NASCAR fans that played a significant role in the book's sellout status. The second edition will be sold at those outlets again in addition to mass distribution through the new relationship with Amazon.com.(True Speed Communication)(10-31-2012)

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Tums Fast Relief 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his 4th win of year, 7th win at Martinsville (tying Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace for 3rd most wins at the track) and 59th career win.
    #18-Busch finished 2nd followed by #5-Kahne, #43-Almirola, #15-Bowyer, #2-Keselowski, #24-Gordon, #55-Vickers, #47-Labonte, and #16-Biffle. #43-Almirola's 4th place ties for his best career finish (Homestead 2010).
    With #48-Johnson's win and leading the most laps, he is now in the points lead by 2 over #2-Keselowski.
    There were 11 cautions for 64 yellow flag laps. There were 22 lead changes among 9 drivers. The average speed was 77.677mph.
    The estimated attendence was 60,000, down from 63,000 in the spring race and down from 62,000 last October.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Martinsville Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race & Points Report.
    See drivers championship points standings on the Drivers Points Standings (pdf)
    For the owner points standings, see the Owners Points Standings (pdf).(10-28-2012)

  • MyLowe's on the #48 at Charlotte: Jimmie Johnson will pilot the #48 MyLowe's Chevy at Charlotte. MyLowe's allows customers to view their purchase history for products bought online and in-store. They can also create a home profile, with room dimensions, to plan for future projects and calculate how much product will be needed to complete a project. All of these features can be accessed from the customer's personalized account on Lowes.com and through the Lowe's mobile app. Lowe's employees can also help customers access their MyLowe's account through the employee iPhone to provide better, more personalized customer experiences.(Lowe's Racing), see images of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(10-11-2012)

  • Johnson publishes book about 2011 Chase: Chandra and Jimmie Johnson announced the release of their self-published book, On The Road. The 208-page, hardcover book chronicles Johnson's 2011 unsuccessful quest for an historic sixth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. The book reveals lifestyle photographer Missy McLamb's unprecedented access to all aspects of the Johnsons' lives, from the frustrations of ending his record-breaking winning streak to the joys of fatherhood with then 1-year-old daughter Genevieve. NASCAR's 10-week playoff known as the Chase serves as the backdrop for this first-hand account of the emotional toll running for a championship takes on Johnson, his family and team. The book was self-published by the Johnsons and packaged for publication by designer Mark Pollard. A limited release of 2,000 copies will be available for purchase exclusively trackside at the #48 merchandise hauler starting Friday (Sept. 15) at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. A gallery showing of select prints will take place Oct. 13-20 in Charlotte, N.C. For more information, visit ontheroadstudio.com.(True Speed Communication)(9-13-2012)

  • Lowe's to donate $133,000 to Red Cross: Lowe's announced it will donate $133,966 to support American Red Cross relief efforts in response to Hurricane Isaac. As part of Lowe's Racing for Relief program, Lowe's matched the earnings of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson from Sunday's NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports together will donate an additional $48,000 to the Red Cross. The donations will help provide food, shelter, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by Hurricane Isaac. In addition, Lowe's stores throughout the United States are accepting donations to the Red Cross at every register. Since partnering with the Red Cross in 1999, Lowe's and its customers have contributed more than $23 million for disaster relief. To date, Racing for Relief has raised more than $750,000. In addition to Racing for Relief and Lowe's customer donation program, Lowe's Heroes will continue to distribute critically needed relief supplies and work alongside The First Response Team of America as it responds to Hurricane Isaac. In June, Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded a $250,000 grant to the First Response Team, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with local agencies to help save lives following natural disasters. To join Lowe's in its disaster relief efforts, make a donation to the American Red Cross at your nearest Lowe's store or at Lowe's American Red Cross Online Donation Site. Donors also can text REDCROSS to 90999 or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).(HMS)(9-5-2012)

  • Lowe's / Johnson to support Red Cross for Hurricane Isaac: In response to Hurricane Isaac, Lowe's announced today it will expand its relief efforts by teaming with five-time Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson at Sunday's NASCAR race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. As part of Lowe's Racing for Relief program, Lowe's will match the race earnings of Team 48, with a minimum donation of $100,000 to the American Red Cross. Together, Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports also will donate $48,000 toward the cause. The donations will support American Red Cross disaster relief and help provide food, shelter, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by Hurricane Isaac. Lowe's introduced Racing for Relief in 2000. To date, the program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornadoes and floods by raising more than $620,000. Since partnering with the Red Cross in 1999, Lowe's and its customers have contributed more than $23 million for disaster relief. Individuals can join forces with Johnson and Lowe's to help provide assistance. Lowe's stores throughout the United States are accepting donations to the Red Cross at every register. Donations also can be made at Lowe's American Red Cross Online Donation Site, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). In addition to Racing for Relief, Lowe's is providing the support of Lowe's Heroes employee volunteers to distribute relief supplies and work alongside The First Response Team of America as it responds to Hurricane Isaac. In June, Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation awarded a $250,000 grant to the First Response Team, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with local agencies to help save lives following natural disasters.(Lowe's Racing/HMS)(9-1-2012)

  • A Yankees Lifer in NASCAR: With 10 championships and 206 victories in 29 seasons of racing, Hendrick Motorsports is sometimes called the Yankees of NASCAR. And now that Hendrick has a Yankees lifer on its staff, it would be hard to argue the point. For those who did not notice, that was Gene Monahan standing alongside team members at the finish line as Jimmie Johnson and his #48 crew celebrated their Sprint Cup victory July 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Yes, Monahan knelt down and kissed those bricks with everyone else as part of the traditional victory celebration there. This is what Monahan, 67, had in mind when he retired as the head trainer of the Yankees last fall after 49 years with the organization. A lifelong racing fan going back to his days growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Monahan moved from his two-bedroom condominium in Hackensack, N.J., to a 3,300-square-foot house near a lake in Mooresville, N.C., last November to be close to most of the teams that compete in NASCAR. Appropriately enough, he became a consultant for Hendrick. Monahan works about 15 hours a week for Hendrick, serving as an athletic trainer for the 45 or so pit crew members employed by the race team. "Why a guy like Gene?" said Andy Papathanassiou, a Hendrick director who oversees the recruiting, development and training of pit crews. "Because as we strive to keep these crews performing at the top level of their game in the pit stop world, injury and recovery is a big part of that equation. And that's where someone like Gene, with his expertise and background and his enthusiasm for what he does, is invaluable." It was a longtime friend, Jay Frye, a former vice president and general manager of the Red Bull race team who became a consultant with Hendrick in January, who suggested Monahan to Hendrick officials. "I always felt there was a need for injury prevention and training, basically the same thing any other professional sports franchise does," Frye said. "There was always an open invitation from me to him, if he retired and moved down here, we would find something for him to do." Monahan began working with Hendrick's pit crews in April. Although he does not work with drivers, he has become friendly with Johnson, an occasional visitor at Yankee Stadium over the years. Monahan said Johnson reminded him of Derek Jeter.(New York Times)(8-24-2012)

  • NASCAR: Rear housing devices legal: NASCAR officials said mechanical devices the Hendrick Motorsports teams and other organizations in the Sprint Cup Series are using to gain a competitive advantage in the rear housing are legal -- today. "We watch it weekly because it has ramped up the last couple of months,'' series director John Darby said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "If it stays pretty level we'll probably leave it alone the rest of the year. "If there is a higher extreme somebody takes it to that could create issues we don't want to see, then we'll react to that.'' The HMS cars in May were the first this season to develop devices that allow the rear axle to turn slightly to follow the front, creating more speed particularly in the corners. "Where we're at today, right now, there is no illegal procedures going on,'' Darby said. "Obviously, there was one we found Tuesday that was questionable. But the mechanical devices, the way they're using them, there's a clear understanding of what the teams are doing.'' Darby said teams are using different methods to create a "hook and ladder fire truck effect that allows the rear axle to turn so the rear of the car follows the front.'' He said there's nothing in the current rulebook that doesn't allow that, but he didn't rule out that changing in 2013. "It's just a direct everybody has gone to maximize, optimize,'' Darby said. "Right now it's pretty level throughout the garage. If you take the most extreme to the least developed, it's not a huge difference.''(ESPN)(8-24-2012)

  • Keselowski says Hendrick teams may be bending rules UPDATE: #2-Brad Keselowski believes Penske Racing's refusal to bend the rules contributed to him not being able to challenge #48-Jimmie Johnson for the lead Sunday Michigan. Johnson was leading Keselowski with six laps remaining when his Hendrick Motorsports engine blew. #16-Greg Biffle won the race and Keselowski finished second. During the race, Keselowski made reference to Hendrick's "tricks" with their cars. Hendrick's Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third and fourth, respectively. The Hendrick cars appear to have different rear suspension setups than other cars, especially at intermediate tracks such as Michigan, Indianapolis and Pocono. "There's part and pieces on the car that are moving after inspection that makes the cars more competitive," Keselowski said after the race. "Some guys have it, some don't. There's a question as to the interpretation of the rule. Penske Racing errs on the safe side because we don't want to be the guys that get the big penalty." Keselowski said Penske will need to re-evaluate its setups. "As a group at Penske Racing, we have not felt comfortable enough to risk that name and reputation that Roger has over those parts and pieces. Others have, which is their prerogative," Keselowski said. "I'm not going to slam it. But it's living in a gray area. & We have to make a re-evaluation of that internally to decide if that's the right way to go."(Sporting News)(8-20-2012)
    UPDATE: #2-Brad Keselowski stressed Thursday night that he wasn't accusing Hendrick Motorsports of cheating with his comments last week at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski said last week that the some teams were using some "tricks" with the rear suspensions on their cars and working within a gray area of the NASCAR rulebook. He said his Penske Racing team has been reluctant to push the envelope in such areas over fear of getting caught cheating. Keselowski said he took great care not to mention Hendrick Motorsports by name last week and has spent the last week on Twitter trying to clarify any misunderstandings. Other competitors in recent weeks have alluded to an advantage Hendrick teams may have with the way they are setting up the rear of their cars. Keselowski talked to the media Thursday night during an unveiling of a retro paint scheme to honor former Penske driver Rusty Wallace's 50th career victory. Keselowski insisted that he wasn't accusing anyone of cheating. "I didn't appreciate how those words were twisted into calling out a specific team," Keselowski said. "I made it a point to not call out a specific team and I think I said in a sense, 'there is a half-dozen to a dozen cars that are running those things,' and with the exception of maybe the TV broadcast I hadn't pointed out which ones they were."(Sporting News)(8-24-2012)

  • Johnson 21 laps to 1,000: With 21 more laps led, #48-Jimmie Johnson will reach the 1,000 laps-led mark for the sixth consecutive year. Only four drivers have ever led 1,000 laps in six or more consecutive years: Richard Petty (12 straight years), Cale Yarborough (eight), Darrell Waltrip (seven) and Dale Earnhardt (seven)(Lowe's Racing)(8-24-2012)

  • White scheme back for Johnson at Bristol: Jimmie Johnson will pilot the #48 Lowe's Dover White Chevry at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson raced the scheme at Kentucky in June. The color was used by Chevrolet for one model year  1969. The same color was used by Chevrolet from 1971 to 1978 but under the name "Antique White."(Lowe's Racing), see images of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(8-23-2012)

  • Johnson a presenter at the MSHFA Induction Ceremony: The list of motorsports stars set to usher in this year's inductees into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, Wednesday, August 29, is as accomplished as the Class of 2012 itself with champion driver Jimmie Johnson and Hall of Famers Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Bobby Allison scheduled to be among the inductee presenters at the black-tie event at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit. Johnson will present AMA Supercross and Motocross legend Ricky Johnson for induction in the Motorcycle category. Although unrelated, the two were competitors and remain close friends today from their youthful California off-road racing days that launched both to stardom. Hall of Famer and NASCAR icon Allison (Class of 1992) will present for the second-consecutive year after having the honor of inducting his brother Donnie Allison in 2011. This year, Bobby Allison will enshrine fellow "Alabama Gang" member, the late Neil Bonnett, into the Hall's stock car wing. Bonnett was one of the most affable drivers in NASCAR history, earning 18 series victories during his 18-year career. Additional NASCAR legends scheduled to present include Leonard Wood, a Hall member enshrined with his brother Glen Wood in 2000 as the leaders of the famous Wood Brothers racing team and pit crew. Leonard Wood will induct the late Vic Edelbrock, Sr. in the At Large category. Edelbrock was considered one of the founders of the American hot rod movement and built a small auto repair shop into one of the world's premier parts suppliers for racers and auto hobbyists. More info at mshf.com.(8-14-2012)

  • Silver scheme for Johnson at Watkins Glen: At Watkins Glen, #48-Jimmie Johnson will be racing a special Cortez Silver paint scheme. Having already driven special Mountain Green and Dover White #48 Lowe's Chevys this year, this will be the third paint out that honors classic Chevrolet paint colors. "Cortez Silver" was used by General Motors on its Chevrolet vehicles for the 1969 and 1970 model years and was available on every model of passenger car that was built by Chevrolet during those years. In addition to Chevrolet, Buick Cadillac, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac also used this color for various models under different marketing names (Silver Mist, Platinum Silver, Palladium Silver, and Patina Silver). Check out the images above provided by of www.69pace.com to see Cortez Silver on some of these classic cars.(Lowe's Racing), see images of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(8-8-2012)

  • Johnson wins at Indianapolis: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Crown Royal presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his 3rd win of the year, 4th wins at Indianapolis [tying Jeff Gordon for the most Sprint Cup wins at Indy] and 58th career win.
    #18-Busch finished 2nd followed by #16-Biffle, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #39-Newman, $56-Truex Jr,. #2-Keselowski and #14-Stewart.
    Points leader going into the race, #17-Matt Kenseth finished 35th after being involved in a wreck on lap 133, losing his points lead to #88-Earnhardt Jr., who now leads by 14 points. It is the first time Earnhardt Jr. has led the points since after New Hampshire in September 2004.
    There were only 5 cautions for 25 yellow flag laps. There were 17 lead changes among 9 drivers. The average speed was 137.680mph.
    The estimated attendence was 125,000 down from 138,000 in 2011 and the lowest ever for a Cup race.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Indianapolis Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race Report.(7-29/30-2012)

  • Johnson Dominates Race Telecasts during 1st-half of the NASCAR Season: No driver has been mentioned more often on television, interviewed more frequently, or collected more exposure value for their sponsors than #48-Jimmie Johnson during the first half of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc.  which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 28 seasons  Johnson's sponsors as a group appeared for 13 hours, 10 minutes, 46 seconds (13:10:46) during live and replayed telecasts of the season's first 18 points races. When also factoring in verbal mentions (82) of his sponsors, $45.3 million of in-broadcast exposure value was amassed by the 43 brands monitored in association with Johnson. Despite a fifth-place ranking in driver mentions during the telecasts, Dale Earnhardt Jr. trailed Johnson only slightly in sponsor exposure value at mid-year with a total of $44.9 million.(see full charts and rankings at Joyce Julius & Associates)(7-27-2012)

  • Four NASCAR drivers in top 50 sports money earners: For the first time since SI.com began publishing the Fortunate 50 in 2004, Tiger Woods is not No. 1. He's not even No. 2. That honor goes once again to Phil Mickelson. The new No. 1 (for now) is Floyd Mayweather, who was unranked a year ago but scored two huge pay-per-view paydays to earn $85 million without a single endorsement. [SI's] findings consisted solely of salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees. NASCAR has 4 drivers on the list. #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., with a total of $28,164,690 in salary/winnings and endorsements, ranks 8th, #24-Jeff Gordon is 18th, #14-Tony Stewart is 29th, and #48-Jimmie Johnson is 33rd.(Sports Illustrated)(7-21-2012)

  • Johnson wins second quarter driver of the year award: Jimmie Johnson was named the Second Quarter Driver of the Year 2012 by the vote of an elite panel of 21 broadcasters and journalists. The five-time Sprint Cup Champion had two NASCAR points wins (Darlington and Dover) coupled with a non-points win in the All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the period running from April 22nd to July 1st. In the voting Johnson, who drives the Lowe's #48 Chevyt for Hendrick Motorsports, had six first-place ballots and totaled 81 points according to the Driver of the Year points system. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had two victories in the period (Milwaukee and Iowa) driving No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet Dallara DW-12, earned two first-place votes and tallied 71 points. Joey Logano, who raced in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series, had a Sprint Cup victory in Pocono and three Nationwide wins finishing third with one first -place vote and 51 points. Ron Capps, of the NHRA, and the World of Outlaws, Sammy Swindell, each had two first-place votes. A total of 20 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting.(DOTY)(7-18-2012)

  • Jimmie Johnson Kicks Off ESPN Sprint Cup Campaign: ESPN has re-launched its "Nothing Beats First Place" marketing campaign with NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski. The campaign promotes ESPN's coverage of the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup races of the season, beginning with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis on July 29. In the first spot, Johnson demonstrates why there is nothing more painful than losing  not even making lemonade after getting a paper cut or saving a baby porcupine from a thorn bush. Additional spots by creative agency Wieden + Kennedy New York will be revealed in the coming weeks. See the commercial at ESPN's Youtube.com.(ESPN)(7-12-2012)

  • Johnson and Kahne compete in Triathlon: #48-Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports Racing teammate #5-Kasey Kahne were dueling at Daytona Saturday night, and then competing in their first Triathlon on Sunday morning. Along with the over 300 people signed up for the race, the Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series played host to the two NASCAR stars and several of their crew members who were working on very little rest.(full story and images at abcnews4.com.(7-11-2012)

  • Special 'white' scheme for Johnson at Kentucky: Continuing this season's series of paint schemes honoring classic Chevrolets, Team Lowe's Racing and Jimmie Johnson will be sporting a white paint scheme with blue racing stripes this weekend. The #48 Lowe's "Ermine White" Chevrolet will run this Saturday in Kentucky for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400. Records indicate that "Ermine White" was used by General Motors on its Chevrolet vehicles from 1960 to 1968. It was available on every model of passenger car Chevrolets (Full-Size, Chevelle, Chevy II, Camaro, Corvette, and Corvair) built during those model years. In addition to Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Pontiac also used this same color (PPG 8259) for various models during certain years in this era, only under different marketing names.(Lowe's Racing), see an image of the car on the #48 Team Schemes page.(6-26-2012)

  • Johnson Foundation Golf Tournament Presented by Lowe's Tops $650,000: The Sixth Annual Jimmie Johnson Foundation Golf Tournament and Dinner Auction presented by Lowe's raised more than $650,000, setting a new event record. Proceeds from the tournament will be distributed to schools in need through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program. "This is an incredible event," said Johnson, who grew up in El Cajon, Calif. "I love coming back to southern California and being able to connect with our sponsors, partners and friends, while raising money to fund incredible school projects."
    Johnson and his wife Chandra hosted 120 golfers at The Grand Del Mar in San Diego for Wednesday's golf tournament, including NASCAR drivers Brian Vickers and Juan Pablo Montoya, NHRA driver Ron Capps and seven-time Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath. A dinner and live auction were held Tuesday evening featuring students from Mission Bay High School and Marston Middle School. In 2010, Mission Bay High School received a Champions Grant of nearly $40,000 to revamp their outdated computer lab and print shop. The same year, Marston Middle School received a Champions Grant of nearly $50,000 to upgrade their 53-year-old woodshop.
    In a fitting tribute to the work of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, the City of San Diego declared June 19, Jimmie Johnson Foundation Day. The tournament, which in six years has raised more than $3 million, focuses on the Champions Grants program, a partnership between the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Lowe's Toolbox for Education. The grants range from $25,000-$100,000 and are distributed to K-12 educational programs in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson's hometowns in Oklahoma and California, and where they currently reside in North Carolina. For more information, visit www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.(6-20-2012)

  • Johnson Wearing Helmet Full of Hope at Sonoma: #48-Jimmie Johnson will wear a special helmet at Sonoma. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation launched the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program in March. Fans and media members nominated their favorite charity to be featured on Johnson's helmet. Each charity also received $10,000 and an ice cream party from Blue Bunny (HMS), more infomation on the charities involved on my NASCAR Charities News & Events page.(6-21-2012)

  • Johnson wins at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the FedEx 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway for his 2nd win of the year, 7th at Dover, and his 57th career win.
    #29-Harvick finished 2nd followed by #17-Kenseth, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #15-Bowyer, #43-Almirola, #56-Truex, Jr, #20-Logano, #5-Kahne, #9-Ambrose
    Pole sitter, #55-Martin finished 14th.
    There were 7 cautions for 32 yellow flag laps and a red flag for track cleanup following the first caution. The race speed average was 122.835mph. There were 17 lead changes among 7 drivers.
    The estimated attendence was 85,000, up from 82,000 in 2011.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Dover Race Results page (pdf).
    See drivers championship points standings on the Drivers Points Standings (pdf).(6-3-2012)
    For the owner points standings, see the Owners Points Standings (pdf).(6-3-2012)

  • Madagascar featured on the #48: There may be some animals in victory lane if Jimmie Johnson is able to drive his #48 machine there Sunday at Dover International Speedway. Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman from "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" are part of a special paint scheme for the #48 Lowe's/Madagascar Chevy that Johnson will drive in celebration of the release of the third installment of the animated series. Johnson's record at the 1-mile concrete oval suggests that a visit to victory lane may not be out of the realm of possibility. He has six wins in 20 starts at the Monster Mile and leads in almost every statistical category in NASCAR's loop data. In fact, Johnson counts the track among his favorites. A winning record surely helps put the track at the top of his list.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #48 team paint schemes page.(5-31-2012)

  • Jimmie Johnson on CBS Sunday Morning: #48-Jimmie Johnson won an unprecedented five consecutive championships on the NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series before he stumbled in 2011 and missed out on a sixth straight title. But, by falling behind, he was able to dig down and put himself in position to win this year, Johnson tells CBS SUNDAY MORNING correspondent Lee Cowan. Racing last year, Johnson tells Cowan, "it seemed like work to me more than ever, and racing's never been that way. This year, I have the& the energy that I did when I was a rookie coming in." The change came after some introspection and conversations with his wife, Chandra, on how he can better balance racing and his family life, especially after the birth of their almost two-year-old daughter. "It's just a tough balance to get that working right," Johnson says. "But this year things  things work right. The balance is there." Adds Johnson, "I think I'm becoming a better dad and certainly each year, a better husband, I mean it  experience is everything. I don't think it matters if you're in the car or, you know, in life, in workspace or personal space." So far, the new attitude has paid off on the track. This season, the driver of the Lowes #48 Chevrolet has won at Darlington and picked up a victory in NASCAR's prestigious annual All-Star race. Johnson also gives Cowan the first-ever TV peek inside his Charlotte "man-cave," where he keeps his racing memorabilia. Yet, while at age 36 he's been incredibly successful, Johnson admits there are moments when he thinks of the sport's inherent dangers, especially the 2001 death of legend Dale Earnhardt, Sr. in a crash at the Daytona International Speedway. Cowan's full CBS SUNDAY MORNING interview with Johnson was broadcasted Sunday, May 27 (9:00-10:30 AM ET) the CBS Television Network and can be watched at cbsnews.com.(CBS Sports)(5-27-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports celebrates 200th win: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, team employees, families and other special guests joined together the evening of Tuesday, May 22 at The Fillmore in Charlotte, N.C., to celebrate the organization's 200th victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
    Country music superstar Brad Paisley played a private show for an audience of more than 1,100, which included past and present Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
    Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup winners who attended the event: Geoff Bodine, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Jerry Nadeau, Joe Nemechek, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, and Darrell Waltrip. Tim Richmond was represented by his sister, Sandy Welsh.
    Current Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne was in attendance, along with winning drivers from the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series: Brett Bodine, Jack Sprague and Tony Stewart.(HMS)(5-25-2012)

  • Johnson's team wins Sprint Pit Crew Challenge: Jimmie Johnson's #48 team won the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, avenging last year's loss in the finals to Denny Hamlin's #11 team. Hamlin's team was the two-time defending champions coming into the event and cruised into the finals, but lost to Johnson's team by three-tenths of a second. Johnson's six-member team changed four tires, put in gas and pushed the car 40 yards in 22.3 seconds without a penalty to earn the $80,675 first-place prize and their choice of the top pit stall in Saturday night's All-Star race. Johnson's team included gas man Brandon Harder; front tire changer Dave Collins and carrier R.J. Barnette; rear tire changer Calvin Teague and carrier Matt Tyrrell; and jack man T.J. Ford. Their crew chief was Chad Knaus.(Associated Press), see more on the 2012 Pit Crew News page.(5-17-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Reaches Historic 200th Win: Every big stage, every big moment, every crown jewel  Hendrick Motorsports owns them all. The Daytona 500? The team boasts six trophies from The Great American Race. The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Seven wins. The Coca-Cola 600? Nine. Add another storybook accolade to the list: 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories. It comes in grand fashion, in yet another of NASCAR's crown jewel races. With its 14th victory at Darlington Raceway, by Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports reached historic NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win #200, further solidifying its status as one of the greatest teams in NASCAR history.
    Hendrick Motorsports has evolved from its modest beginnings as a single-car outfit in 1984. Its current form: A four-car powerhouse that topples records on a yearly basis. Two seasons ago, Jimmie Johnson won his unprecedented fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In doing so, Hendrick Motorsports  behind owner Rick Hendrick  nabbed its 10th NASCAR Sprint Cup owners championship, breaking the all-time record previously shared with Petty Enterprises. Petty leads all teams in career race wins, with 268.
    Now, Hendrick reaches a milestone befitting its brilliant consistency. Since joining the series in 1984 as All-Star Racing (the team changed its name to Hendrick Motorsports in 1985), Hendrick has won at least one race in all but one season (1985).
    Below is a timeline of Hendrick's notable and milestone victories on its way to 200:
    1  On April 29, 1984 at Martinsville Speedway, Geoff Bodine earned Hendrick Motorsports' first victory. He led 55 laps in the event.
    4  HMS won its first Daytona 500. Geoff Bodine started on the front row (second), leading 101 laps on Feb. 16, 1986.
    10  HMS won its first Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Tim Richmond helped Hendrick reach double-digits in victories with his "crown jewel" win from the pole on Aug. 31, 1986.
    16  HMS won its first Coca-Cola 600. With 41-year-old Darrell Waltrip driving, Hendrick nabbed its first win in NASCAR's longest race on May 29, 1988.
    36  HMS won its first Brickyard 400. In the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon, then 23, won his second career race on Aug. 6, 1994.
    50  Jeff Gordon, whose 85 victories are more than any other Hendrick driver and third-most on the all-time list, won at Darlington Raceway on March 24, 1996.
    61  At the time, Gordon became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history at 25 years, six months, 12 days on Feb. 16, 1997. His record was later broken in 2011 by Trevor Bayne (20 years, one day).
    100  Gordon won another milestone race, this time at Michigan International Speedway on June 10, 2001. Gordon would go on to win his fourth series championship that season.
    150  Jimmie Johnson captured victory on March 11, 2007 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Later that season, Johnson would win his second-consecutive championship.
    196  On April 17, 2011, Jimmie Johnson edged Clint Bowyer to the finish line by a miniscule .002 seconds, matching the closest margin of victory in series history.
    198  In a race delayed two days because of inclement weather, Gordon captured historic win ##85 on Sept. 6, 2011 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to move into third on the all-time series wins list.
    Below lists the number of wins per driver, crew chief and track for Hendrick Motorsports.
    HMS Wins By Driver
    Driver Wins
    Jeff Gordon 85
    Jimmie Johnson 56
    Terry Labonte 12
    Darrell Waltrip 9
    Tim Richmond 9
    Geoff Bodine 7
    Mark Martin 5
    Ken Schrader 4
    Kyle Busch 4
    Ricky Rudd 4
    Brian Vickers 1
    Casey Mears 1
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1
    Jerry Nadeau 1
    Joe Nemechek 1
    HMS Wins By Crew Chief
    Crew Chief Wins
    Chad Knaus 54
    Ray Evernham 47
    Robbie Loomis 23
    Alan Gustafson 12
    Harry Hyde 11
    Gary DeHart 10
    Steve Letarte 10
    Jeff Hammond 9
    Waddell Wilson 4
    Darian Grubb 3
    Richard Broome 3
    Andy Graves 2
    Brian Whitesell 2
    Dennis Connor 2
    Gary Nelson 2
    Jim Long 1
    Lance McGrew 1
    Peter Sospenzo 1
    Randy Dorton 1
    Tony Eury Jr. 1
    Tony Furr 1
    HMS Wins By Track
    Driver Wins
    Martinsville 18
    Charlotte 16
    Darlington 14
    Dover 13
    Pocono 12
    Atlanta 11
    Talladega 11
    Daytona 10
    Richmond 10
    Auto Club 9
    Bristol 9
    Phoenix 9
    New Hampshire 8
    Indianapolis 7
    Watkins Glen 6
    Infineon 6
    Las Vegas 5
    Michigan 5
    Kansas 4
    North Wilkesboro 4*
    Rockingham 4*
    Riverside 3*
    Texas 3
    Chicago 2
    Nashville Fairgrounds 1*
    (* not an active Sprint Cup Series track)
    Hendrick Motorsports By The Numbers
    6  Different Hendrick car numbers with wins. The list: #24, 85 wins; #48, 56 wins; #5, 32 wins; #25, 17 wins; #17, nine wins; #88, one win.
    8  Number of seasons Hendrick won double-digit races, with the most coming in 2007 (18).
    8  Number of drivers who scored their first win with Hendrick Motorsports: Geoff Bodine, Ken Schrader, Jeff Gordon, Jerry Nadeau, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and Casey Mears.
    15  Number of different drivers who have won with Hendrick.
    18  Wins at Martinsville Speedway, Hendrick's most prolific track.
    20  Age in years of the youngest Hendrick Motorsports winner: Kyle Busch, who won on Sept. 4, 2005 at Auto Club Speedway.
    21  Number of different crew chiefs who have won with Hendrick Motorsports.
    25  Number of different tracks at which Hendrick has won.
    34  Number of wins from the pole by Hendrick Motorsports.
    37  Starting position of Jimmie Johnson in the 2003 Coca-Cola 600, the deepest in the field a Hendrick winner has started.

    50  Age in years of the oldest Hendrick Motorsports winner: Mark Martin, who won on Sept. 20, 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
    150  A Hendrick driver has scored perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 twice, both by Jimmie Johnson. The first came at Auto Club Speedway on Aug. 31, 2008; the second at Dover International Speedway on May 31, 2009.(NASCAR)(5-13-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports 200th Cup Win: With Jimmie Johnson's win Saturday night in the #48 Lowe's Kobalt Tools Chevy at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports recorded its 200th points-paying victory in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, marking a major milestone for the organization and car owner Rick Hendrick.
    STAT LEADER: When it comes to NASCAR's modern era (1972-present), Hendrick Motorsports leads all Sprint Cup teams in wins (200), top-five finishes (818), top-10s (1,352) and pole positions (181). Hendrick is NASCAR's all-time leader in poles and top-10s, while ranking behind only Petty Enterprises in Cup wins. The Petty team recorded 268 Cup victories in more than half a century of competition. Hendrick Motorsports' first season was 1984.
    MILESTONE WINS: Hendrick Motorsports' first win came April 29, 1984, at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with Geoff Bodine at the wheel. Jeff Gordon notched the team's 50th on March 24, 1996, at Darlington Raceway and its 100th on June 10, 2001, at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson scored the 150th Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports on March 11, 2007, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    FIRST-TIME WINNERS: Eight drivers recorded their first career Cup wins while driving for car owner Rick Hendrick: Bodine, Kyle Busch, Gordon, Johnson, Casey Mears, Jerry Nadeau, Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers. Gordon and Johnson have raced for Hendrick for their entire Cup careers.
    DRIVERS AND TRACKS: Since being founded in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has sent 15 Cup drivers to Victory Lane at 25 different racetracks (see full lists below). The organization has scored double-digit Cup wins at nine tracks, including a team record 18 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Hendrick has won at four inactive Cup racetracks: Nashville, Tenn., North Wilkesboro, N.C., Riverside, Calif., and Rockingham, N.C.
    WINNING WAYS: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 28 straight seasons (1986-2012), the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Bodine won Hendrick's first Daytona 500. Bodine won three races in 1984 before scoring three runner-up finishes but no wins in 1985.
    TWO LEFT: There are only two active tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where Hendrick Motorsports has yet to reach Victory Lane. Those venues are Homestead-Miami Speedway, which hosts the Sprint Cup season finale, and the newly added Kentucky Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-12-2012)

  • Johnson wins at Darlington: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Bojangles' Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway for his 1st win of the year, 3rd at Darlington, his 56th career win, and the 200th Sprint Cup Series win for car owner Rick Hendrick. He took the lead with 42 laps remaining and held the lead the rest of the way, including one green white checker finish.
    #11-Hamlin finished 2nd followed by #14-Stewart, #18-Busch, #56-Truex, Jr., #17-Kenseth, #99-Edwards, #5-Kahne, #9-Ambrose, and #20-Logano.
    There were 8 cautions for 38 yellow flag laps. The race went green for the first 171 laps. There were 22 lead changes among 8 drivers.
    The estimated attendence was 63,000, up from 61,000 last year.
    See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Darlington Race Results page (pdf) and the official rundown on the Official Race Report.(5-12-2012)

  • Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million Coming to Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest: NASCAR fans and volunteers will be able to compete alongside Hendrick Motorsports pit crews in meal packaging races on May 25 through the Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million.
    As part of its upcoming Fan Fest, Hendrick Motorsports is hosting the last stage of the Charlotte 1 Million. AARP Foundation's week-long series of volunteer-driven events will package and donate one million meals to help hungry older North Carolinians. Up to 200 volunteers will be needed to help package an expected 50,000 meals on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. Twelve lucky volunteers will win the opportunity to package meals alongside pit crew members from the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, #48 Lowe's Chevrolet and #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet as they compete in head-to-head races.
    The centerpiece of the Charlotte 1 Million will be a two-day meal packaging event at the Charlotte Convention Center on May 24-25, where volunteers will be able to see and work alongside stars including four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, host of "CBS NFL Today" James "JB" Brown, Miss Sprint Cup and others.
    With two weeks left until the event starts, the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet will race in Darlington this weekend with a paint scheme that includes the Charlotte 1 Million logo on the TV panel and rear quarter panels. The TV panel will also promote DrivetoEndHunger.org/Meals, where fans can visit to find additional information and sign up to volunteer.(AARP/Drive to End Hunger)(5-12-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest May 25th: Hendrick Motorsports will host a fan appreciation day on Friday, May 25 during Charlotte Motor Speedway race weeks. The Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will be held at the team's Concord facility and feature an array of family-friendly activities, including scheduled appearances by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Free and open to the public, the Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will run from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET.
    In addition to driver appearances, the Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will feature activities for children, interactive sponsor displays, food vendors and a stage with live music and question-and-answer sessions. The Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs and teams will be on hand for autographs and athletic demonstrations.
    Throughout the event, the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store will offer merchandise discounts and feature special displays. Fans will be invited to visit the race shops of Kahne, Gordon, Johnson and Earnhardt, who are scheduled to take questions and be available for autograph sessions.
    Autograph session wristbands will be distributed at 11 a.m. the day of the event on a first come, first served basis. A maximum number of 225 wristbands will be available for each driver (one autographed item per wristband; one wristband per person).
    Fan Fest parking will not be available on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. Free parking will be at Lot Z off Bruton Smith Boulevard in Concord, courtesy of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Shuttles will offer roundtrip transportation to Hendrick Motorsports from Lot Z beginning at 9 a.m.
    More Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest information -- including maps, parking directions, schedules, autograph session details and additional event announcements -- will be available at www.HendrickMotorsports.com/FanFest and via social media.(HMS)(5-12-2012)

  • Hendrick in longest winless streak since 2002: More than a decade has passed since Hendrick Motorsports slogged through this kind of drought. Back in 2001, Hendrick went the final eight races without a win. Then in 2002, the squad went the first nine winless. That 17-race drought ranks as the team's sixth-longest in an NSCS history that began in 1984. The seventh longest? This one. Right here, right now. Sixteen races have passed since Hendrick's last win, but one of its top tracks awaits - Darlington Raceway. Hendrick has 13 victories at The Track Too Tough To Tame, most by any owner all-time. On Hendrick's personal wins list, Darlington ranks tied for third with Dover behind only Martinsville (18) and Charlotte (16).(NASCAR)(5-9-20120)

  • Johnson named most influential athlete: From the year of the NASCAR driver to the year of the quarterback. Last year three drivers from the NASCAR circuit made [the Forbes] list of America's Most Influential Athletes, led by perennial Sprint Cup Series champ #48-Jimmie Johnson. NASCAR hasn't exactly faded. Johnson, whose talent and guy-next-door demeanor endears him to fans, as well as to marketing chiefs of brands like Chevrolet, Quaker State and Lowe's, repeats as America's most influential athlete, based on public opinion polling. But fellow drivers #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (down from #3 to #7) and #24-Jeff Gordon (off the list this year) didn't keep up, making way for newcomers like Jeremy Lin and Manny Pacquaio, and for the rise of several pro quarterbacks. This year, six of the 10 most influential athletes are NFL signal callers, with both Manning brothers now in the fold. In second place is Tim Tebow, who shot up from #10 last year after claiming the Denver Broncos' starting job and igniting "Tebowmania" across the country. Chalk it up to the dominance of pro football on television. Not many shows can match the 30 million viewers that the NFL gets for a playoff game, let alone the 100 million or so who tune in for the Super Bowl. Nielsen and E-Poll surveyed over 1,100 adults about dozens of well-known athletes to measure their likeability and whether they're considered "influential," an important quality for marketers. Candidates were limited to pro athletes who are currently active and who score at least 20% "awareness" with the general public.(Forbes)(4-25-2012)

  • #48 to run colors to honor American muscle cars: Jimmie Johnson and Team Lowe's Racing will feature the first in a series of new color combinations on the #48 Chevrolet this season as a tribute to the American muscle car. "Mountain Green" will run as the primary color in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway. Mountain Green is one of General Motors' classic color combinations from 1967. Team Lowe's Racing chose green for this weekend's race as a tribute to Earth Day which falls on raceday, Sunday, April 22. "When we were researching colors, it just made sense that we used green for this weekend," said David Sutphin, Sports Marketing Manager for Lowe's. The color "Mountain Green" was only used by General Motors on its Chevrolet vehicles for one single model year: 1967. It was available on every model of passenger car Chevrolet built that year except for the Corvette. While there are no exact records, Chevrolet estimates that 3.5% of Chevrolets were painted Mountain Green that year. In conjunction with Earth Day, Lowe's will make a donation to the 2012 Governor's Joplin Habitat Challenge. The initiative challenges Missouri's major athletic organizations to help build 35 homes in the Joplin, Mo., area, which was devastated by tornadoes nearly a year ago. Lowe's will donate a tree to every home built. Fans can look forward to more versions of the now permanent two-color paint scheme in the upcoming races.(Team Lowe's Racing), see a few images of the Kansas scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(4-19-2012)

  • Hendrick's Returns To Site 199th - And Last - Win and: Thirteen races have passed since Hendrick Motorsports last victory, and though it doesn't seem like a big number, for Hendrick it is. Its last win came at Kansas Speedway (by Jimmie Johnson), site of Sunday race. That's the longest drought Hendrick has had since the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003 when it went 15 races without a win. Coincidentally, that streak began after a Kansas win as well. Rick Hendrick has attended all 13 races since then but hasn't been able to celebrate his organization's 200th win in NASCAR's premier series. Hendrick holds more wins than any other owner at Kansas with four.(NASCAR)(4-18-2012)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports will reach and surpass its 3,000th Cup start when its teams line up for Sunday's race at Kansas. The organization, which is the first to reach the start milestone in Cup history, will leave Kansas with 3,003 career starts.(HMS)(4-19-20012)

  • Johnson Crowns 'Speeding To Read' Champions UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson will make a special trip to Clara Love Elementary School in Justin on Friday, April 13, to crown the 2011-2012 champions for Texas Motor Speedway's Speeding To Read pilot educational program. Speeding To Read LogoClara Love Elementary's 630 K-5 student body have been racing to the finish line with more than 57,000 books read school wide. The school's classrooms, split into two divisions with kindergarten through second grade and third through fifth grade, have been competing against each other to read the most books and earn the title of Speeding To Read champions.(TMS)(4-13-2012)
    UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson., the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, paid a special visit Friday to Clara Love Elementary School in neighboring Justin to crown the inaugural champions of Texas Motor Speedway's "Speeding To Read" educational program. Before an enthusiastic full-school assembly of nearly 625 students, faculty and visiting parents, Johnson arrived to a thunderous, continuous chant of J-I-M-M-I-E J-O-H-N-S-O-N in the auditorium to present the winning classrooms of the "Speeding To Read" program with their championship trophies. Johnson presented the Kindergarten-Second Grade Division championship trophy to Ms. Abrams' first-grade class, which read 10,457 books. He then presented the Third-Fifth Grade Division championship trophy to Ms. Baker's fifth-grade class, which read 913 books that were longer and more in-depth than the younger division. The 29 classrooms read a combined 80,083 books and more than 80% of the student body met or exceeded their reading goals for the year. Clara Love Elementary Principal Julie Nerby reciprocated on behalf of the school and made Johnson an honorary "Lil' Texan" and presented him with a plaque and school t-shirt. Following the assembly, Johnson visited with the winning students that also were presented with champions t-shirts and four tickets each to Saturday night's Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to watch Johnson and his fellow competitors. He signed each one of their race programs as a memento, posed for photos with the championship classrooms and conducted another Q&A with the winning students. "Speeding To Read" is an incentive-based, NASCAR-themed reading program created by Texas Motor Speedway to encourage students to read more frequently during the school year. In addition to taking in Saturday's Samsung Mobile 500, the winning classrooms also will get to visit with Scott Speed of #95 Leavine Family Racing prior to the race.(TMS)(4-14-2012)

  • Special NASCAR Unites schemes to run UPDATES & Images: as part of the NASCAR Foundation's NASCAR Unites program, a few drivers will run special paint schemes at various races including #47-Bobby Labonte, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #55-Mark Martin, #56-Martin Truex Jr. and #99-Carl Edwards at Charlotte in May;
    #2-Brad Keselowski (no image), #29-Kevin Harvick (no image) and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Charlotte in May and Daytona in July;
    #16-Greg Biffle at Michigan in June. See links to the images of the schemes on the Paint Scheme Gallery page.(4-9-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced the launch of "NASCAR Unites  An American Salute," a patriotic initiative uniting the NASCAR industry and fans this summer to celebrate America and support U.S. military families. NASCAR Nation will be covered from head to toe  and from splitter to spoiler  in red, white and blue to highlight the summer season, starting and ending at two traditionally patriotic summer NASCAR events held at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-27) and Daytona International Speedway (Independence Day Weekend, July 5-7). Additional activities related to the six-week initiative will take place between these "tent-pole" events, including retail programs and other sponsor promotions.
    To launch the initiative, the "NASCAR Unites  An American Salute" paint scheme for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was revealed today in the nation's capital for more than 30,000 children and their guests attending the 134th Annual Easter Egg Roll event at the White House.
    Among those NASCAR drivers already committed to "NASCAR Unites  An American Salute" paint schemes are Earnhardt, 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #14-Tony Stewart, #16-Greg Biffle, Danica Patrick, #2-Brad Keselowski and #99-Carl Edwards. As part of the program, NASCAR and The NASCAR Foundation will work with charities to fund initiatives that support military families. A social media promotion utilizing a #NASCARUnites hashtag will highlight track activations as well as patriotic activities from teams, broadcast partners and sponsors.(NASCAR)
    AND In the Nationwide Series, #88-Cole Whitt, will run in the Kentucky race in June and #7-Danica Patrick will run in the Nationwide race at the Daytona race in July. See images of the cars on the #7 NNS team paint schemes and #88 NNS paint schemes page.(4-9-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports retires #48 Daytona car: In case you're wondering whether Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson will bring the infamous C-post Daytona 500 car to Talladega Superspeedway next month, let me help. No. Team owner Rick Hendrick told [ESPN's David Newton] on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway the #48 car that NASCAR deemed illegal, the one that cost him 30 days of "hell'' fighting the penalties, will be laid to rest in the woods surrounding Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s property in Cleveland County, N.C. It'll be in Junior's car graveyard with the mangled #42 that Juan Pablo Montoya drove into a jet dryer to cause a two-hour delay in the Daytona 500 and more than 50 other cars Earnhardt calls "yard ornaments." So is this an admission that the car was illegal, even though chief appellate officer John Middlebrook overturned the 25-point deduction for Johnson and six-week suspensions to crew chief Knaus and car chief Ron Malec? No. Hendrick's just not willing to test the governing body and possibly create another 30 days of turmoil.(ESPN)(4-6-2012)

  • MyLowe's on the #48 at Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson will drive the #48 MyLowe's Chevyt this weekend at Martinsville. The paint scheme debuted last year at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. MyLowe's is an integrated online tool at Lowes.com that helps keep track of everything in your home. Users will never have to remember paint colors, warranty information or room dimensions again. When using the MyLowe's card, purchases will automatically upload to the user's MyLowe's site and can be customized from there.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-29-2012)

  • #48 team gets lucky: #48-Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorpsorts team were fortunate Sunday -- despite pitting under the caution for rain -- when the stoppage of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway, race left him 10th in the running order, instead of in the garage repairing a broken oil line. As the cars circled the track in the rain, Johnson's car began smoking. The driver of the #48 Chevy didn't know whether the cause was a broken oil line fitting or an oil cooler problem, but he was happy his team didn't have to make the diagnosis during the course of the race. "It was just a wild chain of events, because when I came to pit road and took four tires, I wanted it to dry up real quick," Johnson said before NASCAR called the race. "Now I'm sitting here praying for rain. So, as I'm sending the signals to the man upstairs, he's really confused about what I'm asking for the last three or four minutes."(NASCAR Wire Services)(3-26-2012)

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation launches Helmet of Hope: Jimmie Johnson kicked off the 2012 Helmet of Hope campaign today at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., by announcing Blue Bunny Ice Cream as the title sponsor of the program. The Helmet of Hope program allows fans, consumers and media members across the country to nominate their favorite charity to receive a $10,000 grant and special recognition on Johnson's race helmet. This year's Helmet of Hope campaign will run for six consecutive Sprint Cup race weekends beginning at Martinsville in April and culminating at Darlington in May. More infi and to nominate, see more info and links on the Racing Charities page.(3-26-2012)

  • Special scheme for Johnson at ACS: Jimmie Johnson will pilot a special #48 Lowe¡¦s/Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. This is the sixth consecutive year that Lowe¡¦s has provided the Jimmie Johnson Foundation with a special paint scheme to promote the foundation and its initiatives. (The foundation paint scheme was also featured on Johnson¡¦s Nationwide car at Fontana in 2006.) In conjunction with the special paint scheme, the foundation will launch the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program on Friday at Auto Club Speedway. Fans and media members will have the opportunity to nominate their favorite charity to be featured on Johnson¡¦s helmet at Infineon Raceway in June, and to receive $10,000 and an ice cream party from Blue Bunny (Lowe's Racing), see an image of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(3-21-2012)

  • Johnson on the tube Thursday: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to be a guest on The Talk Thursday. The show airs at 2:00pm/et on CBS and to be appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday, March 22, at 12midnight/et on ABC.(3-21-2012)

  • Hendrick Motorsports to make final appeal on Tuesday UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports will make its final appeal Tuesday over penalties issued for what NASCAR says were illegal C-posts on the car of five-time Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson at Daytona. A three-member appeals board already has rejected one appeal by team owner Rick Hendrick, who now takes his case to NASCAR's chief appellate officer, John Middlebrook, for a hearing Tuesday. Hendrick officials and NASCAR officials will meet with Middlebrook at the same team  a different format than the first appeal hearing, when both sides presented their cases separately.(SceneDaily)
    UPDATE: NATIONAL STOCK CAR RACING CHIEF APPELLATE OFFICER STATEMENT:
    On March 20, 2012, the Chief Appellate Officer heard and considered the appeal of the penalties resulting from the #48 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. This stemmed from an opening day inspection for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2012.
    The penalties concern Section 12-1 of the NASCAR Rule Book "Actions detrimental to stock car racing;" Section 12-4(J): "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the Event;" and Section 20-2.1(E): "If in the judgment of NASCAR Officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance, will not be permitted: Unapproved car body modifications."
    The results of the appeal hearing were as follows:
    - Rescinding the loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points (for Jeff Gordon).
    - Rescinding the loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points (for Jimmie Johnson).
    - Rescinding the six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events suspension for the Crew Chief (Chad Knaus) and Car Chief (Ron Malec), however both will remain on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
    - $100,000 fine remains in place for the Crew Chief (Chad Knaus).
    John Middlebrook  Chief Appellate Officer.(NASCAR)(3-20-2012)

  • #48 team next appeal on Tuesday: #48 Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec go before NASCAR's chief appellate officer Tuesday, trying to reverse their six-race suspensions. Knaus was also fined $100,000 and Johnson was docked 25 points because NASCAR found illegal modifications on the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in the opening inspection for the Daytona 500. A three-member appeals panel upheld the penalties this week. The hearing before John Middlebrook next week is the final step in the appeals process. Middlebrook has heard three appeals since being named NASCAR's final arbitrator in 2010, and although he did not overturn any of the rulings, he reduced a portion of the penalties in all three cases.(Associated Press)(3-17-2012)

  • National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel Statement - Penalty Upheld: On March 13, 2012, the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel heard and considered the appeal of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. The penalties concern Section 12-1 of the NASCAR Rule Book "Actions detrimental to stock car racing;" Section 12-4(J): "Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the Race Equipment used in the Event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the Event;" and Section 20-2.1(E): "If in the judgment of NASCAR Officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance, will not be permitted: Unapproved car body modifications."
    This stemmed from an opening day inspection for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2012.
    The original penalties assessed prior to the deferral were:
    - Car Owner (Jeffrey M. Gordon)  Loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner points;
    - Car Driver (Jimmie K. Johnson)  Loss of 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver points;
    - Crew Chief (Chad A. Knaus) - $100,000.00 fine. Suspended from the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events. Suspended from NASCAR until April 18, 2012. Placed on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
    - Car Chief (Ron P. Malec) - Suspended from the next six (6) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Events. Suspended from NASCAR until April 18, 2012. Placed on NASCAR probation until May 9, 2012.
    Upon hearing the testimony, carefully reviewing the facts and historically comparative penalties, the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel (John Capels, Leo Mehl, Dale Pinilis and Ed Bennett: Appellate Administrator and non-voting member) was to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer.(NASCAR)
    Hendrick Statement..appeal continues Hendrick Motorsports will request a hearing before the National Stock Car Racing chief appellate officer to continue its appeal of NASCAR sanctions related to the #48 Sprint Cup Series team. "The panel was generous with its time today, and we appreciated the opportunity to talk through our concerns," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We feel strongly about this issue and will continue to pursue it at the next level." Adjustments to #48 team personnel are not planned while the appeal is ongoing.(HMS)(3-13-2012)

  • Knaus appeal to be heard TODAY: UPDATE: Team owner Rick Hendrick and #48 crew chief Chad Knaus will get to explain next Tuesday why they think NASCAR erred in penalizing Hendrick Motorsports for the C-posts on the Daytona 500 car of Jimmie Johnson. NASCAR confirmed that the appeal will be heard Tuesday morning at its Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. A three-member panel will determine whether NASCAR officials were justified in suspending Knaus and car chief Ron Malec for six weeks as well as penalizing five-time Cup champion Johnson 25 points and fining Knaus $100,000. Both Hendrick and Knaus have said they believe templates should have been put on the car before it was confiscated Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. While teams often aren't successful on appeal, Hendrick has won one appeal of a suspension of Knaus in 2005. Knaus has been suspended three other times in his career.(Sporting News)(2-8-2012)
    UPDATE: This is the scene of the National Stock Car Racing Commission. There are 45 members, but they rotate through for hearings. Two members and the chairman, who doesn't vote, hear each case. They will be listening to the Hendrick Motorsports appeal of the hefty penalty given to Jimmie Johnson's team for violations discovered last month during initial inspection for the Daytona 500. Team owner Rick Hendrick doesn't believe the six-race suspensions that NASCAR handed to crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec -- as well as the 25-point penalty given to Johnson -- are fair. He'll argue that the governing body confiscated the C-posts deemed illegal before they went through tech. He'll argue that the same car with the same C-posts -- pillars that come down from the roof to the rear quarter panel -- passed NASCAR's inspection 16 times previously. Odds are, he'll lose.
    Not necessarily because he doesn't have a good case, but because the commission seldom overturns decisions. When Richard Childress Racing appealed Clint Bowyer's 150-point penalty in the fall of 2010, the commission had upheld 88 of 132 decisions between the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series, reduced 42 and increased two. Most of the reductions were in the lower series. The last time a Cup penalty was reduced was in 2008 with Robby Gordon's team. The last time a Sprint Cup penalty was completely overturned came in 2005, when insufficient evidence was found that Michael Waltrip made an inappropriate gesture during a television broadcast.(ESPN)(3-13-2012)

  • Lowe's Racing for Relief at Las Vegas: In response to the deadly outbreak of tornadoes across the central and southern United States, Lowe's announced it will expand its relief efforts by teaming with #48-Jimmie Johnson on Sunday at the Kobalt Tools 400 in Las Vegas. As part of Lowe's Racing for Relief program, Lowe's will match the race earnings of Team 48 on Sunday, with a minimum donation of $100,000 to the American Red Cross. Together, Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports also will donate $48,000 toward the cause. The donation will support American Red Cross Disaster Relief and provide food, shelter, emotional support and other relief to thousands affected by tornadoes that devastated communities in a dozen states. Lowe's introduced Racing for Relief in 2000. To date, the program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornadoes and floods by raising more than $340,000. Together with customers, Lowe's has contributed more than $22 million to the Red Cross since 1999. To join Lowe's in its disaster relief efforts, make a donation to the American Red Cross at Lowes.comRedCross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).(Lowes PR)(3-9-2012)

  • Knaus talks about penalty:
    WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THE PENALTY? "Obviously, I'm deeply saddened of course. We didn't expect this. It's not the way that we wanted to start off the season. It is good to have the support of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports (HMS). We will go after this thing, hopefully get it resolved and beaten and go back to business. Right now we are focused on getting through Phoenix and trying to win this championship this year."
    WHEN YOU SAID YOU DIDN'T EXPECT IT, DID YOU MEAN YOU DIDN'T EXPECT THE SUSPENSION OR YOU JUST DIDN'T EXPECT TO BE IN THIS POSITION A FEW WEEKS AGO? "Really didn't expect any of it, to be quite honest with you. We do everything we can to build the best race cars we possibly can to bring to the race track. That is what we do. Unfortunately, they didn't like something and we have to address that. It definitely was not foreseen."
    HOW DID NASCAR DETERMINE IT WAS ILLEGAL? "It was all visual. The templates were never actually put on the car. It was a visual inspection at that point. We never even got the opportunity to actually present that under templates. It is unfortunate, there is a bit of subjectiveness to it and that is why we are going through the appeal."
    WITH A PENALTY THIS HEFTY, DON'T YOU THINK A TEAM AND OR AN INDIVIDUAL SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT FOR THE THING TO BE MEASURED? "That will definitely come up during the appeal. We will just have to talk about it at that point. NASCAR does a good job; they have a good set-up structure and a good set of standards that are in black and white, some areas that are not."
    THIS CAR HAD BEEN THROUGH INSPECTION BEFORE WITH THE SAME PIECE: "Multiple times."(Chevy PR)(3-2-2012)

  • Kobalt scheme for Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson debuts the new Kobalt Tools paint scheme at Phoenix. This is the first time the scheme has run this year. The #48 Chevy featured the black-and-white-striped combination on Johnson's car at Phoenix last November. Lowe's elected to make it the primary scheme for this year's Kobalt Tools races.(Hendrick PR), see an image of the car on the #48 team paint schemes page.(3-1-2012)

  • NASCAR suspends Knaus for six weeks; Hendrick to appeal: NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the #48 team in the Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions found on Feb. 17 during opening day inspection for the Daytona 500. The #48 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20 of the rule book or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20-2.1E (if in the judgment of NASCAR officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance will not be permitted -- unapproved car body modifications). As a result, crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec have been suspended from the next six Sprint Cup Series championship events, suspended from NASCAR until April 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until May 9. Additionally, Knaus has been fined $100,000. Driver Jimmie Johnson and car owner Jeff Gordon have been penalized with the loss of 25 driver and 25 owner points, respectively.(NASCAR)
    AND Hendrick Motorsports will appeal sanctions announced by NASCAR related to the #48 Sprint Cup Series team. "Our organization respects NASCAR and the way the sanctioning body governs our sport," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "In this case, though, the system broke down, and we will voice our concerns through the appeal process." Adjustments to #48 team personnel are not planned while the appeal is ongoing.(Hendrick Motorsports)(2-29-2012)

  • Johnson talks about Daytona 500 wreck: UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson  Sidelined in multi-car crash on lap 2 of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Monday, February 27, 2012, his comments from a Chevy PR:
    LOOKED LIKE A HARD HIT. FIRST ARE YOU OK? WHAT HAPPENED?
    Johnson: "Yes, I'm ok. That side hit was hard. We were all just trying to make our lane work. A lot of energy in the lane. I was kind of pushing the No. 78 (Regan Smith) a little bit. I could feel some help from behind. Just turned me around. Sent me down to the inside lane and back up to the outside lane. When I was l sitting in the middle of the race track, I knew at some point someone was going to come along unfortunately. David Ragan had nowhere to go. I unfortunately got drilled by him pretty hard. I'm just really, really bummed to start the season this way. For all the hard work that has gone into getting this Lowe's Chevrolet ready for tonight; we didn't get to complete two-and-a-half miles of green flag racing. So, I'm pretty bummed."
    ARE YOU OK? "I'm ok. I'm just really bummed-out for this whole Lowe's team. To work as hard as everyone did at Hendrick Motorsports to get this Lowe's Chevrolet and to have it barely complete two-and-a-half miles of green flag racing is pretty sad. Disappointed, but nothing I can do about it now. We'll just go on and go to Phoenix and set our marks on winning that race."
    DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT HAPPENED? "We were all just getting up to speed and I had some help from behind that got me out of control. From there on I was just spinning."(Chevy PR)(2-28-2012)
    UPDATE: Tuesday (Feb. 28) evening's edition of the NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED wrapped up a wild Daytona 500 with Elliott Sadler, driver of the #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevy, who re-capped his incident with five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, Jimmie Johnson. He spoke with host Danielle Trotta about what happened. "I just kind of got into the back of Jimmie, it was 100-percent my fault," said Sadler, describing the incident that started as the field had just entered the race's second lap. "It got other cars involved like you see in a lot of the restrictor plate races. We were coming into the outside lane, through the tri-oval, the #78 (Regan Smith) and the #48 (Jimmie Johnson) kind of get bunched up a little bit. They came down and its 100-percent my fault in getting into the back of Jimmie. We were kind of bogged down, everyone was side-by-side and I didn't check up in time, and I got into the left-rear quarter (panel) of Jimmie. It was just a little bit, but that is usually all it takes at these types of speeds. It's a bad way to get started."(SPEED)(2-29-2012)

  • Hendrick to appeal if NASCAR penalized #48 / Knaus: Team Owner Rick Hendrick [#'s 5,24,48,88] spoke with USA Today the inspection failure of Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevy last week at Daytona [among other things]:
    Q: Are you planning to appeal if NASCAR penalizes the No. 48?
    A: Yes. I think NASCAR does a good job in the garage area, and sometimes you agree and sometime you don't. I'm gathering all the facts on our end about when the car raced and who worked on it. We have really good documentation in our shop for every hour spent on a car and who does what with the mill and paint work. I've talked to the guys who do that work in the shop. I feel good about our position, but I have to sit down and go through it and present our case and go from there.
    Q: You believe the car was legal?
    A: Yes. It ran every restrictor-plate race we raced last year and went to the R&D Center. So, it's only been painted since then. It's been seen an awful lot (by NASCAR). So I need to get down to why it was wrong this time and (why) it's OK the other times.
    Q: Did crew chief Chad Knaus tell you there's nothing different about the car?
    A: The guys who do the body work have told me that. Chad doesn't do that work. I talked to Chad, but I talked to the other guys, too. They've stated they absolutely didn't touch that area since it was built before the 2011 Daytona 500.(see full Q&A at the USA Today)(2-23-2012)

  • NASCAR confiscates parts from #48 car UPDATES: Crew chief Chad Knaus and other members of five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson's Daytona 500 team face possible suspensions after NASCAR said it found modifications on the rear quarter panel of Johnson's #48 Chevy. The C-posts -- pillars that come down from the roof to the quarter panel -- were confiscated by NASCAR on Friday after going through an initial inspection for the 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said the changes were a major violation of NASCAR's policy banning alterations to the series' template. "Suspensions are not out of the realm of possibility," Darby said.
    But Darby also said that it's unlikely team members will be banned from the race, because the apparent violation was found so early. "The team will be allowed to fix the car,'' Darby said. Darby said penalties could come as early as next week, but NASCAR spokesperson Kerry Tharp said sanctions are unlikely until after the February 26 race. "They found some things they didn't like and they asked us to remove them,'' Knaus said Friday. "We'll get the car fixed up and ready to qualify.'' Asked if he knew there was a chance the car was out of compliance before arriving at Daytona, Knaus said, "I haven't had a chance to take a good look at it yet. I know they just asked us to remove the parts, so we did. We've got to dig into it. It's been a hectic day.''
    Ken Howes, Hendrick Motorsports' vice president for competition, said he expects the rebuilt car will be ready for practice on Saturday and qualifying on Sunday. "A helluva way to start the 2012 season,'' he said. Asked if this was an intentional attempt by the #48 team to bend the rules, Howes said, "That's a difficult way to put it. You work within the templates the best way you think. Obviously, you're trying to do a better job than the next guy. NASCAR said it wasn't right, so it's not right. We don't have an argument with that.'' Howes said manipulating the C-post creates an aerodynamic advantage, and that individual teams are allowed to work in that area. The other three Hendrick Motorsports cars did not fail inspection.(ESPN)(2-17-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will likely penalize the crew chief for five-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson for infractions found during Daytona 500 inspection. NASCAR president Mike Helton said Saturday its a "high likelihood" crew chief Chad Knaus will be penalized. But, Helton indicated punishment would not be doled out until after the Feb. 26 season-opening Daytona 500 race. Friday's incident "fits in the category of prerace inspection issues that we've had in the past," Helton said Saturday morning. "It will warrant a reaction from us more so than what you've seen already, . more than what we've done so far," he added.(Associated Press)
    Why is Knaus still here? The question repeated most often on Saturday was, "Why wasn't crew chief Chad Knaus ejected from the track and suspended immediately, as he was in 2006?" The difference was that, in 2006, Knaus was busted for unapproved changes to the rear window after qualifying, not before. NASCAR president Mike Helton said the infractions will be addressed after the Daytona 500. In the interim, Knaus and the #48 team won't receive any more scrutiny than any other team. "Our level of scrutiny is high on everybody every time," Helton said. "So there's no way to get more scrutiny."(NASCAR WIre Service)
    Hendrick comments: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said before Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout that the car is the same one that Johnson ran in all four restrictor plate races last season, including the Daytona 500, and the roof had not been altered. He added that the car went to NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for inspection and was returned without any notification of being outside the lines. "That car, we've run it four times,'' Hendrick said. "It was built for this place and they never touched the roof, and it's been to the Tech Center after they won Talladega (in the spring). All that's been done is paint it, so I don't get it.'' Hendrick acknowledged that this is the same car Knaus was caught on film prior to the October Talladega race telling Johnson to damage the rear end if he won. Johnson's car was taken back to the R&D center after that race and the remaining races in 2011.(ESPN)(2-19-2012)

  • Knaus misses testing for vacation: Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, coming off the worst season of his career, was without his crew chief when testing opened Thursday for the Daytona 500. But don't read anything into the absence of Chad Knaus, Johnson said. Knaus was on a Hendrick Motorsports-approved vacation to South Africa that most who know the tightly wound crew chief believe will help him over the course of NASCAR's grueling 11-month schedule. "Chad had such a great opportunity to go on a great vacation and really do something for himself," Johnson said. "When he asked me what my opinion was, I was like, 'Buddy, if upper management clears it, I think you have to do it.' I took that vacation and it was good for me. He needs that. So I am real happy he is taking the time." Johnson guessed it had been almost a decade since Knaus took his last real vacation -- in part because the #48 team ran poorly after Knaus returned from a little rest and relaxation.(Associated Press/ESPN)(1-12-2012)

  • Frye ends up at Hendrick UPDATE: Hearing that former Red Bull Racing General Manager and Vice President Jay Frye is now working at Hendrick Motorsports as a consultant in a variety of roles.(1-4-2012)
    UPDATE: Jay Frye and Rick Hendrick have been friends since the 1980s, when Frye was a rep for first Budweiser and then Valvoline, and Hendrick was an ambitious car dealer trying to gain a toehold in NASCAR. So when Red Bull Racing closed its doors at the end of 2011, it made sense that Frye, the former team's vice president and general manager, would turn to Hendrick. On Wednesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Frye will work with the team as a consultant for 2012, focusing on business development. "Jay is one of the most well-connected people in the sport, and he's going to be a great resource to help develop strong partnerships," said Marshall Carlson, president of Hendrick Motorsports. "We've known him for a long time, so there's an immense level of trust and respect between us. The opportunity to work with Jay again and have the benefit of his experience is something we're excited about." In NASCAR parlance, "business development" means helping the team find sponsorship and build relationship with sponsors. Frye's long friendship with Hendrick, as well as his familiarity with former Red Bull driver Kasey Kahne should benefit the team hugely in that department.(SPEED)(1-5-2012)

  • Evernham settles lawsuit with Gillett: Ray Evernham has settled his lawsuit against George Gillett over money owed from the 2007 sale of his Sprint Cup organization. Evernham, the former owner of Evernham Motorsports and a three-time Cup champion as the crew chief for Jeff Gordon at Hendrick Motorsports, was seeking $19 million from Gillett. The case was settled outside of court and dismissed last week. No details of the settlement were released.(ESPN)(1-3-2012)

2011 News

  • 2011 Sponsor Schedule:
    Bud Shootout, 2/12, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Daytona, 2/20, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Phoenix, 2/27, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Las Vegas, 3/6, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Bristol, 3/20, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Auto Club, 3/27, Lowe's
    Martinsville, 4/3, Lowe's
    Texas, 4/9, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Talladega, 4/17, Lowe's
    Richmond, 4/30, Lowe's
    Darlington, 5/7, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Dover, 5/15, Lowe's
    All-Star Race, 5/21, Lowe's in the #5 car?
    Charlotte, 5/29, TBD
    Kansas, 6/5, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Pocono, 6/12, Lowe's
    Michigan, 6/19, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Infineon, 6/26, Lowe's
    Daytona, 7/2, TBD
    Kentucky, 7/9, Lowe's
    New Hampshire, 7/17, Lowe's
    Indianapolis, 7/31, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Pocono, 8/7, Lowe's
    Watkins Glen. 8/14, Lowe's
    Michigan, 8/21, Lowe's
    Bristol, 8/27, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Atlanta, 9/4, Lowe's
    Richmond, 9/10, Lowe's
    Chicago, 9/18, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    New Hampshire, 9/25, Lowe's
    Dover, 10/2, Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Kansas, 10/9, Lowe's
    Charlotte, 10/15, Lowe's / Chevy's 100th
    Talladega, 10/23, MyLowes
    Martinsville, 10/30, MyLowes
    Texas, 11/6, MyLowes
    Phoenix, 11/13, 2012 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools
    Homestead, 11/20, Lowe's

  • "The Loopies": The Fifth Annual Best-Of Loop Data For 2011 #6: For the fifth consecutive season, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications combed through the statistics to hand out a number of awards celebrating the best  and worst  Loop Data performances of 2011. The sixth award goes to:
    "Lifetime Achievement" Award: As this is the milestone Fifth Annual Loopies, we felt it necessary to commemorate the occasion with a special award: The Stefan Kretschmann Lifetime Achievement Award. Kretschmann, the godfather of Loop Data, works for our partners at Stats Inc. in Chicago, Ill. He's the man behind the Loop Data, originating each statistic and inventing the involved formula for Driver Rating. It's only fitting this award be named after him. And the winner of the first ever Stefan Kretschmann Lifetime Achievement Award Loopie is & Jimmie Johnson. Johnson's championship reign ended in 2011, but his assault of the stats page continues. NASCAR started collecting Loop Data in 2005. Since then, Johnson has compiled a Loop Data-lifetime Driver Rating of 104.8, the only driver eclipsing the 100.0 barrier. Second-best is Jeff Gordon, with a 98.3.(NASCAR)(12-22-2011)

  • Rick Hendrick talks to media: Rick Hendrick held a teleconference Monday and discussed a wide variety of issues:
    About Darian Grubb:
    A: I have had discussions with Darian. When he left (at the end of 2008), we told him we'd always have a place for him if he wanted to come back. Darian is a very smart guy. I know he's entertaining a lot of offers out there. We don't have a crew chief role. We have an engineering role that we think Darian would be really good in. But at the end of the day it's got to be what Darian wants to do. I know he is close to all of our people and our guys are close to him. We'd love to have him back in the organization, but I quite honestly don't know where he's going to end up. We would like to have him, but whether or not he's going to decide he wants to be in the role we've offered him or he wants to do something somewhere else, I'm just not sure.
    Crew chiefs for 2012:
    A: Yes. [All teams will have the] Same crew chief-driver combination.
    The plane wreck:
    A: We were going into Key West (Fla.), and some kind of failure with the brakes, and we went off the end of the runway. Of course, you don't remember everything exactly how it happened, but somehow, my seat belt was on, and something came lose in the seat itself. I hit the bulkhead and my wife. I think my chest and head went into the seat in front of me, and that's where I got my (broken) ribs and had a concussion. Broke four ribs and my clavicle. We were very fortunate. We were glad that it wasn't any worse than it was. We're healing up, and we don't have any of the answers yet on exactly what happened there, but a lot of smart people are involved, so we'll get that figured out here pretty soon, I hope.(Chevy PR)(11-29-2011)

  • Grubb comments on his future with Stewart-Haas Racing UPDATE: on Tuesday, November 15th, the final guest on the weekly NASCAR Teleconference was Darian Grubb, the crew chief of the #14 Office Depot Mobil 1 Chevy driven by Tony Stewart. The 14 team has a 3-point deficit in the standings and is entering this weekend as one of the closest points battles in NASCAR history. Besides much talk about the Chase, a couple questions were asked about Grubb's future with Stewart Haas Racing after this season.
    Q. There's been so much speculation about the team. You guys have been without a competition director for half of the year. Are you going to be back with Stewart-Haas next year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: We'll leave that to after Sunday and figure out what's going to happen there. Our goal is to win the championship and we'll decide everything else after that.
    Q. Along those same lines, has it been difficult at all to work through the last few months with all the rumors and uncertainty and not knowing necessarily who is going to be in what position where next year?
    DARIAN GRUBB: Definitely not. We've still got the same goals we've always had that we want to go out and win the championship. Winning races is the way to do that. What we've done the last nine weeks, we've shown that we have the capability to do that. We're almost 50-50 on that, so hopefully we can continue that streak and get it to be a 50% deal and win at Homestead.(in part from the NASCAR Teleconference Transcript)(11-15-2011)
    UPDATE: Grubb is expected to be promoted to Director of Competition at Stewart Haas Racing next season, replaced atop the pit box by current [#22-Kurt Busch] Penske Racing crew chief Steve Addington. Penske Racing holds an option year on Addington's contract, however, and sources say team owner Roger Penske has not yet agreed to grant him his release (Sirius Speedway).
    AND another scenario....am hearing Grubb could be headed back to Hendrick Motorsports either taking over the crew chief duties for #48-Jimmie Johnson with current crew chief Chad Knaus moving up to Director of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports or Grubb taking that spot.(11-17-2011)

  • Johnson's comments on being out of the championship hunt:
    Q) YOU HAVE BEEN MATHEMATICALLY ELIMINATED FROM THE DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT YOU ACCOMPLISHED THIS YEAR?
    JImmie Johnson: "Yeah, I'm definitely disappointed that we won't be able to go to Homestead and race for our sixth (consecutive driver's championship) but that's motorsports. It's a very tough business. What we did over the last five years was absolutely spectacular and I've just got to thank Lowe's. I've got to thank Hendrick Motorsports, Chad Knaus (crew chief), and this whole race team for giving me everything they've had these 10 years. Even though we're not in position to win the championship now, we're going to go to Homestead and try to have our best race down there that we can and finish as high as we can in the points." (Team Lowe's Racing)(11-16-2011)

  • New look for the #48 in 2012 UPDATE: looks like #48-Jimmie Johnson will have a new blue paint scheme on the #48 Lowe's Chevy in 2012, which racing stripes.(11-3-2011)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson will drive the newly designed 2012 Kobalt Tools paint scheme in this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500 on the #48 Chevy at Phoenix International Raceway (Lowe's Racing), see images of the 2012 Lowe's and Kobalt Tools schemes on my 2012 #48 Team Schemes page.(11-9-2011)

  • Rick Hendrick released from hospital: According to Hendrick Motorsports, "Happy to report Mr. Hendrick is now resting at home. He was released from the hospital [Monday] afternoon.(11-8-2011)

  • NTSB issues preliminary report on Hendrick plane crash: The plane carrying Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda, crossed a 600-foot overrun, impacted the far side of a ditch, crossed a dirt road, cleared another ditch and came to a stop 820 feet from the departure end of the runway when the brakes failed Monday in Key West, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB preliminary report, released Thursday evening, said the Gulfstream G150, manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries, sustained "substantial damage" after it lost its brakes and the nose landing gear collapsed. The flight originated in Stuart, Fla., at 7 p.m. and the accident happened at 7:40 p.m. The NTSB will continue its investigation and considers all of its current findings "preliminary" until its investigation is complete.(Scene Daily)(10-5-2011)

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation awards grants: In their first official foundation visit to Oklahoma, reigning five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and wife, Chandra, a Muskogee native, announced the recipients of more than $520,000 in education grants. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants are awarded to deserving K-12 public schools in the Johnsons' hometowns and where they currently reside. The Johnsons were joined by Chris Waller, Market Director, from Lowe's for the presentation. The Johnsons announced the recipients of the donations totaling $521,198 at a special ceremony at Sadler Arts Academy in Muskogee. Sadler Arts was one of four Muskogee programs awarded a grant. The school received $30,257.28 to extend their outdoor classroom (funded by a 2009 Champions Grant) by adding a fitness walk with experiential learning stations. For complete details on the 2011 projects, visit jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.(Jimmie Johnson Foundation)(11-3-2011)

  • New look for the #48 in 2012: looks like #48-Jimmie Johnson will have a new blue paint scheme on the #48 Lowe's Chevy in 2012, which racing stripes, sere an image of the scheme on my 2012 #48 Team Schemes page.(11-3-2011)

  • Rick Hendrick's plane runs off runway: UPDATES: Early Monday evening, a Gulfstream G150 aircraft operated by Hendrick Motorsports ran off the runway after experiencing braking issues upon landing at Key West International Airport in Key West, Fla. There were no serious injuries to any of the four people on board, including two pilots, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda Hendrick. All four were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Hendrick Motorsports is gathering additional information on the incident.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-31-2011)
    UPDATE: A private G150 Gulfstream jet containing four people missed the runway while landing at Key West International Airport and ran into the salt ponds at 7:45 p.m. No one was seriously injured. The airplane was co-owned by Jimmie Johnson Racing II Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports LLC of Charlotte, N.C. Some officials said it did not appear that the NASCAR driver was on board, but that has not been officially confirmed. Everyone was taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center for evaluation. Only two complained of injuries: one for neck pain and one for shortness of breath/heart palpitations, according to Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin. There were two pilots and two passengers, but it was unclear who was injured. The airport was closed for about an hour, but has reopened. Some fuel spilled, but it was unknown how much. (Key West News)
    AND Jenna Fryer, of the Associated Press, posted a photo from the sheriff's office.(10-31-2011)
    UPDATE 2: A small jet carrying the owner of NASCAR's top team and his wife lost its brakes and crash landed at a Key West, Fla., airport Monday evening, and the couple suffered minor injuries, officials said. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the pilot and co-pilot radioed that the plane had no brakes upon landing in Key West. Horton said the plane ran off the runway, and then 100 feet beyond a 600-foot safety area that was finished in May. "If we hadn't done that, it likely would have been a different story," Horton said of the safety area that is meant as a runway overrun space. The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.(Associated Press/ESPN)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 3: All four people on board - Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, his wife, Linda Hendrick, and two Hendrick Motorsports pilots - were released from Lower Keys Medical Center early Tuesday morning. Rick Hendrick was diagnosed with a broken rib and a broken clavicle, and Linda Hendrick was treated for minor cuts and bruises. Both pilots were evaluated and released without injury. All four have safely returned to North Carolina. The aircraft, which is joint-owned by Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson Racing, remains in Key West.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-1-2011)
    UPDATE 4: Upon returning home to Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Mr. Hendrick was further evaluated as a precautionary measure by his personal physician. He was diagnosed with four broken ribs (previously stated as one broken rib), a broken clavicle (as previously stated) and bruising. No other injuries have been identified. Due to discomfort from the injuries, Mr. Hendrick was admitted Tuesday afternoon to a medical facility in the Charlotte area, where doctors believe the pain can most effectively be managed. He is in good spirits and is expected to be released by the end of the week.
    Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports: "Linda and I have been overwhelmed by all the words of encouragement and genuine concern we've received. We are blessed to have such a wonderful support system, and our family is extremely grateful for the thoughts and prayers. We extend our sincere thanks to everyone. I'm so proud of how our pilots handled the situation, and we're extremely appreciative of the folks in Key West who went above and beyond to help us. It's good to be back in Charlotte as we regroup and focus on our family."(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-2-2011)

  • Hendrick says Knaus was nervous about inspection: Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick believes crew chief Chad Knaus was just being cautious when he made the now-infamous remark to driver Jimmie Johnson that he should intentionally damage his car if he won the race at Talladega Superspeedway last week. "It's one of those deals where I wish he hadn't said it because I think he's just nervous about the inspection process being so tight," Hendrick said. "But at the end of the day, I looked at where we were at the end of the race and I thought, 'If we had an advantage, it was a piss-poor showing. I look at that as one of those things where you're mic'd all the time and you're just making a comment. I'm not even sure he knew what he was doing."(Scene Daily)(10-31-2011)

  • Knaus told Johnson to wreck car if he won at Talladega: UPDATES: Chad Knaus told driver Jimmie Johnson to intentionally damage the back end of his race car if the #48 team won Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway, the crew chief acknowledged Wednesday. Knaus admitted giving the five-time NASCAR champion the pre-race instructions in order to "cover our bases" in case 500 miles of bump-drafting knocked the car beyond NASCAR's strict tolerances. Officials likely would have accepted the damage as an excuse if the # 48 car had not fit NASCAR's templates in post-race inspection. The conversation between Knaus and Johnson occurred when the crew chief leaned inside the #48 car before the race to give Johnson some final words of encouragement. Because Johnson's in-car camera was live on NASCAR.com's RaceBuddy application, the chat was broadcast to anyone watching the feed at the time.
    "If we win this race, you have to crack the back of the car," Knaus could be heard telling Johnson on the recording. "Got it?"
    "Really?" Johnson replied, sounding surprised.
    "Yes," Knaus said. "Got it? You don't have to have to hit it hard, you don't have to destroy it. But you've gotta do a donut and you've gotta hit the back end, or somebody's gotta hit you in the ass-end or something. OK?"
    After Johnson responds with apparent silence (he can't be heard saying anything else), Knaus added, "You'll be alright. Can't take any chances."
    When asked Wednesday whether the conversation indicated Knaus was trying something fishy on the back of the car, the crew chief replied, "I don't think that's a fair assessment. To be honest with you, here's the deal - racing at Talladega is tough, and I think everybody understands that," Knaus said in a phone interview. "You run 500 miles at 200 miles per hour, and you're bump-drafting and you're beating on one another, and it's real easy for these cars to get outside of tolerance. It's a tight tolerance that we're held in. It doesn't take much to be a few thousands (of an inch) off and have NASCAR raise an eyebrow. Just being proactive, I just told Jimmie, 'Look, man - we've just got to make sure there's a tire mark or some type of visible damage.' Just because cars do move when you race them like that."(SB Nation)(10-26-2001)
    UPDATE: NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp has issued a statement in response to the story: "We became aware of this piece of audio this morning and certainly want to get all the facts before making an opinion and reaching any conclusions. We'll visit with the parties and pull all the facts together best we can. While Talladega is done and the #48 was not the winning or random car, we certainly have an interest in getting the facts straight on behalf of the balance of the competitors." Though officials might be steamed at Knaus, it might be difficult for NASCAR to issue a penalty in this situation. While Knaus may have intended for Johnson to wreck the back of the car had the 48 team won the race, nothing ever actually happened. NASCAR will likely tell Knaus it's not happy with his intentions, however.(SB Nation)(10-27-2011)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR met with Chad Knaus Friday morning and Martinsville and then released the following statement: "We had the opportunity to visit with Chad and Jimmie this morning in Martinsville. As the sport's governing body we were doing our due diligence to look into this and gain some insight into the comments Chad made before the race at Talladega. We have a responsibility to the rest of the garage area to ensure that everyone is competing on a level playing field with the inspection processes we have in place. The 48 organization knows that from this occurrence that their car is likely to be a regular customer at the R&D Center for post race inspection the balance of this season."(10-28-2011)
    AND: Knaus said Friday's meeting at Martinsville Speedway with NASCAR president Mike Helton, director of competition Robin Pemberton and Spring Cup series director John Darby was held simply to clear the air. "I have a very clear understanding of what they expect and the way they expect us to conduct ourselves," Knaus told ESPN.com immediately after the meeting. "I meant no disrespect to NASCAR or any of the competitors by no means." NASCAR officials said no punishment would result from Knaus' comments and that the purpose of their discussion with him was to gather information.(ESPN)(10-28-2011)

  • Can Johnson still win the championship? No, it doesn't look good. Five-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion #48-Jimmie Johnson now sits 50 points out of the lead after his second consecutive finish outside the top 20. Those 50 points translate to roughly 208 points under the old points system. Since 1975, the inception of the current position-based points format, the largest deficit overcome with four races remaining was 144 points by Alan Kulwicki in 1992. In the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup era (2004-present), the largest deficit overcome with four races left was 53 points, by Johnson in 2007. That roughly equates to 13 points in the new points system.(NASCAR), currently no driver is within 13 points of leader #99-Carl Edwards. See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(10-28-2011)

  • Johnson's team changes tire: SPEED's Hermie Sadler reported on NASCAR Raceday that #48-Jimmie Johnson's crew found the #48 Chevy had a flat right front tire when it entered the garage this morning at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR allowed the team to put a new tire on the car without a penalty. Johnson is scheduled to start 2nd in the Good Sam Club 500 today. The top-10 starters must start the race on the tires they qualified on unless NASCAR allows a change. So Johnson will have three scuffed tires and the one brand new sticker tire to start the race.(10-23-2011)

  • It's Not Over 'Til It's Over, Especially With Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson, thanks to the fifth-worst finish of his Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup career (34th), now sits eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, 35 points behind leader #99-Carl Edwards. There are three reasons to believe Johnson will climb out of this hole.
    1) Johnson's current 35-point deficit roughly equates to 145 points in the "old" points system. With five races to go in 2006, Johnson overcame a deficit of 146 points to win his first championship.
    2) He can win races in bunches, especially in pressure packed situations like this one. In 2007, Johnson won four consecutive races  at this exact juncture.
    3) Talladega and Phoenix await. Talladega is the ultimate wild-card track (more on this in the note below). Phoenix, with its repave, is an unknown. Some called it a brand-new track after the test two weeks ago.(NASCAR)(10-21-2011)

  • MyKowes lets fans play Johnson's video game: Fans planning to visit Texas Motor Speedway for the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR triple header weekend Nov. 3-6 will have an opportunity to beat Jimmie Johnson at his new video game, Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine published by Autumn Games. In addition, by visiting www.facebook.com/teamlowesracing fans may help outfit the MyLowe's lounge, which will feature multiple opportunities for race fans to experience the game firsthand.
    Now through Wed., Oct. 19 at 5 pm/et fans have the option of picking the flooring, lighting fixtures and paint color featured in the lounge, which will be located in the midway at TMS and open during normal track operating hours. If fans like the options chosen for the lounge, they can put those items into their MyLowe's accounts. Fans also will be able to register for MyLowe's at the lounge during race weekend and have the opportunity to win prizes by beating Johnson's time.
    In celebration of the launch of Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine, Texas Motor Speedway is offering a special ticket package. Fans can purchase the $48 Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine Ticket Package beginning Tues., Oct. 18 through Wed., Nov. 2. Tickets will be available by calling Texas Motor Speedway's ticket office at 817-215-8500 or going to www.texasmotorspeedway.com/mylowes. Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine will be available for purchase at major video game retailers starting Nov.1 and will be available for all three major gaming consoles.
    MyLowe's is an integrated online experience that will help customers manage their biggest asset - their homes. It will allow all purchases, in-store and online, to be tracked automatically and stored on their customer profile online. Customers will be able to customize their personal version of Lowes.com, MyLowe's. To learn more about MyLowe's and order a MyLowe's card, visit Lowe's.com/mylowes.
    Jimmie Johnson's Anything with an Engine will allow players to race in vehicles created from the most unlikely of everyday objects - from dumpsters to lawnmowers - fulfilling Jimmie's "Anything with an engine!" motto. Lead-footed drivers will engage in elimination-style circuits across progressively challenging tracks, complete with pyrotechnics-laden theatrical sets strewn with wicked hazards, traps and jumps. For more information visit www.JimmieJohnsonRacingGame.com.(Lowes)(10-19-2011)

  • New look for the #48 at three races: Jimmie Johnson unveiled the #48 mylowes scheme that will run at three of the final six 2011 Sprint Cup Series races: Talladega, Martinsville and Texas (Team Lowes Facebook), also see a few images of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(10-12-2011)

  • Johnson wins at Kansas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Hollywood Casino 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway for his 55th career win (tied for 8th all time with Rusty Wallace), 2nd of of the season and his 20th Chase race win. Johnson led 197 of 272 laps. The race finsihed with a green-white-checker due to a late race caution when #24-Gordon lost an engine, adding 5 laps to the race distance.
    #4-Kahne finished 2nd followed by #2-Keselowski, #17-Kenseth, #99-Edwards [was lucky dog], #29-Harvick, #33-Bowyer,#16-Biffle, #9-Ambrose and #5-Martin. Pole sitter #16-Biffle led 23 laps and finished 8th.
    The win is the 199th for Hendrick Motorsports. Chevrolet clinches the Manufacturers Championship, it's 35th championship and 9th in a row.
    #99-Edwards leads the Chase by 1 point over #29-Harvick, Johnson is 4 pts behind.
    There were 19 lead changes among 9 drivers and 6 cautions for 25 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 82,000 down from 100,000 last year.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    ESPN2, Monday, October 10 at 12:00am/et; SPEED, Wednesday, October 12 at 12:00pm/et

    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Kansas Race Results/Awards page.(10-9-2011)

  • Johnson says all is good with Chad: #48-Jimmie Johnson, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed working with his crew chief Chad Knaus. The transcript in part:
    Q) HAVE YOU AND CHAD DISCUSSED THE CONVERSATION ON THE RADIO LAST WEEKEND AT NEW HAMPSHIRE?
    Johnson: "No, nothing off of this. After 10 years of working together, there are plenty of things that we know about each other and a lot of discussions that have taken place. There hasn't been anything more than normal. I mean, when you work with someone as long as we have, for over 10 years now, there are hot spots and buttons that can be pushed that send someone over the edge. We know what took place last weekend and he knows at times I can be frustrated with his cheerleading. That is what I said on the radio. So, it's nothing new to us. I know a lot of people are reacting to it and think that it is something abnormal. There's a lot of other instances throughout the last 10 years where stuff like this has gone on and during our review of races and review of things and how to be a better group-a better team; we talk about this stuff all the time. So, yes it wasn't our finest moment on Sunday, but, it is what we deal with. It's been part of what we've been dealing with for 10 years."
    Q) HAVE YOU SPENT ANY MORE TIME WITH CHAD THIS WEEK DISCUSSING WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IN THE WEEKS GOING FORWARD?
    Johnson: "No, it's been business as usual. We did have a function that Lowe's came to the shop and the Lowe's execs spent some time with us, congratulation the No. 48 team for making the Chase. But, outside of that, it's the same stuff. We're working as hard as we can to bring the best setup to the race track; our best cars and feel very good about this weekend's race."(Team Chevy)(9-30-2011)

  • Johnson Facing Tall Order To Overcome Early Deficit: #48-Jimmie Johnson has been down  but not out  before. Three times he's fallen to ninth in the championship standings, twice in 2004 when he scratched his way back to finish runner-up to Kurt Busch. Johnson opened the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ninth after a 39th-place finish in 2006, the season in which he claimed the first of five consecutive titles.
    Two races into this year's postseason, Johnson finds himself at an all-time Chase low of 10th, 29 points behind leader Tony Stewart.
    The deficit doesn't seem like much at first glance but consider:
    " Those 29 points represent roughly 120 points under the previous system.
    " He's more than half a race in the hole, points-wise.
    " Even more disturbing, Johnson cannot race his way to the lead without help. Wishing for nine rivals to stumble over the course of eight races may be an extremely tall order. All that may have prompted this tweet from Chase rival Brad Keselowski on Tuesday afternoon, moments after ESPN announced that the ratings for Sunday's New Hampshire race were up from last season: "I think ratings are up cuz [sic] it doesn't look like J.J. will win it again."
    Humorous trash talking aside, Johnson has another reason to smile. Dover International Speedway is one of the California native's best tracks. He has won three of the last five races and six times overall, and has posted eight top fives and 13 top 10s along with three Coors Light Poles. Johnson owns a series-best Driver Rating of 117.4 at the Monster Mile, where he finished ninth in May. Click here for video of Johnson discussing how Dover is his favorite track.(NASCAR)(9-30-2011)

  • Kurt Busch goes after reporter, restrained: It started with a simple question to Kurt Busch from NASCAR.com reporter Joe Menzer following two on-camera interviews by ESPN and MRN on pit road at Richmond International Raceway. "Kurt, can either you or Jimmie win the Chase&" Menzer began to ask. Before Menzer could finish his thought, Busch cut him off. "How did I see you were going to come with that? We're good." Busch said. In an attempt to end the interview, Busch turned away and started walking down pit road. Menzer called after him and said the question was legitimate following the multiple incidents with Jimmie Johnson during Saturday night's race. At that moment, Busch turned around yelling expletives at Menzer, coming at him as if he wanted to fight. As he called Menzer names and continued to try to get at him, team members from Busch's Penske Racing team had to physically restrain Busch.(SB Nation)
    AND It was the 2004 champion, though, who seemed to be feeling the pressure afterward. He castigated a reporter during a pit-road interview and renewed a heated discussion with him before a news conference 30 minutes later in the media center. He then challenged another reporter who asked Johnson to respond to Busch's contention that he was in the five-time champion's head. "I didn't say that tonight," retorted Busch, who later tore up a transcript of the interview (which was broadcast on national TV) handed to him by the reporter. "Did not."(USA Today and more news on this at Sports Illustrated)(9-11-2011)

  • Johnson brings back Power of Pride scheme and wearing Helmet of Hope: The #48 Lowe's Chevy of Jimmie Johnson will feature a special Power of Pride paint scheme at Richmond commemorating the 10th anniversary of the events of 9/11. The Power of Pride paint scheme originally was driven by Johnson in his Sprint Cup Series debut in October 2001 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Since then, the #48 machine has featured the special scheme at Charlotte in 2003, where Johnson won both the All-Star and 600-mile races in the colors, and during the 2007 Memorial Day weekend race. The scheme was intended as a tribute to the country and the men and women who serve in our armed forces.
    Johnson will be wearing the 2011 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Helmet of Hope in Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series event. In its fourth year, the Helmet of Hope program gives fans and media members across the country the opportunity to nominate their charity of choice to be featured on Johnson's helmet for a select race. Each charity also receives a grant of $10,000. To date, the program has contributed over $300,000 to 49 different charities.(Team Lowe's PR)(9-9-2011)

  • HMS teams running 9/11 decals at Richmond: In remembrance of Sept. 11, all four Hendrick Motorsports Chevys will carry a special decal at Richmond. The black, white and gray decal features the phrase, "Never Forget 9.11 2001-2011" and will be placed on the roof near each driver's name on the car: #5-Martin, #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson & #88-Earnhardt Jr.(HMS)(9-9-2011)

  • President Obama Honors NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson: on Wednesday, September 7th, President Obama congratulated Jimmie Johnson on his fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship and welcomed other 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton to the White House. During his remarks, the President reflected that the last time many of the drivers were at the White House he was honoring Jimmie Johnson for his third straight championship:
    "And that's why Jimmie is not just one of the best drivers of all time -- he's up there with some of the great sports dynasties. If you think about it, only the Boston Celtics, the Yankees and the Canadiens have ever won more than four titles in a row. And now Jimmie is breathing down the necks of Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most NASCAR titles ever, which is not bad for the son of a machine operator and a school bus driver who still has plenty of seasons ahead of him. Jimmie's talent has been to make a very difficult, demanding sport look easy. But this year, the Number 48 team also showed its toughness. They entered the last race of the Chase trailing, and ended up pulling off an extraordinary comeback."
    The President also commended the contributions NASCAR has made to the country, particularly through the support of military families:
    "Now, what also makes NASCAR special is the difference that it makes in the lives of so many people, especially our troops and their families. And I personally thanked all these guys for what they've been doing on behalf of military families, who are obviously huge fans of NASCAR. Last month, the drivers and staff toured Walter Reed hospital, served dinner to 400 wounded warriors and their loved ones. NASCAR has been a huge supporter of the Joining Forces program that Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden have set up to support military families. This morning, Jimmie made a special visit to the Pentagon to spend time with folks over there. And later this week, NASCAR will be honoring our military and first responders again in Richmond the night before the anniversary of 9/11. So I want to congratulate Jimmie. I want to congratulate all the drivers who are on the stage for their extraordinary success, for the success of NASCAR, and for everything that they do for our country."
    For images and video, go to whitehouse.gov.(9-8-2011)

  • Johnson & Kurt Busch trade barbs: Perpetual rivals #48-Jimmie Johnson and #22-Kurt Busch carried their on-track feud Sunday at Pocono Raceway to the TV cameras post-race. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions angrily voiced their opinions of each other to SPEED reporter Bob Dillner on NASCAR Victory Lane on SPEED. Following is a transcript from each driver's interview with Dillner:
    Johnson: "We got into each other, or he got into me off of turn two and complained that I was trying to not leave him room or something ridiculous. I spent the entire fuel run running him down. Had a few chances to play dirty and I didn't. And I finally got by him clean, fair and square, and then he drives into my door off of two. Frustration. It's not like I'm going to go wreck race cars. But I'm going to get out of the race car and speak my mind. We've had enough over the years and he's pretty much a smart ass who wants to run his mouth, so I've got to go over there and say something."
    Dillner: What was his response? I heard him say at one point, 'You ran me off the track last year here.'
    Johnson: "Well, last year, I tried to help him down the back straightaway. Without a doubt, I misjudged it and caused a big wreck and almost hurt Elliott Sadler. I get it. That was my bad. I admitted responsibility then and take it now. But that's not today and he's just looking for some smart ass remark to throw at me because the cameras are there and luckily, his guys were there. He was just looking for some smart-aleck remark."
    Busch: "Man, it was good. It was just a great battle. We knew we had a loose race car. I was just fighting an uphill battle to hang on for that spot. He (Johnson) got by us down the front straightaway. We drove into (turn) one even. Coming off of one, the car settled and I felt him swerve over into us and I'm like, 'That's over the line,' so we're coming back at him. That's great racing. Our fans want to see that. They want to see doors with donuts on it coming down to the checkered flag and both of us crossed the line third and fourth. It wasn't like somebody got wrecked. Times when he's bump-drafted me in the past, let's just push that aside. Times when he's wrecked us, let's just push that aside. Times when I've raced him clean, let's talk about that."
    Dillner: He (Johnson) came and he was aggravated and you talked about it. What was he trying to explain to you right there (in post-race discussion)?
    Busch: "I came over and door-dinged him. When you swerve over first, I'm going to swerve over second. It's going to be bigger. Him and I - we've always seen a little different. That's why we have a good rivalry."
    Dillner: Is that the way you're going to keep racing him?
    Busch: "That's the way we have all along, Dillner, we have no matter if we've run into each other or not."(SPEED)(8-9-2011)

  • Johnson to run Nationwide race at Watkins Glen UPDATE: Dr. Jerry Punch reported during the Nationwide race at Nashville Superspeedway that Jimmie Johnson will drive the #7 for JR Motorsports at the upcoming race in Watkins Glen. Jamie McMurray is also expect to drive the car in August.(7-23-2011)
    UPDATE: If Jimmie Johnson will race anything with an engine, driving one that could carry him to victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen International is a no-brainer. JR Motorsports announced that Johnson will pilot the #7 Chevy in the Aug. 13 road-course event at Watkins Glen in promotion of his soon-to-be-launched video game Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine. Published by Autumn Games and developed by Isopod Labs, Jimmie Johnson's Anything With An Engine is scheduled for an October 2011 release on all three major home consoles.(JRM PR), seen an image of the car on my #7 NNS team paint schemes page.(8-3-2011)

  • Hendrick cars to run special Chevy schemes: Hendrick Motorsports has been driving Chevrolets to Victory Lane since 1984. As a salute to Chevrolet's 100th Anniversary, our four race teams will run commemorative paint schemes on Oct. 15. In addition to awarding daily prizes for 100 days straight, HMS is also going to be giving away a 2012 Hendrick Motorsports VIP Racing Experience in Charlotte, N.C., to tour the Hendrick Motorsports facilities, meet your favorite Hendrick Motorsports driver and see a race in-style.(Hendrick Motorsports), see images of the cars on the #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and/or #88 Team Schemes page.(7-28-2011)

  • Change to #48 Crew: #48-Jimmie Johnson was not happy with his team after the New Hampshire race earlier this month. Well, Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus was on SPEED Channel's "Race Hub'' on Monday and was asked about what Johnson said. Knaus stated on the show that the team will have a new front tire changer for this weekend's race at Indianapolis.(see quotes and full article at the Virginian Pilot)(7-26-2011)

  • Jimmie Johnson in the #7 at Watkins Glen NNS race: Dr. Jerry Punch reported during the Nationwide race at Nashville Superspeedway that Jimmie Johnson will drive the #7 for JR Motorsports at the upcoming race in Watkins Glen. Jamie McMurray is also expect to drive the car in August.(7-23-2011)

  • Johnson Earns Two ESPY Nominations; Bayne one: UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson has earned two nominations in The 2011 ESPYs co-presented by Capital One and Castrol EDGE, hosted by Seth Meyers. All nominations have been revealed and voting has begun, and the complete list of The 2011 ESPYs nominees is available for voters at espn.com/espys. Johnson, who won his fifth consecutive NASCAR championship in 2010, has again been nominated in the "Best Male Athlete" category and in the "Best Driver" category. He could become the first auto racer to win "Best Male Athlete" - also nominated are tennis star Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzski of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks and Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Joining Johnson in the "Best Driver" category are 15-time NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion John Force, NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson and three-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti.(ESPN)
    AND: #21- Trevor Bayne is nominated in the "Best Moment" category for his Daytona 500 win.(6-28-2011)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson won the "Best Driver" ESPY. Dirk Nowitzki of the NBA Dallas Mavericks was named best Male Athlete. Philadelphia Phillies' Roy Halladay's no-hitter in the 2010 MLB playoffs won "best moment".(7-14-2011)

  • Johnson running special scheme at Infineon: Jimmie Johnson will pilot a specially designed #48 Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme when he takes the track at Infineon Raceway on Sunday. The Foundation is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary and has given more than $4 million since its formation.(GMR Marketing), see an image of the car on my #48 team paint schemes page.(6-21-2011)

  • Johnson's over the wall crew having tryouts each week: At the start of the season, Chad Knaus held a pit crew combine to select several interchangeable squads for the #48 team. As the program has evolved, driver Jimmie Johnson said it's not about having a first or second string of crewmen, but choosing the best performers through tryouts on a weekly basis. "You earn your position during the week in practices and prove that you're the fastest guy that week and can do the best job that week going over the wall," Johnson said. "I know every guy on the team; I train with them now and am in there on Tuesdays working out with them so that we can form a tighter bond together. I see a lot of good things happening, and I know that they're working very hard for that coveted position to go over the wall and change or carry or jack the car."(Fox Sports)(6-18-2011)

  • Johnson Featured in Newest ESPN the Magazine: Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is featured in the newest edition of ESPN The Magazine. The "Photo Issue" is on newsstands now. In a piece by award-winning writer Ryan McGee, Johnson describes a lesson he learned many years ago while racing dirt bikes that has kept him from getting into fights since becoming a NASCAR driver. The best way to introduce an issue devoted to images is to turn it over to photographers right off the bat (or racket). ESPN The Magazine's "Photo Issue" features "A Day in the Life of Sports," which captures a single day in the world of sports  Saturday, May 7, 2011  from Pacquiao-Mosley and Heat-Celtics to the Kentucky Derby and much more.(ESPN)(6-9-2011)

  • #48 team tests at Gresham: Hendrick Motorsports driver, Landon Cassill returned to Gresham Motorsports Park on Wednesday in a # 48, Jimmie Johnson Chevy. Cassill and Hendrick team worked to make adjustments and improvements to the car's setup. Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 HendrickCars.com Chevy also tested. This is Elliott's first season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and he will return to GMP for the Slack Auto Parts 150. Elliott's father, Bill Elliott, was at GMP to give advice and help prepare Chase for the upcoming race. Cassill was also able to give Chase Elliott some tips and advice about the NASCAR K&N car after making a few laps in Elliott's NASCAR K&N car himself. Elliott wasn't about to let Cassill run his car without getting his chance to test Cassill's car. After Cassill accomplished all that he had set out to accomplish at GMP, he gave Elliott the wheel of the # 48 Chevy. Elliott ran some decent laps around the track before the team called it a night.(GMP)(6-4-2011)

  • Hendrick & Penske...in Indycar?: Spotted on the grid of the Centennial Indy 500 were Hendrick Motorsport decals on the wings of two Team Penske Racers. The decals were on the inside rear wingplate on Will Power's #6 Dallara Honda and #12 Ryan Honda. This leads to speculation of an alliance of Penske and Hendrick in IndyCar especially due to the entry of Chevrolet engines into the open wheel series in 2012. Penske officials are keen to add Simona de Silvestro to their team but are having financial issues with three cars and would not comment on the why HMS decals were on the two cars. An alliance with Hendrick, a big Chevrolet dealer, could help.(see image at Auto123)(5-30-2011)

  • Lowe's Summer Salute for Johnson: Jimmie Johnson will kick-off the Lowe's Summer Salute program by driving a specially painted patriotic themed #48 Chevy in this weekend's Coca Cola 600. People are encouraged to "salute the troops" by visiting LowesRacing.com/SummerSalute. In addition, fans will have the opportunity to record their "salute" at special Summer Salute kiosks which will be set up around Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday. Hendrick Motorsports and PepsiCo drivers Jimmie Johnson (Gatorade), Jeff Gordon (Pepsi Max) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (AMP Energy/Mountain Dew) will all run special promotions, including Summer Salute paint schemes, throughout the campaign thanking soldiers who put their lives on the line for America (Lowe's Racing), see images of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(5-26-2011)

  • Johnson to run the #5 in All-Star race UPDATE 2 image: hearing Jimmie Johnson will run the #5 Lowe's car in the All Star Race to promote a special promotion for Lowe's 5% off purchase at Lowe's when using your Lowe's consumer credit card. Could be one reason Mark Martin is running the #25 in the event. Have seen nothing to confirm this yet or any images.(4-20-2011)
    UPDATE: Jimmie [Johnson] will drive a special #5 Lowe's Chevy in the All Star race to promote 5% off every day or special financing on purchases over $299 on Lowe's Home Improvement's consumer credit card purchases. Pictures of the special paint scheme will be unveiled exclusively here (facebook) on May 15.(Lowe's Racing Facebook)(4-22-2011)
    IMAGE added an image of the scheme to the #48 Team Schemes page, unveiled on the Lowe's Racing Facebook page.(5-16-2011)

  • Johnson named America's most influential athlete: #48-Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series champion every year since 2006, isn't particularly charismatic. But he's great at what he does. He's also appealing to many fans because he seems to be just like them--the guy next door who just happens to double as the best driver on the NASCAR circuit. That's among the reasons why Johnson rates as America's most influential athlete this year.
    After a prolonged slump, "NASCAR has had a bit of resurgence, people are becoming more aware of the drivers this year," says Gerry Philpott, CEO of Encino, Calf.-based E-Poll Market Research, which co-conducted the poll of influential athletes our list is based on. While the sport is still lagging behind the glory days of the early 2000s, television ratings are up 6% this year, according to NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, who credits competitive early races this season with drawing interest. "It helps drive story lines," says Phelps. The first nine races of the 2011 season have produced seven different winners. #24-Jeff Gordon, a longtime fan favorite, got a nice boost from making it into the winner's circle in Phoenix in February, his first victory in two years.
    Combined with the retirement of Lance Armstrong, the diminished reputation of Tiger Woods, and the fading of interest in 2010 winter Olympians like Apolo Anton Ohno and Shaun White, the mini-rally has launched three NASCAR drivers into the ranks of the most influential athletes. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who certainly is charismatic, and Gordon, a steady and likeable presence since the early 1990s, join Johnson in the top 10 in third and eighth place, respectively.
    E-Poll and Nielsen Media Research surveyed over 1,000 adults as to the athletes they considered influential, while also assessing their likeability and awareness levels. Only those known to at least 20% of the respondents were considered. (That eliminated boxer Manny Pacquiao, who scores the highest influence numbers of anyone but who's familiar to only 12% of the population. What does it say about boxing that its most exciting champion toils in near anonymity?)(Forbes.com) see Full List: The Most Influential Athletes.(5-11-2011)

  • Delaware General Assembly declares May 15, 2011 'Jimmie Johnson Day': Though he is a native of El Cajon, Calif., and currently lives in Charlotte, it appears as if Jimmie Johnson has found himself yet another home here in the First State. Based on his extensive success at Delaware's NASCAR track, Dover International Speedway, as well as the charitable work done nationwide by the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, the 146th Delaware General Assembly, in a joint resolution from the House and Senate, declared in Senate Joint Resolution No. 2 that Sunday, May 15, 2011 will be known as "Jimmie Johnson Day." Johnson will be aiming for his second straight win at Dover, and seventh ever at the track. A victory would put Johnson, a 10-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran, in elite company with NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, the only drivers to ever win seven times at the Monster Mile.
    The resolution, authored by Sen. Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna), and co-sponsored by Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover), Rep. William Carson (D-Smyrna) and Rep. Darryl Scott (D-Dover), lauds Johnson's athletic achievements, including his five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles, and dedication to community service off the track, and "urges the people of the State of Delaware to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities." Tickets for the "FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks" NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, as well as the "Lucas Oil 200" NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and "5-hour ENERGY 200" NASCAR Nationwide Series races are available by calling 800-441-RACE or visiting DoverSpeedway.com.(5-10-2011)

  • Johnson Accepts Driver of the Year Trophy: This past weekend at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, NASCAR president Mike Helton and Barry Schmoyer, president of the Driver of the Year Foundation presented #48-Jimmie Johnson, the Sprint Cup's five-consecutive time champion with the 2010 Driver of the Year trophy at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame dinner. Johnson was also presented a Tissot timepiece. In its' 45th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique and the oldest award of its' type. A panel of 20 leading journalists from across the U.S. determines the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. The winning driver receives a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch. Barry Schmoyer is businessman and sportsman based in Sarasota, FL.(Driver of the Year PR)(4-21-2011)

  • Lowe's makes donation to help out folks from NC tornado; Pit Crew Visits: In honor of the heroic efforts of Lowe's store employees during the April 16 tornado in Sanford, N.C., Lowe's announced this week it will donate $250,000 to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe's stores nationwide also will accept customer's cash donations to the American Red Cross from April 20 to May 22. Lowes.com also will serve as a donation point for customers who wish to contribute to the American Red Cross, making it convenient for people who want to join Lowe's in making a difference in communities affected by disaster. The donations will support the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund to provide support to the thousands affected by the natural disasters nationwide, including the tornadoes in North Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi; the wildfires in Texas; and the flooding in North Dakota.
    In Sanford, no employees or customers lost their lives during the severe weather thanks to the quick response from Lowe's employees inside the store. All Sanford Lowe's employees have been offered the opportunity to work in surrounding stores  no jobs will be lost as a result of this disaster. In addition to these efforts and Lowe's support of the American Red Cross, Lowe's Employee Relief Fund will continue to assist the company's own employees faced with rebuilding nationwide. The Lowe's Employee Relief Fund, which was created in 1999, has contributed $12 million in assistance to more than 11,000 employees and their families. Lowe's matches each contribution dollar for dollar to make employee donations even more powerful.(HMS)
    AND Anne-Marie Rhodes, a Sanford native and the 2007 Miss Sprint Cup, joined NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson's pit crew on a tour of damage to the Lowe's Home Improvement store and neighborhoods hit by Saturdays' tornado.(Sanford Herald) and see an article with images by Rhodes at Motor Racing Digest.(4-21-2011)

  • Jimmie Johnson To Guest-Star On FOX's "Breaking In" tonight: Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #48-Jimmie Johnson will guest-star in an upcoming episode of the new hit FOX comedy series "Breaking In" this Wednesday, April 20th at 9:30 pm ET/PT. "Breaking In" is an offbeat half-hour workplace comedy about a high-tech security firm that takes extreme  and often questionable  measures to sell its protection services. Created by Adam F. Goldberg and Seth Gordon, the series centers on a team of uniquely skilled oddball geniuses hand-picked to work for a manipulative mastermind. The series stars Christian Slater as larger-than-life Contra Security head honcho Oz, Bret Harrison as computer hacker Cameron, Odette Annable as alluring bad girl Melanie, Alphonso McAuley as fanboy/mad genius Cash. Johnson, the 35-year-old El Cajon, Calif., native, plays himself in the episode as the storyline is built around his race team needing security assistance. "It was a very cool experience, and I'm excited to see how this week's episode turned out," said Johnson. "Fred Savage was really encouraging and gave me great direction and I had a blast with Christian Slater. I think the hardest part was not laughing at Michael Rosenbaum [who plays character Dutch]. That guy is what you'd call high energy. The whole experience was great. I hope the fans enjoy seeing me do something different, but trust me, I won't be leaving my day job any time soon." Slater, who served last month as the Grand Marshal for the Auto Club 400, was very impressed with Johnson's acting ability. "Jimmie was just as smooth on the set as he is on the track. Everyone was excited to have him be part of the episode," said Slater. "It was even more special for me as he made my son's birthday by autographing a pair of racing shoes." Part of Wednesday's NASCAR-focused episode was shot at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. Johnson was also on the Sony-based set of "Breaking In" to film portions of the episode. "Breaking In" is produced by Happy Madison Productions, Adam F. Goldberg Productions and Sethsquatch, Inc. in association with Sony Pictures Television. Goldberg, Gordon and Doug Robinson serve as executive producers, while Goldberg serves as writer. Fred Savage is the episode's director.(NASCAR)(4-20-2011)

  • Johnson wins at Talladega: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway for his 1st win of 2011, and the 54th of his career. Johnson, #33-Bowyer, and #24-Gordon came across the finish line 3 wide, with Johnson .002 seconds ahead of Bowyer and .039 second ahead of Gordon. The finish ties Ricky Craven's 2003 Darlington win as the closest finish since electronic timing was implemented.
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr. finished 4th, #29-Harvick, #99-Edwards, #16-Biffle, #5-Martin, #34-Gilliland, and #20-Logano.
    There were 88 lead changes among 26 drivers; 6 cautions for 24 yellow flag laps.
    The attendance is listed as 115,000, down from last years 123,500.
    Scheduled Race Re-Air: SPEED, Wednesday, April 20 at 12:00pm/et
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Talladega Race Results/Awards page.
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page
    For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(4-17-2011)

  • Johnson apologizes for questioning pit road penalty: #48-Jimmie Johnson apologized on Tuesday for ripping NASCAR for what he believed to be a bogus speeding penalty on pit road Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson called out the governing body during his post-race interview and again on Twitter after the penalty left him with an 11th-place finish that left him one short of tying the NASCAR record for the most consecutive top-10 finishes at 18. On Tuesday, Johnson said he was mistaken, that the timing segment that NASCAR accused him of speeding through was different from what he believed during the race. "The fact is we were wrong," Johnson said. "I was referring to a segment I knew I couldn't get busted in. At the end of the day it wasn't the segment we were busted on." Johnson said he shouldn't have made the comments without all the correct information, although he said NASCAR could take care of misinformation by making pit road speeds instantly available for drivers and fans to see. NASCAR says it has no plans to do that.(ESPN.com)(4-5-2011)

  • Johnson to appear on Fox's "Breaking In!": Don't expect five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to quit his day job any time soon. But Johnson's return to Southern California on Wednesday presented the perfect opportunity to test his acting chops for an upcoming episode of FOX's "Breaking In!" The 35-year-old El Cajon native played himself in the storyline, which will air on April 20. "There's a situation that we have as a race team and the show is based on this," Johnson said. "Christian Slater runs and owns this investigative service company and we have some issues on our team and we need their help. I go in and talk to his group and go through some things, get some help and they help us solve our problem."(Fox Sports)(3-26-2011)

  • Lowe's, Johnson celebrating 10 years together: #48-Jimmie Johnson along with crew chief Chad Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports are celebrating 10 years together with sponsor, Lowe's. The longest running partnership currently in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series between driver, crew chief, team and sponsor will be celebrated throughout the year with a variety of events, several geared toward the team's loyal fans. That first win at Johnson's adopted home track of Auto Club Speedway will serve as the official kick off of the 10-year celebration. Fans can relive Johnson's career-changing accomplishments on the Team Lowe's Racing fan page on Facebook under a special "Celebrating 10 Years" section. During weekend activities in California, Johnson will debut a specially-designed race helmet which he will wear throughout the year. Johnson, who collaborates with Nevada-based artist Jason Beam on the design of his helmets, worked with Lowe's on the helmet's retrospective look. It features historical Lowe's photos including the first store location in North Wilkesboro, N.C., as well as other original store sites from the 1950s and 1960s. Currently in its 10th full season in the Sprint Cup Series, Johnson and team have amassed a record of 53 wins, 136 top-five and 205 top-10 finishes. Johnson currently ranks 10th on the all-time win list, one victory behind driver Lee Petty. Knaus is the only crew chief to win three consecutive championships in the series.(HMS)(3-24-2011)

  • Three drivers dominate the short tracks: With his win Sunday at Bristol, #18-Kyle Busch remained a part of an exclusive group. Busch, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #11-Denny Hamlin are the only drivers to have won the last 15 Sprint Cup races at Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond, the circuit's lone short tracks. The last driver other then those three to win on a short track was #99-Carl Edwards in 2008.(Sports Illustrated)(3-22-2011)

  • Cassill tests for Johnson at GMP: Wednesday morning, the weather did not look favorable for the Hendrick Motorsports team as they pulled in the gates at Gresham Motorsports Park. The clouds rolled by and the sun came out as the #48 Chevy of Jimmie Johnson's was being wheeled out of the hauler. Landon Cassill, who finished third in the 2011 Nationwide race at Daytona International Speedway, climbed into the driver's seat and settled in for a long day of testing.(GMP)(2-24-2011)

  • Forbes names most valuable NASCAR teams & highest paid drivers: The weak economy has pummeled NASCAR over the past three years, with sponsorships, merchandise sales, race winnings and subsidies from automakers falling. Fans have tuned out, sending TV ratings down 24% since 2006 and leaving more than 40,000 empty seats at some races last year. One of its longest-tenured teams, Richard Petty Motorsports, was scrambling for cash on a week-to-week basis so it could race on weekends last fall. Is NASCAR headed for a full-blown meltdown? Hardly. Yes, the value of the top 10 teams slid 5% in 2010, on average, to $136 million by [Forbes] count, as prize money dropped and sponsors dialed back their commitment, but a rebound in 2011 for the sport is a strong possibility. NASCAR's strongest and most valuable team remains Hendrick Motorsports. With a valuation of $350 million on revenues of $177 million in 2010, Hendrick is worth 56% more than the next-highest-grossing team, Roush Fenway Racing, which [Forbes] value at $224 million on revenues of $140 million last year. Hendrick earned a NASCAR-high $18 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2010. Richard Childress Racing was third on the list, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. Rounding out the top 10: Stewart-Haas, Michael Waltrip Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Red Bull Racing.
    AND: Despite his lack of success in recent years on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR's highest-paid driver, earning $29 million in 2010 thanks to merchandise sales that are the best in the sport and reportedly account for one-third of all NASCAR licensed merchandise sales. Other income streams include a 10-figure annual salary from Hendrick and a 50% share of his $4.9 million in winnings and bonuses in 2010 from Sprint Cup races. Earnhardt also has a bevy of personal endorsements, including Chevrolet, Nationwide and Wrangler. Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon follows Earnhardt in the NASCAR money standings with earnings of $25 million last year. It is a clean sweep for Hendrick at the top with five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, the third-highest-paid driver at $24 million. The rest of the top 10: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth.(Forbes)(2-24-2011)

  • Hendrick signs Bill Elliott's son Chase: Hendrick Motorsports has signed Chase Elliott to a multi-year driver agreement. Elliott, the son of 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, will continue to compete for his family-owned team until meeting age requirements for entering NASCAR national series events. Bill Elliott Racing, based in Dawsonville, Ga., will field Chevrolets with support from Hendrick Motorsports. "The apple hasn't fallen far from the tree with Chase," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "I've always admired Bill's ability in a race car and how he handled himself with the fans. I see those same traits in Chase, with his natural driving talent and an awareness of what he needs to do away from the track to be successful. He comes from a great racing family, and it shows. We think it's a terrific situation. Chase already has a strong support system in place (in Dawsonville) that will allow him to focus on his education and grow as a driver, and Hendrick Motorsports will provide whatever kind of assistance the Elliotts need in any area."
    A 15-year-old freshman in high school, Elliott already has competed against some of the best short-track racers in the United States. In 40 late model starts last season, he posted 13 victories, 27 top-five finishes and 37 top-10s. "I've always been taught that teamwork and people are important, and that's something Mr. Hendrick really believes in," Elliott said. "Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports has high standards and takes a lot of pride in what they do. Racing with all of their support, and the support of my family, is going to be incredible. I'm going to work really hard to make them proud and make the most of this opportunity."
    In 2010, Elliott became the youngest driver to win the Blizzard Series at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., the Miller Lite Series at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway and the overall Sunoco Gulf Coast championship. The Dawsonville native also posted victories in the prestigious Winchester 400 and at the re-opening of historic North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. Elliott already is two-for-two in 2011 after sweeping the Speedfest late-model features last month at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga. This season, he plans to enter a combination of super late model, pro late model and NASCAR regional touring series events.(HMS)(2-16-2011)

  • Jimmie Johnson to appear on Real Sports: With another Sprint Cup championship performance in 2010, Jimmie Johnson continues to make racing history by becoming the first driver to win five consecutive titles. Named 2010 Driver of the Year, Johnson and his #48 car and crew are clearly the sport's best, though they continue to hear criticism from unsatisfied fans and press. First covered on REAL SPORTS in 2008 and then the subject of a "24/7" reality series on the network in 2010, Johnson has raised his national profile while continuing to excel. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Jon Frankel reconnects with Jimmie Johnson as he prepares for the start of the 2011 season at Daytona. The episode premiere's on HBO, Tuesday, February 15 at 10:00pm/et, with many re-airs, see HBO.com for full schedule of shows.(HBO)(2-11-2011)

  • Hendrick Building Training Facility: Hendrick Motorsports is building an outdoor pit-crew training facility that will include a six-lane, 60-yard track where crew members can work out doing sprints and shuttle runs. The facility will include a 75-yard AstroTurf field and a 40-by-40 foot sand pit for outdoor strength and conditioning training for explosiveness and endurance.(SceneDaily)(2-9-2011)

  • Hendrick Motorsports rent CMS for pit practice: Hendrick Motorsports held a fully suited dress rehearsal for its pit crews at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday. Apparently the organization rented the track for a closed session for all four NASCAR Sprint Cup teams. The four cars used for the exercises include two #5's (of Mark Martin), the #48 with Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel and the #88 Chevy with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel. The #24 team of Jeff Gordon was pitting the second #5 car. The drivers were running different sequences and pitting in every other pit with the pit stops being filmed from the flagstand, according to a source who attended the test. The session lasted less than three hours (FoxSports)
    UPDATE: the HMS test was a pit road practice only. At no time did a car leave pit road. CMS has availability next week 2/6-10/11 for any other NASCAR Series team who would like to practice team pit stops. Charlotte Motor Speedway track rentals info at charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(2-4-2011)

  • Johnson not doing Indy 500/Coke 600 double: Although the proposal has drifted out of the public domain for several months, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard has not stopped working on million-dollar bonuses to entice drivers to compete in both of the Memorial Day weekend races: the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600. The concept would include a $20 million bonus to the driver who wins both events in the same day, and perhaps smaller bonuses for any driver winning one race and finishing in the top five of the other. One of Bernard's dream drivers won't participate, this year or probably any year. Jimmie Johnson, the five-time reigning NASCAR champion who has never driven an Indy car, said he would decline for family reasons. Bernard is still hoping for a commitment from Kasey Kahne or Juan Pablo Montoya, but no one has suggested a deal will materialize for the 100th-anniversary 500 in May. Sam Hornish Jr. is without a Sprint Cup ride this season but has not expressed interest in returning to Indy cars.(Indianapolis Star)(1-29-2011)

  • Johnson, Earnhardt to have 3 pit crews available: #48-Jimmie Johnson will have a primarily new pit crew as part of a plan by crew chief Chad Knaus to shore up depth on the teams of Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Knaus and Steve Letarte, the crew chief for Earnhardt Jr., will take three pit crews to the track each weekend. That will give them a talent pool of 18 crewmen to draw on if they encounter injuries of performance problems. The lack of pit crew depth at HMS came under the spotlight during the Chase at Texas when Knaus swapped pit crews with Jeff Gordon's team in the middle of the race after the four-time champion crashed out. Knaus said four of the members of the #48 team before the swap remain in the mix for his crew, adding he has not finalized anything and probably won't have a set six for the entire season. The others have moved on to other organizations. The #24 team of Gordon and #5 of Mark Martin will work under a slightly different system, with six full-time crewmen for each car and another four to share between them for depth.(ESPN.com)(1-27-2011)

  • Johnson named driver of the year by NMPA: Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has been named the 2010 winner of the Richard Petty Driver of the Year award by the National Motorsports Press Association. The announcement was made Sunday during the NMPA's annual convention. Johnson was also the named driver of the year by the organization in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2009. The Richard Petty Driver of the Year award has been presented annually by the NMPA since 1969. It is named after the sport's winningest driver, Richard Petty, who retired after the 1992 season with 200 career victories and seven Cup championships. The recipient of the award is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership.(Scene Daily)(1-24-2011)

2010 News

  • Johnson 2nd in 2010 Male Athlete of the Year voting: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is the reigning Super Bowl MVP after the Saints won the Super Bowl in February was voted the 2010 Male Athlete of the Year, chosen by members of The Associated Press. There were 176 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations that make up the AP's membership. Brees received 48 votes, while the 2009 AP Male Athlete of the Year, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, finished second with 31. Boxer Manny Pacquiao was third with 21 votes, followed by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay with 17. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, a comeback story himself, rounded out the top five vote-getters with 10. The award was announced Friday.(Associated Press)(12-18-2010)

  • Johnson's Award More Than $650,000 in Education Grants: In what is surely a fitting end to an amazing season, reigning five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and wife, Chandra, announced the recipients of more than $650,000 in education grants. For the second consecutive year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants were awarded to deserving K-12 public schools in the Johnsons' hometowns and where they currently reside.
    The Johnsons announced the recipients of the donations totaling $688,087 at a special ceremony at Collinswood Language Academy in Charlotte, N.C. Collinswood was one of three Charlotte area schools awarded a grant. The school, a full magnet offering the Dual Language Spanish Immersion program, was awarded $45,947 for the construction of a playground for first through eighth grade students.
    The new playground will replace the run-down existing equipment and will meet the needs of the growing population as Collinswood adds seventh and eighth grades over the next two years. Collinswood also was the recipient of a 2009 Champions Grant for the installation of a SMART Board.
    This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program received more than 100 applications from eligible school districts in California, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. Grant awards included $198,554 toward science and technology needs, $133,845 for playgrounds and athletic facilities, $88,097 toward trade-based programs, $82,455 for experiential learning, $72,000 for performing arts programs, $68,098 toward literacy initiatives, and $25,038 in school improvements.
    In two years 40 Champions Grants have been awarded to 35 schools totaling more than $1.5 million.(for more info and the grant list, go to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation site)(12-17-2010)

  • Hendrick Buys First Volt Offered for Public Sale: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, has purchased the first Chevy Volt offered for sale. Proceeds will benefit science, math, engineering, and technology education initiatives through the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. The vehicle, bearing the vehicle identification number BU10002, was sold for $225,000 through an online auction that closed Tuesday, Dec. 14. "This was an opportunity to own a piece of history while giving back to the community," said Hendrick, an avid car collector. "I have been a Chevy dealer for more than 30 years, and the Volt is one of the most exciting and important new cars since we opened our first dealership in 1976." The Chevy Volt is an electric vehicle that can operate under a range of weather climates and driving conditions with little concern of being stranded by a depleted battery. The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt's battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank. Chevy began shipping Volts from Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly this week. Hendrick will take delivery of his Volt later this month.(Chevy Racing/HMS)(12-17-2010)

  • Johnson voted winner of Driver of the Year Award: Fresh off winning his fifth straight Sprint Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson was voted the winner of this year's Driver of the Year Award, it was announced Wednesday. The 2010 DOTY is the fourth the Hendrick Motorsports driver has been awarded in his career. He was also the winner of the prestigious award  which is voted upon by a panel of 20 leading North American broadcasters and motorsports journalists  in 2006, 2007 and 2009. The only other driver to win four DOTYs is Johnson's HMS teammate, Jeff Gordon. Johnson got 10 votes from the 18 members of the panel who voted this year. John Force, who won the NHRA Full Thottle Drag Racing Series' Funny Car championship in 2010, received seven votes. Force, who won his 15th Funny Car championship this year, won the 1996 DOTY. Kyle Busch, the NASCAR driver who notched victories in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the Camping World Trucks series, received one vote. The Driver of the Year Award is in its 44th season. It is the longest-running award program of its kind. It's first winner was Mario Andretti. All drivers in major American racing series are eligible to win the DOTY. Andretti and Darrell Waltrip were three-time winners of the award. Johnson, a native of El Cajon, Calif., won six Cup races in 2010 and now has 53 in his 10-year career in the series. He had 17 top-five victories in 2010. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch which will be presented at a place and time to be announced later. The DOTY program is overseen by Schmoyer, a businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Fla.(RacinToday)(12-15-2010)

  • Jimmie Johnson lends name to video game: Dumpsters, start your engines! Autumn Games, a premier publisher of interactive entertainment, has partnered with Isopod Labs to develop Jimmie Johnson's Anything with an Engine, a new racing game that will allow players to compete against over-the-top characters in outlandish vehicles. Autumn Games has teamed with NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson to create one of the most exciting racing experiences possible, currently in development for a 2011 release for all three major home consoles. Jimmie Johnson's Anything with an Engine will allow players to race in vehicles created from the most unlikely of everyday objects - from dumpsters to lawnmowers - fulfilling Jimmie's "Anything with an engine!" motto. Lead-footed drivers will engage in elimination-style circuits across progressively challenging tracks, complete with pyrotechnics-laden theatrical sets strewn with wicked hazards, traps and jumps.(Autumn Games)(12-9-2010)

  • Media votes Johnson's championship as year's top story: Jimmie Johnson winning an unprecedented fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in come-from-behind fashion was voted the sport's top competition story for 2010 by members of the media. Members of the media ranked the top competition stories of the 2010 NASCAR season on NASCARMedia.com. The media poll was active from Tuesday, Nov. 30 until Monday, Dec. 6 at noon. There were 21 top competition storylines listed in the poll. First-place votes received 21 points, with second-place votes receiving 20 points, third-place votes 19 points and so forth down to one point for a 21st-place vote. Johnson's historic accomplishment of winning five straight Sprint Cup Series titles while overcoming a 15-point deficit in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway garnered 49 first-place votes and finished with 1,449 points. NASCAR's"Boys, have at it" philosophy - communicated last January, setting the tone for exciting and hard-fought racing - finished with 17 first-place votes and 1,294 points. Denny Hamlin battling back from early-season knee surgery, challenging for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, winning a series-high eight races and finishing a career-best second in the point standings ranked third in the poll. Kyle Busch claiming 24 national series victories, including an unprecedented sweep of all three national series races at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, was selected the fourth top story. Jamie McMurray's breakout season, that saw him win the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Bank of America 500, was voted the fifth top story. The rest of the top 10 highlights of 2010, according to the media, are: Richard Childress Racing returning to prominence with all three drivers qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup; the return of the spoiler to the Sprint Cup Series cars; the introduction of a maximum of three restart attempts prior to the white flag under NASCAR's green-white-checkered flag finish; Brad Keselowski winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series title, providing owner Roger Penske with his first NASCAR championship; and the most competitive season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history, with records for lead changes and leaders.(NASCAR)(12-7-2010)

  • #48 team to test Monday: Crew chief Chad Knaus and the #48 team are scheduled to test cars at an undisclosed track Monday and Tuesday, only three days after drive Jimmie Johnson and his teammates were showered with praise during the Sprint Cup awards banquet Friday night in Las Vegas. Johnson said Friday night he basically decided not to hear Knaus when he mentioned testing next week. Test driver Josh Wise will drive the car in Johnson's absence.(SPEED)(12-4-2010)

  • 2010 Championship "Tire Specialist" award announced: Champion Tire & Wheel announced the 2010 Sprint Cup "Consistently Smooth" award goes again, to Hendrick Motorsports's Lisa Smokstad and Zack Miller. The award recognizes the skill and effort of the team's tire specialist in overseeing the Lowes #48 Chevy tire and wheel program. Both Lisa and Zach teamed up to handle the organization and management of the championship effort. The tire specialist is a critical piece in the performance formula for a championship team as it takes over 2,500 tires and wheels to run the full Sprint Cup season. The lead crystal trophy will be presented to Lisa & Zack at the team's shop in Charlotte with #48 team manager Michael Landis, and crew chief Chad Knaus. In addition to the Sprint Cup series recipients, Champion Tire and Wheel will also present Penke Racing's Jim "JD" Davis, the Championship tire specialists award for the Brad Keselowski driven Nationwide Series team, and Justin Gardner, the tire specialist for Germain Racing and the Todd Bodine driven Camping World Truck Series Championship effort.(Champion Tire and Wheel PR)(12-3-2010)

  • Johnson Even More Dominating on Television than the Track: While it should come as no surprise five-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson received the most attention during race telecasts this past season, the degree to which he dominated is staggering when considering Johnson was interviewed an entire half-hour longer, and mentioned 1,800 more times by the announcers than Series runner-up Denny Hamlin throughout the year.
    According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc.  which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 25 years  Johnson's name was mentioned 7,875 times during the 36 live event telecasts (and replays) of the 2010 season. Johnson also appeared in a series-high 88 interview segments, which collectively added up to one hour, 31 minutes, 35 seconds (1:31:35) of television face time for the driver.
    Hamlin in comparison, who won the most races (eight) and was leading The Chase heading into the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, drew 6,072 announcer mentions and 56 interviews totaling 1:01:50.
    Kyle Busch also proved to be a popular interview subject, as the eighth-place driver finished tied for third among all racers with 47 interviews lasting a combined 1:07:13.
    In contrast, Matt Kenseth, a top-five points finisher, appeared in front of the cameras just 14 times in 2010 for a little more than 10 minutes. Of the three network combinations televising the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this past season, TNT proved to be the most interview-friendly, as the six mid-summer races on the cable network averaged 15 driver interviews per telecast, with each lasting about 1:15. Races on Fox saw 13 driver interviews clocking in at 1:08 apiece, while live broadcasts on ABC/ESPN generally saw 10 interviews conducted for an average of 1:03.(see chart of 20 drivers at Joyce Julius & Assoc)(12-2-2010)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week  Day 2: Day 2 of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week featured a day-long fan-friendly event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway dubbed "Chasers for Charity." The highlight was a NASCAR version of the popular TV game show "The Family Feud." And hometown boy Kyle Busch stole the show early, correctly guessing 'himself' as the answer to this question: "What driver would you least like to have racing your driver for the win on the final lap?" Hosted by comedian Kevin Burke, the top-12 drivers in the final series points standings, split into two teams, battled for survey supremacy. Through the track's website and social media outlets, fans answered a number of questions, with the top-five answers to each put 'on the board.' Totaling a combined 13 series championships, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick made up one team. The other squad featured Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton. Go figure  Team Hamlin, the roster with zero NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, easily bagged the Family Feud title, 400-99. See full post on the 2010 Cup Awards page.(12-2-2010)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week  Thursday, Dec. 2:
    · NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: This annual industry/media event begins at 11:00 am, in the Bellagio Ballroom at the Bellagio and includes presentations to the Champion Crew Chief, Champion Sponsor, Raybestos Rookie of the Year and Most Popular Driver. Fans have the opportunity to attend for the first time. It is co-hosted by NASCAR and the National Motor Sports Press Association.
    · Victory Lap: Set for 3:30 pm, the top-12 drivers will motor down the famed Las Vegas Strip in their respective race cars. Expect an authentic pit stop along the route and two burn-out sections for drivers. Victory Lap begins in front of Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino and ends at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Prior to Victory Lap at 3:00 pm, Johnson will receive the Key to the City of Las Vegas from Mayor Oscar Goodman and Commissioner Tom Collins. Commissioner Collins also will present a Proclamation recognizing Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 as Jimmie Johnson Day.
    · "NASCAR After The Lap, Made Possible By Coca-Cola and Ford": This free fan event starts at 4:30 pm at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and features a question-and-answer session with drivers and an interactive Coca-Cola Fan Zone experience. Select fans will win NASCAR-themed prizes, including a 2011 Ford Taurus SHO. The Coca-Cola Fan Zone opens at noon, with doors to NASCAR After The Lap opening at 3 pm. General admission seats are free, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Register for tickets at nascarafterthelap.com.(12-2-2010)

  • What's Next For Jimmie Johnson: Greatest Driver&Ever?: There is no question Jimmie Johnson has built a dynasty with five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. So what's left for the driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet to accomplish? A few scribes have already posed the question: Is Johnson on track to become the best driver in the history of NASCAR? While only time will tell if Johnson can eventually hold that title, he is certainly on pace to do so.
    Johnson has put his name near the top of the two most important lists when discussing "best all-time": championships and wins. His five titles are just two short of NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for most all-time. His 53 wins rank 10th all-time, and most likely, he will stand alone in eighth by the end of next season (Rusty Wallace is currently eighth, with 55. Johnson has won three or more races in each of his nine full-time seasons). Johnson's pace on a number of other statistics suggest he could one day catch the usual names already included in the "all-time best" debate:
    Championships: Johnson needed 327 starts to win his fifth championship. Dale Earnhardt needed 390 and Richard Petty took 655 starts to collect their fifth titles.
    Wins: Only three drivers reached 53 wins faster than Johnson, who reached it in 319 races: Jeff Gordon (260 starts), Darrell Waltrip (288) and David Pearson (309).
    Two other "win" stats to consider: Johnson has a winning percentage of 16.2%, sixth-best all-time. Those ahead of him are either members, inductees or nominees of the NASCAR Hall of Fame: Herb Thomas (21.1), Tim Flock (20.9), Pearson (18.3), Petty (16.9) and Fred Lorenzen (16.5).
    Here is another compelling stat: Johnson has at least five wins in each of the last five seasons. Only three other drivers have accomplished that feat: Petty (10 consecutive seasons with five or more wins), Waltrip (eight) and Gordon (five).
    His ability to be at his best during "crunch" time has set Johnson apart. Here are his statistics during the 70 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup events: 19 wins (second-best is Carl Edwards with eight); 40 top fives (second is Gordon with 27); 54 top 10s (second is Gordon with 45), 3,423 laps led (second is Matt Kenseth with 1,715) and a Driver Rating of 110.1 (second is Gordon with a 98.4).(NASCAR)(12-1-2010)

  • Johnson to run Daytona 24 hour race: #48-Jimmie Johnson said he will be joining GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing for the fourth straight year, sharing the #99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley with two-time Daytona Prototype champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 29-30, 2011. Jimmy Vasser has completed the driver lineup the past three seasons. Johnson has six career Rolex starts dating back to 2004, and finished second overall with Howard Boss Motorsports in 2005. Johnson's first Rolex 24 in The Red Dragon came in 2008, when he finished second overall. He finished seventh in 2009, and 21st overall and eighth in the Daytona Prototype class this past January. Johnson also ran with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing at Watkins Glen International in June, finishing sixth in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-26-2010)

  • New crew chiefs for Gordon, Martin & Earnhardt Jr.: Hendrick Motorsports has made personnel adjustments in preparation for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, with drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. being teamed with new crew chiefs. Below are the driver-crew chief pairings for each Hendrick Motorsports car, effective immediately:
    #5 Chevy, driver: Mark Martin, Crew Chief: Lance McGrew
    #24 Chevy, driver: Jeff Gordon; Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
    #48 Chevy, driver: Jimmie Johnson; Crew Chief: Chad Knaus
    #88 Chevy, driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
    The cars of Martin and four-time Sprint Cup champion Gordon will be fielded out of the same facility, now known as the 5/24 shop. Earnhardt Jr.'s Chevys will be prepared out of the renamed 48/88 shop alongside those of five-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. "This will improve us as an organization, across the board," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We had a championship season (in 2010), but we weren't where we wanted and needed to be with all four teams. We've made the right adjustments, and I'm excited to go racing with this lineup."(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-23-2010)

  • Johnson carries special decal on front bumper: You've probably never noticed the special decal on the front bumper of Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevy, but there's a story behind it that made every lap of today's race more meaningful for Johnson. On the front bumper is a flame with the initials BA and N501RH. The 501RH is the tail number of the Hendrick plane that crashed in 2004, killing all 10 aboard as they headed for the fall Martinsville race. The BA? That's for Blaise Alexander, a good friend of Johnson's, who died in a [ARCA] crash Oct. 4, 2001, at Charlotte Motor Speedway -- three days before Johnson made his Cup debut on the same track. Shortly after Alexander's accident, a mutual friend of Johnson's and Alexander's worked in Johnson's Nationwide shop and came over to the Cup team with Johnson. That crew member would draw the design and the BA initials on the front bumper with a Sharpie on every one of Johnson's car as it was finished in the shop. "It was like the final touch that went on (the car),'' Johnson said.(link to an image at Virginian Pilot)(11-22-2010)

  • Championship Fast Facts:
    . Jimmie Johnson has won an unprecedented fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Last season, he became the first driver in series history to win four consecutive titles.
    . Johnson's five championships put him in sole possession of third on the all-time list, two behind NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
    . Johnson finished 39 points ahead of second-place Denny Hamlin.
    . Johnson is the first driver in the Chase era to overcome a points deficit going into the season finale to win the championship. Only two other drivers have accomplished the feat since the inception of the current points system in 1975 (Richard Petty in 1979 and Alan Kulwicki in 1992).
    . Johnson won one Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in 2010. He has won at least one race in every Chase since its inception in 2004. He is the all-time Chase wins leader, with 19.
    . Johnson finished the 2010 season with six wins, 17 top fives and 23 top 10s.
    Owner Champion: Hendrick Motorsports
    . This is Hendrick Motorsports' 10th series owner championship, breaking a tie for most all-time. Hendrick had previously been tied with Petty Enterprises at nine owner championships [Lee Petty won the drivers championship in 1954, Herb Thomas won the owners title].
    . This is Hendrick Motorsports' 13th NASCAR national series owner championship, extending its all-time record.
    . Hendrick Motorsports becomes the first team to win five consecutive championships. It was the first to win four straight, from 1995-98 (Jeff Gordon in 1995 and 1997-98; Terry Labonte 1996).
    Crew Chief Champion: Chad Knaus
    . Chad Knaus won his fifth consecutive championship, extending his crew chief record for consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships. In 2008, Knaus set the record with three consecutive championships.
    . Knaus moves into sole possession of second-place on the all-time crew chief championships list, with five. Dale Inman is the all-time leader in crew chief championships, with eight.
    . Knaus has 51 career series wins, all with Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR)(11-21-2010)

  • FINAL 2010 Sprint Cup Driver Chase Standings:
    [after Homestead, race 36 of 36, Chase Race 10 of 10]:
    rank, car#, driver, points, behind
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson [6 wins], 6622; 5 Time Champion
    2) #11-Denny Hamlin [8 wins], 6583, -39
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick [3 wins], 6581, -41
    4) #99-Carl Edwards [2 wins], 6393, -229
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth, 6294, -328
    6) #16-Greg Biffle [2 wins], 6247, -375
    7) #14-Tony Stewart [2 wins], 6221, -401
    8) #18-Kyle Busch [3 wins], 6182, -440
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon, 6176, -446
    10) #33-Clint Bowyer [1 win], 6155, -467
    11) #2-Kurt Busch [2 wins], 6142, -480
    12) #31-Jeff Burton, 6033, -589
    (Bowyer without 150 pt penalty 6305, -281 would be 5th)
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(11-21-2010)

  • Hendrick Motorsports 2010 Championship Notes:
    10TH TITLE: Hendrick Motorsports now is NASCAR's all-time leader in NASCAR Sprint Cup owner championships with 10 after Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet team earned their fifth consecutive series title Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports previously was tied with Petty Enterprises, which earned nine Cup owner championships [Lee Petty won the drivers championship in 1954, Herb Thomas won the owners title].
    THE OTHER GUYS: With its fifth straight championship, Hendrick Motorsports becomes one of just four teams in major American professional sports to have scored five or more titles consecutively. The Boston Celtics posted eight NBA titles in a row starting with the 1958-59 season and ending in 1965-66. Hendrick now is tied with the New York Yankees, which earned five World Series rings from 1949-53, and the Montreal Canadiens, which scored five Stanley Cups from 1956-60.
    COMPARISONS: In the major American professional sports leagues, Hendrick Motorsports' 10 total Sprint Cup owner championships are tied for eighth behind the New York Yankees (27 World Series titles), Montreal Canadiens (24 Stanley Cups), Boston Celtics (17 NBA titles), Los Angeles Lakers (16 NBA titles), Toronto Maple Leafs (13 Stanley Cups), Green Bay Packers (12 NFL championships) and Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cups). The St. Louis Cardinals own 10 World Series titles.
    ALL-TIME CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2010 Sprint Cup car owner championship is the 13th for Hendrick Motorsports across NASCAR's three national series, extending the team's all-time record. Richard Childress Racing ranks second among owners with 11 combined titles. In the car owner category, Hendrick has won 10 titles in the Sprint Cup Series and three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hendrick Motorsports also has won a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship, which came in 2003.
    KNAUS SETS THE STANDARD: Chad Knaus is the only crew chief ever to win more than two consecutive Sprint Cup titles (he now has five in a row), and his championship total (also five) ranks him second all-time among crew chiefs in NASCAR history. Only Dale Inman (eight titles) has more.
    FIVE-PEAT: Johnson is the first driver in NASCAR history to capture five straight Sprint Cup titles and the first champion in the Chase format to overcome a points deficit going into the final event. Johnson, however, is not the first driver ever to come back and win a championship. Most recently, Alan Kulwicki rallied from 30 points down going in to the 1992 season finale to win it all.
    TWO TO GO: With a fifth title, Johnson breaks a tie with teammate Jeff Gordon to become the Sprint Cup championship leader among active drivers and third all-time. Johnson is two titles shy of NASCAR's all-time leaders, Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, who scored seven apiece during their Hall of Fame careers.
    DRIVE FOR FIVE: Winning five straight championships is a first for Hendrick Motorsports, which previously was the only NASCAR team to have achieved four titles consecutively. In addition to Johnson's 2006-10 run, Hendrick scored four in a row with Gordon (1995, 1997 and 1998) and Terry Labonte (1996). No other team has won more than three Sprint Cup championships in consecutive seasons.
    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: Johnson isn't the first driver in motor sports this year to come back from a points deficit and capture the series championship in the season finale. John Force (NHRA Funny Car), Sebastian Vettel (F1) and Dario Franchitti (IndyCar) join Johnson in coming from behind to capture their series championships in the final race of the season. Force trailed first by 37 points going into the Nov. 14 finale, when he rallied to win his 15th Funny Car title. Vettel made up 15 points in F1's season finale on Nov. 14, while Franchitti overcame a 12-point deficit on Oct. 2 to capture the IndyCar championship in the last race of the season.
    WINNING PERCENTAGE: Hendrick Motorsports is the most efficient team in major American professional sports, earning 10 titles since its inception in 1984 for a 37.04 all-time title-winning percentage. The Celtics rank second with 17 titles in 65 seasons (26.15%), while the Yankees are third with 27 World Series championships in 107 seasons (25.23%). Hendrick has won 10 of the last 16 Sprint Cup championships (1995-2010), putting the team's title-winning percentage during that span at 62.5%.
    SINCE 1984: No other major American professional sports team has earned more championships than Hendrick Motorsports since 1984, the organization's inaugural season. In that time, the Los Angeles Lakers have earned eight championships and the Chicago Bulls have collected six titles. The New York Yankees and Edmonton Oilers have scored five titles apiece.
    STILL ROLLING: Hendrick Motorsports never has run a Sprint Cup campaign without winning a pole position (1984-2010). The team scored five this season, including two from Johnson.
    APPROACHING 200: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 25 straight seasons (194 victories from 1986-2010), the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Geoff Bodine won Hendrick's first Daytona 500.
    ANOTHER ONE FOR CHEVY: Chevrolet captured its 34th Sprint Cup manufacturers' championship this season after winning 18 races. Johnson led all Chevy drivers with seven victories.
    * When referencing "major American professional sports," the following have been factored in: Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-21-2010)

  • NASCAR does pre-inspection of Chase contenders: NASCAR has inspected the cars the three championship contenders plan to race in next week's season finale. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston says the cars for #48-Jimmie Johnson, #11-Denny Hamlin and #29-Kevin Harvick were inspected in the North Carolina research and development center this week. The cars were measured to make sure they fit the templates ahead of the Nov. 21 finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR says it was a precautionary measure during the tightest Chase for the Sprint Cup championship since the format was introduced in 2004.(Associated Press)(11-12-2010)

  • #48 crew chief Chad Knaus comments about pit crew swap:
    COMMENT ON THE DECISION TO MOVE FORWARD THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR WITH THE 24 AND 48 SWAPPING CREWS:
    Knaus "Yea, you know. It's a difficult decision for sure. There's always emotions involved but I think the thing that everybody has to realize is when we set up this team it was a one team situation. That's what we are and we always have been. We've had crew members from the 24 pit the 48, we've had crew members and mechanics on the 48 pit the 24. It's always been like that and we're going to continue to work that way. We set it up at the beginning of the year that we were going to have five or six tire changers, we were going to have three or four jackmen for the 24 and the 48 and that was explained to the guys at the beginning of the year and everyone understands that and that's the way it is."
    YOU SAID ON SUNDAY THAT YOU WANTED TO GET YOUR GUYS BACK HOME AND REGROUP. HOW DID YOU COME TO THE DECISION TO MAKE THE CHANGE?
    Knaus "It was obviously a collective decision. We got everybody involved, Stevie (Letarte) and myself initially. We actually talked about it Sunday night quite a bit on the flight home from Texas. We had a couple of hours there where we could run through some ideas and how we wanted to approach it. We felt like it was a good thing for the 48 obviously. And it could be a definite positive for the 24 as well. We got the drivers involved. We got Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and Mr. Carlson (Marshall Carlson, President, Hendrick Motorsports) involved and we discussed it and came up with a choice. And then we got the guys together and we discussed it with them and they all bought into it 100% and there's a lot of positive in it to be honest."(Team Lowe's)(11-10-2010)

  • #24 & #48 to swap pit crews: The #24 and #48 Hendrick Motorsports teams will trade pit crews for the remaining two races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The change is limited to the seven primary over-the-wall members of the respective pit crews. Roles of additional team personnel will not be affected.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-8-2010)

  • #11 team chose pit stall in front of the #48 team: An intriguing subplot to today's race [at Texas Motor Speedway] is that title contenders #48-Jimmie Johnson and #11-Denny Hamlin will pit next to each other. Johnson leads Hamlin by 14 points. Typically, title contenders don't pit around each other, in part because those cars often finish on the lead lap so one could always be fighting the other for space on pit road. Pit stalls are picked in the order a driver qualifies. Johnson qualified 17th, so his team selected its stall before Denny Hamlin's team since Hamlin qualified 30th. By pitting in front of Johnson, Hamlin's team can dictate, in a way, how well Johnson gets off pit road. Hamlin could stop short in his pit box, meaning the car's rear is close to the front of Johnson's pit box. That would force Johnson to pit short or have to back up and lose time to get around Hamlin. Hamlin's crew chief Mike Ford said the stall in front of Johnson's was the best remaining because #82-Scott Speed, who has struggled at times this season, has the stall in front of where Hamlin pits. Ford also admits that when Johnson's team picked to pit in front of Hamlin's crew at Kansas earlier in the Chase that rankled him. "Why this is a topic when the exact same thing happened at Kansas and there were a lot better pit stalls to be had by those guys?'' Ford said Saturday. "That was a deliberate stab. This was not a deliberate stab, but with that, OK, courtesy is out the window.''(Roanoke Times)(11-7-2010)

  • NASCAR takes part from 48 car: NASCAR officials confiscated a drive-shaft cover from Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy before the race. According to a NASCAR source, officials just asked the team to replace a part and it wasn't a serious matter.(NASCAR This Week)(10-25-2010)

  • Johnson wins at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the AAA Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway for his 6th win of 2010 and 53rd of his career. #31-Burton finished second followed by #20-Logano, #2-Busch, #99-Edwards, #18-Busch, #98-Menard, #39-Newman, #11-Hamlin, and #43-Allmendinger.
    There were 16 lead changes among 10 drivers and 4 cautions for 19 yellow flag laps. The attendance was reported at 88,000, down from last years 110,000.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Dover Race Results/Awards page.
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(9-26-2010)

  • Johnson featured in Golf Mag: #48-Jimmie Johnson is featured in the first-annual Golf Magazine No. 1 Issue, a cover-to-cover celebration of golf excellence. The October 2010 issue hits newsstands Sept. 14. Jimmie is a part of a 24-page People Portfolio that also includes interviews with Bill Murray, Larry David, Michael Jordan and other well-known golfers. Johnson appeared in a segment on the final season premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show on Monday, Sept. 13.(Team Lowes)(9-16-2010)

  • MAF Honors NASCAR Teams' Response to Haiti Quake: In the aftermath of the catastrophic Jan. 12, 7.0 earthquake that destroyed the capital of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, two renowned NASCAR auto racing teams shuttled relief workers and supplies into Haiti and transported evacuees, rotating workers and quake victims to the United States. This week at their respective shops in North Carolina, MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) President John Boyd presented Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing with special service awards for their work in Haiti.
    In the crucial days following one of the world's greatest disasters, the teams generously provided aircraft from their fleets. The Hendrick and Gibbs crews worked with MFI (Missionary Flights International) and MAF to shuttle planes between Fort Pierce, Fla., and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, enabling the rotation of high-impact volunteer medical teams and humanitarian workers. The planes also evacuated adopted orphans to their American homes. In addition, the aviation crews offered care, personal concern and warm fellowship to the MAF missionary pilots and ground workers as they toiled amid heat, chaos, suffering and death.
    "With these awards, we at MAF want to express our sincere gratitude to Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing for their support of the MAF team in Haiti," Boyd said. "We honor two fine motorsports teams for their selfless actions, and for the special blessing they were to us during a very trying time." Boyd also invited the two teams' aviation staffs to participate in one of the MAF advanced mountain training workshops at the ministry's headquarters in Nampa, Idaho.
    MAF has served the missionary community and the people of Haiti since 1986. Eight MAF missionary families and seven Haitian staff members provide air service with three bush aircraft that fly to 16 remote airstrips from Port-au-Prince. Within the first three months of its disaster relief efforts, MAF had partnered with dozens of relief agencies, including the United Nations. In addition to having coordinated the flights of 3,500 international passengers and 1.5 million pounds of cargo between Florida and Port-au-Prince, MAF logged 1,037 flights within Haiti, transported 1,801 relief workers, missionaries, patients and medical staff in and out of inland towns and villages urgently needing help, and delivered 315,498 pounds of urgent relief and medical cargo. MAF continues its disaster response work in Haiti, having now shifted from the crisis-relief phase to a rebuilding stage that is expected to last several years.(MAF PR)(7-29-2010)

  • HMS names president: Rick Hendrick this week elevated Marshall Carlson to the role of president and chief operating officer of Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick made the announcement Tuesday to more than 500 people at the organization's quarterly employee meeting. The position of Hendrick Motorsports president most recently was held by Hendrick's late brother John Hendrick, who assumed the title in 1998. It has remained vacant since his passing in October 2004. "Marshall has the ability to plug into every aspect of our industry, from competition to marketing, at an extremely high level," said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "He's versatile from a business perspective, and there's a high degree of respect for him throughout the organization because of the way he treats people. We're very fortunate to have someone of his considerable talent help guide us into the future." Carlson, 37, will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of Hendrick Motorsports, which has earned four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships since he assumed the role of executive vice president and general manager on Jan. 24, 2005. "Hendrick Motorsports is a family, and it's been one of the great privileges of my life to work with these amazing people," Carlson said. "This opportunity comes with the highest commitment to serve my teammates and support their continued success." Carlson started his Hendrick Motorsports career sweeping floors as part of a chassis department summer internship. After earning a degree in business administration in 1996 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he served as engineer for the organization's fledgling Camping World Truck team, which earned the first of three series championships in 1997. Following the 1998 season, Carlson was reassigned to focus on Hendrick Motorsports' sponsorship and marketing efforts as director of marketing services. In 2000, he managed a $10 million facilities effort, which included the design and construction of racing operations space now housing the Sprint Cup Series teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. From 2002 until 2004, Carlson oversaw more than $200 million in real estate projects as vice president of corporate financial management with Hendrick Automotive Group, one of the largest automotive retail operations in the United States. A native of Charlotte, N.C., Carlson was named to the 2009 Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal "Forty Under 40" list, which spotlights the 40 top executives in sports under 40 years of age.(HMS)(7-28-2010)

  • Hendrick plane has problems, all OK: As a precaution, one of Hendrick Motorsport airplanes returned to Concord Regional shortly after takeoff Sunday morning due to a maintenance advisory light. Passengers were switched to another aircraft and traveled safely to Indianapolis. The plane has already been evaluated and returned to active status.(7-25-2010)

  • Johnson to run Foundation scheme at Auto Club; Helmet of Hope returns: The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced that it will partner with Samsung for the 2010 Samsung Helmet of Hope program. In its third year, the program allows fans and media members to nominate their favorite charity to receive special recognition. In conjunction with Jimmie Johnson's Helmet of Hope, Lowe's will run a special #48 Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme at the Auto Club Speedway race in October. This marks the fifth-consecutive year that Lowe's has run the foundation paint scheme (JJF). See more on my Racing Charities page.(7-18-2010)

  • Johnson wins an ESPY: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the ESPY as Driver of the Year. Johnson beat out 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Kyle Busch, four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., 2009 IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and six-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was chosen male athlete over Johnson, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Albert Pujols. Johnson has won the last three Driver of the Year ESPY's, with Jeff Gordon winning in 2007.(ESPN)(7-15-2010)

  • NASCAR featured in Transformers 3 movie: NASCAR style racecars adorned in the colors of Juan Pablo Montoya, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were competing in downtown Chicago in a little race of their own; complete with armor and machine guns. Filming for the third installment of the wildly popular Transformer movies was taking place over the course of the last week and although the exact plot hasn't revealed, it would appear that NASCAR will be playing a role. Fans who were at the location sent snapshots of cars painted to resemble the Chevy's of the #42, #48 and #88. The cars were morphed and included loads of heavy weapons. Last year the cars of #24-Jeff Gordon and #39-Ryan Newman bore special paint schemes of the movie during the fall race at Charlotte, but there has been no word on the exact involvement of NASCAR.
    The areas in Chicago that saw filming included LaSalle Street, Michigan Avenue, Bacino's of Lincoln Park at 2204 North Lincoln Avenue and around the "Sears Tower". According to fans on location the Michigan Ave scene where the NASCAR style cars were spotted was filled with crashing and explosions.
    The final film in the live action Transformers series it is directed by Michael Bay and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the sequel to Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and is scheduled for release on July 1, 2011 in Real D 3D theaters nationwide and in IMAX 3D.(NASCAR Examiner) and see some images at www.tfw2005.com.(7-12-2010)

  • Johnson becomes a father UPDATE name: #48-Jimmie Johnson is a father, and it won't interfere with his racing schedule. Johnson's wife, Chandra, gave birth to a daughter Wednesday. A Johnson spokesperson said mother and baby are doing well, and no other details will be released. It is the reigning four-time champion's first child. Johnson was prepared to miss a race if his wife went into labor, and with the birth of his daughter expected this weekend, he had Aric Almirola on standby should he need to leave Saturday night's race at Chicago.(Associated Press)(7-7-2010)
    MORE: Chandra and Jimmie Johnson welcomed a baby girl Wednesday, July 7 at 1:44 pm/et in Charlotte, NC. She weighed 6 lbs., 14 oz. and measured 19.5" long. Dad offered that she is absolutely beautiful and affectionately referred to her as "Baby J" as the proud parents have yet to decide on a name. While commenting that sleep was at a minimum last night, he is extremely happy about getting to spend time with his girls before leaving for the race weekend in Chicago.(Lowe's Racing)(7-8-2010)
    UPDATE: the Johnson's named their daughter Genevieve Marie Johnson.(see pictur at Lowe's Racing)(7-12-2010)

  • Johnson wins at New Hampshire: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his 3rd win at the track, 5th win of the season and 52nd of his career. It is the eighth time in Johnson's career that he has won races back-to-back. #14-Stewart finished 2nd followed by #2-Busch, #24-Gordon, #29-Harvick, #39-Newman, #33-Bowyer, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #20-Logano and #43-Allmendinger. Pole sitter #42-Montoya got together with #33-Boyer late in the race and damaged the splitter while running in the top-5. Montoya fell back, then got together with #83-Sorenson and ended up in the wall, finishing 34th. #9-Kahne, who started 2nd and was running up front most of the day, had a motor expire on lap 236, finishing 36th. Points leader #29-Harvick saw his points lead decrease to 105 [from 140] with Johnson back in 2nd.
    There were 14 lead changes among 9 drivers and 4 cautions for 19 yellow flag laps. The attendence was reported at 91,000, down from 101,000 last June.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's New Hampshire Race Results/Awards page
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(6-27-2010)

  • Johnson's idea is the winner of the Pepsi Refresh Grant: The votes are in and more than 500,000 racing fans have spoken: Jimmie Johnson is the winner of a $100,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant that will help Be The Match Foundation provide financial relief to pediatric bone marrow transplant patients. For the past three weeks, Johnson and fellow Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were campaigning for their ideas and fans had the opportunity to vote for the idea they believed should be awarded a grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. The drivers' passion for their individual ideas was evident and although they didn't receive the most votes, Pepsi will donate a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant to both Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to aid in implementing their projects for the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) at Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital and supporting technology needs at Shepherd Elementary School in Mooresville, NC for Earnhardt.(Pepsi)(6-27-2010)

  • Johnson Nominated For Best Male Athlete At 2010 ESPYS: Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is one of five superstar athletes to be nominated for the Best Male Athlete Award at the 2010 ESPYS, set for July 14 in Los Angeles. The reigning Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year will vie for the honor with Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, two-time NBA MVP LeBron James and three-time MLB National League MVP Albert Pujols. Johnson is also one of the Best Driver nominees along with 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Kyle Busch, four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., 2009 IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti and six-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. Fans will determine the winners in 37 categories (except the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and other special awards) by voting online and by phone. For more information, go to espn.com/espys.(6-26-2010)

  • #48 team tests at North Wilkesboro: Fresh off the win at Infineon, Chad Knaus and the Hendricks Motorsports #48 team testest at Historic North Wilkesboro Speedway (NWS). Landon Cassill drove the #48 Chevy and had alot of positive input regarding NWS. "Its a challeging track and it really makes you manage wheel spin", said Cassill. "Its been a real long time, but it is good to be back at NWS. We hope this test bares the fruit we are looking for so we can use Historic NWS often", stated Chad Knaus. "We are very pleased to be working with class organizations like RCR and Hendrick, it really shows what the Historic Speedway has to offer", said Alton McBride Jr. President / Ronald Queen GM. Speedway Associates and Historic NWS will host an open test to all series on July 3rd in preparations for the Fall line up of races, and ending the night with the Southern Truck and Tractor Pullers Association double pulling show.(NWS)(6-24-2010)

  • Johnson wins at Infineon Raceway: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Toyota / Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway for his 1st win at a road course, 4th win of the season and 51st of his career. The win is Hendrick Motorsports 15th win on a road course. #7-Robby Gordon finished 2nd for his best finish since Watkins Glen in 2005 when he finished 2nd and first top 5 since finished 3rd at Charlotte in May 2009. #29-Harvick finished 3rd followed by #9-Kahne, #24-Gordon, #47-Ambrose, #16-Biffle, #26-Boris Said, #14-Stewart and #42-Montoya. #47-Ambrose was poised to win his first Sprint Cup race with 6 laps to go during the 7th caution, Ambrose shut off his engine to save gas, then could not restart the engine immediately. Ambrose lost 6 positions while restarting his engine. Drivers are supposed to maintain caution speed and NASCAR officials let the #47 team know, forcing Ambrose to restart in seventh. Points leader #29-Harvick increased his points lead to 140 [from 22], now over Johnson, who moved to 2nd. #18-Busch wrecked early and finished 32nd, falling to 4th in the points. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 11th. A couple road course specialists making their first Sprint Cup starts did ok with #09-Magnussen finishing 12th and #83-Ekstrom finishing 21st.
    There were 12 lead changes among 8 drivers and 7 cautions for 14 yellow flag laps along with a red flag that lasted about 21 minutes after a big wreck on lap 67. The attendence was reported at 90,000, down from 93,500 last year
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Infineon Race Results/Awards page.
    See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(6-20-2010)

  • Almirola to stand by for Johnson during 'Baby Watch': #48-Jimmie Johnson met with media at Pocono and discussed the plans for when his new baby daughter will be born in 5 weeks: "It's an exciting time. One other thing to add to the mix is getting ready to be a parent here in five weeks or so. We've got things burning in all areas. In fact we've been able to secure Aric Armirola to be our back-up driver and fill-in. I think he'll do a great job in the car and it's just a matter of time before he ends up in a full-time Cup ride. The other thing that's good for us is our body size and type of geometry is similar, so he'll be an easy fit to get in the car if we need that to happen.
    WHAT IS YOUR PLAN OVER THE NEXT 5 WEEKS? WILL YOU BE THERE FOR THE BIRTH OF YOUR CHILD?
    "Yeah, that's our goal. And again, we're going off of averages and what the doctors can tell us; how long labor typically takes and all that stuff. But still each individual's body and the way the birth goes, it can be fast it can be long. But looking on averages, we feel now with the due date being right after Chicago [July 10th] on that off-week, we won't have a problem. If the baby does decide to come earlier, Aric will be there. The first goal for me would be to drive a lap and get some points. But it just depends on the situation. There could be a situation where I've got to make a tough decision. Do I wait and drive that one lap and potentially miss the birth of our daughter, or do I stick around? That exists. There is no way around that. It just depends on how things shake out. Hopefully she's on time or long as it traditionally goes and if that's the case we'll be into the off-weekend and everything will be fine."
    DID YOU HAVE ANY PAUSE IN CHOOSING ARIC ARMIROLA TO SIT IN THE CAR FOR YOU WHEN THE BABY IS BORN? OR ANY PAUSE ABOUT ANY OTHER DRIVER FOR THAT MATTER
    "Starting with Rick (Hendrick) and then to Chad (Knaus) and my guys are all so excited for Chani and I to experience this and for me to be there and be a part of the birth and enjoy all those moments that come with it, that it's been really cool, especially from Chad's standpoint. He said, 'There is no way you're missing the birth of your daughter. You will be there. I don't care what it costs, or what it takes, or if we don't get points or whatever the situation is, you're going to be there.' And I'm like, I appreciate that but let's focus here and make sure we can cover all the bases if it's possible. So it's been really good from those guys. They're extremely supportive and it seems as if they're more interesting in me being there on time than anything."(Team Chevy Driver Press Conference Transcript)(6-4-2010)

  • Special scheme Hendrick teams: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy will feature an "Honoring Our Soldiers" paint scheme for the May 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. All four Hendrick Motorsports teams will sport special patriotic paint schemes for the Memorial Day weekend race to honor the men and women who serve in the armed forces. As the nation's oldest Armed Forces component, the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers play a vital role in protecting the freedoms Americans hold dear. Since 1636, the Guard has brought glory and honor upon itself and its Soldiers through quiet and selfless service. There is a long and noble history of the National Guard serving at home and abroad to ensure the safety and freedom of their fellow citizens. When celebrating Memorial Day, take a moment to thank a member of the nation's military for their service to the United States and recognize the sacrifices they make on a daily basis to defend America's interests. Become a fan of the National Guard on Facebook, by visiting www.facebook.com/NationalGuard. To learn more about becoming a Citizen Soldier, visit www.NATIONALGUARD.com.
    Jeff Gordon will drive a specially-painted #24 DuPont Stars & Stripes Chevy during the Memorial Day weekend event.
    CARQUEST Auto Parts, a major sponsor on the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy since 2005, will be back on the hood this NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Charlotte. The red, white and blue paint scheme will be featured in a total of eight races this season. Martin's #5 Chevy will feature a patriotic theme this weekend in tribute to the United States military. Diecast and apparel featuring the #5 paint scheme will be available for purchase, and a portion of the proceeds benefits the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. Martin's Hendrick Motorsports teammates also will sport special patriotic paint schemes for the 600-mile event.
    Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe's Chevy will have a special patriotic paint scheme in recognition of Memorial Day that features donation information during the May 30 event. In support of the Memorial Day holiday, Lowe's will offer a 10% discount to all active, reserve, honorably discharged, and retired military personnel and their immediate families. Lowe's also has a year-round 10% discount those with a military-issued photo ID. Lowe's and Team 48 driver Jimmie Johnson are hosting a special concert starring country music star Darius Rucker in support of the United Services Organization (USO) and the newly created Lowe's USO Family Fund on SPEED Channel at 7 p.m. on May 29. The concert will highlight ways to support the newly created Lowe's USO Family Fund, proceeds of which will support USO family programs that help deployed service members and their families stay connected.(HMS/Team Lowe's), see images of the cars on my #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page,(5-27-2010)

  • Johnson to race Six Hours of the Glen on June 5: Jimmie Johnson will make his second start of the 2010 season with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and its team of two-time champion drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty at next month's Six Hours of The Glen. The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race takes place June 45 on the full 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International road course. The Six Hours of The Glen marks the first time Johnson has made more than one start in a season with the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team and just his second time running multiple GRAND-AM Rolex Series races in a year. The Six Hour also will be Johnson's first start in any series on the traditional 3.4-mile Grand Prix road course that has played host to some of the greatest racecar drivers of all time since opening in the 1950s. The six-hour sports car race has been an international fixture on The Glen's annual schedule since 1968. Johnson co-drove the #99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona the last three years, scoring a second-place overall finish with Gurney, Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser in their debut race together in 2008. Team owner Bob Stallings has always looked to expand Johnson's races with the team beyond the Rolex 24 and the circumstances were right for this year's Six Hours. Johnson will compete at both Watkins Glen, which is a Saturday race, and in the Cup race activities at Pocono Raceway on the same weekend.(HMS)(5-21-2010)

  • Hendrick thinks Gibbs has caught up and passed HMS: Rick Hendrick says fellow Sprint Cup owner Joe Gibbs has done more than catch Hendrick Motorsports in performance this season. "Looks like he passed me," the owner of HMS said during Tuesday's grand opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "He didn't [catch] me. He lapped me." Joe Gibbs Racing has won the past two Cup races and four of the past six since NASCAR switched from the wing to the spoiler. Denny Hamlin, who won Saturday night at Darlington, has won three of those. Kyle Busch won the other. HMS, which won three of the first five races with four-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, is winless during that stretch. But it's not just wins that has JGR looking like the organization to beat 11 races into the season. Hamlin and Busch have combined to lead 695 laps in the past six races after leading only 76 in the first five. See full story and quotes at ESPN.com.(5-11-2010)

  • Bill France Sr. featured on #48 at Darlington A special decal commemorating the induction of Bill France Sr. into NASCAR's inaugural Hall of Fame class will be featured on the decklid of Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy for this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway. The decals being run are part of a collaborative program to recognize the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Class will be inducted in a ceremony on May 23 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.(GMR Marketing PR)(5-5-2010)

  • Johnson is first quarter driver of the year: On the track and in the media's opinion, Jimmie Johnson was simply the best as he was voted the winner of the Driver of the Year for the first quarter of the 2010 racing season. Johnson, the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and three-time Driver of the Year, led his series' points standing and garnered the most first-place votes in the balloting by leading broadcasters and journalists in the United States. Johnson, 34, had a streak of three wins in four races, and six top-nine finishes in the first quarter, which ended on April 19th. In the voting, Johnson took 11 first-place ballots and totaled 129 points according to the Driver of the Year points system. Australia's Will Power, the Penske Racing driver of the IZOD IndyCar Series #12 Verizon car was second with two first-place votes and 101 points. Power won two of the four races, three poles and no finish worse than fourth. John Force the 1996 Driver of the Year, racing in the NHRA's POWERade Funny Car division was tied with NASCAR's Sprint Cup driver, Denny Hamlin for third in the voting with 48 points. Force had three first-place votes and Hamlin had two. A total of 18 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Jason Meyers, from the World of Outlaws, who had one first-place vote.(Racin' Today)(5-5-2010)

  • Johnson at GM for 75th anniversary of Suburban: The Chevrolet Suburban, now made only at General Motors' Arlington assembly plant, had its 75th anniversary celebrated Monday as the longest continuously produced vehicle in the U.S. Unveiled as the Suburban Carryall, it could seat eight people comfortably and offered whitewall tires, a radio and a heater as options. Unlike other 1930s cars that had wooden sides and canvas tops, the early Suburban was designed as a more durable truck-type vehicle with an all-steel body. GM officials at the Arlington plant showcased one of the first Suburbans ever produced -- a yellow 1936 model with large round headlights and a spare tire on each side. The interior featured a big steering wheel and spacious tan and dark brown vinyl seats that could be removed for extra space. GM on Monday also debuted the 75th anniversary Diamond Edition Suburban, which will be available this summer. Only 2,750 will be made. NASCAR's #48-Jimmie Johnson, who races in Chevy cars, drove one of the limited-edition Suburbans on Monday and later signed some autographs for several plant employees.(Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)(5-5-2010)

  • Johnson testing: hearing that #48-Jimmie Johnson is testing today at Carolina Motorsprots Park.(5-4-2010)

  • Gustafson, Knaus sign extensions with Hendrick Motorsports: Crew chiefs Alan Gustafson [four-year extension through 2014] and Chad Knaus [five-year extension through 2015, supposedly worth over $3.5 million a year] have signed multi-year contract extensions with Hendrick Motorsports, the organization confirmed Friday. Gustafson, 34, is in his sixth season as crew chief of the #5 Chevy and has nine wins heading into Saturday night's event at Richmond International Raceway. The Ormond Beach, Fla., native joined Hendrick Motorsports 11 years ago as a chassis shop employee before being moved to the #5 team in 2000. He served as the shock specialist for two years and was named the lead engineer of the #5 car driven by Terry Labonte in 2002. In 2005, Gustafson took over as crew chief. "I'm extremely happy," Gustafson said of the extension. "I love this company. I love working for Hendrick Motorsports. I love Rick Hendrick (team owner) -- everything he has done for me in my career -- and to continue that on into the future is everything I've wanted. I truly love what I do."
    Now in his ninth season, Knaus is continuing his record-setting run as crew chief the #48 Chevy. With four consecutive Sprint Cup championships under his belt, the 38-year-old Rockford, Ill., native has etched his name in NASCAR's history books. Like Gustafson, Knaus' NASCAR career began with Hendrick Motorsports. Knaus took his first job with Hendrick in 1993 working with the #24 Chevy and crew chief Ray Evernham. Knaus did everything from fabricating pieces to changing tires prior to leaving the organization in 1997. He became crew chief for driver Stacy Compton in 2001 before returning to Hendrick Motorsports the following year to establish the #48 team with then-rookie Jimmie Johnson. Since partnering in 2002, Knaus and Johnson have turned into a dynamic duo, winning the most prestigious events on the NASCAR circuit, including the 2006 Daytona 500 [Darian Grubb served as the crew chief, 1st 4 races of 2006] and three Brickyard 400s (2006, 2008 and 2009) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I'm pretty pleased, obviously," Knaus said. "I've spent the majority of my life at Hendrick Motorsports, since 1993, and I'd have a hard time thinking I would ever go anywhere else. This (No.) 24 team and this (No.) 48 team are very important to me, and I'm glad to be a part of it. I hope I'm here for a long time to come."(HMS Site)(5-1-2010)

  • Hendrick close to re-signing crew chiefs UPDATE: team owner Rick Hendrick said he is days from announcing contract extensions for crew chiefs #5-Alan Gustafson and #48-Chad Knaus. Hendrick has been working on an extension with Knaus since late last season, when driver Jimmie Johnson agreed to a deal to drive at Hendrick Motorsports through 2015. The driver and crew chief have won a NASCAR record four consecutive championships together. Gustafson is currently crew chief for Martin in the #5 Chevy. Kahne has already agreed to drive that car in 2012, but Hendrick says he has not yet determined his crew chief lineup. The owner did say, though, that the #5 team belongs to Gustafson, the first indication that he could be paired with Kahne.(ESPN.com)(4-25-2010)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports has extended the contracts of crew chiefs #5-Alan Gustafson and #48-Chad Knaus. NASCAR's top team announced the multiyear extensions on Friday. Gustafson is currently crew chief for the #5 Chevy driven by Mark Martin. The extension likely means Gustafson will be paired with Kasey Kahne when he joins the team. Knaus has guided Jimmie Johnson to the last four NASCAR championships as crew chief of the #48.(Associated Press), during SPEED's practice cover at Richmond, the length of the extensions are for 4 years.(4-30-2010)

  • Johnson takes blame for incident with Gordon: #48-Jimmie Johnson took the blame for making a mistake that ultimately led to teammate #24-Jeff Gordon's wreck at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson said he was trying to slide in front of Gordon late in Sunday's race so the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers could draft together toward the front. But, he said Gordon was coming too fast. Johnson's move instead had the effect of a block, and Gordon was forced off the apron in a defensive move. His momentum gone, Gordon slide back in traffic and was caught moments later in a multi-car crash. "I misjudged the closing rate," Johnson said. "We all make mistakes, I am no different. Certainly, that was my fault. I made the mistake there." Gordon, who drove his damaged car to a 22nd-place finish, was furious with his teammate after the race. "The 48 is testing my patience, I can tell you that," Gordon said Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. "It takes a lot to make me mad." Johnson was involved in his own accident later and finished 31st. Johnson had already left the track when Gordon, also a four-time series champion, talked of his frustration with his teammate. "I would have stuck around if I knew what was waiting for me," Johnson said. But Johnson again dismissed any notion of a rift with Gordon. The two tangled a week ago at Texas Motor Speedway, but downplayed any potential tensions. "There's no doubt after the fact that frustrations are high, the wreck just compounded it," Johnson said. "I think he was speaking out of frustration.(Associated Press)(4-27-2010)

  • Jimmie Johnson street plan dropped: NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is going to have to wait awhile longer to be honored by his hometown of El Cajon, CA. The El Cajon City Council decided Tuesday night to drop plans to name a portion of Johnson Avenue as Jimmie Johnson Avenue. Mayor Mark Lewis said the council will consider other proposals, such as naming a section of Interstate 8 after Johnson, or perhaps renaming one of the city's parks. "We have so many ideas out there, we want to make sure it's done right," Lewis said. The council had tentatively approved naming a quarter-mile section of Johnson Avenue by Westfield Parkway Plaza after the race car driver who was born in El Cajon and raised in nearby Crest. Supporters noted Johnson not only won four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, but also has raised more than $1 million for East County charitable projects. The proposal stalled after city staffers uncovered a 2004 policy that states existing streets and buildings only can be renamed after dead U.S. presidents. City Manager Kathi Henry will look into changing the city's policy about renaming buildings and streets, and will report back in a month or two about other options for honoring Jimmie Johnson.(San Diego Union Tribune)(4-14-2010)

  • Kahne to Hendrick? [Stewart-Haas?]: #9-Kasey Kahne, the hottest potential free agent in NASCAR entering the season, has signed a multiyear agreement to join Hendrick Motorsports in 2011, multiple sources close to negotiations confirmed to ESPN.com Tuesday. The details of the deal, such as which car Kahne will drive, are still being finalized, sources said. The prevailing thought is Kahne will occupy the #5 car currently driven by Mark Martin, sources said. Martin signed a contract extension last year through the 2011 season. There is room for Martin and Kahne in the Hendrick family. Stewart Haas Racing receives chassis, engines and technical support from HMS. So Kahne could be housed there until Martin's contract was up, if necessary. In 2008 Dale Earnhardt Jr. signed a five-year deal with Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson last year signed an extension through 2015, and Jeff Gordon has a lifetime contract. Kahne is in the final year of his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports, and plans to finish the season in the #9 Ford, sources said. It is unknown whether Kahne's sponsor, Budweiser, will accompany him to HMS [which sponsored Hendrick's #25 Chevy for years]. Hendrick Motorsports officials had no comment. Calls placed to Kahne, who turned 30 last weekend, and to his agent were not returned.(ESPN)(4-13-2010)

  • Highest paid NASCAR drivers: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is NASCAR's highest-paid driver for a second straight year with earnings of $30 million in 2009. Earnhardt has had little racing success the past two years, with only one win at the track. He finished a disappointing 25th in the Sprint Cup standings last year, but was voted NASCAR's most popular driver for a seventh straight year. Forbe's earnings estimates include salaries, endorsements and the drivers' share of track winnings and licensing income. Earnhardt's immense popularity translates into big dollars in each of these areas outside of track winnings. "Nascar needs Dale Jr. to be competitive, because he is so closely associated with the success of the sport. [As] go the fortunes of Junior, so goes Nascar," says Ardy Arani, managing director of Atlanta-based Championship Group, a motor sports marketing consultancy. The top 10 list from forbes.com:
    No. 1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnings: $30 million
    No. 2 Jeff Gordon: Earnings: $27 million
    No. 3 Jimmie Johnson: Earnings: $23 million
    No. 4 Tony Stewart: Earnings: $19 million
    No. 5 Carl Edwards: Earnings: $14 million
    No. 6 Kevin Harvick: Earnings: $13 million
    No. 7 (tie) Kyle Busch: Earnings: $12 million
    No. 7 (tie) Kasey Kahne: Earnings: $12 million
    No. 9 (tie) Matt Kenseth: Earnings: $11 million
    No. 9 (tie) Mark Martin: Earnings: $11 million
    (full article and more at Forbes.com)(3-25-2010)

  • Hendrick Motorsports still deemed most vaulable: Forbe's reports that the average NASCXAR Sprint Cup team generated $92 million in revenue last year, a drop of 4%. Teams were hurt by a 19% decline in Nascar licensing revenue. Total retail sales of licensed merchandise were $1.63 billion in 2009 compared to $2 billion the prior year, according to License Global magazine. The economic downturn and a saturated licensing market helped spur the decline. Another factor was the near bankruptcy of leading Nascar merchandise company Motorsports Authentics. Despite the revenue drop, the average operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the top teams was flat at $7 million. Teams have trimmed budgets by reducing head count, tracking inventory more closely and cutting travel budgets. One area that has not yet been affected is driver salaries--but those cuts will come once contracts start to expire.
    NASCAR's top team remains Hendrick Motorsports worth $350 million, the same as last year. They are the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers and Manchester United rolled into one. They dominate on and off the track with the best drivers (home to the top three finishers in the 2009 Sprint Cup) and the most popular racers (three of the four best-selling drivers for licensed merchandise). Hendrick Motorsports is worth 47% more than the second most valuable team, Roush Fenway Racing. The gap in value between the two top teams is similar to baseball with the Yankees (64% more valuable than the Mets) and ManU in soccer (38% more than Real Madrid).
    Hendrick is the sports leader when it comes to sponsorship revenues, thanks to the success and popularity of its drivers. Its four cars generate an estimated $115 million in sponsorship revenue annually from the likes of DuPont, Go Daddy, Lowe's, the National Guard and PepsiCo. Hendrick cars have the highest budgets in Nascar, but the huge sponsorship haul allowed Hendrick to turn an operating profit of $20 million last year, the highest in the sport. The value of Stewart-Haas has risen 23% to $98 million, which ranks seventh overall. It is one of only three teams to see an increase in value over last year.
    Top NASCAR Teams: No. 1: Hendrick Motorsports, Current value: $350 million, One-year value change: none
    No. 2: Roush Fenway Racing, Current value: $238 million, One-year value change: -12%
    No. 3: Richard Childress Racing, Current value: $153 million, One-year value change: -8%
    No. 4: Joe Gibbs Racing, Current value: $144 million, One-year value change: none
    No. 5: Richard Petty Motorsports, Current value: $124 million, One-year value change: -6%
    No. 6: Penske Racing, Current value: $110 million, One-year value change: -1%
    No. 7: Stewart-Haas Racing, Current value: $98 million, One-year value change: 23%
    No. 8: Michael Waltrip Racing, Current value: $88 million, One-year value change: -12%
    No. 9: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Current value: $71 million, One-year value change: 1%
    No. 10: Red Bull Racing Team, Current value: $59 million, One-year value change: 7%
    (See more at Forbes.com)(3-25-2010)

  • Johnson wins first race at Bristol: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Food City 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 3rd win of 2010, 50th of his career and 1st at Bristol. #14-Stewart finished 2nd followed by #2-Busch, #16-Biffle. #17-Kenseth, #99-Edwards, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #1-McMurray, #18-Busch and #31-Burton. Pole sitter #20-Logano finished 27th down 5 laps. Points leader, #29-Kevin Harvick finished 11th and holds on to the points lead by 1 point over #17-Kenseth. 21 cars finished on the lead lap. There were 10 caution periods for 103 yellow flag laps. There were 29 lead changes among 8 drivers.
    The race is scheduled to be re-aired, Wednesday, March 24 at 12:00pm/et on SPEED.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Bristol Race Results/Awards page
    See drivers points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(3-21-2010)

  • Special Patriotic schemes for Hendrick cars UPDATE: The four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are scheduled to drive special "Honoring Our Soldiers" patriotic paint schemes on Memorial Day weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 30, 2010.(2-24-2010)
    UPDATE: Added images of the cars with the spoilers and not the wings. See my #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page for images of the schemes.(3-17-2010)

  • Johnson tests at Little Rock: been told that #48-Jimmie Johnson tested Tuesday at Rockingham Speedway's 'Little Rock', their 1/2 mile.(3-9-2010)

  • Johnson to help high schoolers: Lowe's and Kobalt Tools in partnership with SkillsUSA are helping the next generation of trade professionals develop their skills through their Toolbox for Education program. Lowe's is donating over $1,000 worth of Kobalt tools to qualifying schools as part of the national program, which will total over $450,000 to 400 SkillsUSA automotive service technology programs across the nation for use in their classrooms. This year's program will kick off with #48-Jimmie Johnson helping a group of SkillsUSA students from Jonesboro High School shop for the donated tools at an Atlanta-area Lowe's store on Thursday. The event is NOT open to the public.(Lowe's Racing)(3-4-2010)

  • Win #190 for Hendrick: With #48-Jimmie Johnson's win last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports now has 190 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, which is the most in the modern era and second all-time [to Petty's].(HMS)(3-3-2010)

  • Johnson breaks record: #48-Jimmie Johnson made some history Sunday at Las Vegas, as was mentioned in the race broadcast. Johnson got his 15th career win at a 1.5-mile track, the most on those tracks in NASCAR Cup Series history. Now a little disclaimer: There are two ways to take this note. One is just of a measure of how dominant Johnson is, especially at intermediate tracks. The second is as a social commentary on the current makeup of the Cup Series schedule, and how it is features far more of the 1.5-mile tracks now than in years past. Either way, Johnson is good at the tracks that make up a bulk of the current schedule. Johnson broke a tie he held with Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon (14), with Bobby Allison and Richard Petty tied for fourth with 11 apiece.(ESPN)(3-3-2010)

  • Johnson wins the Shelby American: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Shelby American Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The win is Johnson's 2nd of 2010, 2nd in a row, 4th win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and 49th win of his 294 race career, now 12th best ever. Johnson has won at least two races every year since his first full-time season in 2002, nine straight years. #29-Harvick finished 2nd [for the 2nd straight race in a row], followed by #24-Gordon [who lead 219 of the 267 laps and dominated the race until 16 laps to go], #5-Martin, #17-Kenseth, #20-Logano, #14-Stewart, #33-Bowyer, #9-Kahne and #16-Biffle [was also 10th last week at ACS]. Pole sitter #2-Busch never led a lap and was caught up in a wreck on lap 94 when #42-Montoya and #1-McMurray got together and Busch had no place to go. Busch finished 35th, 8 laps down. 21 cars finished on the lead lap. There were 7 caution periods for 29 yellow flag laps. There were 18 lead changes among 9 drivers.
    The race is scheduled to be re-aired, Wednesday, March 3 at 12:00pm/et on SPEED.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Las Vegas Race Results/Awards page.
    See standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(2-28-2010)

  • Johnson talks about luck and winners circle program: from a Chevy Racing transcript of Johnson discussing some issues
    HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT GIVING YOU CREDIT AND SAYING YOU'RE LUCKY?
    "There are some that may not give us the credit. But deep down inside it doesn't matter if it's a fan or a competitor; they know this #48 team is the real deal. It's way too early in the season for me to be too excited and say we're unbeatable and we're going to win a fifth (title). From my standpoint it's unfair to say that and from the viewing audience. It's early in the year. This is only the second race. We've felt like we're a little bit off from the second half of the race on and the RCR cars really impressed everyone. Credit needs to be passed out where it's due and we'll see how things go this weekend and take it from there."
    HAVE YOUR WINNER'S CIRCLE APPEARANCES CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? DOES IT SEEM LIKE TRACKS TRY TO GET YOU MORE INVOLVED WITH FANS AND HAVE YOU DO SOME CRAZY THINGS?
    "They are crazy. In the end, I'm not sure that the whole Winner's Circle program is working as it needs to. There are some tracks that are a pleasure to work with and other tracks that are not. In the end, I think the goal of the Winner's Circle program is to sell tickets. And if somebody can show me how a paint ball fight is going to sell tickets and fill the grandstands, I'll gladly be a part of that paint ball fight. I don't believe that's the case though. Do hot dogs really sell tickets? There are a lot of questions out there that don't made sense in a lot of ways. At the end of the day we need people in the grandstands and we need to figure out how we do that. I think there has been a lot of pressure put on the garage area to fill the grandstands. And if you really look at what's gone on in the garage area, the teams have had to step up and build new cars; all the money that it took to build new cars and to develop them and Goodyear has built a new tire. You look at the competition side of NASCAR and the field is closer than it's ever been. Drivers are being encouraged to speak their minds. You look at everything that goes on in this fenced off area and we're tapped out in there. We're doing everything we can to put on a great show. People may think that we race for points, which is absolute crap. We're out there to win races. So everything in that garage area is tapped out. What happens over here in filling those stands, that responsibility needs to go back on the tracks and the promoters and they need to understand what it takes to sell tickets and put people in the stands."
    WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THEY'VE HAD YOU DO?
    "There is everything from we've held events on, I'm trying to keep from making a complete ass of myself in slamming people which is just what you (the media) want, so needless to say there is a lot of stuff that doesn't drive grandstand sales. There is a lot of stuff that improves the position maybe with the track and the local market and the local media and favors that seem to be taking place, but I really find it hard to believe that we actually are impacting the people that are going to be at the ticket counters buying the tickets. That's where the shift needs to take place."
    CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE AXEL ISSUE AND WHETHER YOU WERE ALL HAVING THE ISSUE AND WHAT YOU KNEW ABOUT IT
    "We're still learning about it. I haven't had a chance to really catch up with Chad to know where things are at right now. We had our issue at Daytona and then the #88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) had a problem. So, it's unusual for us. I know the guys are working on it, I just don't know the latest."(GM/Chevy Racing)(2-28-2010)

  • How did Johnson get the lead at Auto Club? In the post-race interview session after winning the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, #48-Jimmie Johnson was asked to run through his ascent to the lead  an ascent that wound up winning him the race. So we were in our pit box, doing the pit stop, Johnson explained. The caution came out. We completed our pit stop, then left pit road. Where we were positioned on pit road, we had to beat the leader (Burton) to the scoring line at the end of the pit lane. We got there just about the same time and beat him by a car length or half a car length or something. I think the 18 (Kyle Busch) was in the pits, and the leader of the race passed him a few seconds before the 18 was able to get that line. Thats why we were able to be on the lead lap still. Then everybody pitted and we were the leader. Replays showed that Johnson, who called the lead a gift, beat #31-Jeff Burton to the scoring line [who was leading the race on the track when the yellow came out] by just a couple of feet. Burton was asked if there was anything he could have done to get to the line first. Perhaps, he said. I knew people were on pit road, Burton said. Theres a fine line between slowing down and not slowing down. I dont know where that line is. I came around as quick as I thought I could without NASCAR getting upset at me. You know, I dont know. If Id have come around probably 2/10ths of a second quicker, we would have had him a lap down. Nonetheless, I did what I thought was right. You know, I didnt just stop. I carried speed around. They ask you to slow down. You cant run down there wide open or theyll get you for that. You know, I dont know. I dont know what the right thing to do there is. Ill go back and spend some time with them and ask them their opinion. If I could carry more speed the next time, I certainly will.(Racin' Today)(2-22-2010)

  • Johnson wins the Auto Club 500: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. It is Johnson's first win of 2010, 48th of his career and Johnson has now won at least one race a year for 9 straight years, since his rookie year. #29-Harvick finished 2nd, followed by #31-Burton, #5-Martin, #20-Logano, #2-Busch, #33-Burton, #14-Stewart and #16-Biffle. Johnson led the most laps, 101 of 250. Pole sitter #1-McMurray finished 17th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 32nd after breaking an axle midway in the race. There were 6 caution periods for 30 laps. There were 26 lead changes among 13 drivers leading laps. The race is scheduled to be re-aired on SPEED, Wednesday, February 24 at 12:00pm/et.
    See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Daytona 500 Race Results/Awards page.
    See standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(2-21-2010)

  • Johnson sells NYC loft, but...: #48-Jimmie Johnson has just sold his 3,200-square-foot loft in Chelsea [New York City] for $4 million. Johnson paid $3.975 million for the three-bedroom three-and-a-half bath condo in 2007. He put it on the market last March for $4.395 million, eventually cutting the price to $4.25 million. He and his wife, Chandra, a former model, used the apartment as a pied-à-terre 9a temporary or second lodging); their primary home is in Charlotte, NC. The couple are expecting their first child in July. The listing agent, Lisa Rose of Halstead Property, declined to comment. He is not forsaking New York City. He recently closed on another three-bedroom three-and-a-half bath condo, this one for $8.33 million, at Superior Ink, a new complex with a 61-unit building and seven town houses at West 12th and West Streets in the West Village.(New York Yimes)(2-7-2010)

  • Johnson honored by NC House of Reps: The North Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a Patrick McHenry-sponsored resolution honoring NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson. Johnson was the first NASCAR driver to win four consecutive Sprint Cup Championships. Republican Patrick McHenry has represented North Carolinas 10th Congressional District of North Carolina since 2005. The district covers Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln and Mitchell counties, along with parts of Gaston, Iredell and Rutherford. James Finch II.(Charlotte Observer)(2-7-2010)

  • Johnson Finally Gets His Due In Preseason Media Poll: It only took an unprecedented fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, but the media finally thinks Jimmie Johnson will defend his crown, according to a preseason media poll. Incredibly, this isnt a typical outcome. Only once in the previous five preseason polls has Johnson been tapped as the favorite  in 2005, the last season he didnt win the championship. In 2006 and 2008, the media picked Jeff Gordon to win it all, in 2007 it picked Tony Stewart, and last year, the press picked Carl Edwards. Rounding out the top 12: Gordon in second, Stewart in third, Kyle Busch in fourth, Edwards in fifth, Denny Hamlin in sixth, Mark Martin in seventh, Kurt Busch in eighth, Juan Pablo Montoya in ninth, Matt Kenseth in 10th, Greg Biffle in 11th and Ryan Newman in 12th. Drivers who made the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but were left out of the 2010 preseason media top 12 poll are Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers. Kahne ranked 14th; Vickers 20th. Predictors think Dale Earnhardt Jr. will again miss the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, but barely. He ranked 13th in the poll. In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year poll, the media thinks Kevin Conway will take home the trophy over Terry Cook. In the NASCAR Nationwide Series poll the Media Predicts Title to Edwards, Rookie Award to Colin Braun and in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ron Hornaday is picked to win 5th Championship.(NASCAR)(2-4-2010)

  • 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona, episode 2 TONIGHT: HBO Sports all-access show 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona continues with its second episode, debuting Tuesday, Feb. 2 (10:00-10:30pm/et/pt). The four-week series spotlights one of racings biggest stars, reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and gives viewers an inside look at the driver and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of auto racing. Four-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson takes to the track for the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race, while crew chief Chad Knaus prepares the No. 48 car for the fast-approaching Daytona 500, set for Feb. 14 in Daytona Beach. Additional episodes of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona debut on subsequent Tuesdays  Feb. 9 and 16  in prime time at 10:00pm/et/pt. The Feb. 16 series finale debuts two days after the race, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding Johnson and his team on race day. All four episodes have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series is also be available on HBO On Demand. More info, schedules and previews at HBO.com and see TV Listings page and/or #48 Team News and Links page.(2-2-2010)

  • Most NASCAR drivers don't fare well in Rolex 24: Full-time NASCAR drivers were shut out from the winners circle and even podium finishes Sunday at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The 24-hour race was won by the Porsche of Action Express Racing driven by Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Mike Rockenfeller and Ryan Dalziel. They finished 50 seconds ahead of Chip Ganassi Racings car driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas as well as Germain Racing part-time Cup driver Max Papis and IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson. Ganassis other car  co-driven by his Cup drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray as well as his IndyCar Series drivers Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon  blew an engine while leading less than nine hours into the event at Daytona. About half the field did not finish the race, including four-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as his Bob Stallings Racing car had an oil pump issue and retired with about four hours remaining. Richard Petty Motorsports had two drivers in the field. AJ Allmendinger drove for Michael Shank Racing and was in third when his engine blew less than two hours prior to the finish and the team had to settle for seventh. Paul Menard drove for Spirit of Daytona Racing, which retired before the halfway point and wound up 32nd. Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Series driver Colin Braun had the best day of the NASCAR contingent as he was part of the fourth-place Krohn Racing team. TRG Motorsports Bobby Labonte drove one of the team cars and was leading before running out of fuel and having to be towed back to the pits with about five hours remaining. Other mechanical issues plagued the team, which finished 16th overall, ninth in the Grand Touring class. Part-time Cup driver Boris Said was part of a Turner Motorsport team that finished 15th overall, eighth in the GT class.(Scene Daily)(2-1-2010)

  • Johnson gets a street named after him: Move over, Dr. Johnson. A more famous Johnson is about to pass you by. A quarter-mile stretch of Johnson Avenue in El Cajon, California - a street named for an East County pioneer - will soon be re-christened in honor of stock car champion and El Cajon native Jimmie Johnson. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to rename part of the two-mile street Jimmie Johnson Way. What won't change: the 40-mph speed limit on the thoroughfare by Westfield Parkway Plaza. Racing fan Linda Valdez of La Mesa reminded the council that Johnson has been honored as Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and NASCAR Driver of the Decade. "The only thing missing was an honor from his hometown, El Cajon," she said. Officials are hoping for a dedication ceremony in October with Johnson, the only driver to win four straight NASCAR championships.(San Diego Union Tribune)(2-2-2010)

  • Johnson wrecks in Rolex 24 practice: Defending, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson crashed and suffered some bruising Thursday in opening practice for this weekends Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Johnson crashed in the left-hand kink area of Daytonas 3.56-mile road course driving the #99 Bob Stallings Chevy Riley Daytona Prototype. "A GT car was very wide to the left and JJ assumed the GT saw him and was making way for the faster car," team owner Bob Stallings said. "As it turns out, the GT probably did not see JJ and closed off on him. "Jimmie had to lift and get on the brake and as soon as he pointed the nose of the car down, the car turned on him and he backed it into the wall pretty hard. All the damage is on the back end of the car." Stallings said Johnson was traveling an estimated 185 mph when he tried to avoid colliding with the slower GT sedan. Johnsons car spun around and crashed backwards into an infield wall which "twisted the rear end chassis." The #99 entry has been withdrawn from the race. Stallings has sent for the teams backup Daytona Prototype in Dallas. The other car should be at the Speedway by Friday. Team spokesman Adam Saal said Johnson "was reportedly OK, a little bit bruised, but hell be fine." Saal said Johnson was taken to the Speedway infield care center, evaluated, treated and released.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-28-2010)

  • Seven Cup drivers on America's 100 Most Powerful Athletes list: What is power? In athletics it is usually thought of as bulging muscles and dominating performance. But in sports today, power has a different meaning, as well: the earning potential of athletes, owners, agents, communities, and brands, ranging from breakfast cereal to beer. To determine who the 100 most powerful athletes are on and off the field, Bloomberg BusinessWeek teamed with CSE, an integrated sports and entertainment company that connects brands with fans, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Rick Horrow, to create the 2010 version of the Power 100. Unlike previous Power 100s, this year's ranking would focus only on the athletes-not the owners, the agents, the commissioners, or the coaches. On-field metrics included athletes who scored the best on the field (or the rink, the greens, or the court) over a two-year period. The more popular the sport, the more weight those achievements garnered.
    Drivers on the list: Jimmie Johnson, 21st; Jeff Gordon, 28th; Mark Martin, 41st; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 45th; Tony Stewart, 48th; Carl Edwards, 67th; and Kyle Busch, 70th. Danica Patrick also made the list at 88th.(
    Business Week)(1-28-2010)

  • Jimmie Johnson HBO show: HBO Sports groundbreaking 24/7 reality franchise presents its first non-boxing series with the all-access show 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona. Debuting Tuesday, January 26 (10:00-10:30pm/ et/pt), the four-week series spotlights one of racings biggest stars, reigning four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and gives viewers an inside look at the driver and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of auto racing. Johnson (who was named 2009s Male Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press) and his accomplished NASCAR racing team begin preparations for the Super Bowl of auto racing: the 2010 Daytona 500, set for Feb. 14 in Daytona Beach. Other episodes of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona debut on subsequent Tuesdays  Feb. 2, 9 and 16  in prime time at 10:00 pm (ET/PT). The Feb. 16 series finale debuts two days after the race, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding Johnson and his team on race day. All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series will also be available on HBO On Demand. The executive producers of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; senior producer, Dave Harmon; coordinating producer, Scott Boggins; writer, Peter Nelson. Liev Schreiber narrates.
    Episode #1 Debut: Tuesday, Jan. 26 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT)
    Other HBO playdates: Jan. 26 (2:15 a.m.), 27 (2:30 p.m., 11:00 p.m.), 29 (7:30 p.m., 11:45 p.m.), 30 (11:00 a.m., 8:30 p.m. PT only, 11:30 p.m. ET only) and 31 (9:00 a.m.), and Feb. 1 (8:00 p.m., 12:15 a.m.), 2 (11:30 a.m.), 13 (11:00 p.m.) and 14 (8:00 a.m.)
    HBO2 playdates: Jan. 28 (9:45 p.m.) and 31 (5:45 p.m.), and Feb. 11 (12:25 a.m.)
    HBO On Demand availability begins: Feb. 1. More info, schedules and previews at HBO.com.(1-24-2010)

  • Still no deal for Knaus: Jimmie Johnson re-upped with Hendrick Motorsports last year. Crew chief Chad Knaus, an equally important part of the team that has won four straight Cup championships, hasn't extended his current contract beyond 2010. Knaus, however, is convinced his deal will get done in due time. "The contract deal will get done at some point," Knaus said. "I'm signed up through the end of 2010, and it's not on the forefront of my mind right now. What's important to me right now is just getting the cars built, getting to Daytona and getting the season back in place. Once the contract negotiations start, then we'll worry about that." Johnson and Knaus are viewed as an inseparable combination, but Knaus said he could envision working with another driver -- just not any time soon.(Sporting News/Fox Sports)(1-21-2010)

  • Johnson named Driver of the Year by NMPA: #48-Jimmie Johnson was named the National Motorsports Press Association Richard Petty Driver of the Year on Sunday night at the NMPA annual convention.(ESPN)(1-18-2010)

  • Johnson on TV Monday...twice: Four-time Sprint Cup champ, #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to appear on The Today Show as well as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Monday, January 18th. Tune into The Today Show during the 10:30am/et half hour to watch Johnson with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. The Today Show airs on NBC. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon airs at 12:35 am/et on NBC.(JJF)(1-17-2010)

  • Hess, Parker receive Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence: Hendrick Motorsports employees Lynn Hess and Richie Parker were named recently as the 2009 Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence recipients. The award embodies the spirit of Rick Hendrick's late father Joe Hendrick and is voted upon annually by Hendrick Motorsports employees. Hess and Parker were recognized during the company's Christmas party on Dec. 18. Inclement weather kept Hess from attending the event, but that didn't dampen her excitement. Hess has worked at Hendrick Motorsports fulltime since October 1999 as the administrative assistant for the #24 and #48 team shop, while also serving as the scorer some race weekends for the #24 team. Parker was on hand to receive the honor on Dec. 19, but the award wasn't the only thing that surprised the 2005 Clemson graduate. Parker, who started working at Hendrick Motorsports fulltime in 2005 as an engineer, was surprised to find his parents in attendance for the party.(HMS)(1-12-2010)

  • Congrats: Four-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champ #48-Jimmie Johnson and wife Chandra are expecting their first child, due in July. No other details have been announced.(ESPN/AP)(1-4-2010)

2009 News

  • Johnson wins Al Holbert Memorial Award: the Eastern Motorsport Press Association has voted four-tine Sprint Cup Champ, Jimmie Johnson, the Al Holbert Memorial National Driver of the Year. EMPA is made up of members who are journalists, photographers and broadcasters that cover motorsports on a regular basis. Johnson will have his award presented at the annual EMPA Convention being presented at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Trevose, PA, January 15 thru 17th. The presentation will take place during the NASCAR/EMPA Hall of Fame Dinner. Other events in the area include: Motorsports 2010 Race Car & Trade Show on Jan 22-24 and the Atlantic City Indoor Races on Jan 29-30.
    Joining Johnson as recipients of special awards from the EMPA will be Richie Evans Memorial Northeast Driver of the Year Ted Christopher; T. Wayne Robertson Memorial Newsmaker Award winner Wall Stadium promoter Jim Morton; Junie Donlavey Spirit of the Sport Award winner NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour competitor Wade Cole; along with John Blewett III Young Guns Presented by New England Racing Fuels Award winner Ryan Truex.
    Four new members will be inducted in the Eastern Motorsport Press Association Hall of Fame. One of the true legends in dirt modified racing, Freddy Adam tops the list of inductees along with sprint car legend Steve Smith, Western Pennsylvania sprint car and super modified legend Lou Blaney and one of the founding partners of the weekly trade newspaper Gater Racing News Norm Patrick.
    Long time Pocono Raceway public relations person Bob Pleban will be honored with the Art McHugh Memorial in recognition of his many years of support of the EMPA.( southjerseydirtracing.com)(12-30-2009)

  • Hendrick Motorsports VP receives honorary degree: Doug Duchardt, a 1987 graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology, will be one of 10 alumnae awarded an honorary professional degree on Saturday during the school's winter commencement ceremonies. Currently the Vice President of Development for Hendrick Motorsports, Duchardt earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the university in 1987. During his undergraduate career, he joined General Motors as a co-op student. That relationship grew over time, and after achieving a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1992, Duchardt went on to become the director of GM Racing in 2003 and work closely with NASCAR teams. In 2005, he was named a vice president at Hendrick Motorsports, where he currently oversees race car design, engineering and production in the chassis, body and engine areas. "I appreciate my alma mater recognizing what's happened in my career, but it's really the result of being surrounded by talented people at General Motors and Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "There are a lot of distinguished alumnae from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and it's humbling to see the list of people being honored and the previous honorees. It's also encouraging that colleges and universities are paying attention to what happens in NASCAR and that our industry is relevant with any other mainstream business."(HMS)(12-28-2009)

  • Media selects top drivers, races of decade in NASCARs three national series: With the recently completed 2009 season closing out another decade of NASCAR racing, media members have selected the top drivers and top races of the decade for all three national series as voted upon in a poll on NASCARMedia.com. The listing of drivers and races for the poll was compiled following discussions with the three series directors and other long-time observers in the industry - and also resulted from direct input from NASCAR fans. #48-Jimmie Johnson was selected as the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the decade, followed by #14-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon. Johnson won an unprecedented fourth consecutive series championship in 2009 and posted 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories this decade - most of any driver. He is the only driver to earn a spot in the Chases for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all six years of the format's existence. The March 16, 2003 race at Darlington Raceway was voted the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. In what is the closest Margin of Victory - .002 seconds - since the advent of electronic scoring in May 1993, Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch to the finish line in that thriller. The Oct. 14, 2000 race at Talladega Superspeedway, which marked Dale Earnhardt's final career victory, came in second, followed by the March 11, 2001 event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with Kevin Harvick getting his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in a narrow defeat of Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR PR), see the results for the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series on those pages.(12-21-2009)

  • Johnson named AP male athlete of the year: #48-Jimmie Johnson has been picked as the Male Athlete of the Year by members of The Associated Press. Editors at newspapers which are members of the AP selected Johnson after he captured an unprecedented fourth straight championship in NASCAR's premier series. He received 42 votes to beat tennis star Roger Federer and Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, who were the only other two athletes to receive vote totals in the double-digits. Albert Pujols, Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods, who was named athlete of the decade last week, each received nine votes. Johnson won seven races this season, including four in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, to coast to his fourth title. He's the first race car driver to win the AP honor.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(12-21-2009)

  • Johnson wins 2009 Driver of the Year Award: #48-Jimmie Johnson was elected by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists the 2009 Driver of the Year. Johnson becomes only the fourth three-time Driver of the Year winner, following other racing greats Mario Andretti, Darrell Waltrip, and Jeff Gordon. Gordon is the only four-time Driver of the Year, America's original race driver's award. Johnson rewrote NASCAR records as he won his fourth- straight Sprint Cup championship, the first driver to do so. Johnson the Driver of the Year in 2006 and 2007 also won the fourth quarter 2009 Driver of the Year award. In spite of all the trophies and honors, especially around the busy NASCAR Champion's week, Johnson was a bit surprised when he was informed of the panel's decision - "fantastic, cool," he said adding "it will take some time to sink in."
    "It's an amazing accomplishment, I'm proud to be considered," he added. When advised of the members of the panel and that top drivers from all US series are eligible for the award, Johnson noted "when you look at the all the people being considered it's not a popularity contest." Professionals, who voted in a secret ballot for a single driver, gave Johnson 13 votes, Kyle Busch received two votes, and Mark Martin received one vote. In its' 43rd year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the original award of its' type that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 20 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. are eligible to vote via a secret ballot. Four votes were not tabulated this year. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch which will be presented at a place and time to be announced later.(Driver of the Year Foundation PR)(12-16-2009)

  • Hendrick honored with Bill France Award of Excellence: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports was honored with the Bill France Award of Excellence at the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony. The award was presented to Hendrivk by Betty Jane France, wife of the late Bill France Jr., who guided the sport from 1971-2003. I wasnt expecting this one, Hendrick said during his acceptance speech at the Wynn Las Vegas. This award means so much to me because of the relationship I had with Bill France and the respect I had for him. The award is not handed out annually by the France family, which has owned and operated NASCAR for 61 years. Named for NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., the award is presented when the NASCAR leadership believes someone is worthy of the recognition for contributions to the sport. NASCAR has had many iconic figures throughout its rich history, and Rick Hendrick certainly falls into that category, Betty Jane France said. Through the years, he has not only won our respect but our hearts as well. Hendrick did not know that Betty Jane France was at the banquet and the award was not listed in the agenda for the evening that celebrated Jimmie Johnsons fourth consecutive title in a season where Hendrick drivers swept the top three spots in the standings. Ive never seen him where hes in a position where he couldnt say what was on his mind, Johnson said after the ceremony. It really got him. & For a minute there, I thought he was going to need to sit down and start over and come back to the podium. Its amazing. It means so much to Rick because of his friendship with Bill. I could only imagine how much that means to him. And then this year, you look at the 1-2-3 and all the success. You roll it all up in one, hes going to remember 2009 forever.(SceneDaily)(12-6-2009)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week  Day 5: The first Champions Week in Las Vegas culminated with the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony Friday evening at the Wynn Las Vegas. The week was a packed one for four-time defending champion #48-Jimmie Johnson, who started off the tour in his home state of California before coming to Las Vegas for the festivities that began with Wednesdays landmark photo shoot. Despite the numerous appointments, Johnson said he enjoyed them all, and said this Champions Week was completely different than his previous three that took place in New York City. I think it was much more relaxed, Johnson said. We didnt have to commute across town, getting around was much easier. I had a blast. Everyone across the industry just had fun together. We were hanging out with people from different teams across the sport every night. It was a lot of fun. This has been a much better experience. Johnson said his trip home to El Cajon, Calif., on Monday was his favorite part of the week. He visited his old elementary school, and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation donated a total of $922,000 in grants to schools in California, North Carolina and Oklahoma. Being at my elementary school [Crest Elementary] and giving out the grants was the best part, Johnson said. There are a lot of things on its heels as second-favorite, but that was the best. Crew chief Chad Knaus echoed his drivers feelings on the week, and expects it to be even better in the future. Honestly, its been a lot of fun, Knaus said. Everything has been such a good time. And the more times were here, the more its going to grow.
    Championship owner Rick Hendrick said it was certainly different in Vegas. In New York, you had more of the Christmas feeling because of the tree and the cold weather, Hendrick said. But theres so much more room to do things here. And the guys on the team are excited to be more a part of the celebration. This is Hendricks ninth championship, meaning hes been a part of nine Champions Weeks. It doesnt get boring, he says. You know what to expect, but it never gets old, Hendrick said. The reality of the championship always hits me the morning of the banquet. It finally sinks in. When that happens, you realize its so special. When I was young, I just wanted to go to Martinsville. I never dreamed Id win races and championships. Its like growing up in Green Bay, and then winning the Super Bowl with the Packers. Thats exactly how I feel. Im very appreciative for everything I have.
    Friday evenings NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony honored the entire #48 team and the top 10 drivers in the final series points standings. Hosted by Mike Joy and Krista Voda, it featured performances by country music stars Brooks and Dunn, comedian Frank Caliendo and singer David Gray.(NASCAR)(12-5-2009)

  • Sporting News' Driver and Crew Chief Of The Year named: #48-Jimmie Johnson, the first driver in Sprint Cup Series history to win four consecutive championships, is the Sporting News driver of the year, the magazine announced today. Chad Knaus, Johnsons crew chief since Johnson became a full-time Cup driver in 2002, was voted the top crew chief. The voting was done by Sprint Cup drivers, crew chiefs and owners. Besides the four championships, Johnson and Knaus have combined for 47 Cup wins in 291 starts, a 16.2 winning percentage that ranks Johnson sixth all time.(Sporting News)(12-5-2009)

  • Johnson wins 4th Qtr Driver of the Year Award: #48-Jimmie Johnson was voted fourth quarter Driver of the Year 2009 by a panel of broadcasters and journalists. Johnson, the Driver of the Year in 2006 and 2007, wrapped up his fourth- straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship then took 12 out of the 16 first-place votes and was the only driver on all ballots. He earned 130 points. Kyle Busch, his on-track rival, was second with 53 points. NHRA's Robert Hight was third with 49-points. Kyle Busch, who wrapped up his first championship, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, in addition to his full-time driving duties in the Sprint Cup series, also scored wins in Camping World Series and received one first-place vote. NHRA's Robert Hight who scored a Funny Car Championship for owner, John Force, (Driver of the Year in 1996) had two first-place votes. Dario Franchitti who won his second IndyCar title finished fourth in the voting with 41 points. Top Fuel's Tony Schumacher, last year's Driver of the Year was fifth. A total of 14 drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting. In its' 42nd year, the Driver of the Year title is unique and the oldest award of its' type. A panel of 20 leading journalists from across the U.S. determines the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date. A secret ballot to name the Driver of the Year 2009 will be conducted this week and results will announced.(DOTY)(12-3-2009)

  • Johnson to run Rolex 24: Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will kick off his 2010 racing season at Daytona International Speedway in the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31, the prestigious twice-around-the-clock challenge and the ultimate test of driver and machine. For the third straight year, Johnson will co-drive the # 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing entry - the 2009 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype champions - with the team's lead drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty as well as open-wheel veteran Jimmy Vasser. The 2010 Rolex 24 will be Johnson's fifth appearance in the grueling race that kicks off the season for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask #16. Johnson has a best finish of second in both the 2005 and 2008 Rolex 24s.(Daytona Speedway PR)(12-3-2009)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week  Day 4: As the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week rolls toward the official crowning of four-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson on Friday night, the celebration continues to focus on the sports many fans. Bringing the event to Las Vegas has been a big plus in that respect, according to Johnson, who sees nothing but greater fan participation in future years. The fan turnouts for all of the events have been phenomenal, especially for a first year, said Johnson during Thursdays events which included the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, Top 12 Victory Lap Parade, NASCAR After the Lap Presented by Tissot and SIRIUS XMs Stewie Awards. With the TV package, (fan) access to NASCAR is growing and Champions Week in the years to come can only get bigger and better.
    NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, in remarks during Thursdays awards ceremonies, said, We will continue to do everything possible as an industry to thank them for the commitment to the sport and to give them the kind of racing, personalities and excitement they expect from their NASCAR. As we head into 2010, we will continue to focus on whats most important  delivering the best possible racing to the fans.
    Two of NASCARs pioneers were honored during the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, held at the Venetian Showroom. Dale Inman, the longtime Petty Enterprises crew chief and winner of eight NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, was the recipient of the Buddy Shuman Award. Inman, winner of 198 races and titles with Richard Petty and Terry Labonte, joined Petty as a winner of the prestigious award. Barney Hall, the longest serving member of MRNs broadcast team, received the Myers Brothers Award.
    Michigan International Speedway received the 2009 Home Depot Humanitarian Award for its annual blood and marrow drive, an event created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Similar events are hosted at 30 additional tracks around the nation. Never in my wildest dreams did I think what we began in 2002 would become this big, said Tim Booth, the tracks customer service manager.
    Daytona International Speedway was cited as the top fund-raising track for NASCAR Day. The speedway raised nearly $100,000 for charities served by the NASCAR Foundation.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver for the seventh time.
    Johnson picked up four awards. His #48 team received three additional awards.
    The Top 12 Victory Lap Parade held Thursday afternoon under sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s drew thousands of onlookers as Mr. Las Vegas Wayne Newton dropped the ceremonial green flag. Fans overflowed sidewalks at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road to witness what has become a NASCAR race winners signature burn out celebration performed by Johnson. Pit stop demonstrations also were held fronting Ballys and The Bellagio resorts.
    A large crowd also enjoyed a Q&A session with the 12 qualifiers for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup held at the MGM Grand Hotel. The After the Lap Presented by Tissot followed the Top 12 Victory Lap. Thursday events ended with the presentation of the SIRIUS XM Stewie Awards honoring the best, boldest and brightest moments of the 2009 season.
    Johnson formally accepts his 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship awards on Friday. He, his family and his Hendrick Motorsports team will participate in traditional photos during the afternoon, before attending the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony that evening at Wynns Las Vegas. SPEED will televise the event live from 9:00 pm - 1:00 am/et. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio will also broadcast the ceremony live nationwide.
    Here is the complete list of Thursdays award winners:
    * Buddy Shuman Award  Dale Inman
    * NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award  Michigan International Speedway
    * NMPA Myers Brothers Award  Barney Hall
    * Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award  Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    * Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award  Joey Logano
    * DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year Award  Darian Grubb
    * Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award  Drew Blickensderfer
    * MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award  Hendrick Motorsports
    * Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Award  #42 team
    * Mobil 1 Command Performance Award  Juan Pablo Montoya
    * OReilly Parts People, Services and Performance Award  Denny Hamlin
    * Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * Tissot Pit Road Precision Award  #16 team
    * WIX Filters Lap Leader Award  Tony Stewart
    * Coors Light Pole Award  Mark Martin
    * Sunoco Diamond Performance Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * Goodyear Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * Championship Sponsor Award  Lowes
    * Champion Crew Chief Award  Chad Knaus
    (NASCAR)(12-3-2009)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week  Day 3: Vegas, baby, Vegas & or is it? Champion's Week takes place in Las Vegas for the first time, but today NASCAR, championship driver Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe's Chevy) and championship crew chief Chad Knaus, paid a bit of homage to its former home  New York City. Johnson took part in the traditional Landmark Photo Shoot, hitting a number of recognizable spots along the famed Las Vegas strip. One of those spots was the replica New York City skyline that makes up the New York New York Hotel & Casino. Johnson and Knaus also took photos outside the Bellagio hotel and the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign at the very end of the strip. At the sign, which was the champion's last stop on the photo shoot, Johnson took photos with fans and signed autographs. Miss Sprint Cup Monica Palumbo also joined the champions for the photo.
    Johnson's day didn't end there. After the photos were taken, he dashed to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where his fellow competitors got a little payback for four years of domination. The track hosted a Charity Roast of Johnson, with all 12 Chase drivers in attendance  and none held back. Said Kurt Busch (#2 Miller Lite Dodge), "I figured out a new Chase format. Every Chase race, we pull out of a hat who gets to have Chad Knaus as their crew chief. Because it's certainly not your talent that wins you all these championships." Said fellow four-time champion Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevy), "Man, you've won four straight championships. I used to be the man. Now you got me on everything. At least my eyebrows are better than yours." Said Hendrick Motorsports teammate and 2009 championship runner-up Mark Martin (#5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevy), "Jimmie has gotten a lot better looking. As a kid he was ugly. He was so ugly that he had to trick-or-treat by telephone." The at-track activities began early with the Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Neon Garage. It was a free-admission party for fans, featuring music, food and a Q&A hosted by ESPN's Jamie Little. The roast, held in the track's Blackjack Club, benefitted Speedway Children's Charities. The event was shown on closed-circuit television in the Neon Garage.(NASCAR)(12-2-2009)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week  Day 2: And now, on to Las Vegas. #48-Jimmie Johnson completed his Southern California Champions Week visits on Tuesday. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion readies for three days of festivities that begin with Wednesdays Chasers for the Charity Fanfest and roast beginning at 10:00am/pt in the Neon Garage at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson is slated to be the guest of honor  or, better said, the one on the hot seat  when stand-up comic Kevin Burke, who currently stars in the Broadway hit Defending the Caveman, along with the champions fellow competitors turn up the heat by roasting Johnson in the name of charity at 1:30pm/pt. You couldnt have scripted it any better, Johnson said of this years Champions Week, being held for the first time in Las Vegas and offering fans and media in two states the opportunity to celebrate with the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Ive definitely been able to work in a little more sleep, said Johnson comparing this years event with his 2006-08 Champions Week trips to New York City. Of course, when we get to Vegas that may change. Its neat to hit different areas of the country and get the opportunity to visit with all of our great fans, which have supported me on this journey all along.
    On that note, Mayor Randy Voepel and the City Council of Santee, Calif., proclaimed Monday Jimmie Johnson Day as the champions latest accomplishments were celebrated at a homecoming party at a Lowes store in the San Diego suburb. The event attracted nearly 3,000 fans, Johnsons family and former motocross and off-road legends Rick Johnson and Ivan Ironman Stewart. Johnson, who grew up in nearby El Cajon, suggested that the communitys speed limits, currently 45 mph, be raised to 48. Voepel responded well work on that tomorrow.
    Day 2 of Champions Week consisted of an appearance at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana where Johnson had breakfast with and conducted a Q&A with 700 of the tracks invited guests. He also participated in several media functions. Johnson has won four NASCAR Sprint Cup races at the track including the last three runnings of its Pepsi 500. #20-Joey Logano, meanwhile, made the rounds of Las Vegas print, affiliate and broadcast media on Tuesday. His interviewers included the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a KNTV (ABC) morning show and KVVU (FOX) news. For Logano, the 2009 season was his one opportunity to make a good first impression. Its really an honor to be the Raybestos Rookie of the Year. It was one of our goals this year and Im glad I did it since I dont get a second shot at it, said the 19-year-old Connecticut native, who joined NASCAR Sprint Cup superstars Richard Petty, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon among winners of the freshman title. It was the opportunity of a lifetime to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing, said Logano, who won once in 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was really cool to jump into a car with a team that had success. The No. 20 team won championships in 2002 and 2005 with Tony Stewart behind the wheel. Logano also offered congratulations to Johnson on his fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup title. Its impressive to accomplish something like that. It makes me want to keep digging so I can try and beat him, he said. Logano has a date Wednesday to fly with the U.S. Air Forces famed Thunderbirds.(NASCAR)(12-2-2009)

  • Johnson Joins Eli Gold Tuesday on 'NASCAR Live': Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will spend the full hour with host Eli Gold on a special edition of NASCAR Live on Tuesday [Dec 1st] at 7:00pm/et. The program will originate from CBS Radio studios in Los Angeles. NASCAR Live, now in its 26th year, invites those fans interested in congratulating Johnson on his historic fourth straight championship to send their questions to www.motorracingnetwork.com or call 1-800-2-NASCAR during Tuesdays show.
    On Wednesday [Dec. 2nd], Chad Knaus  Johnsons crew chief  will be the featured guest on the final 2009 airing of NASCAR Performance Live on MRN Radio at 7:00pm/et. Co-hosts Steve Post and Larry McReynolds will review the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season with Knaus and look ahead to 2010.

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week  Day 1: #48-Jimmie Johnson will collect an armful of awards later this week as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week wraps up its inaugural Las Vegas run on Friday at Wynns Las Vegas Resort. On Monday, as Champions Week began in the 2009 champions hometown of El Cajon, Calif., it was Johnson and his wife, Chandra, handing out the awards  nearly $1 million in grants divided among schools in California, North Carolina and Oklahoma. The donations from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowes Toolbox for Education in the amount of $922,000 were made public during ceremonies at Jimmie Johnsons former elementary school, Crest Elementary, in El Cajon. In all, 26 schools  11 in the San Diego area  received grants from the foundation from the 80 institutions applying for awards in science and technology, accelerated reading, outdoor classrooms and athletic facilities and other programs. (A complete list of 2009 grant recipients and programs can be found at www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.)
    This is what the foundation is all about, being able to give back to communities in need, said Johnson, the first driver to win four consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles. Chandra Johnson, co-founder of the foundation, added, I am particularly excited about the projects in Oklahoma as this is our first opportunity to give back in my home state. The assembly was the first of three events the champion attended Monday in the Golden State. He also journeyed a few miles north to the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Pendleton, where he interacted with service personnel and their families and enjoyed a concert by the rock band Saving Abel. Im so proud of our sport and the way we support the men and women that support our country, said Johnson. Anything we can do to give back to our armed service men and women and thank them for what they do; Im all for it. The day ended with a fan fest at the Lowes Home Improvement Store in the San Diego suburb of Santee.(NASCAR)(11-30-2009)

  • Knaus commits to Johnson thru 2015 UPDATE denied: Chad Knaus has committed to being #48-Jimmie Johnson's crew chief at least through the 2015 season, team owner Rick Hendrick said on Tuesday. Hendrick is working on a deal to keep Knaus at Hendrick Motorsports through the length of his racing career. But, at least for the next five seasons, his role will be as the crew chief for the driver who on Sunday won a record fourth straight Sprint Cup title. That will coincide with the length of Johnson's new contract extension. "Chad and I have talked about what he would like to do down the road," Hendrick said on a NASCAR conference call. "Chad and I are looking at other things to secure his future and investments.(ESPN)(11-24-2009)
    UPDATE - denied: Chad Knaus believes he and Jimmie Johnson can continue to add to their championship total for years to come. But the crew chief first needs a new contract. Knaus on Wednesday denied an ESPN report that he's agreed to lead Johnson through 2015, the length of Johnson's new contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports. Knaus, who has guided Johnson to four straight titles and 47 victories since 2002, is still working under an extension signed in 2006 that runs through next season. "We've only started very light conversations," Knaus said. "I don't have a new contract, and we've barely had enough conversation for me to agree to anything." Although Knaus said it is his intention to stay with Hendrick Motorsports, "you never know what will happen. There are so many what-ifs."(Associated Press)(11-26-2009)

  • Jimmie Johnson Day in New York CIty: Less than 48 hours after winning an unprecedented fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in Homestead, #48-Jimmie Johnson took a private elevator Tuesday to the observation deck of the Empire State Building with Johnny Damon, the stock-car racing fan (and Yankees left fielder). At the top, Johnson took photos of Damon hamming it up, and Damon took photos of Johnson, who tried to ham it up but was clearly not as good at it. Tourists snapped photos of Johnson and Damon taking photos of each other  a photo-op for a photo-op. And here was the surprise: As many people knew Johnson as knew Damon. Johnson, who was in New York for a series of interviews, said he was enjoying the fourth championship as much as he did the first one. Tuesday was proclaimed Jimmie Johnson Day in New York. When it became dark, the top of the Empire State Building glowed blue, white and yellow, the colors of his #48 Lowe's Chevrolet. Johnson was saluted for accomplishing something rarely done in any sport.(New York Times)(11-25-2009)

  • Johnson on Leno: Hot off of making history by clinching his fourth Cup Series title in a row NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson signs on for Leno's "Ten @ Ten" segment on NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" (Monday-Friday, 10:00-11:00pm/et) on Wednesday, November 25. "Ten @ Ten" connects Leno via satellite with celebrities and newsmakers from around the world. Johnson will be signing on from Charlotte, NC. "The Jay Leno Show" is from Big Dog Productions in association with Universal Media Studios. Debbie Vickers is the executive producer. For artwork from "The Jay Leno Show," please visit the NBC press website at www.nbcumv.com. For embed codes of clips from "The Jay Leno Show" please visit thejaylenoshow.com/video.(NBC)(11-24-2009)

  • Sen. Kyl Sees a Jimmie Johnson Era for NASCAR: #48 came through on Sunday to win the NASCAR crown, but for racing's biggest fan in the Senate, Jimmie Johnson is more than just the 2009 champ. Johnson, says Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, is now a living legend, already having captured three straight Sprint Cup victories. "It might not just be Jimmie Johnson's year," says Kyl. "It might be his era." Kyl should know: He's been a race fan since a kid, is called Senator NASCAR by friends and even guests on an Arizona radio show Mondays to review the weekend's race.(usnews.com)(11-24-2009)

  • Johnson to light up the Empire State Building: On Tuesday, Nov. 24th, #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion is scheduled to flip the switch to light the Empire State Buildings world-famous tower lights blue, white and yellow to celebrate Jimmie Johnson Day in New York City. New York Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon will introduce Johnson at the lighting ceremony, which is scheduled to start around 2:30pm/et. The Empire State Building is located at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets in New York City. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit www.esbnyc.com.(11-23-2009)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Championship Notes:
    NINTH TITLE: With Jimmie Johnson's performance today at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports secured its ninth car owner's championship in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition [1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009], tying the organization with Petty Enterprises for the all-time lead [Lee Petty won the drivers championship in 1954, Herb Thomas won the owners title]. Car owner Rick Hendrick has won nine of the past 15 Sprint Cup titles.
    COMPARISONS: In the major American professional sports leagues, Hendrick Motorsports' nine Sprint Cup owner's championships are tied for ninth behind only the New York Yankees (27 World Series titles), Montreal Canadiens (24 Stanley Cups), Boston Celtics (17 NBA titles), Los Angeles Lakers (15 NBA titles), Toronto Maple Leafs (13 Stanley Cups), Green Bay Packers (12 NFL championships), Detroit Red Wings (11 Stanley Cups) and St. Louis Cardinals (10 World Series titles). The other teams with nine championships are Petty Enterprises (NASCAR owner's championships), the Chicago Bears (NFL) and the Oakland Athletics (MLB).
    ALL-TIME CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2009 Sprint Cup car owner's championship is the 13th [9 Cup, 1 NNS, 3 CWTS] for Hendrick Motorsports across NASCAR's three national series -- a new all-time record. In the car owner category, the organization has won nine titles in the Sprint Cup Series and three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hendrick Motorsports also has won a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship, which came in 2003.
    FOUR-PEAT: After earning the 2009 Sprint Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson is now the first driver ever to capture the honor in four consecutive seasons. With his 2006-2008 titles, Johnson tied the legendary Cale Yarborough, who recorded three in a row from 1976-1978.
    KNAUS SETS THE STANDARD: Chad Knaus is the only crew chief ever to win more than two consecutive Sprint Cup titles (he now has four in a row), and his championship total (also four) ties him for second with Kirk Shelmerdine among crew chiefs in NASCAR history. Only Dale Inman (eight titles) has more.
    FIRST AND 10: A Hendrick Motorsports driver led the championship points after every Chase for the Sprint Cup race in 2009. Mark Martin, who entered the Chase with the points lead, led following the first three Chase races, and Jimmie Johnson led after the final seven. It marks the first time since the format's inception that one organization has led the points after each Chase race.
    NOT A FIRST: Hendrick Motorsports' run of four consecutive championships is not a first in NASCAR -- or for the team. In the 1990s, drivers Jeff Gordon (1995, 1997 and 1998) and Terry Labonte (1996) combined to win four straight Sprint Cup titles for the organization. No other team has won more than three in a row.
    THE OTHER GUYS: In major American professional sports, only three teams have won more than four championships consecutively: the Boston Celtics' eight NBA titles starting with the 1958-59 season and ending in 1965-66; the New York Yankees' five World Series rings from 1949-53; and the Montreal Canadiens' five Stanley Cups from 1956-60.
    A RARE FEAT: Hendrick Motorsports, the New York Yankees and the Montreal Canadiens are the only teams in any of the major American professional sports leagues to win four or more consecutive championships on more than one occasion. Hendrick Motorsports accomplished the feat 1995-98 and 2006-09; the Yankees did it 1936-39 and 1949-53; and the Canadiens recorded titles 1956-60 and 1976-79.
    THREE SWEEP: Hendrick Motorsports is the first NASCAR team ever to capture the top-three spots in the championship standings with Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon finishing 1-2-3 in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Hendrick Motorsports drivers have qualified 15 times for the Chase, the most of any team since the playoff format went into effect in 2004. In each year that Hendrick qualified three drivers, the organization earned the championship.
    WINNING PERCENTAGE: Hendrick Motorsports is the most efficient team in major American professional sports, earning nine titles since its inception in 1984 for a 34.6 all-time title-winning percentage. The Celtics rank second with 17 titles in 64 seasons (26.56 percent), while the Yankees are third with an all-time winning percentage of 25.47 percent (27 championships in 106 seasons).
    SINCE 1984: No other major American professional sports team has earned more championships than Hendrick Motorsports since 1984, the organization's inaugural season. The Los Angeles Lakers have collected seven championships in that time, while the New York Yankees (MLB) and Edmonton Oilers (NHL) have scored five titles apiece.
    25TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON: Hendrick Motorsports wrapped up its 25th anniversary season today at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Founded in 1984, the organization has posted 188 Sprint Cup wins (second all-time), which is an average of more than seven trips to Victory Lane annually.
    HOW 2009 STACKS UP: Hendrick Motorsports drivers scored the second-most top-five finishes (48) and top-10s (76) in the organization's history during the 2009 campaign. The team's 13 Cup wins tie this season with 2004 for the team's third-highest one-year total. Hendrick scored the most wins (18), top-five finishes (57) and top-10s (84) in 2007.
    STILL ROLLING: Hendrick Motorsports never has run a Sprint Cup campaign without winning a pole position (1984-2009), and this season the team scored 12, including a career-best of seven from Mark Martin. The team's all-time season record was set in 1986, when Geoff Bodine and Tim Richmond combined for 16 pole positions.
    WINNING WAYS: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 24 straight seasons (1986-2009), the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Geoff Bodine won Hendrick's first Daytona 500.
    ANOTHER ONE FOR CHEVY: Chevrolet captured its 33rd Sprint Cup manufacturers' championship this season after winning 18 races. Johnson led all Chevy drivers with seven victories, and Hendrick Motorsports contributed 13 of the 18 wins.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-23/24-2009)

  • Hendrick misses Homestead race UPDATE: A family emergency will keep team owner Rick Hendrick from celebrating a record-tying ninth Sprint Cup championship for Hendrick Motorsports on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick's 29-year-old niece Alesha Gainey, the daughter of John Hendrick who was killed in the 2004 plane crash near Martinsville Speedway, is undergoing an emergency liver transplant in North Carolina. "Rick obviously wishes he could be here . . . [but] Rick's priority at this point is to support his family at this crucial time," Hendrick Motorsports general managers Marshall Carlson said.(ESPN)(11-22-2009)
    UPDATE: As much as Rick Hendrick wanted to be a part of Jimmie Johnson's record-breaking run on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his family's needs were more important. Instead of watching Johnson win his fourth straight Sprint Cup title, Hendrick was at hospital in North Carolina as his 29-year-old niece, Alesha Gainey, underwent a liver transplant. Gainey is the daughter of Hendrick's brother, John, who, along with two other daughters, was killed in a 2004 Hendrick Motorsports plane crash on the way to Martinsville Speedway. Hendrick said the surgery went well and Gainey, although not completely out of the woods, is in stable condition and recovering in intensive care.(ESPN)(11-24-2009)

  • ESPN Classic Paying Tribute to NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson: On the day after winning his history-making fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, Jimmie Johnson will be the subject of a tribute on ESPN Classic on Monday, Nov. 23. ESPN Classic will replay highlights of the four races in which Johnson won his championships, starting with the 2009 event from Homestead-Miami Speedway at 1:00pm/et. The 2008 race airs at 4:00pm/et, followed by the 2007 race at 7:00pm/et. The race from 2006, in which Johnson won his first title, airs at 10:00pm/et.(ESPN)(11-22-2009)

  • Knaus Wins Second-Consecutive Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year Award: For the second consecutive season, Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy, was named the coveted 2009 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. The announcement was made Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway prior to the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale. After capturing his fifth Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in 2009 during last weekend's race at Phoenix, Knaus moved out of a tie with Darian Grubb, crew chief for the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy and driver Tony Stewart. Grubb finished the season with four Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race awards. Presenting the 2009 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year trophy to Knaus was Wypall Wipers Category Manager Tom Merrill and Jeff Hammond, who also serves as a spokesperson for Wypall Wipers. In addition to the limited edition trophy, Knaus received a check for $20,000.00. The 2009 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge has been a season-long contest that has strived each week to determine the best crew chiefs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage.(Wypall PR)(11-22-2009)

  • Johnson & Lowe's extend with Hendrick UPDATE Knaus? Lowe's Companies Inc. will continue its successful relationship with Hendrick Motorsports after signing a three-year agreement that secures primary sponsorship of the #48 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Driving the #48 Lowe's Chevys will be current points leader and three-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who has signed a five-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports that will keep him with the organization through 2015. Johnson and Lowe's previously were signed through the 2010 season. The new pacts build upon a partnership launched in 2001 when Johnson was selected by Hendrick Motorsports to drive for the new Lowe's-sponsored #48 team. After nearly eight full seasons, the driver-sponsor relationship has become one of the most successful in NASCAR.
    "Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports are a key part of our marketing efforts and outreach to our more than 225,000 employees," said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "We believe this is the best combination in racing, and we're proud to have Jimmie carry the Lowe's name in NASCAR." Since his first full-time Sprint Cup season in 2002, Johnson has earned a series-leading 47 victories and only twice has finished outside the top two in championship points. Of the 16 NASCAR drivers who have recorded 40 or more wins, just three -- Herb Thomas, David Pearson and Richard Petty -- have higher career winning percentages.
    "Lowe's commitment to the 48 team and Hendrick Motorsports is tremendous and has been a source of pride for me personally," said Johnson, 34, who never has had a primary sponsor other than Lowe's in Sprint Cup competition. "We've built a championship team together, and I'm proud the 48 will carry the Lowe's colors for many more years."
    Through 35 of 36 races in 2009, the #48 Lowe's team led by crew chief Chad Knaus has posted 15 top-five finishes, 23 top-10s and a series-high seven wins. Johnson leads the championship standings with a 108-point margin over teammate Mark Martin going into Sunday's season finale at Homestead.
    "Lowe's took a chance on us back in 2001, and it's not a stretch to say this whole thing would never have been possible without them," said Rick Hendrick, who co-owns the #48 team with driver Jeff Gordon. "When you have a partner put that much faith in you, it's incredibly rewarding to see them be successful. They're a company with values and practices that we admire and learn from in our own business, and we feel very fortunate to continue this amazing ride together. Jimmie is charting new territory in our sport, and that's due to a combination of natural talent and unsurpassed work ethic. How he's committed himself is just incredible, and it shows in everything that he does -- not just on the racetrack. There's no question that he's one of the great champions in all of sports, and he's not done yet."(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-20-2009)
    UPDATE: Hendrick added that he's working on a lifetime deal for Chad Knaus, the crew chief for Jimmie Johnson. Hendrick tried to sign Johnson, who's on track to win an unprecedented fourth straight championship on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, to a lifetime contract as well, but "I couldn't borrow enough money to make it work."(ESPN)(11-20-2009)

  • History Awaits: Johnson Closing in On Fourth Straight Title: #48-Jimmie Johnson needs to finish 25th or better in Sundays Ford 400 to become only the first driver to win four consecutive championships. Johnson now leads second-place Mark Martin by 108 points. Even if Martin were to win and lead the most laps on Sunday  a 195-point day  Johnson would clinch with that 25th-place finish. The clinch scenarios change if Johnson leads laps. If he leads at least one lap, Johnson will clinch with at least a 27th-place finish. If he leads the most laps Sunday, he needs at least a 28th-place finish. A phenomenal Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has put Johnson in this position. Over the nine races, Johnson has four wins, six top fives, eight top 10s and an average finish of 7.0. It is the third Chase in which Johnson has won four races. He also did it in 2004 and 2007. The statistics dont bode well for a Mark Martin comeback, but anything can happen. Since the current points structure was implemented in 1975, the largest deficit ever overcome in the final race was 30 points by Alan Kulwicki over Davey Allision in 1992. So, clearly, the 108-point gap to Johnson seems daunting  but not impossible. Martin has gained more than 108 points on Jimmie Johnson in a single race nine times their 266-race head-to-head career  including once at Homestead. A couple of other numbers to mull over: Johnson has finished worse than 25th 47 times in his 290-race career. If Martin does end the season in second, it would be the fifth runner-up points finish of his career. Richard Petty has the most career runner-up championship finishes, with six.(NASCAR)(11-20-2009)

  • One track left with no win for Hendrick: Homestead-Miami Speedway is the only racetrack on the current Sprint Cup schedule where Hendrick Motorsports has not won a race. The organization, which will wrap up its 25th anniversary season this weekend, has recorded eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10s in 10 Cup events (39 starts) there (HMS). It is also the only race track that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won a Sprint Cup race and for #48-Jimmie Johnson, Homestead is one of six race tracks on the Cup circuit he has not won at [the others being Watkins Glen, Infineon Raceway, Chicago, Michigan and Bristol.(11-19-2009)

  • Clinch scenerio for Homestead: #48-Jimmie Johnson is closing in on history and doing so in style. Johnson victory at Phoenix in Week 9 boosted his points lead over second-place Mark Martin to 108 points. Johnson will clinch a record fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship if he finishes 25th or better in the Chase finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    "So now, Martin's predicament begs the question: How many times has Mark Martin gained more than 108 points on Jimmie Johnson, in a single race? The answer is nine times including once at Homestead, in 2005.(11-16-2009)

  • Johnson wins at Phoenix: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway for his 7th win of the season, leading the most laps and winning his 47th race of his career. #31-Burton finished 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin #5-Martin, #1-Truex Jr. [pole sitter, his first top-5 of the season], #2-Busch, #33-Bowyer, #42-Montoya, #24-Gordon and #00-Reutimann. Johnson's win and Martins 4th place finish allowed Johnson to open up a 108 point lead, so Johnson just needs to finish 25th or better and nothing Martin can do to catch him, Johnson could finish further back if Martin does. Heff Gordon is eliminated when Johnson starts the car at Homestead. There were only 4 cautions for 23 yellow flag laps and there were 9 lead changes among 4 drivers.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    ESPN2: Monday, November 16 at 3:00am/et
    ESPN Classic: Monday, November 16 at 1:00pm/et
    SPEED, Wednesday, November 18 at 12:00pm/et
    For race results, awards and more, see my Phoenix Race Results Page.
    For the drivers points standings, see my Drivers Points Standings.(11-15-2009)

  • Clinching Scenarios: What Johnson Can Do To Lock Up The Championship: With two races left in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, #48-Jimmie Johnson leads the standings by 73 points over second-place #5-Mark Martin and 112 points over third-place #24-Jeff Gordon. With the standings tight as the season comes to a close, everyone wants to know what Johnson has to do to clinch the title.
    Phoenix: For Johnson to clinch at Phoenix International Raceway, he will need to lead by 195 points after the race. Currently up 73 points, he'll need to gain 122 points by the race's end. If he does that, he will clinch no matter what any other driver does.
    Homestead: For Johnson to clinch at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he will need to average a fourth-place finish over the final two races, or fifth and a lap led in each of the final two races, or sixth and the most laps led in each of the final two races. If he does that, he will clinch no matter what any other driver does.
    AND if Martin wins and leads the most laps at Phoenix, he would become the new championship leader if Johnson finishes 14th or worse and doesn't lead a lap.(11-11-2009)
    AND II if Gordon wins at Phoenix and leads the most laps, he could leave Pheonix with the points lead IF Martin finishes 5th or worse and leads no laps and Johnson finishes 27th or worse and doesn't lead a lap.(11-13-2009)

  • Delphi continues relationship with Hendrick Motorsports: Delphi announced that it will continue its associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. Delphi will be the primary sponsor for two Sprint Cup races with driver Mark Martin in the #5 Delphi/GoDaddy.com Chevy. The race details will be announced in the near future. Additionally, Delphi will be an associate sponsor of all Hendrick Motorsports 2010 Sprint Cup entries. Delphi will continue to be featured on the uniforms of all Hendrick Motorsports drivers for the 2010 season, including four-time Sprint Cup champion #24-Jeff Gordon, three-time defending Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin. "Our long-standing relationship with Delphi has been fantastic," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "The association has been incredibly important to our company from both a quality and technology standpoint, and we look forward to having Delphi continue as a key partner for the 2010 season."(HMS)(11-3-2009)

  • Johnson needs 402 points: So, if #5-Martin wins the final three Sprint Cup races [Texas, Phoenix & Homestead] and leads the most laps, he would score 585 points [195x3] for a total of 6649 points. #48-Johnson has 6248, so Johnson needs to score 402 points in the final three race, IF Martin were to win all three. Which is an average of 134 points a race for the three remaining races. Finishing 10th is 134 points. So Johnson needs to finish 10th or better in the three remaining races [or total 402 points], and nothing Martin or any other driver can do to overtake Johnson.(11-1-2009)

  • Hendrick Motorsports One Victory Shy Of Tying Martinsville Mark: Since the 21st Century began, NASCAR's Sprint Cup teams have been faced with not only overcoming the traditional mechanical challenges presented by Martinsville Speedway, but also trying to figure a way to defeat Hendrick Motorsports at the circuit's shortest track. Ever since Jeff Gordon won his first race at the tough paper clip-shaped track in September 1996, Hendrick Motorsports has gained strength at the speedway, similar to that exhibited by Petty Enterprises in the 1960s and '70s. By the time the 1990s ended, Gordon had three victories at the track. It was 2003, however, when the Hendrick Motorsports domination began.
    Gordon swept the track's two races in 2003. Then, teammate Johnson collected his first Martinsville win in October 2004. However, there was no jubilation as Johnson and the rest of the motorsports community learned after the checkered flag that a Hendrick Motorsports' team plane had crashed on a foggy Virginia mountain that morning en route to the race. Among the losses were Rick Hendrick's son, his brother, two nieces and the organization's engine department head Randy Dorton. Tony Stewart's helicopter pilot also was on the ill-fated plane. From that day forward, Denny Hamlin is the only driver to have won at Martinsville since that day who doesn't have a connection to the plane crash. Gordon swept the 2005 races, while Stewart and Johnson split the 2006 events. Johnson then won three straight before Hamlin broke his string of victories in March 2008. Johnson returned to the victory podium in October 2008 and has been there ever since.
    With Johnson winning this year's spring race at Martinsville, he now has claimed five of the track's last six Sprint Cup events. His 41st career Sprint Cup victory in March provided Hendrick Motorsports with its 10th win in the last 13 Martinsville races. Overall, Hendrick has collected 18 Martinsville victories, just one shy of tying Richard Petty as the winningest car owner in the track's history.(Darnell CommunicationsGlaxoSmithKline)(10-23-2009)

  • Johnson vs other drivers comparison: #48-Jimmie Johnsons stats over the last eight years with five races reaming in his 8th year, compared to the 5 other greats with multiple wins and championships in their 1st full 8 seasons in the modern era [1972 to present]:
    * Johnsons Career 1st 8 years  2002 to 2009
    o 46 wins, 114 top fives, 176 top tens, three back to back championships
    * Richard Pettys Career 1st 8 years (modern era)  1972 to 1979
    o 50 wins, 156 top fives, 181 top tens, 4 championships
    * Cale Yarborughs Career 1st 8 years (modern era)  1973 to 1980
    o 55 wins , 158 top fives, 172 top tens 3 back to back championships
    * Darrel Waltrips Career  1st 8 years  1975 to 1982
    o 51 wins, 129 top fives, 154 to tens, 2 Championships
    * Dale Earnhardts Career 1st 8 years  1979 to 1986
    o 20 wins, 93 top fives, 143 top tens, 2 championships
    * Jeff Gordons career 1st 8 years  1993 to 2000
    o 52 wins, 129 top fives, 166 to tens, 3 championships
    (Stagged Special)(10-21-2009)

  • Johnson wins at Lowe's: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway for his 6th win of the season and 46th of his career. Johnson is the first driver in the 6 year history of the Chase to win 3 of the first 5 Chase races. Johnson has now won 17 of 55 Chase races, Biffle and Edwards are 2nd best with 6 wins each during the Chase. #17-Kenseth finished 2nd, followed by #9-Kahne, #24-Gordon, #20-Logano, #33-Bowyer, #07-Mears, #18-Busch, #1-Truex Jr. and #2-Busch. Other chasers: #39-Newman 11th; #14-Stewart 13th, #16-Biffle 16th; #5-Martin 17th. Four Chases had very a rough night with #11-Hamlin losing an engine, finishing 42nd; #99-Edwards losing an engine and finishing 39th; #42-Montoya smacking the wall and limping to a 35th finish and #83-Vickers finishing 34th and is now a whopping 485 points out of the lead.
    There were 10 cautions for 42 caution laps and there were 22 lead changes among 9 drivers.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    ESPN2: Sunday, October 18 at 3:15am/et
    ESPN Classic: Sunday, October 18 at 1:00pm/et
    SPEED, Wednesday, October 21 at 12:00pm/et
    For race results, awards and more, see my Lowe's Motor Speedway Race Results Page.(10-17-2009)
    For drivers points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(10-17-2009)

  • Johnson to be chronicled in HBO show: HBO Sports' groundbreaking "24/7" reality franchise, which has captured seven Sports Emmy Awards, will debut its first non-boxing series with 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona, an all-new, four-episode, all-access series chronicling the driver and his team as they prepare for the Daytona 500. Debuting Tuesday, Jan. 26th (10:00-10:30pm/et/pt), the four-week series spotlights Jimmie Johnson, and gives viewers an inside look at the driver and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the biggest race of the year. Ensuing episodes will debut on subsequent Tuesdays - Feb. 2, 9 and 16 - in prime time. The Feb. 16 series finale will debut two days after the race, with cameras tracking all the drama and excitement surrounding Johnson and his team on race day. All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO, and the series will also be available on HBO On Demand. 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona will provide exclusive behind-the-scenes access, along with in-depth interviews with Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus, team owner Rick Hendrick and the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the 2010 Daytona 500. Johnson says that getting his wife Chandra on board with the idea of cameras following them around was not difficult, since they had seen earlier "24/7" shows. "Chandra and I were big fans of the '24/7' series with Ricky Hatton and Floyd Mayweather, and that's kind of how this all came about," says Johnson, who along with his wife founded the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, which has raised more than $2 million for various charities since its inception in 2006. The executive producers of 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; coordinating producer, Dave Harmon; Liev Schreiber narrates. NASCAR Media Group, the leading producer of NASCAR on television, will provide production support for HBO Sports.(HBO)(10-15-2009)

  • NASCAR takes Johnson and Martin's car back for more inspection: For the third consecutive week, NASCAR officials will take Jimmie Johnson's and Mark Martin's cars to the Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further inspection. The Hendrick Motorsports teammates hold down the top two spots in the Chase standings, with Johnson leading Martin by 12 points. Johnson's #48 Chevy cleared a post-race inspection after winning the Pepsi 500 Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. The winning car and the engines of the top two finishing cars always are taken to the R&D Center. Johnson won at Dover two weeks ago and Martin was second. After closer inspection at Concord, both teams were warned about being too close to the edge of the allowed tolerances at several places on the car bodies. Martin finished seventh last week at Kansas and Johnson was ninth, but both cars again were taken the R&D Center. Both cars were cleared after inspections in Concord. Martin finished fourth Sunday, but NASCAR officials again elected to take the #5 Chevy back to the R&D Center for additional tests.(ESPN.com)(10-11-2009)

  • Johnson wins at Auto Club Speedway: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway for his 5th win of the season and 45th of his career. #24-Gordon finished 2nd (for the second race in a row) followed by #42-Montoya (his fourth top 5 in a row), #5-Martin, #14-Stewart (who overcame a speeding penalty and came back from a lap down), #99-Edwards, #6-Ragan, #2-Busch, #33-Bowyer, and #29-Harvick. Other chase driver finishes: #39-Newman 15th, #16-Biffle 20th (was involved in a wreck late in the race and spun through the infield), #83-Vickers (was also involved in the final wreck) 29th, #9-Kahne (also in the final couple accidents) 34th, and #11-Hamlin (in an accident on a restart on lap 189 when he cut down in front of Montoya while leading and hit the front retaining wall) 37th. There were 8 cautions for 30 caution laps, a 21 minute red flag during the last caution, and there were 29 lead changes among 9 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Auto Club Race Results Page.
    For drivers [chase and classic] and owners points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(10-11-2009)

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation on the #48: At Auto Club Speedway, Jimmie Johnson will drive a special #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Impala. His helmet will feature the 12 charities selected for his Helmet of Hope initiative. The helmet will be auctioned off at the 3rd Annual Jimmie Johnson Foundation Dinner and Auction with the proceeds going to the San Diego Jimmie Johnson Foundation Championship Grants in partnership with Lowe's Toolbox for Education.(GMR Marketings PR), see an image of the scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(10-7-2009)

  • Four cars taken back to R&D Center...including... As per NASCAR protocol, Tony Stewart's race winning #14 Chevy along with a random car, this week it is Kurt Busch's #2 Dodge ride, were selected for postrace inspection and further analysis back at the Research and Development Center in Concord, NC. But as an added wrinkle, officials also requested that Mark Martin's #5 and Jimmie Johnson's #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy be added to the inspection list. "When you've won and run well, and Jimmie and Chad are always going to know they are under the microscope - that's (going to be) part of it," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "We actually don't mind that. NASCAR is fair and if they want to check us every week, that's OK. I understand. I really do." No problems were found on the cars during the at-track inspection.(FoxSports)(10-5-2009)
    UPDATE: The cars of championship leaders Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson have passed a second NASCAR inspection. NASCAR inspected both the Hendrick Motorsports-owned cars after Sunday's race in Kansas for a thorough inspection after the Chevys squeaked through a week earlier. The teams were warned they had nearly failed and were to not bring the cars to the track again. NASCAR also examined the car of race winner Tony Stewart, as is standard procedure. In addition, Kurt Busch's car was randomly selected for inspection.(Associated Press)(10-6-2009)

  • Roush keeping an eye on the Henrick cars in question: Car owner Jack Roush [#'s 6,16,17,26,99 Ford's] says he understands that the two cars in question [Hendrick Motorsports #5 and #48 Chevy's] were in fact slightly "out of tolerance," in being off-set a bit to the right (which would help in aerodynamics in corner handling), although Roush said the specific 'miss' was probably too slight to be of any significant advantage. "I've been fined a lot of times for a lot of different things&and if the cars were out of tolerance by a quarter of an inch, which is what I've heard&well, the rest of the garage is held to a much tighter tolerance than that," Roush said. "So we'll see what NASCAR ultimately does about it."(mikemulhern.net)(10-5-2009)

  • John Darby explains what happened with #48 & #5: NASCAR officials, after a two-day post-race inspection at the Concord R&D center, have warned the #5-Mark Martin and #48-Jimmie Johnson teams [see earlier post below for more details], and crew chiefs Alan Gustafson and Chad Knaus, about going too close to the edge on body tolerances on their Dover cars, but NASCAR's John Darby insists both cars are legal and there are no penalties coming. Darby said NASCAR may be taking the Martin and Johnson cars back to the R&D center "over and over and over again" after chase races, regardless of where they finish. "NASCAR's job is to police the sport and manage the sport&but we also work very closely with the competitors on helping the competitors to make sure we get the right results (i.e., warning teams when they get too close to the line). Take any measurement: say the car has to weigh at least 3,450 pounds&and if a car comes through inspection right at 3,450 pounds, we'll point that out to the team and say 'Hey, what are you doing? What's wrong with putting two more pounds in there&because you're putting a lot in the bank that our scales are going to measure the same every time.' We do it with engines, carburetors, everything. We owe it to the teams to do that. So (Tuesday, after the post-race inspection in Concord) we called the teams and said 'This thing is passing, but&.if the exact same car comes back next week, and if our inspectors are five-thousandths (of an inch) off, guess what  you're not going to be right at the tolerance, you're going to be over it."
    "But the teams said 'Our (own) measurements aren't that close; they're 'this.' So we said 'Both cars are still on the (surface) plates; we'll lock them down, and you can come over with your engineers and measure yourself.' This would be Wednesday morning. And we walked through from the front of the race car all the way to the rear. I think they're engineers learned why there was a discrepancy. And I feel good about going through that with them. Obviously as we go through the season post-race inspections gets to be so routine, like everything else&.and then when you get something like this it throws up a bunch of red flags."(MikeMulhern.net)(10-3-2009)

  • #48 and #5 cars 'too close' in tolerances at R&D center? UPDATE 2: Claire B. Lang reported on Sirius Satellite NASCAR Radio Channel 128 "Dialed In" show Thursday night that the #48 and #5 Chevy's teams of Hendrick Motorsports were told they cars were too close to NASCAR tolerances at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, NC this week. The cars were taken to the R&D Center after Jimmie Johnson won the Sprint Cup race at Dover in the #48 with Mark Martin finishing 2nd in the #5 Chevy. Lang says she heard the teams were told not to bring the cars back to the track. Lang asked NASCAR if this was true and was told: "The 48 and 5 were brought back to the R&D center. We've been doing this since the inception of the new car as a part of routine post-race inspection. We bring the winner and a random pick back to the R&D center after each event. While both cars passed post race inspection, we informed the 48 and 5 they were extremely close on some of the tolerances."(10-1-2009)
    UPDATE Word circulated Wednesday night that NASCAR had found issues with the #48 Chevy as well as the #5 Chevy during inspection at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. The two Hendrick Motorsports teams currently sit atop the points standings. The buzz within the NASCAR community suggests that the offset on the tail, which helps the rear of the car stick to the ground instead of spinning out, of the #5 Kellogg's Chevy just made the tolerance. NASCAR allows a tolerance of 0.070 of an inch for the body off of the center line of the car. Suffice it to say, JJ's #48 car didn't make it. But by how much? NASCAR claims it was .006 over the tolerance. That's about the thickness of two sheets of copier paper. Others in the garage hint at a charitable disposition on the part of the sanctioning body. So how did NASCAR view the situation with the Hendrick cars? "The 48 and 5 were brought back to the (Research and Development Center)," according to a NASCAR statement. "We've been doing this since the inception of the new car as a part of routine post-race inspection. We bring the winner and a random pick back to the R&D Center after each event. While both cars passed postrace inspection, we informed the 48 and 5 they were extremely close on some of the tolerances."(in part from FoxSports)(10-2-2009)
    UPDATE2: NASCAR has warned Hendrick Motorsports that the cars of Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin came very close to failing post-race inspection following their 1-2 finish at Dover last week. The two Chevrolets owned by Hendrick Motorsports came within less than an inch of surpassing the tolerated measurements on the body of their cars. Martin is currently leading the points, and three-time defending series champion Johnson is second in the standings. The crew chiefs for both drivers say they weren't cheating, and in-race damage may have caused the cars to creep toward the maximum allowances. NASCAR is not penalizing either team, but they have been warned.(Associated Press)(10-2-2009)

  • Dover victory means over $29k to Red Cross: #48-Jimmie Johnson and American Le Mans Series drivers Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz Raced for Relief this weekend, and as a result of their efforts, Lowes donated $29,295, including $4,800 for Johnsons victory finish, to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which helps people affected by disasters like the floods in Georgia. Johnson completed 400 laps during his victory at Dover, Del. Sunday while Fernandez and Diaz raced for 353 miles in their race at Road Atlanta on Saturday. The $29,295 is in addition to the $250,000 Lowes donated to the American Red Cross last week. Lowes stores across Georgia continue to serve as official cash donation sites for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Funds raised will help to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of disasters like the recent floods. Donations to the American Red Cross may be made at participating Lowes stores, online at www.redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).(Lowe's PR)(9-29-2009)

  • Johnson wins at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway for his 2nd win at Dover this year, his 4th win of 2009 and 44th of his career. #5-Martin finished 2nd followed by #17-Kenseth, #42-Montoya, #2-Busch, #24-Gordon, #44-Allmendinger, #9-Kahne, #14-Stewart, and #39-Newman.
    Other Chase drivers finishes: #99-Edwards 11th; #16-Biffle 13th; Vickers 18th; #11-Hamlin 22nd.
    #20-Joey Logano was involved in violent wreck on lap 32 when #14-Stewart got into the back of him after Logano had to check up. Logano slid up the track and was hit by #43-Sorenson, then rolled seven times before coming to rest at the bottom of the track. He walked away from the accident uninjured.
    There were 9 cautions for 38 caution laps and 1 red flag following the Logano accident and 6 lead changes among 4 drivers.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: ESPN2: Monday, September 28 at 3:00am/et; ESPN Classic: Monday, September 28 at 12:00pm/et; SPEED, Wednesday, September 16 at 12:00pm/et
    For race results, awards and more, see my Dover Race Results Page.
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers Points Standings page.(9-27-2009)

  • Lowe's Donates to American Red Cross: In response to the flooding in the Atlanta area, Lowes is making a $250,000 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. In addition, all Lowes stores in Georgia are serving as official cash donation sites to benefit the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which helps people affected by disasters like the recent floods. In addition #48-Jimmie Johnson will be Racing for Relief at the Dover International Speedway this weekend to add to the contribution. Funds raised will help to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to victims of disasters like the recent floods. As part of Racing for Relief, Lowes has decided to donate $48 for every lap of the scheduled 400 laps that Johnson completes in the Dover 400 on September 27. If Johnson wins his race, Lowes will donate an additional $4,800. The Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of the #48 Lowes Chevy. More info and to donate, see my Racing Charities page.(9-24-2009)

  • PRS Guitars donates guitars to drivers: This years Chevy Rock & Roll 400 marks the fifth year that one winning NASCAR driver will walk away with a four foot tall, fifty pound trophy custom designed and built by PRS [Paul Reed Smith] Guitars from Stevensville, Maryland. In addition, this year six drivers will leave the track with their own PRS guitar that will help aid many more people down the road.
    Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer have each won a race in Richmond under the domain of Chevrolet. To honor their success and their efforts, PRS held a special press conference Friday at Richmond International Raceway, during which PRS President, Jack Higginbotham presented the aforementioned drivers with a PRS Corvette guitar for their individual charities. Jack Higginbotham, President of Paul Reed Smith Guitars, said, It is our hope that each of these guitars will develop its own story and have a positive effect on the lives of others. Whether it is cancer research, shelter for the needy or assistance for underprivileged children, each driver has a passion for their cause, and we are honored to help them in their mission.
    PRSs extensive involvement in racing began with a sponsorship of the world dominating factory Corvette C6.r racing team in 2003. During the past six years, PRSs involvement in racing has ranged from being a part of large-scale NASCAR events to its own grassroots Laps For Life charity event helping support the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.(PRS Guitars site)(9-12-2009)

  • Jimmie Johnson Jam to be aired online: Team Lowes Racing is bringing race fans to the front row for the action during the Atlanta race weekend with an innovative first-ever live broadcast of its exclusive Jimmie Jam series featuring Team 48 driver Jimmie Johnson and concert favorite Edwin McCain. The special live broadcast of the Jimmie Jam event can be viewed on September 4th from 8:45-9:45pm/et. Fans can pre-register to watch the event on the homepage of lowesracing.com.(Lowe's)(9-3-2009)

  • Tom Cruise to narrate Hendrick Documentry Film: "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story," NASCAR Media Group's documentary-style film chronicling the history of the eight-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship team, will air Sunday, Oct. 11 at 1:30pm/et on ABC prior to the network's Pepsi 500 race coverage from [Auto Club Speedway] Fontana, CA. Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Tom Cruise and presented by Pepsi, "TOGETHER" employs exclusive interviews, never-before-seen archival footage, thrilling racing sequences and rare family photography to detail the personal relationships and emotional events that have shaped one of NASCAR's most decorated organizations. The official "TOGETHER" trailer is available at www.refresheverything.com/hendrick. The Web site will feature regular updates of content from the film and provide fans the opportunity to upload video messages about their favorite Hendrick Motorsports moments. Select fan-generated clips will be shown during the Oct. 11 broadcast on ABC. The full-length version of "TOGETHER" with bonus material will be released Oct. 31 on DVD, and it will become NASCAR Media Group's first officially licensed title available on Blu-ray Disc. A portion of Hendrick Motorsports' proceeds from those sales will benefit the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. Cruise, an auto racing enthusiast who starred in the 1990 NASCAR-themed motion picture "Days of Thunder," completed the narration work for "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story" in Los Angeles last month. The script was co-written by Emmy Award winners Shawn Truax and Ray Didinger. Film director Rory Karpf has spearheaded such projects as the Dale Earnhardt biopic "DALE," now the best-selling sports DVD in history, and the critically acclaimed "Ride of Their Lives." The NASCAR Media Group production team responsible for "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story" earned back-to-back Sports Emmy Awards in 2006 and 2007 for "Beyond the Wheel" and "Quest for the Cup."(HMS)(9-2-2009)

  • Johnson's commit $500k to schools: Chandra and Jimmie Johnson announced a $150,000 commitment for K-12 education in the Charlotte area. The foundation has partnered with Lowes, Johnsons primary sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and its Lowes Toolbox for Education program to offer a competitive grant opportunity to four local school districts in the city where the Johnsons currently reside. The Johnsons have also announced similar initiatives in their hometowns in California and Oklahoma, bringing the total commitment to education to more than $500,000. More info on my Racing Charities page.(8-25-2009)

  • Johnson to be inducted into Auto Club Speedway Walk of Fame: Native Southern Californian Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's/Jimmie Johnson Foundation Chevy, will take his place alongside past Auto Club Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners when he is inducted into the ACS Walk of Fame on Saturday, October 10 at 9:30 a.m. during the inaugural Southern California Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Located at Gate 12, on the east end of the Opportunity, California FanZone, the ACS Walk of Fame ceremony has become a must attend, fan favorite. Race fans join Johnson as his footprint, signature and a bronze plaque are preserved in concrete during the enshrinement ceremony.(Auto Club Speedway PR)(8-20-2009)

  • Jimmie Johnson To Be Honored By President Obama UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson will be honored at the White House on Wednesday, August 19. The South Lawn event will include 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and several past champions and special guests. "NASCAR is once again honored to have its drivers recognized by the President of the United States," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "NASCAR is rooted deep in America's fabric and represents the best of sports and side-by-side competition." Joining Johnson for the celebration will be members of the 2008 Chase field: Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart. (Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth cannot attend due to schedule conflicts). Past champions and special guests in attendance will be: Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Juan Pablo Montoya, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip. This will be the ninth time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has been honored at the White House since 2000. NASCAR's first official visit to the White House was in 1978 during the Carter administration.(NASCAR)(8-17-2009)
    On ESPN2 NASCAR Now, ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program, will originate from the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as President Barack Obama honors three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and other NASCAR stars of past and present. The one-hour program airs at 4:30pm/et on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and will mark the first time in ESPN's 30-year history that a regularly-scheduled ESPN program will originate and air in its entirety from the White House. ESPN analysts Dale Jarrett and Rusty Wallace, both former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions, will be among the drivers participating in afternoon ceremonies that will include a tour of the White House and photo opportunities. In addition to other former champions, the group of drivers also will include many of the 12 who qualified for the 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Nicole Manske will host NASCAR Now from the White House, with analysis by Brad Daugherty. Jarrett, Wallace and NASCAR Now lead reporter Marty Smith also will participate in the telecast.(ESPN)(8-18-2009)
    UPDATE: President Barack Obama will be interviewed live during ESPN2's NASCAR Now program originating from the White House in Washington, D.C., today. The one-hour program airs at 4:30 p.m. ET. The President is honoring three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as well as other current NASCAR drivers and some past champions of the sport in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. NASCAR Now, ESPN2's daily NASCAR news and information program, will cover the festivities live, marking the first time in ESPN's 30-year history that a regularly-scheduled ESPN program will originate and air in its entirety from the White House. Following the ceremony, the President will join NASCAR Now host Nicole Manske and ESPN NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty for a live interview.(ESPN)(8-19-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson had the gas to get to the White House on Wednesday, where President Barack Obama honored the 2008 winner as well as auto racing. "NASCAR is a uniquely American sport," Obama said beneath the South Portico, flanked by most of the 12 drivers who competed last year for NASCAR's top prize. Joining Johnson at the White House were other Sprint Cup drivers and past champions. Special guests included wounded soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and campers from the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., which NASCAR supports. Johnson's #48 Chevy also was parked on the White House driveway, with the glittery Sprint Cup perched on a table nearby.(Associated Press)(8-20-2009)

  • Johnsons Team Captures Tissot Pit Road Award at Watkins Glen: Jimmie Johnsons pit crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Mondays rain-delayed Sprint Cup road race at Watkins Glen. It was the third Tissot win of the season for the #48 Hendrick Motorsports pit crew, which moved into a tie for second place with Jeff Gordons #24 crew, also from the Hendrick Motorsports stable. Greg Biffles #16 crew leads the Tissot standings with four victories. Johnsons Lowes Impala SS spent the least amount of time on pit road  86.746 seconds -- during the 90-lap race at the 2.45-mile road circuit. Johnsons over-the-wall crew consists of: Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Jeremy West (rear-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kenneth Purcell (jackman), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Ron Malec (eighth man). The teams crew chief is Chad Knaus and the pit crew coach is Greg Morin. Johnsons crew will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.(Tissot), see the season standings on my Pit Crew News page.(8-12-2009)

  • Drivers to visit the White House UPDATE: President Barack Obama will welcome three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to the White House on Monday (August 3rd). Obama, the 44th president, will also honor other former NASCAR champions and other drivers who qualified for the 2008 Chase for the championship. Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy also will be parked at the White House.(Associated Press)
    UPDATE: Today's scheduled appearance of Jimmie Johnson and other drivers at the White House has been postponed. Other invitees were last year's drivers in the Chase; Mark Martin and Juan Pablo Montoya, who are in this year's top 12 in points; and former champions Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Bobby and Terry Labonte.(Philadelphia Daily News)
    AND: NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said the date of a future visit was being discussed with White House officials.(Associated Press)(8-2-2009)

  • Johnson wins third Brickyard 400: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his third win at the Brickyard, his third win of 2009 and 43rd of his career. Johnson took the lead for the first time on lap 137 and led those final 24 laps to win. Johnson is the first driver to ever win the Brickyard 400 two years in a row. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya led 116 laps until getting caught speeding on pit road late in the race. #5-Mark Martin, the pole sitter, tried to get around Johnson on the final laps, but Johnson held him off, Martin finished 2nd, tying his best finish there when he was 2nd in 1998. #14-Stewart finished 3rd and increased his points lead to 192 over Johnson, who is now in 2nd. #16-Biffle finished 4th, followed by #83-Vickers, #29-Harvick, #9-Kahne, #00-Reutimann, #24-Gordon and #17-Kenseth. Montoya finished 11th. #88-Earnhardt Jr., who started 3rd, blew an engine on lap 127 and finished 37th. There were only three cautions for 14 caution laps and there were 9 lead changes among 7 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Indianapolis Race Results Page.
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings page(7-26-2009)

  • Busch - Johnson make up: #2-Kurt Busch has an excuse for why it took so long for he and #48-Jimmie Johnson to patch things up after a dustup at Chicago two weeks ago: bad cell service. Busch said Friday he hadn't had a chance before Friday to respond to a text message from Johnson offering to talk after a late-race clash between the two drivers sent Busch to a 17th-place finish at Chicago and left him fuming. The two finally chatted Friday before practice for Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch said the two would've talked sooner but blamed the lack of communication on a busy schedule.(Associated Press)(7-26-2009)

  • Johnson repeats as Best Driver in ESPYs: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevy, picked up the ESPY for Best Driver during the 17th annual ceremony Wednesday at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live. Fans can watch the ESPYs, hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, this Sunday at 9:00pm/et on ESPN. This marks the second year that Johnson has won the award, which is based upon a fan vote. Johnson, the three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, also was nominated for Best Male Athlete, which was presented to 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. NASCAR has dominated the Best Driver category, picking up 11 of the last 14 awards. Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports teammates have won five of them: Jeff Gordon in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2007, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2004.(NASCAR)(7-17-2009)

  • Johnsons Team Captures Tissot Pit Crew Award in New Hampshire: Jimmie Johnsons crew grabbed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sundays Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was the second Tissot victory of the season for the #48 crew, which also won at Bristol in March. The win lifted Johnsons crew to sole possession of third place in the Tissot standings. The crews for Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle lead the weekly competition with three wins each. The #48 Lowes Chevy spent the least amount of time on pit road  136.490 seconds -- during the New Hampshire rain-shortened event. The pit crew effort helped Johnson to a top-10 finish (ninth). Johnsons over-the-wall crew consists of: Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Jeremy West (rear-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kenneth Purcell (jackman), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Ron Malec (eighth man). The teams pit crew coach is Greg Morin. The #48 crew will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.(Tissot)(6-30-2009)

  • Sponsor search for 2010: We've been hearing for months that sponsors, including those at top teams such as Hendrick Motorsports, won't fully commit past this season. Team owner Rick Hendrick made that clearer on Sunday when he indicated that Kellogg's and Carquest may not return in their full capacity in 2010. "Our sponsors are coming back," Hendrick said after Martin won at Michigan. "We don't know to what extent. That's the question. As you go along with this economy companies are taking longer to get their budgets in line. They're not a year out, or not even eight months like they have been in the past. We're in good shape. We have a lot of sponsors inside our company that we're talking about, you know, splitting up the car. So look for the guys that are on it to be back, but there will probably be someone new along there with them." That not only goes for the #5, but the #24 of Jeff Gordon and #88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. also could have more partners next season. Jimmie Johnson and Lowe's appear solid on the #48. The same sort of restructuring is going on at other organizations such as Roush, which is trying to find multiple partners to lessen the load of DeWalt [of #17 Matt Kenseth].(ESPN Insider)(6-18-2009)

  • Johnson wins at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway, his 2nd win of 2009 and 42nd of his career. #14-Stewart finished 2nd, followed by #16-Biffle, #17-Kenseth, #2-Busch, #9=Kahne, #99-Edwards, #39-Newman, #07-Mears and #5-Martin. Pole sitter, #00-Reutimann finished 18th. #88-Earnhardt Jr, finished 12th with his new crew chief. Only one of the go-or-go-homers finished the race, #78-Smith at 22nd, all the rest did not finish the race. Stewart now leads the points with 1853, 36 pts ahead of #24-Gordon, who finished 26th. There were 25 lead changes among 11 drivers and 10 cautions for 43 laps.
    For race results, awards and more on the Dover Race Results Page.
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(5-31-2009)

  • Eury to oversee road course testing for #48 team next week: Tony Eury Jr. is getting off to a quick start in his new role with Hendrick Motorsports' research and development group. On Tuesday, Eury will accompany the #48 Chevy team to Carolina MotorSports Park in Kershaw, S.C., to supervise road course testing with three-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. The private two-day session is closed to the public and the media. Eury will lead the effort and refine the #48 team's setup for the June 21 Sprint Cup event at Infineon Raceway -- the first road race of the 2009 season. In addition to his research and development duties, Eury will crew chief Hendrick Motorsports' #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy Sprint Cup effort with driver Brad Keselowski for the remainder of 2009. "Having someone of Tony's caliber in this role is an asset," said Doug Duchardt, vice president of development for Hendrick Motorsports. "He will be partnering with our lead chassis engineer on various projects, and his experience will make him a great fit with Brad. Having that veteran leadership is important for a young driver." Keselowski and the Eury-led #25 team will next attempt to qualify at Chicagoland Speedway in July.(HMS)(5-30-2009)

  • Hendrick to appear on Oprah: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, will make an appearance on the Tuesday, May 19 edition of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." The episode is entitled "Heroes in Hard Times."
    "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is produced in Chicago by Harpo Productions Inc. and syndicated to 214 domestic stations by CBS Television Distribution Group and to 143 countries by CBS Paramount International Television. It has been the No. 1-rated talk show for 22 consecutive seasons. Visit www.oprah.com for local listings.(HMS)(5-18-2009)

  • Team Lowes Honors Military, Lowes Employees w/Patriotic Scheme: Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, along with six Lowes employees with more than 30 years of military duty, unveiled the #48 Lowes Chevy that Johnson will run in the Memorial Day weekend Sprint Cup event at Lowes Motor Speedway. We typically dont have a lot of special paint schemes throughout the year, said Johnson, who will be trying for this fourth win in the Memorial Day weekend race. This event is usually an exception though. It means a lot to honor our country and all the people in the military. Both my grandfathers served so I understand the importance of showing our support. The cars design carries the names of 12,548 Lowes employees who are military veterans or reservists. The names are showcased on the cars hood and decklid. The remaining paint scheme was inspired partly by Knaus who worked with Lowes to create the patriotic-themed car to help honor the military. For some reason those patriotic schemes we used to run back home have always stuck in my mind, said Knaus. They were special and meant something to us. Last year a serviceman approached me at Pocono and told me how much the paint schemes Lowes has during Memorial Day weekend meant to those that serve. So I really wanted to work with Lowes and the team to create an extra-special one this year. Knaus, who got his start in racing by working with his fathers team in Rockford, Ill., used images of the red, white and blue schemes his father drove to help develop the concept for the Memorial Day weekend car. In support of the Memorial Day holiday, Lowes will offer a 10% discount to all active, reserve, honorably discharged, and retired military personnel and their immediate families. In addition, a special page has been set up on LowesRacing.com giving fans the opportunity to thank the military members who mean the most to them by posting photographs and stories of themselves, friends or family members on the site. Lowes employees also may visit the site to locate the placement of their name on the car.(Lowe's Racing), see images of the scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(5-18-2009)

  • Hendrick set to return from illness: Sidelined the past several weeks by a fast-spreading sinus infection, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick plans to return to the track this weekend after a five-race absence. Hendrick has not been to the track since Jimmie Johnson helped his boss celebrate his 25th anniversary in NASCAR with a March 29th victory at Martinsville Speedway. He skipped the next two events, races in Texas and Phoenix, for personal and business reasons. Then he was stricken with a sinus infection that spread to both his chest and ears, keeping him away from the track another three races. He needed tubes inserted in both ears to fight the infection. "They say the tubes are for kids, so I guess I'm a 59-year-old kid with ear infections," he said Tuesday. "I've got a weak immune system, and this infection just jumped on me. I was a sick puppy there for about three weeks. But I am much better, feeling more like myself." Hendrick's immune system was weakened by a long, but successful, fight with leukemia 12 years ago. "If I am not careful, I get knocked on my butt," said Hendrick, who spent more than four hours with employees Tuesday passing out the championship rings from Johnson's third title. The illness kept Hendrick away from wins by Jeff Gordon at Texas, and Mark Martin in Phoenix and Darlington, S.C. Hendrick watched all the races he missed on TV, admittedly screaming at his set and often second-guessing strategy through text messages to team vice president Doug Duchardt. He then called his drivers in Victory Lane, a scene often caught on live television that drew attention to his absence. Hendrick said he'll ease back into at-track activities with the All-Star race this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he traditionally celebrates Charlotte Speedweeks by treating employees from both his motorsports and automotive programs to weekends at the track.(ESPN/AP)
    AND: The Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store has updated its exhibits and extended its hours for fans visiting during the upcoming race weeks. More info at hendrickmotorsports.com.(5-13-2009)

  • Help Lowe's Thank the Military: In honor of Memorial Day, Lowe's wants to offer fans the opportunity to thank the military members who mean the most to them and show their pride for Team 48 and the red, white and blue. Fans can send their photographs and stories of friends or family members who are serving our country and showing their Team 48 pride where they are stationed. Visit lowesracing.com to submit photos and stories (150 words maximum) and check back to see your posting.(Lowe's Racing PR)(5-6-2009)

  • Current longest-tenured driver/crew chief pairings:
    After the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Saturday, Richard Childress Racing will swap crews and crew chiefs on the #07 & #29 teams, bringing and end to the second longest current driver/crew chief combination.
    Driver / Crew Chief: Start Date
    #48-Jimmie Johnson / Chad Knaus: October 2001
    #29-Kevin Harvick / Todd Berrier*: March 2003*
    #24-Jeff Gordon / Steve Letarte: September 2005
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. / Tony Eury, Jr.: September 2005
    #11-Denny Hamlin / Mike Ford: October 2005
    #31-Jeff Burton / Scott Miller: November 2005
    * - Ending after Sunday's race at Talladega
    (Sports Illustrated)(4-24-2009)

  • Hendrick drivers win three in a row: #5-Mark Martin's win last week at Phoenix International Raceway came on the heels of two other Hendrick Motorsports wins -- #48-Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville and #24-Jeff Gordon at Texas -- and marked the third time Hendrick Motorsports has won three consecutive Cup events with three different drivers. Hendrick, the only team in NASCAR's modern era to have three different drivers win in three straight races, accomplished the feat in 2007 -- with Johnson, Gordon and Casey Mears -- and in 1989 -- with Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader and Geoff Bodine. In 1956, Carl Kiekhaefer's drivers won three in a row twice. Buck Baker, Speedy Thompson and Herb Thomas contributed to the first streak, while Baker, Jack Smith and Thompson were part of the other.(HMS PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Hendrick to swap #5 and #88 crew chiefs? UPDATE no truth to it? Sources within Hendrick Motorsports confirmed to Captain Thunder that discussions were held over the Easter break regarding the possible switching of crew chiefs between the #5 and #88 teams. Mark Martin's crew chief Alan Gustafson was said to be on the block and was willing to move to the #88 team and Martin was willing to support the move. The discussions over Easter ended with an agreement between the two teams and Mr. Hendrick to keep their current teams in tact for at least three more weeks to see if both teams could improve on the slow start they have endured through the first part of the 2009 Sprint Cup season. Sources said Tony Eury Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin, and Gustafson all agreed that if Mr. Hendrick wanted a change, they would be willing to swap Gustafson for Eury Jr. However, with Martin's win Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, any switch is now out of the question for the foreseeable future. Hendrick and Martin have no desire to take Gustafson away from the #5 team after the way they dominated the Phoenix race. Now, the timetable is set for the All-Star race at Charlotte on May 16th. If both teams continue to perform poorly, expect a change the week of the All-Star race. However, if Martin's team continues to gain momentum following their Phoenix win, and the #88 team continues to struggle, sources said Eury Jr. could be replaced by car chiefs Ron Malec of the #48 team or Jason Burdett of the #24 team.(CaptainThunderRacing.com and reported on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show by Capt Thunder)(4-22-2009)
    UPDATE: Will rumors of a Hendrick Motorsports separation of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Eury Jr. ever end? Ever? Ever? Never, as long as there are upstart, cottage-industry Web-sites churning this stuff out, and others linking to it. "There's absolutely nothing to this," came an e-mail reply from high-up inside Hendrick, when the latest one was checked. The latest report appears on Jayski.com, picked up from CaptainThunderRacing.com, that meetings were held over the Easter break at Hendrick. Supposedly there was discussion of swapping crew chiefs, with Eury going to Mark Martin, and Alan Gustafson going to Earnhardt, if the two teams' performances didn't improve within three races. Here's how screwy this stuff can get. Right in the middle of the CaptainThunder report, there's a line, "However, with Martin's win Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, any switch is now out of the question for the foreseeable future." Then the report goes right on to say that new deadlines have been set for a possible switch: "If both teams continue to perform poorly, expect a change the week of the All-Star race." The wackiness warranted a double-check high-up at Hendrick, which brought the firm reply, "Not a shred of truth to any of it."(ESPN Insider)(4-22-2009)

  • Gordon, Johnson going for records at Phoenix: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won four straight races at Phoenix International Raceway, with #48-Jimmie Johnson visiting Victory Lane during the last three events. #24-Jeff Gordon won the April 21, 2007, contest after starting from the pole position. During the last eight races at the track, Hendrick Motorsports drivers have claimed five victories and five pole positions. Last November, Jimmie Johnson made track history by becoming the first driver to win three consecutive races at Phoenix International Raceway. On Saturday, the three-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will attempt to extend that history with a fourth consecutive Phoenix victory - this time in the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500. Gordon, who ended a 47-race winless streak on April 5 with his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway, now has 82 in his career. He stands one behind fifth-place Cale Yarborough on the all-time victories list and only two away from tying Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for third.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(4-15-2009)

  • Special Scheme for Johnson at Texas: #48-Jimmie Johnson will showcase a special "Tough Tools for Cool Schools" paint scheme for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway as a result of his assistance with a partnership between Kobalt Tools and SkillsUSA. Lowe's and Kobalt Tools will help the next generation of skilled trade professionals by donating approximately $300,000 worth of Kobalt tools to more than 500 SkillsUSA building and construction trade classes and labs across the country. There are approximately 1,000 SkillsUSA chapters in Texas public schools and trade/technical schools. Texas SkillsUSA serves nearly 15,500 student and professional members who are enrolled in trade, technical, industrial and health occupation programs.(TMS PR), see an image of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(3-31-2009)

  • Johnson testifies in Castroneves tax trial #48-Jimmie Johnson was the leadoff defense witness Monday in the Helio Castroneves tax evasion trial, testifying that a lawyer who is also charged in the case has a sterling reputation in the motorsports world. Johnson said Michigan lawyer Alan Miller has many clients in NASCAR and the Indy Racing League, a circuit where the Brazilian-born Castroneves is a top driver. Both Castroneves and Johnson have received financial guidance from Miller. "Alan's reputation is about honesty. His character is second to none," Johnson testified in a 10-minute appearance. "He's given me great advice." Miller, 71, is charged with conspiracy and tax evasion for allegedly helping Castroneves, 33, and the driver's business manager-sister, 35-year-old Katiucia, avoid U.S. taxes on some $5.5 million from 1999 to 2004. All three face more than six years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors rested their case Monday after four weeks of testimony, much of it focused on Miller's role in handling financial arrangements when Castroneves was hired by Penske Racing in late 1999. Prosecutors say the deal illegally avoided U.S. taxes on $5 million of the Penske money, which first was earmarked for a Panamanian shell corporation and then wound up in a Dutch deferred compensation account. Johnson, 33, said Miller - a former professional football player and former NFL Players Association lawyer - has represented him for about 12 years and came widely recommended by racing industry leaders. "I needed help to grow in my career. Alan was that guy for me," said Johnson.(Associated Press)(3-30-2009)

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, for his first win of 2009 and the 41st of his career. It his fifth win in the last six Martinsville races and comes on the anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports first win 25 years ago. #11-Hamlin, who led the most laps on the day and was bumped out of the lead by Johnson with 16 laps to go, finished second, followed by #14-Stewart, #24-Gordon, #33-Bowyer, #39-Newman, #5-Martin, #88-Earnhardt, Jr, #44-Allmendinger, and #26-McMurray. There was one change in the top-35 in owner points as #71-Gilliland fell out and #98-Menard moved in. There were 12 cautions for 66 laps and 7 drivers led a lap with 13 lead changes.
    For race results, awards and more on the Martinsville Race Results Page.
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(3-29-2009)

  • Trial continues for Johnson's agent:#48-Jimmie Johnson says it's business as usual with his agent, Alan Miller, even as Miller stands trial as a co-defendant with Helio Castroneves on federal tax evasion charges. "I've been in touch with Alan and asked him how things are going," Johnson said here Friday while the Castroneves trial continued in Miami. "He's given me some overviews that he feels very good about how things are going, and [he's] just waiting for everything to come together. His general impression has been positive about how things are going." #18-Kyle Busch dropped Miller as his agent in 2007, saying Miller's shopping him to other teams contributed to his being squeezed out at Hendrick Motorsports to make room for Dale Earnhardt Jr. But, "I like Alan Miller as a person," Busch said Friday. "He was a great guy to meet. His kid was always fun. His wife was great. So it's unfortunate he's in a little bit of a bind now." Busch added, though, that "I am fortunate that I changed representation [he's now with agent Jeff Dickerson of Motorsports Management Inc.]. It had nothing to do with Alan as a person. It was just his business ethic that I wasn't quite up on."(ESPN.com)(3-28-2009)

  • 25th anniversary of Hendrick's 1st win: On Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports will mark the 25th anniversary of its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Since the organization began competing as All-Star Racing in 1984, it has grown from five employees and 5,000 square feet of rented work space to more than 500 employees and more than 100 acres straddling Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties in North Carolina. It was the eighth race of the 1984 Cup Series season, and Geoff Bodine lined up sixth at Martinsville Speedway in the #5 Chevy for Rick Hendrick's fledgling All-Star Racing team. On that day -- April 29, 1984 -- Bodine led 55 laps en route to capturing the organization's first win. Reaching Victory Lane wasn't easy, though. Bodine had to pass then-defending Cup champion Bobby Allison with 48 laps to go to take the lead. Hendrick wasn't at Martinsville to experience the first of his 17 Cup wins at the .526-mile oval. The car owner was attending church with his wife, Linda, in Greensboro, N.C., during the race. He received a phone call with the news and headed straight for Bodine's home in Pleasant Garden, N.C., to celebrate. Frank Edwards, 72, was one of the five original employees at Hendrick Motorsports. Initially a setup specialist, Edwards moved from his home in Danville, Va., when Hendrick told him about his plans to start the race team. Edwards has held many roles within the team and currently works in the company's show-car department as a fabricator and mechanic.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-27-2009)

  • Johnsons #48 Crew Claims Tissot Pit Road Win in Bristol: Jimmie Johnsons #48 team took top honors by winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sundays NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The weekly competition, which recognizes the over-the-wall pit crews, has had different winners in each of the first five Cup races of 2009. Johnsons over-the-wall crew consists of: Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Jeremy West (rear-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kenneth Purcell (jackman), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Ron Malec (eighth man). The teams pit crew coach is Greg Morin. For winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the No. 48 team will receive $5,000. The team with the most pit road wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the driver and over-the-wall crew members.(DMF Communications/Tissot PR)(3-24-2009)

  • NASCAR Trainee in the #48 Pits: from SceneDaily's Bob Pockrass: Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus informed his crew that the #48 team [Jimmie Johnson, in the final pit] has an official plus a trainee in their pit stall today. He asked his crew to be aware of the trainee in case the trainee might be in the way, not knowing where to be while the team is attempting to pit the Jimmie Johnson car. He warned his crew to watch their hoses and to be aware of the second official.(3-8-2009)

  • School visits by Labonte and Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to visit Hamptons Lovejoy High School to donate a set of Kobalt Tools as part of the Tough Tools for Cool Schools program on Friday at 10:00am/et. Lowes, Kobalt Tools and SkillsUSA have partnered to provide approximately $300,000 worth of Kobalt Tools to more than 500 SkillsUSA Building and Construction Trade Classes and Labs across the county. Johnsons #48 Chevy will also showcase a Tough Tools for Cool Schools paint scheme, which he will race on April 5 at Texas Motor Speedway. See an image of it on the #48 Team Schemes page.
    AND Prior to qualifying at for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bobby Labonte will give a deserving fifth grader a ride to school before presenting Cotton Indian Elementary in Stockbridge with a computer donation on behalf of Ask.com and the Safe Search School program. The Safe Search School presentation featuring Bobby Labonte will take place on Friday, March 6 at 7:30am/et. Launched in the Atlanta area last month as a partnership between Ask.com, Web Wise Kids and NASCAR, the Safe Search School Program promotes internet safety education and awareness. Local Atlanta teachers and students participated in the program by visiting www.safesearchschools.com, conducting Internet safety lessons and submitting their own ideas for how teach fellow students to be safe online. Cotton Indian Elementary was selected from nearly 200 entries by a Blue Ribbon Panel, comprised of Jim Safka, chief executive officer of Ask.com; Mike Helton, president of NASCAR; Judi Westberg Warren, president of Web Wise Kids; and Bobby Labonte.(AMS PR)(3-5-2009)

  • Johnson, Montoya could be called as witnesses in Castroneves trial: Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Roger Penske are among the potential witnesses that could be called in the tax evasion trial of open-wheel racing driver Helio Castroneves, his sister, Katiucia, and his attorney Alan Miller. The trial is scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami. If convicted on all counts, all three defendants could face 78 months in prison, according to pretrial briefs. Miller, a noted sports attorney, has Johnson among his clients and has put Johnson and team owner Penske on his witness list. Montoya and other open-wheel drivers will also appear on the witness list for Castroneves, who has driven for Penske in the Indy Racing League. The scope of their potential testimony is not listed, and their inclusion on the witness list is no guarantee they will actually be called to testify.(more at SceneDaily)(2-28-2009)

  • Hendrick engine problems caused by bad parts: Hendrick Motorsports officials say a bad batch of parts led to engine failures by #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. "Both cars had valve train failures that were related to a specific batch of parts from a vendor," said Doug Duchardt, HMS' vice president of development. Duchardt said the parts were not restricted to use by Earnhardt and Martin, whose cars are prepared out of the same building. He said they also were used by Hendrick drivers #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson, as well as lease programs such as Stewart-Haas Racing. Earnhardt finished 39th and Martin 40th after both lost their engines within 25 laps of each other. Gordon finished second and Johnson was ninth, combining to lead 138 of 250 laps. #14-Tony Stewart was eighth and led three laps. "So we're glad it wasn't more widespread," Duchardt said.(ESPN)(2-24-2009)

  • Johnson on Kimmel show: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" tonight/tomorrow morning. The show airs at 12:05am/et on ABC. If you miss the show tonight, click here to watch the episode online tomorrow.(JJF PR)(2-23-2009)

  • Johnson visits child neighborhood: Twice a year, Jimmie Johnson detours through his childhood neighborhood en route to a NASCAR race in Fontana. I like to stay connected, the NASCAR champion said recently. Many of my friends and memories are still rooted in El Cajon. This week was no exception. Johnson flew into San Diego yesterday before heading north for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway. As usual, Johnson is visiting the site of the four Habitat for Humanity homes his foundation is building near downtown El Cajon and he will stop by the Chevrolet dealership in Kearny Mesa that bears his name. Johnson last night gave the induction speech for Ivan Stewart as the legendary off-road champion was inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame during the 63rd annual Viejas Salute to the Champions dinner at the Town and Country Resort. Johnson also was honored at the event, being one of five professionals named Stars of the Year for 2008.(San Diego Union Tribune)(2-19-2009)

  • No brace for Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson didn't wear a brace in Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout and doesn't plan to wear one in Thursday's 150-mile qualifying races, Sunday's Daytona 500 or any practice sessions. Johnson cut tendons in the middle finger on his left hand last month at the Rolex 24 trying to cut a hole in his fire suit. He has gradually worked down the size of the plastic brace for off-track activities, but none are small enough to wear with a safety glove. "I wear a brace at night so when I'm sleeping I don't roll over and bend my finger back and hurt the tendon," Johnson said before Wednesday's first practice at Daytona International Speedway. "I whacked my wife in the head with it the other day. I clobbered her. She came swinging back, too."(ESPN.com)(2-11-2009)

  • Johnson says finger is ok, ready to race: from a GM Racing transcript, concerning #48-Jimmie Johnson's finger injury during the Rolex 24 at Daytona, when he cut his finger working on his uniform:
    HOW IS YOUR FINGER DOING? Its good, got the stitches out. Its still a little ugly and swollen but Ive got motion and grip which weve been working hard at the rehab center, so outside of being a little clumsy and swollen its doing well.
    HOW MANY STITCHES DID YOU HAVE? I think there were five, five on the outside. It went all the way around. I had my suit open and it just gets in may way and I was trying to cut the hole in the pocket for the cool suit and I felt like I could cut those two off so I had the bright idea to flip it over and then I should have realized you know youre going to cut yourself why are you doing this but I didnt and still tried to do it and it went through it.
    WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO WEAR, IS YOUR GLOVE ENOUGH FOR PADDING? I dont think I need any padding. We have two or three braces, one is kind of extended so its in the most comfortable position and other ones that kind of wrap my hand around so I can easily grip the wheel. So Im just going to try a few different things in practice tomorrow.
    HAVE YOU LOST ANY STRENGTH IN IT? Yeah, Im limited on training in general. The worse thing I can do is go into this position because it would pull the tendon tight and break the sutures and stuff that sewed it back together so they said you can do anything this way especially once the swelling goes down. Frankly the thing their most worried about is if I trip or fall and have to catch myself that would put me in the worst situation possible.
    IS IT GOING TO BE MOST DIFFICULT WHEN YOURE SHIFTING? Im not really sure. I actually think getting through the garage area is going to be more difficult. Ive been driving at home and driving my corvette so I can do the shifting and all that stuff to get ready for it. The toughest part I have is the real sharp turns so I think getting in and out of the garage area is going to be the toughest part. Once youre going especially here the corners are so big you only turn the wheel a quarter or half of the way so it should be pretty easy.(GM Racing PR)(2-5-2009)

  • Hendrick presented with first chassis 'Dusty': Before "Blacker," the most successful car in Hendrick Motorsports history, and before "T-Rex," the Chevrolet that prompted NASCAR's sanctioning body to rewrite its chassis rules: There was Dusty. The Chevrolet Lumina was an original, integral piece in the chassis-building history of Hendrick Motorsports. But the rustic car is more than a footnote in the company annals. It represents the innovative approach and optimistic spirit that team owner Rick Hendrick still infuses into his employees. To commemorate the organization's 25th anniversary, the restored Dusty was presented to Hendrick at the company's season kickoff luncheon on Jan. 20. The car was painted silver and bears the single letter "H" in lieu of a number on the side. A small metal plate stamped with "HMS 001 Dusty" sits on the crossbar that goes through the passenger seat. When Dusty first was built in 1989, it didn't have a chassis number anywhere on it. The precise craftsmanship served as the signature mark on Hendrick Motorsports' initial stab at car building. Under the direction of Gary Dehart, the Lumina -- originally identified as "HMS 89-1 test" -- was to be used for testing purposes. See full story at the Hendrick Motorsports site.(1-28-2009)

  • Johnson cuts finger at Rolex 24 race UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson required stitches to close a gash to the middle finger on his left hand, suffered just prior to his final driving stint in the Rolex 24 at Daytona Sunday. According to Johnson's publicist, Kristine Curley, the driver was attempting to cut a hole in the pocket of his fire suit with a kitchen knife, in the effort to weave a cooling tube through the suit. The knife slipped, and Johnson suffered a gash to his finger. "It got me pretty good," Johnson told The Associated Press. "Cut right through the fabric to where my finger was on the other side." Johnson promptly removed himself from competition, surrendering his final run in the car to teammate Jimmy Vasser. Johnson was taken to the Daytona International Speedway infield care center, where he received stitches, though Curley was uncertain how many. For precautionary reasons, Johnson then flew quickly back to Charlotte, N.C., for further evaluation at an area hospital. He said the injury will not affect his driving and he'll be ready to race when teams report to Daytona in 11 days to begin preparations for the season-opening Daytona 500. Curley echoed those thoughts. "It's nothing major," Curley said. "He's fine. It won't affect him at all." Johnson teamed up with Vasser, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing entry, a team that finished second in 2008. But early in the running Saturday evening, Johnson pitted to change a tail light when his #99 Pontiac stalled out. The gear box had broken, dropping Johnson and his team nine laps behind the leaders.(ESPN)(1-26-2009)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson required repair of a tendon and nerve after cutting his left middle finger with a kitchen knife Sunday afternoon in Daytona Beach, Fla., while preparing to compete in the final segment of the Rolex 24 sports car series race. The injury occurred above the knuckle and happened while Johnson was attempting to cut a small hole in his firesuit in order to feed a tube from a cooling shirt through the pocket of his suit. Johnson flew from Daytona Beach to Charlotte for further evaluation and outpatient treatment with a hand specialist at Carolinas Medical Center. The injury will not keep Johnson from driving in the seasons first NASCAR Sprint Cup event Feb. 7 at Daytona International Speedway. That certainly wasnt the way I wanted to end the Rolex race, said Johnson, who ran with the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team. I really appreciate all the hard work by the guys this weekend. Im just sorry I wasnt there at the end with them. The doctors did a great job in Daytona and Charlotte and I cant thank them enough. Everything feels good and Ill be ready to roll for Daytona. Johnson is still scheduled to appear on Late Night with Conan OBrien [Jan 26th] and will co-host his Super Skins charity golf tournament and party with Nick Lachey this weekend in Tampa, Fla.(GMR Marketings PR)(1-26-2009)

  • Thieves Steal NASCAR Championship Ring: Lincoln County Sheriffs detectives are investigating break-ins involving the theft of large amounts of jewelry and firearms. On Dec. 19, someone broke into a residence in the 5300 block of King Wilkinson Road in Denver, NC and stole a large amount of jewelry including a NASCAR 2008 Championship ring engraved with the victims name (Heffner), Hendrick Motorsports, and the number 48. Daniel Heffner is an employee of Hendrick Motorsports. The ring is valued at $5,000. Also stolen were watches, bracelets, rings, and other jewelry items along with a laptop computer and 32 flat screen TV. Entry into the residence was made by prying open the back door. Detective Kelly Paris is also investigating a break-in in the 200 block of Clark Creek Road that occurred between December 24 and December 26, 2008. Someone forced open the front door and took a large amount of jewelry, old coins, a computer, and a bank bag containing valuable papers, firearms, cameras and other items. The firearms included several shotguns and rifles and three antique guns. Anyone with information about the crimes should contact the Lincoln County Sheriffs Office Detective Division at 704-736-8856 or call Crime Stoppers at 704-736-8909. If your tip to Crime Stoppers leads to an arrest in either case, you will be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 and you can remain anonymous.(news@norman.com)(1-16-2009)

  • Langenstein honored as 2008 Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence: Charlie Langenstein, mechanical director for the Hendrick Motorsports # 24 and # 48 Sprint Cup Chevrolets driven by Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson was awarded the 2008 Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence on December 19, 2008 at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Spa in Concord, North Carolina during the annual Hendrick Motorsports Company Christmas Party. A 40 year motorsports veteran and 9 year employee of Hendrick Motorsports, Charlie was voted by his fellow teammates and company peers as the winner of this very prestigious award. While a select and deserving group of nominees throughout the Hendrick Motorsports complex were considered, Charlie Langenstein was selected as the person who stood out the most among this honored group. The Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence was started in 1995 and each year a Hendrick Motorsports employee is selected. It is awarded annually to the Hendrick Motorsports team member displaying outstanding job performance, leadership, teamwork and contributions above and beyond expectations in order to help the organization succeed.(PR), see more on my Awards page.(1-16-2009)

  • Hendrick drivers to pop up on Kellogg's breakfast pastry: Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are coming to a breakfast aisle near you during the 2009 Sprint Cup season. The Hendrick Motorsports drivers will be featured on Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavored Limited Edition NASCAR Printed-Fun Pop-Tarts. In addition to the drivers, the team paint schemes and hauler designs will be printed on the individual Pop-Tarts pastries, which are Kellogg's most popular morning food product. The limited edition Pop-Tarts also will include NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports and driver trivia questions. The Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavored Limited Edition NASCAR Printed-Fun Pop-Tarts will be available throughout the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season at major retail outlets nationwide.(Hendrick Motorsports PR) Martin is scheduled to run special Pop Tart's paint schemes at Las Vegas, Bristol in Aug, Richmond in Sept and Charlotte in Oct.(1-15-2009)

2008 News

  • HMS Holdings suing DEI over engines UPDATE 2:: HMS Holdings, which operates the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop, is suing Dale Earnhardt Inc. for $1.5 million for the payment of a termination fee stemming from a contract to supply Hendrick engines to Ginn Racing. Ginn Racing, which also is a defendant in the suit filed Friday in North Carolina Superior Court, merged with DEI in July 2007. As part of the merger, DEI and Ginn Racing signed a termination agreement to a contract that was originally signed by Ginn in 2006. The termination agreement required payments to HMS of $1.754 million by July 31, 2007, and $1.5 million by Nov. 15, 2008, according to the suit. The first payment was made on time. The second payment has not been made, according to the suit. The original engine contract and termination agreement are not included in the suit, so it is unclear how much Ginn was paying to use Hendrick engines. HMS is asking for the $1.5 million, 12% interest and an additional $225,000. Hendrick Motorsports spokesman Jesse Essex said the company is looking forward to a swift resolution of the lawsuit. Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President John Story said the company has no comment.(SceneDaily)(11-25-2008)
    UPDATE - engines cost $12.8M base: If youre looking to lease engines from Hendrick Motorsports for a NASCAR operation, youd better be prepared to open up your wallet. A legal battle being played out in North Carolina courts is offering rare insight into the usually secretive world of the sports finances as the Hendrick operation seeks compensation from the Ginn Racing team that wound up as part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007. According to a contract filed as part of the case, the Hendrick engine lease agreement with Ginn Racing called for Ginn to pay a base rent of $12.8 million in 2007 and $13.7 million in 2008 to lease engines for its three Sprint Cup teams and one team in what is now the Nationwide Series. The fee covered Cup engines for 36 race events and up to nine tests or special events and Nationwide engines for 35 events, according to the contract filed as part of a lawsuit by HMS Holdings against Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. over the termination fees resulting from the Ginn-DEI merger in July 2007.(Scene Daily)(12-20-2008)
    UPDATE 2: DEI claims that former NASCAR team owner Bobby Ginn is responsible for paying off any termination fees of Ginn Racings engine leasing contract with Hendrick Motorsports. Both DEI and Ginn have been sued by Hendrick in North Carolina Superior Court over $1.5 million in fees that Hendrick claims is owed under the termination agreement signed when DEI bought Ginn Racing in July 2007. In its response to the suit filed Dec. 22, DEI claims that DEI and Ginn have a signed agreement that DEI would not be responsible for any claims or payments under the engine lease termination agreement. DEI asks the court to rule that Ginn is responsible for any payments. Ginn has not yet responded to the suit.(SceneDaily)(12-30-2008)

  • Johnson running Rolex 24 again: It would make sense if Jimmie Johnson spent his Thursday before Christmas gearing up for the holidays at his North Carolina home. Instead, Johnson waited for fog to clear in North Carolina and Texas before flying to Fort Worth for a planned practice session at the Motorsport Ranch in Cresson. Johnson, NASCARs three-time Sprint Cup champion, was trying to prepare for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January. For the second consecutive year, Johnson will take a break from the #48 Lowes Chevy to join Lewisville-based GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing in the teams bid to win the 24-hour race.(Fort Worth Star-Telegram)(12-20-2008)

  • Yarborough Surprises Johnson With Ring Presentation: Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Cale Yarborough made an unannounced appearance tonight at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel in New York City. Followed by a rousing standing ovation, Yarborough presented the championship ring to 2008 series champion Jimmie Johnson during this years annual ceremony. The two champions will be forever linked in NASCAR lore. This season, Johnson joined Yarborough as the only drivers to win three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships. Yarborough accomplished the historic feat from 1976-78. During Yarboroughs incredible three-year stretch, he posted 28 wins, 70 top-five and 74 top-10 finishes.
    "Somebody finally did it, Yarborough said. I set a pretty good record, didn't I? It took them 30 years to tie it. There are only two of us who have done it in the 60 years of the sport. That's a pretty good accomplishment. You know, I haven't been to this banquet in several years, but tonight I feel like I got my racing spirit back. You know, all he really did is tie the record  he still has to break it. He still has some work to do. I want to congratulate Jimmie; he's a great man and a great racer. I know he's going to win some more championships. Maybe he can skip a year though."
    Yarboroughs famous swagger continues to this day. During his speech, he told team owner Rick Hendrick that if there was a ride open in his stable, he could have the first 70-year-old series champion. Yarborough turns 70 next March. Johnson matched Yarboroughs record with another typically brilliant performance. In 2008, Johnson had seven wins, 15 top fives and 22 top 10s. "What a surprise and what an honor to have Cale present me with the championship ring, Johnson said. I'm pretty much floored.
    The Yarborough ring presentation was the culmination of a night filled with memory-making moments. Earlier in the program, Betty Jane France  widow of former NASCAR Chairman and CEO Bill France Jr.  introduced Academy Award winning actor Kevin Costner, who made some remarks commemorating the 60th anniversary season of NASCAR. Costner was later joined on stage by seven-time champion Richard Petty, who spoke on the impact NASCAR has had on his life and the tremendous growth of the sport. Also in attendance was Academy Award nominee Tom Cruise, who played Cole Trickle in the NASCAR-themed film Days of Thunder.(NASCAR PR) see images, news, notes and more on my 2008 Cup Awards page.(12-6-2008)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week  Day 5: A busy week in New York City culminated Friday evening with the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. Jimmie Johnson, who etched his name in the NASCAR record books by becoming only the second driver in the sports history to win three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, was officially coronated as the 2008 series titlist. The #48 Lowes Chevrolet team relished in the spotlight Friday afternoon, posing for dozens of photographs with Johnson and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Trophy. Its a ritual that Johnson says he looks forward to continuing in 2009 and beyond. Yes, I want to win a fourth championship, said Johnson, who along with Cale Yarborough is the only NASCAR driver to ever win three straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles. Right now, Im just part of history. Id love to make history. Im not pulling a Babe Ruth and pointing over the outfield fence and saying Im going to hit it over here, but yeah, I want to win a fourth championship. Well see.
    Team owner Rick Hendrick, whose teams have won eight series championships, says the chemistry on the No. 48 team has helped provide a winning combination. Theres a lot of talent on that team, but the thing that really impresses me is how well they work together toward achieving the common goal of winning a championship, said Hendrick. They stay motivated and have that refuse to lose mentality. For the most part, the team has remained intact from the inception and the consistency has been a real plus in helping them get to the level they are today.
    Johnsons wife, Chandra, says its amazing to see how passionate her husband is about his work. Jimmie loves what he does for a living and thats a real blessing, said Chandra. The passion he has for driving that race car is unbelievable.
    Friday nights awards ceremony not only recognized Johnson and his championship team, it also featured the remaining top 10 drivers from the 2008 season, including Kyle Busch (10th); Tony Stewart (9th); Denny Hamlin (8th); Jeff Gordon (7th); Jeff Burton (6th); Clint Bowyer (5th); Kevin Harvick (4th); Greg Biffle (3rd); and Carl Edwards (2nd).
    Actor and film director Kevin Costner made some remarks during the banquet regarding NASCARs recently completed 60th anniversary season and was joined at the podium by seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. The musical group Matchbox 20 performed and comedian John Pinette also entertained the audience.(NASCAR PR)(12-5-2008)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week  Day 4: The top performers from the recently completed 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season were honored Thursday at the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon at Cipriani in New York City. Bob Bahre, long a champion promoter and supporter of stock-car racing in the New England region, collected one of NASCARs most prestigious and longest-running awards, as the former owner of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, received the Buddy Shuman Award. Presented since 1957, the award annually recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to NASCAR racing. We might have built the thing, but its been the fans and drivers who have made it what it is today, Bahre said.
    Longtime NASCAR photographer Thomas Taylor Warren, affectionately known to the motorsports community as T. Taylor, is the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Associations Myers Brothers Award for 2008. Warren was recognized for a lifetime achievement in NASCAR photography. Accepting on behalf of Warren, who died on Oct. 8 at the age of 83, was NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications, Jim Hunter. T. Taylor was a true pioneer in NASCAR photography, Hunter said. He may no longer be with us, but his photographs will live forever.
    Team owner Richard Childress was the recipient of the NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award. Childress recently helped fund the establishment of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma at Wake Forest Universitys Baptist Medical Center. This is an important cause that we really believe in, Childress said. More than 12,000 children die each year from traumatic accidents. Were committed to do all we can to help make life better for some of these children.
    For the sixth straight year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award. More than 1.2 million fan votes were cast for Earnhardt Jr. Its a great honor to be chosen by the fans once again, Earnhardt Jr. said. NASCAR fans are the best in all of sports and were fortunate to have a large group of fans that have been extremely loyal to us over the years.
    Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson picked up five awards and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports team received three other awards. Today was an opportunity to reflect back on all of the hard work and effort put in by everyone at the race shop, Johnson said. The emotions kind of go over the top when you take a moment and realize just how special each of these individuals have been in sharing in the success weve had the past three seasons.
    Here is the complete list of Thursdays award winners:
    * Buddy Shuman Award  Bob Bahre
    * NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award  Richard Childress
    * NMPA Myers Brothers Award  Thomas Taylor Warren
    * Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award  Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    * Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award  Regan Smith
    * DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year Award  Steve Addington
    * Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award  Carl Edwards
    * Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Year Award  Bob Osborne
    * MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award  Hendrick Motorsports
    * Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Award  #48 team
    * Mobil 1 Command Performance Award  Ryan Newman
    * USG Improving the Finish Award  Jeff Burton
    * Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * WIX Filters Lap Leader Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * Coors Light Pole Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * Sunoco Diamond Performance Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * Goodyear Award  Jimmie Johnson
    * Championship Sponsor Award  Lowes
    * Champion Crew Chief Award  Chad Knaus
    (NASCAR PR), see driver appearances, news, notes and more on my 2008 Cup Awards page.(12-4-2008)

  • #48 Team wins most valuable pit crew honors: A key component of the #48 Lowes Chevrolet teams championship formula is the performance of the over-the-wall crew. In the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup, Jimmie Johnsons performance on the track was matched with near perfection on pit road by the pit crew. The result was a third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship for Johnson and the Hendrick Motorsports team which equaled the 30-year record established by Cale Yarborough (1976-1978). For their effort on pit road, the #48 crew has earned the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award for the third time and second consecutive year.
    The #48 Hendrick Motorsports team, led by crew chief Chad Knaus, swept fourth-quarter honors last year en route to its second year-end award and $100,000 bonus. The team also won in 2004. In the 10 races that made up the Chase, the 48 team had only two finishes (15th at Texas and Homestead-Miami) outside the top 10. Johnson had three wins and a pair of seconds and finished the season with seven trips to victory lane, 15 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes.
    The #48 Lowe's Chevy team: Greg Morin - Pit Crew Coach; Kenneth Purcell - Jackman; Mike Lingerfelt - Front-Tire Changer; Art Simmons - Front-Tire Carrier; Jeremy West - Rear-Tire Changer; Ron Malec - Rear-Tire Carrier; Rick Gutierrez - Gas man; Mike Knauer - Catch Can; Chad Knaus - Crew Chief. The first-quarter winner was the #18 M&Ms over-the-wall crew from Joe Gibbs Racing while the #9 Budweiser Dodge team from Gillett Evernham Motorsports prevailed in the second quarter. Third-quarter honors went to the #99 crew from Roush Fenway Racing. The #48 Lowes Chevrolet team emerged the fourth-quarter winner.(Mechanix Wear/C4 Explosive Communications PR)(12-4-2008)

  • Johnson cancels trip to Thailand: #48-Jimmie Johnson has tabled a planned offseason trip to Thailand after protestors had shut down an airport in Bangkok for a week and left the country's government in turmoil. We just canceled our trip and [are] trying to think of what to do now, Johnson said Tuesday. Were on short notice, and Im sure we can think something out. We really wanted to travel somewhere off the wall and far. Im not sure where well end up now.(SceneDaily)(12-4-2008)

  • Johnson named Sporting News Driver of the Year: Jimmie Johnson, who drove to a record-tying third consecutive Sprint Cup championship, is Sporting News 2008 Driver of the Year. Sporting News voting was conducted by a panel of 14 drivers, 14 crew chiefs and three owners from the Sprint Cup Series. The full awards appear in the new issue of Sporting News magazine, which hits newsstands later this week. Sporting News other winners:
     Dale Earnhardt Tough Driver of the Year: Carl Edwards
     Owner of the year: Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports
     Rookie of the Year: Regan Smith
     Crew chief of the year: Chad Knaus.(Sporting News)(12-3-2008)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week - Day 2: Jimmie Johnson visited one of New York Citys most famous landmarks  Central Park  for a photo shoot Tuesday, as the first full day of Champions Week activities unfolded. Among the photos taken were Johnson in front of Wollman Rink, one of two ice skating rinks in Central Park and one of him on a bridge overlooking The Pond in Central Park. Johnson also plans to have his photo taken Thursday afternoon at the intersection of 48th and 3rd Streets, signifying Johnsons No. 48 team winning its third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.
    We took some cool photos in Central Park; I think those photos are going to be amazing, said Johnson, who has an apartment in the Chelsea section of New York City. I like to go running in Central Park when were in town and its always a good cut through when youre on the East Side and have to go over to the West Side or Columbus Circle, so I spend a lot of time in Central Park.
    Earlier in the day, Johnson visited two of the countrys most highly regarded news organizations  the New York Times and Associated Press. At both offices, Johnson met with print and online editors, discussing topics ranging from his record-tying third straight series championship, the type of physical and mental preparation he undergoes each week, how the team analyzes the video, audio and computer data that is available in helping them prepare for each race, the suspension of the testing policy for 2009, the challenges the current state of the economy is posing to the sport, and how he studies other drivers styles to help make himself better. Championship crew chief Chad Knaus accompanied Johnson on the Associated Press visit.
    Later Tuesday afternoon, Johnson participated in a Satellite Media Tour, taping interviews with affiliates from more than 10 of the countrys top television markets. Tuesday night he was scheduled to appear on Motor Racing Networks NASCAR Live national radio program.(NASCAR PR), see driver appearances, news, notes and more on my 2008 Cup Awards page.(12-2-2008)

  • Johnson named March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year: #48-Jimmie Johnson, fresh off chalking up his third straight Sprint Cup Championship, will be rewarded in a different way on December 3 when he is honored as the 2008 March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year. Johnson will be presented by NASCAR CEO Brian France. Only the second NASCAR driver ever to win the Sprint Cup Series three consecutive times, Johnson will be joined by NBC Sports President Ken Schanzer (Corporate Leadership Award) and MLS Commissioner Don Garber (Sports Leadership Award) at the 25th Annual March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year Luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. LPGA star Lorena Ochoa was named Sportswoman of the Year.(Taylor PR)(12-2-2008)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week - Day 1: Jimmie Johnson has been there before - the past two years to be exact - but celebrating his third straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship on the biggest media stage in the world is certainly something the driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet is looking forward to. For the third straight year, Johnson and his team will be taking New York City by storm, participating in national media events and making a host of special appearances leading up to Friday night's annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony (ESPN Classic will televise beginning at 9 p.m.) at the Waldorf=Astoria. Johnson says celebrating championships in the Big Apple never gets old.
    "Champions Week in New York City is always an amazing time," said Johnson, who joins Cale Yarborough as the only NASCAR driver to win three straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles. "It's fun to celebrate everything we've done this year as a team and really let loose and have some fun. Everyone works extremely hard year-round to make us one of the best teams in the garage, so it's nice to have some time to reflect on what we've done and enjoy some of the recognition."
    Johnson arrived in New York Monday afternoon. That evening, he and his wife, Chandra, were scheduled to participate in the annual Champion's Welcome Dinner in the Waldorf=Astoria Executive Kitchen, a gathering attended by NASCAR, Sprint and championship team representatives and overseen by Executive Chef John Doherty.(NASCAR PR), see driver appearances, news, notes and more on my 2008 Cup Awards page.(12-1-2008)

  • Johnson helps push sales up: NASCAR fans across the country are celebrating Jimmie Johnsons third straight Sprint Cup Championship in record fashion, as sales of his championship merchandise on the NASCAR.com Superstore are up 44% over 2007. In addition to the strong fan reaction on NASCAR.com, the Racing Collectables Club of America (RCCA), the premier club for motorsports fans and collectors, has also experienced a wave of enthusiasm for everything and anything related to Johnson and the #48 Lowes Chevrolet team. In fact, RCCA championship product sales are up 137% over last year when Johnson captured his second consecutive Cup crown. Shortly after Johnson crossed the finish line in Miami in his #48 Lowes Chevrolet, Motorsports Authentics, through its Chase Authentics and Action Racing Collectables brands, went to market with a full array of licensed products commemorating Johnsons record-tying third straight Sprint Cup Championship. Mark Dyer, president and CEO of Motorsports Authentics, was pleased with the numbers, though not entirely surprised, given the historical significance of Johnsons victory. Jimmie has been one of the most popular drivers in the sport with strong merchandise sales, especially given his relatively short tenure in NASCAR, Dyer said. I think collectors and fans recognize the amazing feat hes accomplished and are getting behind him to show their support. They know his memorabilia from this third championship will ultimately be quite valuable in the marketplace and they want to be a part of the excitement. All 2008 Championship apparel and die-cast collectables are available at the NASCAR.com Superstore and rccamembers.com. Fans can also visit Motorsports Authentics authorized dealers across the country to learn more about these products. To find a local dealer, visit goracing.com and click on the dealer locator at the bottom of the page.(Motorsports Authentics PR)(11-27-2008)

  • Lowes Extends the Celebration with a Winning Deal for Consumers: To celebrate Jimmie Johnsons third consecutive Sprint Cup Series Championship, Lowes is offering customers 10% off KOBALT tools, tool storage and truck boxes. The offer will be available Nov. 17 through Nov. 19 in all Lowes stores in the U.S. and Canada on all in-stock Kobalt tools. Its a great feeling to win our third straight Championship, but I didnt get here without a great team and the support of all the Team Lowes Racing fans, said Johnson. I want to thank Lowes for sharing our success with the fans that supported us throughout the 2008 season. Only 10 years ago, Lowes introduced Kobalt tools, an exclusive line of quality tools at an affordable price. Today there are more than 900 tools under the Kobalt brand and every tool is designed and engineered to combine toughness and durability with the latest developments in comfort, balance and practical innovations. To be successful, it helps to have the right tools for the job, said Team 48 Crew Chief Chad Knaus. The way Lowes is rewarding the fans with this great Kobalt offer is another example of the support they give us both on and off the track. Kobalt Tools has been the proud sponsor of the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the past two seasons. In addition, Johnson drove the #48 Kobalt Tools Impala SS in eight races this year. The 10% offer is valid from Nov. 17 through Nov. 19, 2008 in stores only while supplies last and excludes Special Order items. The discount will be taken at the register. Visit your local Lowes store or lowes.com for additional details.(Lowe's PR)(11-17-2008)

  • Yarborough will not be at Homestead on Sunday UPDATE: Cale Yarborough won't be on hand to see Johnson potentially tie his record of three consecutive titles on NASCAR's premier series. An invitation was extended to Yarborough, who had a conflict with another appearance, according to NASCAR. Yarborough won titles from 1976-78.(NASCAR.com)
    UPDATE: [Yarborough] didn't see a reason to make the trek to Miami this weekend. He's spending a low-key weekend on his farm with his wife. There was a rumor going around the Yarborough wanted an appearance fee and the track wouldn't pay it. I gave Yarborough a call a few minutes ago to ask about that. "Well, I didn't ask for any pay and they didn't offer any pay," Yarborough said from his farm in South Carolina. "They called me and asked me to come." Yarborough said nobody from NASCAR called him and wondered, "If they wanted me there, wouldn't they have called?" I [Tania Ganguli] asked a NASCAR spokesman about their process and he said NASCAR mostly left the past champion invitations up to the Speedway. The spokesman said Yarborough told them he had a prior engagement and couldn't make it. Because Yarborough's a private person, and doesn't often show up at races, they scheduled a teleconference so he could handle all his media requests at once. Yarborough told me [Ganguli] he had an autograph signing a few days ago, so he couldn't attend the Thursday press conference that featured the past champions. Today, he's just watching the race. I [Ganguli] asked if a fee would have changed his mind. "That would have made a difference," Yarborough said, good-naturedly. "But it would've had to be a lot of money for me to go all the way down there. ... Jimmie's gonna tie my record. All good things must come to an end."(in part from the Orlando Sentinel)(11-16-2008)

  • Some spotter changes in 2009: Hearing that Earl Barban [currently at the #38 team] will be back as the spotter for #48 Jimmie Johnson and current spotter, Stevie Reeves will join Yates Racing and Paul Menard [will be the #98 team]. Bob Jeffrey, the spotter for #17 Matt Kenseth will join Stewart-Hass Racing to work with #14-Tony Stewart. Mike Calinoff, who started 2008 with #40-Dario Franchitti at Chip Ganassi Racing before the team shut down and has been spotting for #20-Stewart during The Chase, will return to Roush-Fenway Racing and work with #17-Matt Kenseth. Barban spent two years with Johnson previously and Calinoff was with Kenseth for six seasons, including the Championship season in 2003.(11-15-2008)

  • Knaus named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Phoenix: Chad Knaus, Crew Chief for the winning #48 Lowe's Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, was named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Lightening quick pit stops helped ensure Johnson stay near or at the top of the running order all day in the Valley of the Sun. The team started from the pole, led the most laps and cruised to the victory, extending their championship point lead to 141 over Carl Edwards. Johnson needs to finish 36th or better in this weekend's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture the team's third consecutive Sprint Cup Series championship. Also at the Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, Wypall will announce the 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year during a press conference in the track's media center at 5:45pm on Friday. The winner will be presented a check for $20,000.
    The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge was a season-long contest that determined the best crew chiefs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage. Following each Cup race, a panel voted to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It wasn't necessarily the crew chief that went to victory lane, but the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team.
    Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/Speed television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR's top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of the Richard Childress Racing #29 Shell Pennzoil Chevy team, Osborne of the Roush Fenway Racing #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports #9 Budweiser Dodge team, made up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief received signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. For more information about the Wypall Wipers program, log onto www.Wypall.com.(11-12-2008)

  • Johnson Needs 36th-Place Finish to Clinch at Homestead: Jimmie Johnsons third consecutive championship is well within reach, needing to finish 36th or better in next Sundays season finale Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to clinch. Even if second-place Carl Edwards wins and leads the most laps  a 195-point day  Johnson would clinch with the 36th-place finish. Additionally, Johnson can clinch by finishing 37th and leading at least one lap or 39th and leading the most laps.(NASCAR PR)(11-10-2008)

  • Johnson wins at Phoenix: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway for his 7th win of the season and the 40th of his career after a Green-White-Checkered finish [added 1 lap]. Johnson just needs to finish 36th at Homestead win win his 3rd Sprint Cup Championship. #2-Busch finishing 2nd followed by #26-McMurray, #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #29-Harvick, #18-Busch, #31-Burton and #6-Ragan. There were 10 cautions for 55 yellow flag laps [and 2 red flags, one for rain and one for a big wreck] and 9 lead changes among 5 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Phoenix Race Results Awards Page.(11-9-2008)

  • Layoffs at Hendrick, Johnson's spotter included: During a modest round of layoffs Monday and Tuesday at Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson's spotter, Stevie Reeves, was told he would not return to the #48 Lowe's Chevy team next season, Reeves confirmed Tuesday night. Reeves and the Hendrick organization part on good terms. The spotter, who helped guide Johnson to his second consecutive Sprint Cup championship in 2007, has already been contacted by other teams and is weighing his options. "They wanted to give me plenty of time to find something before Homestead and not leave me hanging high and dry," said Reeves, who will spot the final two races of the season for Johnson as he attempts to win a record-tying third straight championship. "Rick Hendrick knows how to treat people, and that's what makes him so successful. Jimmie Johnson is a class act, and the only thing I regret is that I won't be working with him next year, but I'm going to land on my feet OK."(Sporting News)(11-5-2008)

  • Johnson on The Tonight Show: Back-to-back Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, Nov. 6. The show airs at 11:35pm/et on NBC.

  • Yarborough resigned to sharing record with Johnson: When Cale Yarborough won a third-straight NASCAR title in 1978, he never expected that it would take 30 years for someone else to challenge that record. Now that two-time reigning Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson appears on the way to doing just that, Yarborough has mixed feelings about sharing the record that some thought was untouchable. "The handwriting's on the wall," Yarborough said Monday during a telephone news conference. "It's going to happen. I understand that I was Jimmie's hero when he was growing up, so if he does it more power to him," the longtime NASCAR star added. Then that old competitive streak that helped Yarborough to 83 race wins, including four Daytona 500s, showed itself. "That don't mean I'm pulling for him," Yarborough added, laughing. "But, if he does it, I'll be in good company. I hope he feels the same way." While the 32-year-old Johnson has not finished worse than fifth in the points since he became a full-time Cup driver in 2002, Yarborough's best years didn't come until he got a full-time ride with Richard Howard in 1973 at the age of 34. The driver from South Carolina finished second for two straight years driving for Howard before going to work for Junior Johnson in 1975. He finished ninth that first year with Johnson before beginning his unprecedented string of championship in 1976. Yarborough stayed with Johnson for two more seasons, finishing fourth in the points in 1979 and losing the title to Dale Earnhardt by just 19 points in 1980. That was his last full season of racing before cutting his schedule to spend more time with his family. One major difference between the years when Yarborough won his titles and the current era is the points format. In his day, everyone raced for the same points throughout the season. Since 2004, the Cup title has been decided by the Chase, with a small group of drivers who spent 26 races making themselves eligible for the postseason competing for the championship over the final 10 races of the season. "I think it may have been harder to win (championships) back then than it is today because you had to compete against everybody," Yarborough said. Asked if he would have to change his style if he was racing today, Yarborough said, "I never was one to do much calculating. I went all out every lap I ever raced in my whole career. I'd still be doing it today. The only thing I can say is Jimmie better be glad I'm not racing with him today."(Associated Press/ESPN)(10-21-2008)

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 6th win of the season, 5th win at Martinsville, 8th short track win and the 39th of his career. Johnson held off #88-Earnhardt Jr. after a green-white-checkered finish, #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd followed by #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #5-Mears, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth, #07-Bowyer and #1-Truex Jr.. #84-Scott Speed finished 30th in his Sprint Cup debut. There were 12 cautions for 76 laps and 14 lead changes among 7 leaders.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Martinsville Race Results Awards Page.
    See Chase and Classic Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Martinsville.(10-19-2008)

  • Career start #250 for Johnson, special scheme: #48-Jimmie Johnson will make his 250th Cup Series start when he takes the green flag for Saturdays Sprint Cup race at Lowes Motor Speedway. To commemorate the event, Johnson will be debuting the 2009 #48 Lowes Impala SS paint scheme, which will carry a special decal honoring Johnsons 250th start on the decklid during Saturday nights event. I cant believe this weekend is my 250th start, said Johnson. I've been very lucky in my career that I've had one sponsor, Lowe's, since I started racing in the Sprint Cup Series. It somehow seems fitting that we'll be able to celebrate the occasion together at Lowes Motor Speedway. Starting in the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports in 2001, Johnson has collected 38 wins, 98 top-five and 152 top-10 finishes heading into this weekends race. Lowes has been the primary sponsor on Johnsons Chevy since he entered the series.(Lowe's Racing) see an image of the car on my #48 Team Schemes page.(10-8-2008)

  • Johnson wins at Kansas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway for his 5th win of the season and the 38th of his career. He held off #99-Carl Edwards, who made a brief pass on the last lap and then slid up into the wall and fell back to second at the finish. #16-Biffle finished third, followed by #24-Gordon, #17-Kenseth, #29-Harvick, #31-Burton, #6-Ragan, #84-Allmendinger, and #19- Sadler. Other chase drivers: #11-Hamlin was 11th, #07-Bowyer 12th, and #88-Earnhardt Jr 13th. #18-Busch fought mechanical problems early and finished 28th, #20-Stewart spun through the grass, breaking the splitter, and later had to pit under green to fix it, finishing 40th. There were 7 cautions for 25 laps and 16 lead changes among 10 leaders.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Kansas Race Results Awards Page.
    See Chase and Classic Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Kansas page.(9-28-2008)

  • Lowe's Racing for Relief Update - Dover Results: #48-Jimmie Johnsons efforts on the track this weekend raised $19,200 to benefit the American Red Cross as part of Lowes Racing for Relief program. The $19,200 represents Lowes pledge of $48 per lap completed. Johnson finished fifth and completed 400 laps during Sunday's Camping World RV 400 at Dover International Speedway. Funds raised will help to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of Hurricane Ike and other 2008 hurricanes. Anyone interested in making a donation to the American Red Cross may visit participating Lowes stores, donate online at www.redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).(Lowe's Racing PR)(9-23-2008)

  • Lowes Activates Racing for Relief in Dover: In response to Hurricane Ike, Lowes and #48-Jimmie Johnson will be Racing for Relief at the Dover International Speedway this weekend to raise funds for the American Red Cross. Funds raised will help to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of Hurricane Ike and other 2008 hurricanes. As part of Racing for Relief, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of the #48 Lowes Impala SS. Lowes will donate $48 for every lap of the scheduled 400 laps [could total $19,200] that Johnson completes in the Dover 400 at the Dover International Speedway on September 21. In addition, if Johnson wins the race, Lowes will donate an additional $4,800. Funds raised through Lowes Racing for Relief will supplement an existing $1 million Lowes donation to the American Red Cross. More than 1,575 Lowes stores nationwide are serving as official cash donation sites to benefit the American Red Cross relief efforts throughout the 2008 hurricane season. Lowes will match in-store contributions dollar-for-dollar, up to $250,000. Since partnering with the Red Cross in 1999, Lowes has raised more than $17.5 million for disaster relief. Anyone interested in making a donation to the American Red Cross may visit participating Lowes stores, donate online at www.redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).(Team Lowe's PR)(9-18-2008)

  • Johnson testing at Nashville: After his win Sunday afternoon at Richmond, #48-Jimmie Johnson rolled into the Nashville Superspeedway this morning [9/8] at 10am for a team test. Johnson will be in Nashville for a one-day test.(Nashville Superspeedway PR), no word if the test is open to the public.(9-8-2008)

  • Johnson wins at Richmond: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, after the race was delayed a day due to tropical storm Hanna. #48-Johnson won for the 2nd race in a row, 4th win of the season for Johnson and 37th of his career. #20-Stewart finished 2nd [and was not happy he didn't win], followed by #11-Hamlin, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #8-Martin, #31-Burton, #29-Harvick, #24-Gordon, #44-Reutimann [ties his career best from last weekend] and #2-Busch. #07-Bowyer finished 12th and beat #9-Kahne [19th] and #6-Ragan [32nd], to grab the final spot in The Chase. There were 22 lead changes among 10 drivers and 14 cautions for 71 caution laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Richmond Race Results Awards Page
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Richmond page.(9-7-2008)

  • Johnson wins at California: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway for his 3rd win of 2008 and 36th of his career. Starting from the pole, he dominated throughout the race, leading 227 laps. It was the first time a driver has won the California race from the pole. #16-Biffle finished 2nd followed by #11-Hamlin, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth #99-Edwards, #18-Busch, #9-Kahne, #44-Reutimann, and #07-Bowyer. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 11th. The battle to make the Chase remained unchanged with #6-Ragan and #9-Kahne still trying to get into the top 12. #48-Johnson, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., and #31-Burton locked themselves into the chase. #16-Biffle only needs to start at Richmond to be locked in. There were 22 lead changes among 9 drivers and 8 cautions for 34 caution laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my California Race Results Awards Page
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page.(8-31-2008)

  • Johnson to appear on Regis and Kelly: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to be on "Live with Regis and Kelly" this Friday, August 1st. Johnson will be participating in the show's special segment of Grilling with the Stars and talking about Jimmie Johnson Foundation events. Check local listings for channels and times.(JJF PR)(7-31-2008)

  • Indy win pushes Johnson's Racing for Relief over $25,000: #48-Jimmie Johnson's efforts on the track this weekend raised $12,480, which includes $4,800 for a victory finish, to benefit the American Red Cross as part of Lowe's Racing for Relief program. After nearly three and a half hours, Johnson completed 160 laps at the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Sunday. The $12,480 is in addition to the $12,816 raised earlier this month during the race at Chicagoland, pushing the total Lowe's will donate to the Red Cross to more than $25,000. Lowe's had pledged $48 per lap completed for both races and an additional $4,800 for either race if Johnson finished in first place. The funds raised will help the Red Cross to provide food, clean-up supplies, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes.
    In addition to Racing for Relief, Lowe's stores across the Midwest are serving as official cash donation sites for the United Way 2008 Midwest Flood Recovery Fund to support long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts to areas devastated by the recent floods. The in-store donation program has been extended through August 3, 2008, with Lowe's matching in-store customer donations up to a total of $100,000. 70% of donations to the fund will help the Red Cross provide immediate needs such as food and shelter and 30% of the funds will support longer term relief efforts through local United Way partner agencies. Donations to the American Red Cross for the Central U.S. Floods and Tornadoes response may be made at participating Lowe's stores throughout the Midwest, online at www.redcross.org, or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.(Lowe's Racing PR)(7-31-2008)

  • Johnson to run Bristol truck race UPDATE: ESPN2's NASCAR Now reported that Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to drive the #81 Chevy for Randy Moss Motorsports in the Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It will be Johnson's first Truck Series race. Johnson wants to get more seat time at Bristol since he has never won there.(7-29-2008)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson has announced he will make his CraftsmanTruck Series debut in the #81 Kobalt Tools Silverado fielded by Randy Moss Motorsports at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 20. Watkins Glen and Bristol are two tracks where I really want a win, said Johnson. I enjoy racing at Watkins Glen and for some reason always seem to be a little better there than Sonoma. Weve had some top fives so hopefully this will put us in the win column." He continued, As for the trucks, I am really looking forward to that. I have never run a truck race so it should be fun. Heck, my brother Jarit has run more than me, but its going to be a good time. Im excited to run Randys truck. Hopefully we can get them a good finish.(Bristol Herald Courier)(7-30-2008)

  • Johnson wins at Indy: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his 2nd win at the track, 2nd of the season and 35th of his career. Johnson took the lead on a two-tire stop with 10 laps to go. The race was filled with tire-related problems on the track and many cautions for the teams to pit. #99-Edwards finished 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin, #19-Sadler, #24-Gordon, #26-McMurray, #9-Kahne, #31-Burton and #84-Allmendinger [first career top-10]. There were 11 cautions for 52 laps and 26 lead changes among 16 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Indy Race Results Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Indy page.(7-27-2008)

  • Lowe's and #48 Team "Racing for Relief" in July: Lowe's and Jimmie Johnson will be "Racing for Relief" at the Chicago and Indianapolis races this month to raise funds for the American Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes. As part of Racing for Relief, the Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of the#48 Lowe's Chevy. Lowe's will donate $48 for each lap Johnson completes in the Chicagoland 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway on July 12 and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition, if Johnson wins either race, Lowe's will donate $4,800 per victory.(GMR Marketing PR)(7-11-2008)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson's efforts on the track raised $12,816 to benefit the American Red Cross as part of Lowe's Racing for Relief program. Johnson completed 267 laps at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Lowe's had pledged $48 per lap completed. The funds raised will help the Red Cross to provide food, clean-up supplies, counseling and other assistance to victims of the recent Central U.S. floods and tornadoes.(GMR Marketing PR)(7-23-2008)

  • Johnson wins Best Driver ESPY: Jimmie Johnson, the two-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion, earned his first ESPY award on Wednesday. The driver of the #48 Chevy was honored with the Best Driver ESPY award during the 16th annual ESPN-hosted sports award show at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. The award was determined by fans who voted online, and the competition was stiff. Johnson was competing for the fans' votes against current points leader Kyle Busch; 2007 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti; 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon; Formula One standout Lewis Hamilton and four-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. The ESPY Awards will be televised at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday on ESPN.(Hendrick Motorsports PR) (7-17-2008)

  • Johnson speaking in Washington DC: #48-Jimmie Johnson will be speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 8. The reigning Sprint Cup Series Champion will discuss his life experiences as a leading NASCAR driver and influential philanthropist.(GMR Marketing/Lowe's Racing PR)(7-8-2008)

  • Johnson foundation scheme returns at Calif: the 2008 Jimmie Johnson #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme is scheduled to run at the Auto Club Speedway in August. This is the second year that Johnson has used his home track to pay tribute to his foundation, which is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. See an image of the car on my #48 Team Schemes page.(6-19-2008)

  • Hendrick streak intact: Hendrick Motorsports' streak of top-10 finishes improved to 77 Sprint Cup races after Sunday's event at Lowe's Motor Speedway when #24-Jeff Gordon took fourth and #88-Dale Earnhardt nabbed fifth. The last time a Hendrick driver wasn't in the top 10 was April 9, 2006. Finishing 11th, #48-Jimmy Johnson was Hendrick's top performer that day at Texas Motor Speedway.(HMS PR)(5-28-2008)

  • Johnson's car to honor troops: In honor of Memorial Day, Jimmy Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy will feature a special "Salute the Troops" logo on its deck lid during Sunday's Sprint Cup Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(GMR Marketing PR)(5-21-2008)

  • Johnson and Montoya on QVC: Sprint Cup drivers #48-Jimmie Johnson and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya are scheduled to appear live on QVC For Race Fans Only with QVC on-air host and NASCAR enthusiast Dan Hughes, live from Talladega, Ala. For Race Fans Only will be broadcast Friday, April 25, 2008 from 8-10 pm/et.(QVC PR)(4-24-2008)

  • Johnson wins at Phoenix: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway Fresh Fit at Phoenix International Raceway for his 1st win of the 2008 season and 34th of his career [is now alone in 16th in all time wins]. #07-Clint Bowyer finished 2nd [Bowyer and Johnson stayed out and didn't get a late splash of fuel and made it...barely] then #11-Hamlin, #99-Edwards, #8-Martin, #31-Burton, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #1-Truex Jr., #16-Biffle and #18-Busch. The pole sitter, #12-Ryan Newman lost an engine early and finished last/43rd. There were only 10 lead changes among 4 drivers [Johnson, Martin, Earnhardt and Newman] and there were 8 caution flags for 42 laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Phoenix Race Results page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page.(4-12-2008)

  • Johnson to unveil new 'Concourse of Champions' at TMS: Two-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will officially christen Texas Motor Speedways new Concourse of Champions display Friday by unfurling his 2007 Dickies 500 champions banner on the frontstretch concourse. Johnson will join Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage for the debut of the Concourse of Champions, a display that will feature 8-foot-by-10-foot banners to celebrate every driver in the Sprint Cup Series and Indy Racing League IndyCar Series that has won at Texas Motor Speedway since it opened in 1997. The display will go the length of the concourse beneath the frontstretch grandstands, from Gate 1 to Gate 7, and consist of 32 banners of former champions. The event will begin at 10:40 a.m. Friday in the concourse area located at Gate 4 with a designated media area with Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowes Chevrolet, and Gossage. All the gates are scheduled to open at 11 a.m. CT Friday, but Texas Motor Speedway will be opening Gate 4 for ticketed fans who are interested in watching or photographing the event with the two-time series champion at 10:30 a.m. The first 200 fans who arrive early for the unveiling ceremony will receive a free Lowes key chain.(TMS)(4-3-2008)

  • Latest on the HMS engines: Jeff Andrews, head engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports, said that the team sent all its race engines back to the team's race shop Wednesday night after finding problems with the lifters. Andrews said the engines were being rebuilt and would return to the track Friday night. "Because of the wear we were seeing ... you end up with this debris in the engine,'' Andrews said. "You have to take [the engine] apart. Not only are you changing those parts, but you're taking apart and cleaning, washing everything and going back through it and fitting everything up again." Andrews said he saw no problems with the Hendrick engines after Thursday's first qualifying race.(Roanoke Times)(2-16-2008)

  • Hendrick museum closes for renovations: The Hendrick Motorsports museum, located on the team's racing complex in Concord, has been temporarily closed to the public while it undergoes a full renovation. The redesigned facility will reopen in time for NASCAR's annual visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway in May. Hendrick Motorsports is located one mile from the race track. Also undergoing a facelift is Hendrick Motorsports' team store, which will reopen in a temporary location on Jan. 28. The store will operate under its regular business hours in the race shop of drivers Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson until construction on the new facility is completed. Other areas of the Hendrick Motorsports complex, including the team race shops, will remain open to the public during the museum renovation.(HMS Site)(1-25-2008)

  • Johnson Named NMPA Driver of the Year; Houston Named to Hall of Fame: There was little doubt about who was going to be chosen the National Motorsports Press Association's driver of the year for 2007. The question, instead, was whether Jimmie Johnson would personally accept the Richard Petty trophy. The answer, for the second year in a row, was no. Johnson, who repeated as NASCAR champion last season, was announced as 2007's top driver Sunday at a luncheon during the NMPA's annual convention. When he was unable to attend last year's awards presentation, Johnson videotaped an acceptance message. He did likewise this time, too, but the video wouldn't play. It's the third time in four years that Johnson was voted the NMPA driver of the year, and it was part of the spoils that went with a 10-win season by the 32-year-old native of El Cajon, Calif. Johnson is the fourth driver to win the NMPA award more than twice. Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough each captured the trophy three times, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. won it by himself four times and shared it with Tim Richmond in 1986. The trophy has been given annually by the media group since 1969.(Fayetteville Observer)
    AND: On Saturday night Tommy Houston, one of the truly significant figures in the history of what was previously known as the Busch Series, joined the National Motorsports Press Association's Stock Car Hall of Fame. Like most of the men honored by the NMPA, the honor clearly moved Houston. He basked in the attention, answered every question and went out of his way to be cooperative. Houston's last words to the audience -- the dinner was near Lowe's Motor Speedway at the Concord Convention Center and Embassy Suites hotel -- were, "Thank you for remembering me, and good night."(Gaston Gazette)(1-21-2008)

  • No urgency on Johnson extension with Hendrick: neither #48-Jimmie Johnson nor Hendrick Motorsports has much sense of urgency to extend a contract that expires after the 2010 season. "We want to race with Jimmie Johnson as long as Jimmie Johnson wants to be racing and we've had discussions around that," Hendrick general manager Marshall Carlson said. Carlson said discussions will "probably take their own pace," presumably, he said, because "the discussions have been, 'Hey, would you like to look into something long-term?' and there have been affirmatives on both sides." Hendrick Motorsports signed four-time champion Jeff Gordon to a lifetime driver contract in 1999, which included an equity stake in his and what became Johnson's team. He is officially listed as Johnson's car owner. "The sport has changed a lot since Jeff formed that deal with Rick," Johnson said. "It's hard for me to even think of that. It's nothing I've ever thought was possible. I certainly would look at that and would love that opportunity. I don't plan on going anywhere else. This is home for me. In a way, I feel like we already have that understanding." Lowe's sponsorship agreement with Hendrick for the #48 Chevrolet also expires after the 2010 season.(Yahoo Sports)(1-9-2008)

  • Johnson signs with CAA to broaden his appeal: #48-Jimmie Johnson has signed Creative Artists Agency to represent him in marketing, licensing and endorsement deals. Michael Levine, co-head of CAA Sports, will lead a team that will attempt to capitalize on Johnson's success on the track. Johnson's signing is the latest win for CAA Sports, which represents more than 350 athletes, including LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Sidney Crosby, LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson and David Beckham. CAA Sports football agents Tom Condon and Ben Dogra also last week signed Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan, expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft. In recent months, CAA Sports has signed the New York Yankees, the AVP Tour and MMA brand TapouT as well. Johnson considered eight agencies before selecting CAA Sports and Wasserman Media Group as his finalists.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(1-8-2008)

  • Johnson wins 2007 Driver of the Year Award: #48-Jimmie Johnson crushed the competition for Driver of the Year - 2007, much like he trampled his rivals on the way to his second-straight Nextel Cup Series championship. It was also Johnson's second-consecutive title in the United States most prestigious award in auto racing because the voting is done by an elite panel of journalists and broadcasters from coast-to-coast. The California-born driver becomes only the third driver to achieve this honor after Darrell Waltrip (1981-1982) and teammate, Jeff Gordon (1997-1998). "I am truly humbled to be honored as Driver of the Year. I appreciate this award and the recognition from the press," said Johnson. He added "they watch every race and for them to think I did the best job is awesome!" About the only surprise was that the vote, while conclusive, wasn't unanimous. In the year-end ballot each panelist votes for only one candidate. Johnson tallied 14 votes, while Champ Car champion, Sebastien Bourdais, earned two votes, the World of Outlaws' - Donny Schatz - and Carl Edwards, a Cup regular and Busch Series champion, also received one vote apiece. Johnson, who also won the fourth quarter ballot, will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date. Go to www.dotyaward.com to see a new website devoted to Driver of the Year news, opinions and reader comments.(DOTY PR)(1-7-2008)

  • New tire changers for Johnson in 2008: Jimmie Johnson said he expects to have two new tire changers with his Hendrick Motorsports team in 2008. Rear-tire carrier Ron Malec, the car chief, remains with the #48 team as does Kenneth Purcell, who was jacking the car during the latter part of 2007. Front-tire carrier Art Simmons also will return, a team spokesman confirmed Sunday night in clarifying Johnson's earlier remarks over the team's changes. "It was a tough thing, we've won championships with these guys," said Johnson, who was at Daytona International Speedway testing Sunday for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. "But we just felt like we could be a little faster and we needed to make some changes. It didn't go over easily with everybody, but [crew chief] Chad [Knaus has] got to make those decisions and we feel it will make our team stronger." Rear-tire changer Tim Ladyga has moved to the #24-Jeff Gordon team, Johnson said.(SceneDaily.com)(1-7-2008)

2007 News

  • Germany wins Nations Cup: During the stop-and-go, 10-mile trek from his hotel to Wembley Stadium on Sunday morning, #48-Jimmie Johnson voiced concern that he wasn't acclimated to the four-wheel drive rally car he would pilot later that day in a highly anticipated duel with seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher. Those reservations would prove warranted, as Schumacher single-handedly eliminated Team USA from the Race of Champions Nations Cup, then joined teammate Sebastian Vettel in defeating England then Finland to win the overall team Nations Cup championship. It is Germany's first such victory. Schumacher opened the competition by outrunning Johnson to win by a landslide. Afterward, Johnson was visibly steamed. "Hell yeah I'm [upset] -- I want to win," said Johnson, the two-time defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champion. "I went out and did all that I could. I just do not understand the four-wheel drive, hand brake, rally car driving. I don't have a lot of experience at it, and to show the level that he showed in the car, I think he's had some days in it. He certainly navigated." Other than ROC, Johnson has never driven a four-wheel drive car in competition. Then again, the same goes for Schumacher, who would later stall the same car -- the Fiat Abarth rally car -- in which he beat Johnson at the starting line in a loss to Finnish F1 star Heikki Kovalainen. Despite Johnson's loss, it wasn't over for Team USA just yet. Johnson's teammate, Travis Pastrana, kept the U.S. team alive by beating Vettel in a race of Aston Martins. That set up a Schumacher/Pastrana matchup in rear-wheel drive buggies to decide which team advanced to the quarterfinals of the team competition.(ESPN.com)(12-17-2007)

  • Johnson to race Schumacher in ROC: Two-time NASCAR champion, Jimmie Johnson, will face the man widely billed as one of the world's greatest drivers, Michael Schumacher, in The Race of Champions this weekend. The Team USA driver, who faces the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion in the first round of The ROC Nations Cup, says he has the greatest respect for the European superstar, which motivates him all the more to snatch victory for The United States. The ROC Nations Cup aims to determine the fastest country in the world, with two drivers from each pitted against each other in identical cars. This year The Race of Champions is being held at Wembley Stadium, London, England, and the famous landmark has been transformed into a parallel track, using 1,800 tons of tarmac, for the unique event this Sunday. "I've raced The ROC before and did OK," said Johnson, who won The ROC Nations Cup in 2002. "My team-mate, Travis Pastrana, was the unexpected success of the event last year, almost winning the whole thing single-handedly after I pulled out with an injury. That's got to give us the edge this year!" The ROC Nations Cup will begin about 9 a.m. on Sunday with The Race of Champions starting at 2:00pm/et. All the action will be shown live on The ROC website, www.raceofchampions.com/live.(GMR Marketing PR)(12-14-2007)

  • Jimmie Johnson to run three Nationwide Series races in 2008: Lowe's and Hendrick Motorsports announced that two-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will drive the #5 Lowe's Chevrolet in three Nationwide Series races in 2008. Johnson will once again race in Lowe's Motor Speedway's May 24 and Oct.10 races plus California Speedway's race on Aug. 30. He has driven in these three races in 2006 and 2007. Johnson has 87 Nationwide Series starts winning the Chicagoland Speedway race in 2001.(GMR Marketing PR)(12-13-2007)

  • Report rates value of NASCAR sponsorships: Miller Brewing Co. is getting a high rate of return on its sponsorship of driver #2-Kurt Busch, at least when it comes to broadcasters and Busch himself mentioning one of his sponsors on the air, according to research released by SportsBusiness Journal. Busch ranked second among NASCAR drivers for on-air audio mentions of Busch and a sponsor, reflecting a monetary value for the media exposure of about $3.64 million. That was the conclusion of a recent report that captured and assessed the more than 96,000 sponsor impressions through NASCAR's 37-race Nextel Cup Series schedule, including the Nextel All-Star Challenge. Nearly 400 sponsors were tracked, analyzing primary and secondary car and driver partners, all race venue signage, and the myriad graphics and audio mentions from the races' TV broadcasts. As far as audio mentions, Busch ranked second in NASCAR with 124 "detections" equating to 10 minutes and 20 seconds of air time. Jeff Gordon, driving the #24 Du Pont Chevy, ranked the highest with 178 detections, equaling 14 minutes and 50 seconds of air time valued at $5.07 million. Busch didn't rank among the top five when both audio and video detections were evaluated. Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, driving the #48 Lowe's Chevy, was the top driver with 7,845 detections valued at $55.98 million. Among the beer brands, Miller Lite lost out to main rival Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.'s Budweiser brand, an official sponsor of NASCAR. Miller Lite had 2,099 detections valued at $18.48 million, compared with Budweiser's 3,024 detections valued at $45.54 million.(Milwaukee Business Journal)(12-12-2007)

  • Johnson no longer a Gillette 'Young Gun':#48-Jimmie Johnson and Gillette have "severed ties on the 'Young Guns' program," and Johnson is looking for "an agency to help him market his on-track success," according to Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal. The story in this week's issue says the Hendrick Motorsports driver wants to capitalize on winning back-to-back Cup titles "with the type of off-track deals that will broaden his appeal and take his endorsement reach beyond the race track." In other Young Guns news, Gillette began shooting its 2008 campaign last week and is "adding at least one driver" to the program, though no new drivers have been announced.(SceneDaily.com)(12-11-2007)

  • 2007 All-America Auto Racing Team Selected: With voting completed for the 2007 All-America Auto Racing Team, five drivers emerge as contenders for the Jerry Titus Award. Tony Schumacher, the 2006 Titus winner, is bidding to be only the third driver ever to win the award in consecutive years, after Mario Andretti in 1977-78 and John Force in 1999-2000. For the second consecutive year Schumacher won the NHRA Top Fuel championship on the final run of the season, claiming his fifth career championship and his fourth in a row. The Titus, given in remembrance of the late racer/journalist, signifies the top vote-getter on the All-America team regardless of category, and is not announced until the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association's banquet Jan. 12 at the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis, which is open to the public. Challenging Schumacher, are the champions of both major open-wheel series, four-time Champ Car World Series titlist Sébastien Bourdais and Indianapolis 500 winner/Indy Racing League champion Dario Franchitti. Also in the hunt are Jimmie Johnson, the 2006 and 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup champion, and Ron Hornaday Jr., who won his third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. Nextel Cup champion Johnson easily led the Stock Car category, with his teammate and Cup runner-up Jeff Gordon easily taking the other First Team slot. NASCAR Busch Series champion Carl Edwards was joined by Clint Bowyer on the second team. In Touring Series it was Craftsman Truck Series champion Hornaday and nine-time ARCA champion Frank Kimmel who dominated the category. Young phenom Joey Logano, who won the NASCAR Busch East title at age 17, was joined on the Second Team by USAR Hooters Pro Cup champion Bobby Gill.(AARWBA PR)(12-10-2007)

  • Hendrick donates van to injured soldier: Nurses arranged John Hyland's hospital bed in Texas with safety in mind. And it's a good thing, the Charlotte native said, because he almost fell out of it early Saturday when he got a phone call from his mother. That's when Hyland, an injured U.S. Army corporal, learned that Charlotte car dealer Rick Hendrick had offered to give the family a new Honda Odyssey, equipped for handicapped use. Hendrick said he was moved to donate the vehicle after reading a story that described how Hyland, 37, needed a specially equipped van to return home to his family after he was badly injured in Iraq. Hendrick said he called Hyland's mother Saturday morning, minutes after reading the Observer story and seeing the photographs that ran with it. The story described how a blast split Hyland's Humvee in Iraq's Diyala province Sept. 10, crushing his feet and fracturing bones in his back and pelvis. He has spent 10 weeks in a Texas military hospital, but it has been a struggle for his wife and two young sons to visit him there. They live two hours away in Fort Hood, Texas, but they don't have a working car. Hendrick phoned Hyland on Saturday afternoon and told him he appreciated the sacrifices he had made for his country. He learned during that phone call that Hyland was a NASCAR fan. Hendrick, who owns Hendrick Motorsports, says he'll also ask Jimmie Johnson to call Hyland. The van -- worth more than $50,000 -- will be delivered to Hyland's wife Monday or Tuesday, a Hendrick spokeswoman said. The general manager of the company's Hickory dealership will travel to Texas to present the car, the spokeswoman said.(Charlotte Observer)(12-10-2007)

  • Jimmie Johnson Up For For United States Sports Academy's Athlete Of The Year Award: On the heels of his second consecutive Nextel Cup Series championship, #48-Jimmie Johnson has the opportunity to acquire another title - that of Athlete of the Year. Feted during last week's Champions Week activities in New York City, Johnson again is among the candidates listed for the 2007 United States Sports Academy Athlete of the Year presented by USATODAY.com and MSNBC.com. Johnson, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, finished third in last year's voting for Male Athlete of the Year. The 2007 ballot for male athletes includes Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay, Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps and golfer Tiger Woods. (NASCAR PR)(12-6-2007)

  • Johnson Wins 4th Quarter Driver of the Year Award: When Jimmie Johnson learned that he won the 4th Quarter, Driver of the Year, by a unanimous vote he was surprised. He was probably the only person to be astonished by that fact. In the last quarter Johnson (who went on to beat his teammate, Jeff Gordon for his second-straight, Nextel Cup Title) he went on a tear, winning four-in-row. In a very rare situation Johnson tallied all 17 votes first-place votes cast in the fourth quarter ballot. He beat France's, Sebastien Bourdais, by more than double the points 153 to 72.(DOTY PR)(12-4-2007)

  • Johnson to race in Rolex 24: #48-Jimmie Johnson, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Lowe's Home Improvement will join forces for the 46th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 26-27. Johnson will co-drive with defending Daytona Prototype champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, plus 1996 Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser in the #99 Lowe's/GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac-Riley in America's premiere sports car race. The team began testing on Nov. 14 at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the race. Fogarty and Gurney won the pole at this race in 2006 then went on to win the July race at Daytona and the series championship. Team owner Bob Stallings is anxious to begin defending his team's 2007 championship title. The normally red painted #99 will also carry the blue and silver Lowe's paint scheme similar to paint scheme Johnson drives each weekend in Nextel Cup racing. The team will participate in the traditional three-day Rolex 24 test on Jan. 4-6.(GMR Marketing PR)(11-29-2007)

  • 2007 Championship Facts:
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Championship, scoring his second series championship in six full-time Nextel Cup seasons.
    .. Johnson is 32 years old and is from El Cajon, Calif.
    .. Johnson finished the season with 10 victories and 24 top-10 finishes, including four victories and eight top-10s in the 10-Chase for the Nextel Cup.
    .. Johnson finished the season with four victories in the final five races and came from 68 points behind then leader Jeff Gordon following the event at Lowes Motor Speedway to claim the title by 77 points.
    .. Johnson became the 15th driver to post multiple championships in NASCARs premier series.
    .. This is the 14th time in the history of the Nextel Cup Series that a driver has posted back-toback championships, including the only three consecutive championships by Cale Yarborough (1976-78).
    .. Johnson has finished in the top 10 of the final standings in each of his six full-time seasons in Nextel Cup Series, including back-to-back runner-up positions in 2003 and 2004. He finished fifth in his other two full-time seasons.
    .. Rick Hendrick won his seventh Nextel Cup Series championship, second only to Petty Enterprises (nine). Petty Enterprises had one season (1954) where Lee Petty won the driver championship but the owner champion ship went to Herb Thomas.
    .. Hendrick is in his 24th full season as a Nextel Cup car owner.
    .. Hendrick has won championships with three different drivers: Jeff Gordon (1995, 97, 98 and 2001), Jimmie Johnson (2006 and 2007) and Terry Labonte (1996).
    .. Hendrick has posted 11 titles in NASCARs top three series: Nextel Cup Series (seven), Busch Series (one),Craftsman Truck Series (three). He is joined by Jack Roush and Richard Childress as the only owners to have won championships in all three series.
    .. Chad Knaus won his second Nextel Cup Series championship.
    .. Knaus is 36 years old and hails from Rockford, Ill.
    .. He has participated in six full-time seasons as a crew chief  all with Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick.
    .. He became the 15th crew chief in Nextel Cup history to claim multiple series titles.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-18-2007)

  • Lifetime deal in the works for Johnson? No surprise, if it's up to Rick Hendrick, Jimmie Johnson will drive a Hendrick Motorsports racecar for the remainder of his career. Hendrick said he is fully prepared to do whatever it takes to retain Johnson's services for as long as he drives professionally in the Nextel Cup Series. Money. Assets. Car dealerships. And most importantly, championship-caliber racecars. "My goal with him is real simple -- to keep him with me for as long as he races," Hendrick said. "It's a flattering comment, and I think I kind of knew that," Johnson said. "But it's something we've never talked about or put on the table." Back in 1999, Hendrick made a landmark decision to sign Jeff Gordon to a lifetime driving contract. With that came equity partnership in the company, and eventually partial ownership of the #48 car Johnson drives. Hendrick co-owns Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet in San Diego, and the two have commercial real estate partnerships together, as well. Like Gordon, Johnson presents the unique package that includes both elite driving talent and premiere marketability. He signed a long-term contract extension in 2006 that runs through 2010, but in a sport in which premiums are placed on the aforementioned attributes owners are often required to renegotiate contract extensions long before their current deals are set to expire. Hence, a lifetime deal is a possibility.(in part from ESPN.com)(11-17-2007)

  • Johnson tests for Rolex 24: On his way to Homestead-Miami Speedway to potentially claim his second consecutive Nextel Cup championship, #48-Jimmie Johnson stopped by Daytona International Speedway to spend the afternoon testing the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. Johnson climbed behind the wheel of the Daytona Prototype early Wednesday afternoon and ran two full stints in the 2007 Rolex Series Championship-winning machine, turning laps just off the pace of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. Gurney and Fogarty, of course, are coming off of a championship season in which they captured seven victories on the 14-race calendar. "This is the best thing I can do to get my mind off the championship," Johnson said. "I came down to have some fun in one of these DP cars. I really, really enjoy the Rolex Series. I've been at three (Rolex 24 At Daytona) events, and hopefully I will come back and run in it in 2008. I just want to get some seat time, get used to the car, and Bob Stallings and the GAINSCO group were nice enough to let me come down, work with them, get some seat time and get a feel for things. So I'm having a great time." The NASCAR champion has prior experience in a Daytona Prototype, running the #91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports machine at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway this past season. Johnson also claimed a runner-up finish in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona. "My last experience in a DP was coming from a Crawford to a Riley," Johnson explained. "They're much different cars. This year, going from one Riley to another, it's not a huge gap in how they drive. Some of the small changes they've made around the track, I found it was more me trying to remember the reference points, and finding new ones with the small, subtle changes that have gone on with the surface of the track."(Grandprix.com)(11-15-2007)

  • Johnson wins at Phoenix: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Checker Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway for his 4th race win in a row [last time a driver won four in a row, was Jeff Gordon in 1998], 10th win of the season, and 33rd of his career [which ties Fireball Roberts for 16th all time]. #16-Biffle finished 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #20-Stewart, #12-Newman, #29-Harvick, #1-Truex Jr., #5-Busch, #31-Burton and #24-Gordon. Other Chasers finished: #07-Bowyer 11th, #2-Busch 12th, #11-Hamlin 16th and #99-Edwards led 87 laps, then developed engine problems and finished 42nd. The three former Indy 500 drivers finished as follows: #42-Montoya 17th; #06-Hornish 30th and #27-Villeneuve crashed and finsihed 41st. #8-Earnhardt Jr. wrecked hard and finished 43rd. There were 10 cautions for 41 laps and 6 drivers led the race with 10 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Phoenix Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page
    Race Rundown: see my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-11-2007)

  • Johnson wins at Texas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 3rd race in a row, 9th win of the season, 1st ever at Texas and 32nd of his career. #17-Kenseth led late and lost the lead with 3 laps to go and finished 2nd, followed by #1-Truex Jr., #5-Busch [led most laps], #12-Newman, #31-Burton, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch, #26-McMurray and #29-Harvick. Other Chasers finished #20-Stewart 11th, #07-Bowyer had a late vibration and pitstops and finished 19th, #99-Edwards finished 26th after having a sway bar chain problem and #11-Hamlin was 29th after racing for the lead with Kenseth and smacking the wall. There were 12 cautions [ties a record] for 52 laps and 12 drivers led the race with 25 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Texas Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Texas page
    Race Rundown: see my Texas Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-4-2007)

  • Johnson Added to SPEED Performer of the Year Voting Panel: Defending Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, last year's inaugural winner of the SPEED Performer of the Year, has agreed to join the voting panel for the annual award beginning this year. Johnson, who edged MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden and F1 title winner Fernando Alonso to win last year's SPEED Performer of the Year, joins a panel that includes SPEED on-air personalities Bob Varsha, Dave Despain, Tommy Kendall, Ralph Sheheen and Dorsey Schroeder, as well as SPEEDtv.com columnists Robin Miller, Tom Jensen and others. SPEED will offer all future winners of the SPEED Performer of the Year the opportunity to join the voting panel. The 2007 SPEED Performer of the Year will be voted on beginning in November and announced as part of the annual SPEED Performance Awards in February, with the winner earning the famed Mario Andretti Trophy, a three-foot bronze sculpture created by artist Elie Hazak.(SPEEDtv.com)(10-29-2007)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Atlanta COT Test Plans: Although Casey Mears and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will test with their 2008 teams at Atlanta, they will not drive cars branded with their 2008 numbers. Mears, who will drive the #5 Chevy next season, will run his customary # 25 National Guard/GMAC paint scheme during the two-day session. Earnhardt, who is slated for the #88 Chevy in 2008, will test a #5 car at Atlanta. To commemorate his first laps with Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt will sport a "throwback" #5 All-Star Racing Chevy during next week's Atlanta test. Earnhardt's Impala SS will feature a red and white paint scheme identical to the first car campaigned by team owner Rick Hendrick in Cup-level competition. Then known as "All-Star Racing," Hendrick Motorsports fielded the car with driver Geoff Bodine in 1984. The #24 and #48 teams of Hendrick Motorsports will not attend next week's Atlanta test.(Hendrick PR)(10-27-2007)

  • Johnson wins at Atlanta: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a green-white-checker finish for his 8th win of the season, the 31st win of his career, and the sweep of this season's Atlanta races. #99-Edwards finished second, followed by #41-Sorenson, #17-Kenseth, #31-Burton, #07-Bowyer, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch, #9-Kahne, and #83-Vickers. #8-Earnhardt, Jr. lost a tire during the green-white-checker finish, collecting #26-McMurray and causing the race to end under caution. The race was slowed by 14 cautions for 55 laps. There were 11 leaders with 19 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Atlanta Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta page.
    Race Rundown: see my Atlanta Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-28-2007)

  • Johnson to Donate Race Winnings to Red Cross: In response to the Southern California wildfires, #48Jimmie Johnson, Lowes, Hendrick Motorsports and Speedway Motorsports and Sonic Automotive Chairman Bruton Smith will each donate to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for the California Wildfire Relief Fund this weekend to benefit people affected by the fires. Johnson, through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, and Hendrick Motorsports will donate their winnings from Sundays Nextel Cup race at Atlanta to assist Red Cross relief efforts throughout Southern California. Lowes and Smith will each match those contributions dollar for dollar.(GMR/Hendrick PR)(10-27-2007)

  • Johnson to test at Kentucky next week UPDATE cancelled: Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team are scheduled to test the #48 Lowe's Chevy at Kentucky Speedway Oct. 22. Fans can view testing for free from the designated area outside the speedway Fan Center in Turn 3. Test sessions generally begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. Times will vary based on team goals and schedules.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-18-2007)
    UPDATE: The Nextel Cup Series test scheduled for Jimmie Johnson at Kentucky Speedway today [Monday] has been cancelled. Johnson earned his series-leading seventh win of the season yesterday [Sunday] at Martinsville Speedway.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-22-2007)

  • Jimmie Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway in a green-white-checker finish for his 7th win of the season and 30th of his career win. It was also his 3rd consecutive win at Martinsville. #12-Newman finished second, followed by #24-Gordon, #5-Busch, #17-Kenseth, #11-Hamlin, #16-Biffle, #42-Montoya, #07-Bowyer, and #29-Harvick. #8-Earnhardt, Jr. lost an engine during the last caution and fell to 23rd at the finish. The race was slowed by a record 21 cautions for 127 laps. There were 7 leaders with 12 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Martinsville Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Martinsville page.
    Race Rundown: see my Martinsville Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-21-2007)

  • Former 49ers Owner Almost Bought Hendrick in 2004 UPDATE no: Former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo told Sports Business Journal recently that he almost became a NASCAR owner in 2004. "We would have bought a NASCAR team if Reggie White hadn't died," DeBartolo said of the former NFL player. "The week he passed away we were going to sign the agreement with Hendrick Motorsports. After that, I just couldn't do it. I loved Reggie too much."(Roanoke Times)(10-14-2007)
    AND and from a July article - Dale Earnhardt Inc. president Max Siegel told ESPN.com on Wednesday [in July] that three years ago he was prepared to partner with NFL Hall of Famers Reggie White and Ronnie Lott, as well as former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartalo Jr., in purchasing MB2 Motorsports, which at the time fielded the #01 and #10 Chevrolets. The papers were drawn. All that was left was the official closing, which was slated for Jan. 15, 2005. But when White died suddenly on Dec. 26, 2004, and the deal died with him. Siegel said he and White originally had planned to partner with Rick Hendrick on a NASCAR Busch Series operation. Then the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash in October 2004 halted that initiative. A couple of months had passed, and Siegel said Hendrick contacted him about the program. Hendrick explained that in order for him to be involved, White and Siegel had to purchase a team with an existing Hendrick partnership. Enter MB2, whose engines were supplied by Hendrick. At the time, Valvoline was part-owner of MB2, as well. All the pieces were in place, then White passed away.(ESPN.com)(10-14-2007)
    UPDATE 2: At the time in question, Mr. DeBartolo and Mr. White were in discussions with the former MB2 Motorsports team, and our involvement was limited solely to a potential technical support relationship. Hendrick Motorsports is not, and has never been, for sale.(HMS)(10-16-2007)

  • Hass Racing Quiet about 2008 Drivers: When it comes to who'll be in what Haas CNC Racing cars in 2008, nobody seems to know much of anything. Joe Custer, the team's general manager, plays his cards close to the vest. Very, very close. Johnny Sauter, driver of the organization's #70 entry, says that he doesn't have a clue what he'll be doing next year, but adds that he's been given permission to look elsewhere. Jeff Green, who steers its #66 Chevy, refuses altogether to comment on the situation. With Scott Riggs already signed for next year and two Haas cars available, there's considerable speculation as to which one he'll drive and whether it'll be Green or Sauter who's left out of the mix. Then again, names other than Riggs' [including Mayfield and Stremme] have been mentioned as joining the operation. If that happens, Green and Sauter would most likely both be gone. According to Custer, neither driver has a decided advantage at this stage of the game.(NASCAR.com)(10-14-2007)
    More Stremme Buzz in the Garage: Hearing from many sources that #40 David Stremme is now the leading candidate for at least four teams. Options include third and fourth car situations (GEM?, Penske?, MWR?, Ganassi?) and Haas Racing where Johnny Sauter is expected to be replaced.(10-14-2007)

  • Gordon Says Penalties Get Teams' Attention: When NASCAR slapped the #24 and #48 Hendrick Motorsports teams with 100-point penalties for illegal aerodynamic modifications back in June at Infineon Raceway, the message was received loud and clear, according to Jeff Gordon. "I will be honest with you, right now, if we don't run as good as some other guys, it is because we are being conservative. We aren't pushing the limits because we know what the outcome can be," Gordon said at Kansas Speedway, site of Sunday's LifeLock 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race. "We are making sure we go through inspection, we meet all the cold templates and every other thing that they have on the new car. We are doing everything we can to make sure that is the case going in to the race and that is the case coming out of the race. We might falter, too, but we are playing more on the conservative side, we might give up a few positions on the race track because of that, but we have been hit with it and we learned our lesson." Gordon said he thought that other teams would be erring to the side of caution, too, after seeing #99-Carl Edwards and the Roush Fenway Racing team spanked with a 25-point fine for being too in post-race inspection last Sunday at Dover. "We are playing it conservative, I would think that is going to be case with the #99 (Edwards) now," Gordon said.(SPEEDtv.com)(9-30-2007)

  • Levi Strauss, Johnson to end partnership? Levi Strauss has notified Hendrick Motorsports driver #48-Jimmie Johnson that it will not continue its personal services agreement with him beyond the 2007 Nextel Cup season, according to the SportsBusiness Journal. The company has been Johnson's official apparel sponsor since 2004. Last fall, it announced a three-year contract with Johnson that was to run through the 2009 season. A corporate official told the SportsBusiness Journal that it would be going in a different direction than being the official jeans of the team.(SceneDaily.com)(9-18-2007)

  • Johnson wins at Richmond: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway for his 6th win in 2007 and 29th of his career, locking him into the lead of the drivers points at the start of the Chase. The race for the chase ended up with #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. losing an engine while running 3rd with 5 laps to go, finishing 30th, but it didn't matter as #2-Kurt Busch finished 9th and #29-Kevin Harvick finished 7th, so they easily clinched a spot in the Chase. Back to the race....#20-Stewart finished 2nd, followed by #6-Ragan [best career finish], #24-Gordon, #70-Sauter [his best career finish and 1st ever top-5], #11-Hamlin, #29-Harvick, #9-Kahne, #2-Busch and #18-Yeley. Other chase drivers finished: #07-Bowyer 12th; #17-Kenseth finished 14th; #1-Truex Jr. 15th; #31-Burton 18th; #5-Busch 20th; #99-Edwards 42nd/engine. There were 12 cautions for 71 laps and 11 drivers led the race with 17 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Richmond Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Richmond page
    Race Rundown: see my Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-8-2007)

  • Chevy Continues Partnership with Hendrick Motorsports: Chevrolet, the winningest nameplate in NASCAR, will continue its partnership with championship team Hendrick Motorsports in NASCAR competition in 2008 and beyond. In 23 years (1984-2006) of NASCAR competition, Hendrick Motorsports has garnered six Nextel Cup Series (formerly Winston Cup) championships, three Craftsman Truck Series titles and one Busch Series crown, making it one of stock-car racing's premier organizations. Rick Hendrick is the only team owner in NASCAR's modern era to earn more than 150 Cup Series victories and is currently at 160 Cup wins - all of them coming in Chevrolets. Hendrick Motorsports' win at the first "Car of Tomorrow" race at Bristol earlier this year also earned Chevrolet its first Impala SS win and Chevy's 600th win in NASCAR Cup competition. The four full-time NASCAR Cup teams of Hendrick Motorsports slated to run in 2008 include four-time champion Jeff Gordon in the #24 DuPont Chevy; Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Lowe's Chevy; Casey Mears in the #5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevy; and new addition Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who has only driven Chevrolets in his NASCAR career.(GM Racing PR)(9-7-2007)

  • Johnson to run at the race of champions again in Dec: Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana have both confirmed their attendance for The Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium, UK, this December, which will see the London arena transformed into a tarmac race-track. The event is the only opportunity for the worlds motorsport heroes from many various disciplines to race in exactly the same cars and on a parallel-track. Jimmie Johnson is coming back as part of Team USA after missing out on last years event at the Stade de France in Paris, France due to an injury he sustained only days before the race. Despite his injury the 31-year-old was still there to cheer on team-mate and fellow American Pastrana. Both drivers are confident they can make up for missing out on last years Nations Cup title as well having The Race of Champions 2007 individual title firmly in their sight. More info at raceofchampions.com.(Race of Champions PR)(9-4-2007)

  • Johnson wins at California: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway for his fifth win of the year, which will guarantee him a top seed when the Chase starts in two weeks. #48-Johnson, #31-Burton, and #5-Busch are now locked into the Chase. #99-Edwards finished second, followed by #5-Busch, #31-Burton, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #1-Truex Jr., #17-Kenseth, #83-Vickers, #2-Busch, and #9-Kahne. Points leader #24-Gordon finished 22nd after getting caught in an accident. #8-Earnhardt, Jr's 5th place finish helped him gain 30 points on 12th place in the standings, but he still remains 128 out. There were 11 cautions for 43 laps and there were 16 leaders with 30 lead changes.
    Race Results: on my California Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings: on my Drivers/Owners Points after California Page.
    Race Rundown: see my California Race Info/Rundwon Page for my race rundwon page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-2-2007)

  • Special Scheme for Johnson at Calif: Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy will carry a special Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Habitat for Humanity paint scheme in the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway on September 2nd. "We want to raise awareness for Habitat for Humanity and the foundation," said Johnson. "There will be lots of fans there and the race is nationally televised. We hope this might introduce fans to these charity organizations and create some interest. Lowe's was gracious enough to let us run this paint scheme on the Nextel Cup car so I really want to thank them for their support not only for this race but the entire week of events."(Lowe's Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(8-27-2007)

  • Evernham returning to NASCAR garage: Former championship-winning crew chief and Sprint Cup Series team owner Ray Evernham told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that he will return to the NASCAR garage next season in an unofficial capacity with Hendrick Motorsports. Evernham has spent this season away from the NASCAR garage, working as a consultant for the Hendrick Companies overseeing strategic initiatives for Hendrick's auto dealerships and aftermarket retail business, while driving his own Sprint Car in a limited schedule of events, He said his driving career could come to an end in the near future, however, as he transitions back to NASCAR in 2013. "I've got six or seven more Sprint Car races before the end of the year, then I'm probably going to have to make a decision about how much I'm going to race next year," said Evernham. "I'd like to get back to the (NASCAR) race track more in 2012, so I think my Sprint car racing is going to suffer." Evernham said he has no desire to return to the crew chief ranks, saying his role will be unofficial and undefined. "I will have no real official capacity, other than being a part of Hendrick Motorsports," he said.(Sirius-Speedway)(8-24-2011)

  • Knaus returns to #48 team after 6 week suspension: #48 Lowe's Chevy driver Jimmie Johnson and the Nextel Cup Series travel to Michigan International Speedway this weekend for Sunday's 400-mile race. Johnson finished fifth and second in the last two races at Pocono and Watkins Glen. This weekend, Crew Chief Chad Knaus rejoins the team after a six-race absence. Johnson said, ""I have been proud of the team and what we have done without Chad. I think we have kept our pace up. But, we really look forward to having him back this week getting everything in line and getting ready for the Chase. I have to give our guys a lot of credit by staying focused throughout these six races."(GMR Marketing PR)(8-16-2007)

  • Hendrick re-signs with GM: Hendrick Motorsports has verbally agreed to a five-year contract with General Motors, keeping HMS in Chevrolets through 2012. "We're done," team owner Rick Hendrick said after Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen International. "We haven't signed it, but we've verbally agreed." GM is in the last year of all of its contracts with teams in the Nextel Cup series. Re-signing HMS was key, particularly with speculation that Joe Gibbs Racing may be leaving for Toyota. Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc., GM's other top teams, remain in negotiations but are expected to re-sign. Two of the top three owners in Chevrolet expect Joe Gibbs Racing to move to Toyota in 2008. "I'd say they're gone," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, who has agreed to a five-year deal with General Motors. Richard Childress Racing owner Richard Childress said there are enough signs to believe that JGR will make the jump, which he says will take Toyota to another level. "It's pretty well written in stone," he said on Sunday at Watkins Glen International. Childress is so convinced JGR will bolt that he questions whether the organization should be included in Thursday's key partners' meeting at GM's headquarters in Detroit. "No, I wouldn't feel comfortable with them there," he said. "If the [other Chevrolet] teams have a feeling they're going to be there, we're not going to discuss openly with them in a room things we normally would discuss openly. You're sitting there working on stuff for next year and you don't want them to take that and help out the competition."(ESPN.com)(8-13-2007)

  • Drivers Have Different Plans for Off Week: The last open weekend on the Nextel Cup schedule until Thanksgiving means different things to different drivers as they gear up for a stretch of 17 races without a break starting July 29 in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Jeff Gordon is going to pack up his family car for a short road trip with wife Ingrid and month-old daughter Ella Sofia. Jimmie Johnson and wife Chandra are flying to Europe. Kyle Petty is getting on a motorcycle to join his annual charity ride. Elliott Sadler is heading to the golf course. And several drivers will be driving, either in a Busch Series race in suburban St. Louis or, in Tony Stewart's case, at a time and place still to be determined.(Indianapolis Star)(7-17-2007)

  • Johnson's #48 Crew Wins Pit Crew Challenge in New Hampshire: Jimmie Johnson's over-the-wall crew claimed its second Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season by spending the least amount of time on pit road during Sunday's Nextel Cup event. The #48 Lowe's team visited New Hampshire International Speedway's pit lane for only 175.323 seconds and will be awarded $11,000 by Checkers/Rally's for winning the weekly competition. The #48 crew, out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, consists of: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The team's pit crew coach is Matt Clark.
    Mark Martin's/Regan Smith's #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. An $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. To win the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally's is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(7-4-2007)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Wants Crew Chiefs back ASAP: Doug Duchardt, Hendrick Motorsports vice president of development, says the team didn't appeal NASCAR's penalties this week for two basic reasons: First, the teams of #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson want their crew chiefs back in time to have momentum when the Chase For The Nextel Cup begins, and second, the group now understands what NASCAR views as the lack of a gray area on the car of tomorrow more clearly. Duchardt said the team considered both of these concepts when it decided not to appeal the penalties. "As we went through this, some things came more clear to us as far as what NASCAR's tolerance on their data was - it wasn't as clear to us before last Friday as it is now," Duchardt said Friday at New Hampshire. The primary reason, though, is the teams want to get this over with and get the regular crew chiefs back in place in time to develop some momentum heading into the Chase For The Nextel Cup.(SceneDaily.com)(6-30-2007)

  • Career start #200 at NHIS for Johnson: Sunday will mark #48-Jimmie Johnson's 200th start in Nextel Cup racing. Johnson's first race was at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 7, 2001. He started 15th and finished 39th. Since then he has gone on to win a championship as well as 27 races, giving him sole possession of 22nd place on the all-time victory list since 1949.(Lowes Racing PR)(6-29-2007)

  • Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal penalties to #24/#48, interim crew chiefs named: Car owner Rick Hendrick confirmed today that the sanctions levied by NASCAR on Tuesday against the #24 and #48 Nextel Cup Series teams will not be appealed by Hendrick Motorsports. "The penalties are excessive," Hendrick reiterated. "But we're not going to put time and resources into issuing an appeal. Instead, we will direct that energy into our internal processes to make sure we have full confidence that our cars will meet standards when presented for inspection each week. We've said from the beginning that this would be a learning process (with the Car of Tomorrow) and there would be a lot of give and take between NASCAR and the teams to figure it out. That doesn't seem to be the case now, and I don't think it's the right direction to go."
    #24 car chief Jeff Meendering and #48 car chief Ron Malec have been named interim crew chiefs for their respective teams beginning with Sunday's Nextel Cup event at New Hampshire International Speedway. "In Jeff and Ron, we have two guys who know their teams inside and out," Hendrick said. "They both have been here a long time, they both know the pressures involved and they both have the full support of our entire organization. We don't expect to miss a beat."
    Meendering, 30, began his Hendrick Motorsports career in October 1994 sweeping floors in the chassis shop as a 16-year-old high-school junior. He has since won 10 NASCAR championships as a member of the organization. From Grand Rapids, Mich., Meendering joined the #24 team in 2000 under crew chief Robbie Loomis, working as a setup specialist and mechanic before being promoted to car chief in September 2005.
    A Franklin, Wis., native, Malec has a long history with driver Jimmie Johnson. The pair met more than a decade ago when Johnson was racing off-road trucks, and they later became roommates when both were involved in the American Speed Association. Malec and Johnson each moved to North Carolina in 1999 and again worked alongside one another in the NASCAR Busch Series before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2001 as original members of the #48 team. Malec has been car chief for Johnson's entire Nextel Cup career. The 32-year-old Malec, also the rear-tire carrier for the #48 team, will be supported on race day by veteran crew chief Lance McGrew. McGrew won the 2003 Busch Series championship and has posted victories in each of NASCAR's top three divisions. He is also familiar with Johnson after working as his Busch Series crew chief this season. Crew chiefs Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus will resume at-track duties for their respective teams at the Aug. 19 Nextel Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-28-2007)

  • Crew Chief Knaus statement on Penalties and Interim Crew Chief: "It's definitely disappointing, but we have a very capable and committed team. For whatever reason, we seem to thrive on adversity. We've overcome challenges in the past and I know we'll get through this as well. I didn't feel like we were outside the box in Sonoma, but that's NASCAR's call and they made it. Ron [Malec] is the only car chief I've ever had on the #48 team. He knows the guys better than anyone and they all have a ton of respect for him and what he's accomplished. Ron has been our backbone from the beginning and he'll do a terrific job. It's not the way I wanted to see him get an opportunity, but he's ready and more than capable of getting it done. I'm grateful to have talented guys like Ron and Lance (McGrew) available. It just goes to show how deep this organization is."(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-28-2007)

  • #24, #48 Teams Penalized For Infractions At Infineon Raceway: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #24 and #48 Hendrick Motorsports teams that compete in the Nextel Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions found this past weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Both cars  the #24 driven by Jeff Gordon and the #48 driven by Jimmie Johnson  were found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); 20-2.1E (parts or components of the car not previously approved by NASCAR that have been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance will not be permitted); and 20-2H (fenders may not be cut or altered except for wheel or tire clearance which must be approved by the Series Director) of the 2007 NASCAR rule book. The violations were found during the initial inspection process last Friday. As a result, Gordon and Johnson have each been penalized 100 driver championship points. Their respective crew chiefs  Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus  have each been fined $100,000, suspended for the next six Nextel Cup Series events until Aug. 15, 2007 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2007. In addition, Rick Hendrick, owner of the #24, has been penalized 100 car owner championship points as has Gordon, who is the owner of the #48.(NASCAR PR)(6-26-2007)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Responds to Penalties: Car owner Rick Hendrick responded to NASCAR sanctions announced today involving the #24 and #48 Nextel Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports. "We are disappointed in NASCAR's decision and feel the penalties are excessive," Hendrick said. "Right now, all of our options are being evaluated, including our personnel situation and a possible appeal to the National Stock Car Racing Commission. We'll take some time to decide on a direction and make an announcement regarding our plans for New Hampshire later in the week."(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-26-2007)

  • Hendrick preparing for crew chief suspensions: It looks like Chad Knaus and Steve Letarte are about to become teachers, in a hurry. Sources told me [captainthunderracing.com] late Monday, that the two Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs and their crews will be working franticly to prepare for the possible suspensions stemming from the Infineon race. At last weekends road race in California, both teams race cars failed inspection and their drivers, #24 Jeff Gordon and #48 Jimmie Johnson, where forced to start from the back of the field. Over the next few days, the two crew chiefs will be working overtime with their crews and their new replacements [it doesn't say who they are] to prepare themselves for the possible passing of the baton this weekend in New Hampshire. Sources said Knaus is prepared to assist Letarte with preparations and the two are reviewing Knaus's notes from last year to get a strong handle on how to handle their potential impending absences from the race track. They are preparing to work the operation much the way they did last season when Knaus was suspended following a cheating infraction at the season opening Daytona 500. Johnson won the race in Knause's absence with fill in crew chief Darian Grubb sitting on the pit box in place of Knaus. Grubb parlayed that gig in to a full time gig as crew chief for the #25 of Casey Mears. When Knaus was suspended last year, they communicated via laptop and cell phone by housing Knaus in a hotel close to the track. Sources told me they will prepare much as they did last year and they will be sure to be ready for the worst. And, if they don't get suspended, they will be even better prepared for this weeks race in New Hampshire. Whoever replaces Knaus and Letarte has some big shoes to fill, and they better be prepared to be there for a while. Sources say the penalty could equal the one NASCAR handed out to Tony Eury Jr. just a few weeks ago.(captainthunderracing.com)(6-25-2007)

  • #24 and #48 pulled from practice, qualifying after failing inspection MORE: NASCAR officials announced that #24-Jeff Gordon [points leader] and #48- Jimmie Johnson [3rd in points] will not be allowed to practice or qualify Friday after their cars failed the initial morning inspection at Infineon Raceway. The front fenders on both the #24 Chevy of Gordon and the #48 Chevy of Johnson had front fenders that were too wide. The cars did not fit the template for a Car of Tomorrow entry. Both drivers will have to start at the rear of the field for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 300 event on the 2-mile Infineon road course. Gordon, the season points leader, won at Infineon one year ago. His five victories at Sonoma are the most among active drivers. "Both teams have the opportunity to repair their primary cars and resubmit them for inspection," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. "If they pass that inspection, they'll be allowed to practice on Saturday." Neither crew chief -- Steve Letarte for Gordon and Chad Knaus for Johnson -- has been suspended for this race. But additional penalties are likely for both drivers and crew chiefs next week. NASCAR officials have warned all teams that any violations involving the COT would results in severe punishment. The #8 Chevy team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was penalized 100 points and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. was fined $100,000 when a pre-qualifying inspection at Darlington showed the brackets on the rear wing were modified out of regulation.(ESPN.com)(6-22-2007)
    UPDATE: "I don't necessarily say they bent the rules," [Team Owner Rick] Hendrick said after a lengthy team meeting inside of Jeff Gordon's hauler. "They thought they were working inside of an area they thought they could. The fenders on the car are sitting out there in front of God and everybody. If you're going to try to do something to gain an advantage you wouldn't do it and roll it through inspection." NASCAR officials said the front right fenders on both cars were flared out beyond the wheel well to create an advantage. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, called it a blatant attempt to circumvent the rules. Based on what happened to crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. when NASCAR discovered alterations to the rear-wing bracket at Darlington, the ensuing penalty will be substantial. Eury was suspended for six races and fined $100,000, and Earnhardt was docked 100 championship points. Hendrick, anticipating that or worse, already is pleading his case to NASCAR. "We'll have to see what the penalty is, but I don't think the penalty fits the crime in this case when you're talking about the top of a fender or the side of a fender," he said. "I don't see it as a situation where you had a certified part and it's been altered or anything like that." Hendrick said Gordon and Johnson already have been punished enough -- they're being forced to start at the rear of the field. The only driver to win at Infineon from the back was Ernie Irvan, who started at the rear after jumping the start in 1992. We want to play by the rules. I don't enjoy this. The guys don't enjoy this. I'm sure NASCAR doesn't enjoy this. This is a big penalty not being able to qualify and get a good starting spot and good pit spot," he said. "We're just hoping for a good finish. If these two cars finish in the top 10 tomorrow I'll be happy."(ESPN.com)(6-24-2007)

  • Johnson to be Featured on ESPN SportsCenter My Wish Series June 24-29: After a successful debut last year, ESPN SportsCenters My Wish series, which chronicles sports-themed wishes granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions, will be aired Sunday, June 24, through Friday, June 29. The five My Wish episodes will feature 2006 Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, all-pro quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, a past NBA Finals most valuable player, a popular World Series slugger and an athlete TBD.  Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly will again host. My Wish is presented by ESPN, in cooperation with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Walt Disney Company.  As part of the series, ESPN will help grant sports-related wishes with leading sports stars to five children referred by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Each wish will then be the subject of one SportsCenter feature segment.  The SportsCenter segment will feature the reason for the wish, interviews with the kids and their families, and a behind-the-scenes look at the wish fulfilled, including the interaction between the youngster and the athlete. Several ESPN multimedia platforms such as ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, and ESPN360.com will offer additional and complementary content related to the five wish-granting experiences. Team ESPN encompasses ESPNs multi-faceted corporate outreach initiatives, including volunteerism, corporate giving and cause marketing, while utilizing its diverse media assets.  Through Team ESPN, ESPN, its employees and its fans work together to make a difference more info at www.teamespn.com. The Disney VoluntEARS program provides opportunities for Disney employees to contribute their time and expertise towards making a positive impact in the communities they serve while furthering the traditions and ideals of The Walt Disney Company. For more information on Disneys outreach efforts, please visit www.disneyhand.com.(ESPN PR)(6-21-2007)

  • Chevy unveils paint schemes to commemorate 50 Years of the '57 Chevy: One of the most recognizable cars in American motoring history reaches a notable milestone this year, a milestone which NASCAR, Chevy and Motorsports Authentics proudly celebrate. The 1957 Chevrolet, a car which turns 50 years old this year, will be commemorated at August 19s 3M Performance 400 Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway by at least 11 Team Chevy drivers. Unveiled by Jimmie Johnson at MIS today, a Monte Carlo SS race car featuring decals with cues from the iconic 1957 design is similar to the ones Johnson and other Team Chevy drivers will race during the August event. On August 18, 57 Chevys along with many other historic vehicles will hit the streets during Metro Detroits Woodward Dream Cruise. That same weekend, Team Chevy Nextel Cup Series drivers #4-Ward Burton, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #14-Sterling Marlin, #01-Mark Martin, #15-Paul Menard, #96-Tony Raines, #1-Martin Truex, Jr., #78-Kenny Wallace and #18-J.J. Yeley will take to the track at MIS with their cars wearing special 57 Chevy paint schemes. To commemorate this special event, Motorsports Authentics will replicate their cars with die-cast models and offer apparel and novelty items related to the event.(GM Racing PR), see an image of the #48 Scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(6-16-2007)

  • #48 Crew Members donate uniforms to Benefit Benny's Museum: Lowe's, Hendrick Motorsports and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced today a special on-line auction of the #48 team's actual pit crew uniforms. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Benny Parsons Museum. Crew Chief Chad Knaus along with the team's seven over-the-wall pit crew members said they agreed to donate the uniforms worn in NASCAR Nextel Cup races as a mark of respect for the late Parsons. Each uniform will be signed by the donating crew member as well as Johnson and Knaus. The over-the-wall crew members, include: jackman Chris Anderson, front tire carrier Art Simmons, front tire changer Mike Trower, rear tire carrier Ron Malec, rear tire changer Tim Ladyga, gas man Rich Gutierrez and catch can man Mike Knauer. The first chance to bid begins Fri. May 18. Each uniform will be posted separately in a series of 10-day auctions. The final uniform will be posted on Friday, July 6. For more information or to place your bid, visit www.ebay.com/jimmiejohnsonfoundation. Parsons died Jan. 16 from complications resulting from treatments for lung cancer. His wife Terri is currently raising funds for a museum in his honor at Rendezvous Ridge near North Wilkesboro, N.C. For more information on Benny Parsons visit BennyParsons.com.(GMR PR)(5-20-2007)

  • Kahne/Johnson to drive in Speed GT race at LMS: Woodhouse Performance announced that #9-Kasey Kahne will pilot the #13 Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper Competition Coupe in the SPEED World Challenge series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Kahne joins #48-Jimmie Johnson in the SCCA Pro-Racing GT Series race, which will take place following CTC's presentation of NEXTEL Cup qualifying Thursday night May 24. Woodhouse Performance has been competing in the SPEED World Challenge GT Series for the past four years with team owner Bob Woodhouse, 61, behind the wheel of the #13 Viper. Teammate to Kahne at Charlotte will be Woodhouse Performance driver Jeff Courtney, who pilots the #99 Kenda Tires/ProMPI Dodge Viper Competition Coupe.(Clear!Blue PR)(5-16-2007)

  • Dale Jr. leans toward Hendrick? UPDATE denied: The efforts to sign #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. to a NASCAR driving contract for 2008 and beyond has reached a critical point, and the top two teams on Earnhardts list are the Chevrolet teams owned by Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick, according to men familiar with the negotiations. Earnhardt today is leaning toward a deal with Hendrick [NOTE: where would Earnhardt go? HMS has four Cup teams and all three drivers signed for a couple more years, unless some sort of deal with Haas CNC Racing or Ginn Racing would be worked out], largely because of Hendricks very strong engine program, sources here said yesterday. Earnhardt and veteran crew chief Tony Eury Jr., his cousin and close confidante as well as the man who has led him to many of his 17 Cup victories, have talked with both the Hendrick and Childress camps in recent weeks about the positives and negatives each team owner would have to offer, sources said yesterday. And Eury will have a major voice in the decision, because Earnhardts primary goal now, at age 32, is to win a championship.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-9-2007)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports General Manager Marshall Carlson told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway Tuesday that his team is fully stocked with drivers for 2008 and beyond, and that he has not spoken with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., about the possibility of joining the Hendrick stable.(Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway)(5-9-2007)

  • Knaus Keeps it Together to Win Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at RIR: Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #88 Lowes Chevrolet, faced multiple obstacles during the Crown Royal Presents the Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway. A rescheduling of the race from Saturday evening to Sunday afternoon due to rain was only the beginning of a tough day for Knaus as he dealt with a loose car, hot breaks, air pressure and more. However Knaus kept a cool head while working on the multiple problems his driver, Jimmie Johnson, radioed in, calling for the necessary adjustments during pit stops. Knaus communication with Johnson combined with quick and accurate assessments of the problems, lead the 2006 Nextel Cup Champion to the checkered flag, capturing the teams fourth victory for the season. For his outstanding race day calls along with team leadership and direction, Chad Knaus was awarded the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. A panel of voters, including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Jr., Kenny Francis, Robbie Reiser and a Wypall Wipers representative were unanimous in selecting Knaus as the Crew Chief of the Race. As the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race, Knaus received $1,000. Earning his second crew chief of the race award puts Knaus in the lead for overall standing with two wins. Larry Carter, Mike Ford, Robbie Reiser, Alan Gustafson, Chip Bolin, Ryan Pemberton, Donnie Wingo and Tony Eury Jr. each have one win. At the end of the season the crew chief with the most wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. For more information on Wypall Wipers or the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, visit www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(5-8-2007)

  • Johnson wins at Richmond: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400 at Richmond International Raceway for his 4th win of 2007 and 27th of his career. The race was scheduled to run Saturday night, but was rained out and run today, May 6th. Johnson beat teammate #5-Kyle Busch. The rest of the top-10 were: #11-Hamlin, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch [highest finishing Dodge], #12-Newman, #29-Harvick, #20-Stewart, #07-Bowyer and #17-Kenseth [highest finishing Ford]. #22-Blaney was the highest finishing Toyota at 11th. Another tought day for #9-Kahne, who wrecked late and finished 40th. Jeff Gordon's points lead increases to 211 over Johnson. #31-Jeff Burton, who started the race 2nd in points, finished last/43rd and dropped to 5th in the points standings. Hendrick Motorsports now has 7 wins in the 10 races this season and has won all four COT races. There were 14 cautions for 80 laps and 12 drivers lead the race with 24 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Richmond Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Richmond page
    Race Rundown: see my Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-6-2007)

  • Johnson helps builds Soap Box Derby Cars: As part of its ongoing commitment to families and children and in support of its sponsorship of the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), the Levi Strauss Signature brand hosted a Soap Box Derby car-building workshop for local boys and girls on Thursday [4/12] at Gateway Park in Ft. Worth, Texas. #48-Jimmie Johnson was on hand to assist underserved youth in building their cars and to share some of his racing expertise. The 2006 NASCAR champion is the national spokesperson for the Levi Strauss Signature brand, the title sponsor of the AASBD World Championship. Boys and girls ages 10 to 17 from Plano-area youth organizations constructed gravity-powered cars with the help of volunteers from the Plano Soap Box Derby chapter, which is in its inaugural year. Throughout the afternoon, Johnson was hands-on in helping each child assemble his / her car and, as a seasoned racing veteran, offered encouraging words to the new Soap Box Derby participants. The Levi Strauss Signature brand partnered with the AASBD to donate car kits to the children, giving them the opportunity to compete in the inaugural Plano Soap Box Derby, which takes place on Saturday, June 2. The 70th AASBD World Championship is scheduled to take place on July 21, 2007, with more than 500 race participants representing more than 40 states and five countries (Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Guam and the Philippines).(Taylor PR)(4-13-2007)

  • #48 team helmets stolen: Around 7:00pm/et on Sunday [April 1] evening, Martinsville Speedway track security radio announced for everyone to be on the lookout for helmets that belonged to the Nextel Cup Series #48 team. They were stolen from the infield pit area while the Goody's Cool Orange 500 race winner, Jimmie Johnson and crew were in victory circle celebrating.(Insiderracingnews.com)(4-2-2007)

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 3rd [in 6 races] win of the 2007 season and 26th career win. Johnson and teammate #24-Jeff Gordon fought the last five laps, beating and banging the final lap, with Johnson winning by a few feet. Finishing third was #11-Hamlin, #5-Busch, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #20-Stewart, #10-Riggs, #26-McMurray and #17-Kenseth. #24-Gordon maintains the points lead by 28 pts over #31-Burton. There were 13 cautions for 93 laps and 9 drivers lead the race with 14 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Bristol Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Bristol page
    Race Rundown: see my Bristol Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(4-1-2007)

  • Johnson to open up Victory Junction Bowling Alley: Jimmie and Chandra Johnson and the Pettys will celebrate the Grand Opening of Jimmie Johnson's Victory Lanes at the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, NC on Thursday, March 29 from 2:00 - 4:00pm/et. More info about the camp at Victory Junction Gang Camp.(3-27-2007)

  • Johnson wins at Atlanta: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his 2nd win of the 2007 season, 25th career win and 2nd in a row. The win was also the 151st for Hendrick Motorsports. #20-Stewart finished 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #31-Burton, #42-Montoya, #07-Bowyer, #99-Edwards, #1-Truex Jr., #41-Sorenson and #01-Martin. Pole sitter #12-Newman, after going to the rear at the start of the race, never ran up front and finished 23rd, down 1 lap. #8-Earnhardt Jr finished 14th; #9-Kahne crashed late in the race and finished 39th and is now 36th in drivers points. #01-Martin has an 8 point lead over #24-Jeff Gordon after 4 races. There were 6 cautions for 27 laps and 13 drivers lead the race with 31 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Atlanta Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta page
    Race Rundown: see my Atlanta Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(3-18-2007)

  • Hendrick going for 200th NASCAR win: Car owner Rick Hendrick now has 199 combined NASCAR victories: 151 at the NEXTEL Cup level, 23 in the Busch Series and 25 in the Craftsman Truck Series. The total includes a 1983 Busch Series win by the late Dale Earnhardt at Lowe's Motor Speedway in a car co-owned by Hendrick and Robert Gee.(HMS PR)(3-22-2007)

  • Johnson's win at Vegas #150 for Hendrick Motorsports: #48-Jimmie Johnson's performance Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway marked the 150th points-paying Nextel Cup Series victory since 1984 for team owner Rick Hendrick. Each Hendrick win has come in a Chevrolet race car. Hendrick Motorsports 150th Cup Series win came in its 736th points-paying event (1984-present). That's an average of one victory every 4.906 races. Hendrick Motorsports' 150 Cup victories have been amassed by 12 different drivers: Jeff Gordon (75), Jimmie Johnson (24), Terry Labonte (12), Tim Richmond (9), Darrell Waltrip (9), Geoff Bodine (7), Ricky Rudd (4), Ken Schrader (4), Kyle Busch (3), Jerry Nadeau (1), Joe Nemechek (1) and Brian Vickers (1). Hendrick's career total of 150 Cup wins is best among NASCAR's modern-era car owners (1972-present). Second on the list is Jack Roush with 96 victories. Petty Enterprises is first all-time with 268 first-place finishes in Cup competition. Hendrick is second all-time. Hendrick Motorsports' first Cup victory came April 29, 1984 at Martinsville, Va., with driver Geoff Bodine [in the #5]. Jeff Gordon notched the organization's 50th on March 24, 1996 at Darlington, and its 100th on June 10, 2001 at MIchigan. Jimmie Johnson posted win No. 150 Sunday at Las Vegas. Car owner Rick Hendrick now has 198 combined NASCAR victories: 150 at the Cup level, 23 in the Busch Series and 25 in the Craftsman Truck Series. The total includes a 1983 Busch Series win by the late Dale Earnhardt at Lowe's Motor Speedway in a car co-owned by Hendrick and Robert Gee. Hendrick Motorsports has earned six NEXTEL Cup championships, giving the organization more titles since 1995 than any other team in major American professional sports. With four World Series rings, the New York Yankees are second during that span, followed by the New England Patriots, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Red Wings, who each have three championships in their respective sports (1995-present). With Johnson's win, Hendrick Motorsports has now earned at least one Cup Series victory in 22 consecutive seasons (1986-present). Rick Hendrick was not able to attend Sunday's NEXTEL Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He was at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for an event honoring high achievers at Hendrick Automotive Group car dealerships. Hendrick is the chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-16-2007)

  • Johnson's 2nd tire getaway..why no penalty? been asked, here is the best answer I have seen.....as usual, penalties are the descretion of NASCAR and most are a judgement call....
    Q from fan: Why wasn't Jimmie Johnson penalized on the last pit stop when his tire went out of his pits and the official stopped it? The official should not be allowed to do that, and if he does, it should be an automatic penalty! Could you please explain this?
    Jeff Hammond/FoxSports: A NASCAR official is there to referee and give assistance in the spirit of safety. For example, a tire crossing pit road is not in the best interest of NASCAR or anybody on pit road if an official can knock it down. What I believed and perceived at the time was the official saw the crew member trip and inadvertently release the tire while making an effort to carry the tire over pit wall. When the No. 48 team was penalized during the fifth caution, nobody on the team made an effort to catch the tire, and a NASCAR official wasn't close to it. In that first instance, the car clearly had left the pit before they had gotten control of it. It's a judgment call, and it's easy for us to go back because we have instant replay. The officials on pit road do not have replays, and the officials in the tower are reluctant to make calls based off of replays if they aren't able to see the entire circumstance. While some people may think the #48 team got by with one, I have a hard time criticizing what happened because we do not need that tire on pit road. NASCAR officials aren't biased, and they have saved more than just Jimmie Johnson's tires from rolling onto pit road. The officials are there to promote safety as much as anything else. If they can intervene and prevent something from happening, they won't worry about penalties or any other kinds of ramifications after the fact.(3-13-2007)

  • Johnson to Drive Cadillac CTS-V in Charlotte SPEED GT Race: #48-Jimmie Johnson will drive Team Cadillac's #16 CTS- V in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Thursday night, May 24, 2007. The 50-minute race, the fourth round of the 10-race SPEED GT series, will take place on the track's 1.5-mile banked oval with modifications to introduce road racing elements to the course. The SPEED GT race will follow NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600. Johnson is one of America's most versatile racers. He's race motorcycles, off-road trucks, ASA stock cars, and Daytona Prototypes. Johnson is scheduled to participate in a one-day SCCA Pro Racing test at Lowe's Motor Speedway on March 19 before making his SPEED GT debut in May. The Cadillac CTS- V race cars that compete in the SPEED GT championship are based on the production Cadillac CTS- V performance luxury sedan.(GM Racing PR)(3-9-2007)

  • Johnson to run USO/Power of Pride scheme in the Coke 600: #48-Jimmie Johnson and Lowe's will run a special paint scheme on the #48 Chevy in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in a special celebration of America's military personnel. The #48 will honor the United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO) featuring the "Power of Pride", also in the program are Nextel Cup drivers #01-Martin, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #4-Burton and #21-Wood, see an image of the scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(3-7-2007)

  • Kobalt Tools To Sponsor Johnson in Cup, Busch Races: Kobalt Tools will sponsor the #48 Lowe's Chevy in two of Jimmie Johnson's Nextel Cup Series races as well as all three of his Busch Series races in 2007. Kobalt Tools will also be the title sponsor for the March 18 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway now called the Kobalt Tools 500. The Kobalt Tools paint scheme will appear on Johnson's #48 Nextel Cup car at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 18 and at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 4. Johnson will race the Kobalt Tools paint scheme in Busch Series races at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 26 and Oct. 12 as well as California Speedway on Sept. 1. Kobalt Tools is an industry frontrunner in hand tools, mechanics' tools, tool accessories and just recently introduced the Portable CO2 Regulator which is a portable CO2 tank that connects to any standard pneumatic device for power and strength on-the-go.(GMR Marketing/Lowes Racing PR)(3-5-2007)

  • Johnson's All-Star Win Painting Unveiled: As part of the annual NASCAR Pre-Season Media tour the original painting depicting Jimmie Johnson's/Hendrick Motorsports' victory in the Nextel All-Star Challenge was unveiled. The unveiling was part of the press conference with Nextel, NASCAR and Lowe's Motor Speedway executives announcing plans for the 2007 All-Star race. There will be 500 limited edition prints and 50 artist's proof prints published. All will be autographed (Hand signed) by winning driver and 2007 Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson. For additional information contact Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, Inc. at 1-800-847-0043 or online at www.garryhill.com.(2-7-2007)

  • Johnson meets with President Bush: Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was honored today in Washington, D.C. for his 2006 championship. The day began with an Oval Office meeting with President George W. Bush, who congratulated Johnson on his victory. Joining Johnson was team owner Rick Hendrick, Lowes Corporation CEO Robert Niblock, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR president Mike Helton. Following the White House visit the group made its way up Pennsylvania Ave to the Capitol where they were greeted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. After that meeting, Johnson and the group made their way across the Capitol for a Senate reception led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Also attending the meeting to congratulate Johnson was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Seanator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Bob Casey (D-PA).(NASCAR Media)(2-6-2007)

  • Johnson Honored in San Diego: #48-Jimmie Johnson was at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park yesterday morning to be honored by city, county and state officials as well as the Hall, which has selected the El Cajon native San Diego's Pro Athlete of the Year. His appearance drew an overflow crowd. Although he now lives in North Carolina near the hub of his sport, Johnson said he still has strong ties to San Diego  ties he wants to strengthen. Johnson said the charitable foundation he runs with his wife, Chandra, is looking to undertake a project in San Diego County.(San Diego Union Tribune)(2-1-2007)

  • Johnson wins award: Nextel Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson was named the 2006 Richard Petty Driver of the Year by the National Motorsports Press Association. Johnson, who also won the award in 2004, was named on 28 of 72 ballots cast. The Hendrick Motorsports driver edged Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick, who received 22 first-place votes. Others receiving votes were Evernham Motorsports' Kasey Kahne, Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart, Roush Racing's Mark Martin and RCR's Jeff Burton.(SceneDaily.com)(1-22-2007)

  • Johnson's wrist ok to test at Daytona: From a GM PR at Daytona Preseason Testing:
    Q) The Burning Question Is How Is Your Wrist Doing And How Are You Feeling? JJ) "My wrist is good. I'm going to wear a splint in the car just to be smart and to be sure, but the cast is off and the hand is working and everything is good. The timing was perfect. I got the off-season to heal up and I'm ready for Daytona."
    Are You In Any Pain? "No. The pain quit - I'd say the first couple of weeks into it the pain was there, but after that, the pain was gone."
    How Much Driving Have You Done Since Then? "I was down in the islands and they have these crazy little cars that we raced around the islands in and I did a lot of driving there, so this (the test) is my first time back in a race car."
    Will This Affect You In The Daytona 500? "No, not at all. It won't affect the 500. I'm going to be able to race in the 24 Hours of Daytona coming up here real soon and so it's just something that kind of slowed me down over the off-season. I had a cast on my hand and it kind of kept me on the sidelines watching my wife swim and being on vacation and watching my friends do all these fun things and I had to sit around and watch. But, beyond that, everything is good."
    How's Your Pain Threshold? Would You Tell Us If It Hurt Or Would You Try To Not Show It? "Well, it's been almost five weeks. So it's been a long time. The cast is off. I was at the doctor's on Friday and the x-rays look good so everything is in great shape and I'm ready to go."
    How Much Of This Test Session Is To Test The Car And How Much Is It To Test Your Wrist? "None. My wrist is running it's course. We're down here just doing single car testing - three laps at a time basically. I'm just trying to focus on the car. My hand is working. I'm fine. I'll put a splint on it to drive the car just to be smart and to be safe with it. But beyond that, I'm scheduled to run the 24 Hours of Daytona and then the Vegas test and I'm right back in the middle of things."(GM PR)(1-8-2007)

  • No Crew Changes at the #48, but new spotter UPDATE: hearing that the #48 Lowe's / Hendrick Motorsports Chevy team and driver Jimmie Johnson expect no changes to the over-the-wall championship team when Nextel Cup testing begins next week in Daytona with the exception of spotter Earl Barban who is no longer with the team [no idea what team he is going to]. Crew Chief Chad Knuas is reviewing resumes for a new spotter.(1-4-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing Barban will be #38-David Gilliland's spotter in 2007.(XM Radio)(1-5-2007)

  • New Driver for Hendrick Motorsports? Landon Cassill UPDATE: The Gazette [of Cedar Rapids Iowa] is reporting: Landon Cassill, a 17-year-old senior at Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School, has signed a contract to drive for NASCAR's Hendrick Motorsports, he told The Gazette today [1/2/2007]. Cassill joins a powerhouse race team that includes Nextel Cup champions #48-Jimmie Johnson and #24-Jeff Gordon, as well as #5-Kyle Busch [and #25-Casey Mears]. "I feel really, really honored to be part of this organization," Cassill said. "I'm honored to be in such an elite group." it says to "See more of this story in Wednesday's Gazette."(The Gazette)
    AND Landon will move to North Carolina in March to begin working full time for Hendrick Motorsports.(kcrg.com), of note: Cassill can't drive in the NASCAR Cup, Busch or Truck series until he is 18 [July 7th] and since Hendrick Motorsports has four team in Nextel Cup [the limit], it won't be a full-time Nextel Cup ride, look for this to be a development program of some sort [ARCA, Trucks, Busch], also Cassill was part of the GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation program and made it to the final stages.(1-3-2007)
    MORE: Landon Cassill  most recently an ASA racer who surged from 30th to fourth in the October race at Iowa Speedway  will graduate high school in February and journey to Hendrick headquarters March 1, his father said. Roger Cassill said Landon has already tested cars for Hendrick, and his future role with the team will include more of that while hes groomed as a developmental driver. Cassill said his son may test Gordons Car of Tomorrow next week. Hendrick was really good about coming in and saying they think hes got the talent and they are more interested in developing him rather than making a bunch of promises, Cassill said. If hes not ready hes not going to race. As soon as hes ready, hes going to race.(Des Moines Register)(1-3-2007)
    UPDATE: Cassill will take part in two tests - one this month - while continuing to build a base of knowledge and experience. Hendrick Motorsports spokesman Jesse Essex said Cassill is the only driver with the organization other than defending Cup champion Johnson, four-time series champ Gordon, Busch and Mears. Cassill's progress toward a possible behind-the-wheel NASCAR career will be measured in baby steps. "Right now we're solely focused on seat time," Essex said.(Des Moines Register)(1-5-2007)

2006 News

  • Johnson to be awarded timepiece: Swiss watch brand Tissot has been chosen as the sole watch provider for the Driver of the Year Award, one of the most prestigious and highly anticipated awards in all of motorsports. Tissot will award this years recipient, 2006 Nextel Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, with a unique 18-carat gold Tissot Sculpture mechanical power reserve timepiece at the annual banquet held at the Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, AL, in April.(fibre2fashion.com)(12-22-2006)

  • Sweden's Ekstrom wins Race of Champions in Paris: Mattias Ekstrom of Sweden beat three-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb of France to win the Race of Champions at Stade de France on Saturday. Loeb raced for the first time since breaking his arm in September and reached the final for the third straight year. He won last year and lost to Finland's Heikki Kovalainen in 2004. Ekstrom downed Citroen driver Loeb 2-0 in a best-of-three legs final after overcoming Formula One's Heikki Kovalainen and three-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais in earlier heats. The Race of Champions, a yearly event since 1988, features 16 drivers from various motor racing disciplines. It was held on a custom-built 0.7-mile figure-of-eight asphalt track with a crossover bridge.(ESPN.com/AP)
    AND NASCAR Jimmie Johnson was scheduled to run for Team USA but. Johnson broke his left wrist last week while participating in a charity golf tournament in Florida. Formula One driver Scott Speed injured his left wrist Thursday in a testing accident at Jerez, Spain and had to withdraw. It was too late to find another dirver so X-Games star Travis Pastrana was forced into one-man duty for Team USA and finished. Kovalainen and Gronholm defeated North American Rally champion Travis Pastrana in the final of the nations cup.(12-19-2006)

  • Johnson Fractures Wrist; Will Miss Race of Champions: UPDATE 5: Scott Speed Injured & Out: Hendrick Motorsports driver #48-Jimmie Johnson sustained a fracture to his left wrist Friday, but the injury is not expected to affect his status for NASCAR preseason testing or the Feb. 18 Daytona 500. Johnson has withdrawn from the Dec. 16 Race of Champions Nations Cup at the Stade de France in Paris, but will attend the event to consult with Team USA. Doctors treating Johnson in Charlotte noted the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series champion could be cleared to drive a race car in four weeks. The injury occurred as Johnson participated in a charity golf outing in Lecanto, Fla.(Hendrick Motorsports PR/ESPN.com)(12-10-2006)
    UPDATE: The Citrus County Chronicle reported that Johnson was laying on the roof of the cart when he fell.(Associated Press)(12-11-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Jimmie Johnson was "horsing around" on top of a moving golf cart when he fell off and broke his left wrist, his team told The Associated Press on Monday. The version clarifies what happened during the celebrity tournament in Lecanto, Fla., one day after the initial account from Hendrick Motorsports implied that the Nextel Cup champion had fallen out of the cart. Although Hendrick officials gave no details of the accident, Johnson released a statement that said he was "in" the cart when he fell out. "I was in a golf cart and the driver took a sharp turn," Johnson said Sunday. "I wasn't holding on tight enough, landed awkwardly on the ground and heard a little pop." That account differed from one in Monday's edition of The Citrus County (Fla.) Chronicle, which had a reporter at the Black Diamond Ranch who witnessed Johnson horsing around during the Mike Hampton Pitching In Celebrity tournament. The newspaper said Johnson was sprawled across the top of the cart Friday as it headed toward the 16th hole when his playing partner hit a berm, throwing Johnson several feet. Johnson was unavailable for comment Monday, but a spokeswoman for the driver confirmed he was on top of the cart when The AP asked for clarification.(Associated Press)(12-11-2006)
    UPDATE 3: Hearing that American Formula 1 driver Scott Speed will replace Johnson in the Race of Champions Nations Cup this weekend at the Stade de France in Paris. Johnson will still attend as a spectator.(12-12-2006)
    UPDATE 4: Scott Speed, the only American driver in Formula One, was tabbed Wednesday to replace NASCAR star Jimmie Johnson on Team USA's entry in the Race of Champions Nations Cup in Paris.(AP/ESPN)(12-13-2006)
    UPDATE 5: Formula One driver Scott Speed injured his left wrist Thursday in a testing accident at Jerez, Spain, making him the second American driver in a week to withdraw from the Race of Champions Nations Cup due to injury. Indy Racing League driver Marco Andretti, who was also testing at Jerez, was greatly interested in taking Speed's place, but team conflicts prevented it, Hancock said. As a result, X-Games star Travis Pastrana is forced into unprecedented one-man duty for Team USA. The RoC consists of a pair of races -- one of which pits asphalt specialists against one another; the other dirt specialists. Pastrana will compete in both.(ESPN.com)(12-15-2006)

  • Edwards Comments on Johnson's Accident: For those who have criticized #48-Jimmie Johnson for fooling around and falling off a golf cart, #99-Carl Edwards says let's get real. "To be honest with you I´m a little disgusted with the media and some of their reactions to that. It´s pretty amazing. I tried to get Jimmie to go motorcycle riding with me about three weeks into the Chase and he´s like, Carl, I´m focused on winning this championship, I´m not taking any risks. I thought that said a lot about Jimmie´s focus and his ability to sacrifice. To me, if the dude wants to go ride around on golf carts...on top of them or underneath of them or skiing on a rope behind them, I mean he´s the champion, he won this thing, it´s his off season so he can do whatever he wants. I think it´s cool to think Jimmie Johnson was on top of a golf cart goofing around. I mean, you name a person in that garage area that hasn´t goofed around on a golf cart and I´ll give you a hundred dollars."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(12-14-2006)

  • Johnson up for Athlete of the Year..vote: The acknowledgments continue for 2006 Nextel Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowes Chevy), who was honored during last weeks annual Champions Week festivities in New York City. Johnson, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports, is among the candidates listed for the 2006 United States Sports Academy Athlete of the Year presented by USATODAY.com and MSNBC.com. The ballot for male athletes includes South Korean speed skater Hyun-Soo Ahn, Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele, Italian soccer star Fabio Cannavaro, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, Johnson, golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, swimming star Michael Phelps, the St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith and Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young. Voting, done online, began Dec. 1 and ends Dec. 25. An overall winner will be selected, along with male and female athletes of the year. Federer was the 2005 overall winner. Sports fans worldwide can vote online at athleteoftheyear.msnbc.com or www.ussa.edu.(NASCAR PR)(12-7-2006)

  • Lowe's To Sponsor Johnson In 2007 Daytona Rolex Races: Lowe's Companies, Inc. announced it will sponsor Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson in both Grand-Am Rolex Series races at Daytona International Speedway in 2007. Johnson will team with Riley-Matthews Motorsports for the Jan. 27 Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the July 5 Brumos Porsche 250, both on the Daytona road course. Jim Matthews, Marc Goossens, and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as co-drivers in the #91 Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype. The team begins testing on Jan. 4 at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 45th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The July race at Daytona is held the Thursday night before the Saturday Nextel Cup race. Johnson has competed two times in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He finished second in 2005 and 28th in 2004 driving for Howard-Boss Motorsports.(GMR/Team Lowe's Racing PR)(12-6-2006)

  • Jimmie Johnson wins 2006 Driver of the Year Award: Although Jimmie Johnson needed an almost unprecedented comeback to win his first Nextel Cup series championship, he dominated the voting for the 2006 Driver of the Year. Johnson, a native Californian, won some of NASCAR's most prestigious races along with his title. He took the checkered flag at the Daytona 500, the Allstate 400, the spring race at Talladega and two other points events. After crashing, in the first of ten races in the Chase to the Cup, he came back from ninth in the standings to earn that precious piece of hardware not to mention a record $15.7 million in prizes and bonuses. "It's quite an honor to be Driver of the Year, it's great," exclaimed the 31-year old driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet for Hendricks Motorsports. "I know we've been close before," Johnson added "I'm excited to be Driver of the Year." In fact in Johnson's five seasons in the big leagues he's finished second, twice, and never lower than fifth. Johnson's championship season started in a rocky fashion when his crew chief, Chad Knaus, was excluded from the four opening events. Johnson and the team responded with two wins and no finish lower than sixth during that period. Barry Schmoyer, President of the Driver of the Year Foundation, noted "Johnson, and his team's never-say-die attitude was a great example of how a team, in the face of stiff competition, prevails." Professionals, who voted - in a secret ballot - for a single driver, gave Johnson 11 votes out the 17 cast. Kevin Harvick, the Busch Series champion who also finished fourth in the Nextel Cup standings, scored two votes while Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Sam Hornish, Jr. (IRL), Donny Schatz (World of Outlaws) and Tony Schumacher (NHRA) tallied one vote apiece. In its' 40th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. are eligible to vote via a secret ballot. Johnson will receive a trophy, and a TISSOT wristwatch which will be presented on Thursday, April 26, 2007 at the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Alabama.(DOTY PR)(12-6-2006)

  • Johnson named spokesperson: Elizabeth Arden announced that Jimmie Johnson, 2006 winner of the Nextel Cup Series and reigning champion of its premiere race, the Daytona 500, has signed on with the company as national spokesperson for the Daytona 500 Fragrance for Men.(Yahoo Biz)(11-30-2006)

  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation Hats Available: By popular demand, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation is making its apparel available to the public. Here is your chance to own a Jimmie Johnson Foundation hat just like the one Jimmie wears. It is a great way to show your support. These hats are available only through the foundation website, and the proceeds benefit the foundation. Visit www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org and click on the apparel button to place your order. First run quantities are limited, so place your order now. Additional apparel will be unveiled in 2007.(11-28-2006)

  • Johnson to run ROC in Paris: The organizers of the 2006 Race of Champions - Nations Cup, a unique and spectacular competition that opposes motor sport champions and superstars from across the world, are delighted to confirm the return of NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson and multiple X-Games Champ Travis Pastrana to spearhead the USA's bid to win the coveted Nations Cup. Johnson, currently 2nd in Nascar's title Chase and winner of both this year's Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, was a member of Team USA in 2002 that claimed America's first Nations Cup title in the Canary Islands with teammates Jeff Gordon and Colin Edwards. The 31-year old Californian will participate in his third ROC event (2002 and 2004) and return to the Stade de France in Paris on December 16. Other drivers that have committed to participate in the 2006 ROC event include Formula 1 stars Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Rally World Champions Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm and Colin McRae, Dakar Champion Stephane Peterhansel, World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, DTM Champion Bernd Schneider, 7-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdais, etc. For more information on Race of Champions please visit www.raceofchampions.com.(11-27-2006)(ROC PR)

  • Johnson Finishes Season With Top Driver Rating: Not only did #48-Jimmie Johnson out-duel Matt Kenseth to win his first career Nextel Cup championship, he also finished the season with the highest Driver Rating. Driver Rating, part of NASCARs Loop Data statistics, uses a formula to rate a driver based on a number of factors including: wins, top-15 finishes, Average Running Position, Average Green-Flag Speed, Most Laps Led and Lead-Lap Finishes. The close championship battle was not only evident in the point standings, but also in Driver Rating. Johnson finished the season with a Driver Rating of 101.9, only a fraction of a point better than second-place Matt Kenseth who finished with a rating of 101.7. Johnsons slim points lead over Kenseth is also illustrated in five other Loop Data categories. He leads Kenseth in Average Starting Position with 10.8 to Kenseths 14.6 and in Average Finish, 9.7 to Kenseths 9.8. Johnsons Average Running Position of 10.8 was also better than Kenseths 11.5. Johnson also completed the Fastest Lap nearly 100 more times than Johnson this season. Johnson (1,952) also completed over 100 more Quality Passes than Kenseth (1,820).(NASCAR PR)(11-26-2006)

  • 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion - Jimmie Johnson
    " Jimmie Johnson - 31 years old from El Cajon, Calif.  won the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship. He became the 28th driver to win the championship on NASCARs premier series, winning the championship by 56 points over Matt Kenseth.
    " Johnson is the seventh different NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion in the last eight years. Only Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) has repeated as series champion since 1998.
    " His championship comes in his fifth full season of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition. Johnsons previous best season finish of second occurred in 2003 and 2004. He has finished in the top five in points in all five of his full-time seasons.
    " Johnson won five races in 2006 (Daytona, Las Vegas, Talladega, Indianapolis and second Martinsville). He has 23 career victories in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
    " Johnson also recorded one Bud Pole, 13 top-five finishes, 24 top-10 finishes this season.
    " Johnson led the standings a four times for a total of 25 races in 2006, including the final three. Johnson took the lead following Race #1 (Daytona) and held the lead for the first four races. He then dropped to third for one race, retaking the point lead after Race 6 (Martinsville) for two races. He was second after Race No. 8 (Phoenix) but came back to take the lead for 16 races the next event. He dropped out of the lead following Race #25 (California) but retook the lead following Race #34 (Texas).
    " Johnsons worst points position prior to the Chase was third following Race #5 (Bristol). He began the Chase in the second position and dropped to ninth following a 39th-place finish in the first Chase race (New Hampshire). Ranked eighth entering Charlotte, he posted three second-places finishes and one third to move back into the points lead following Race #34 (Texas). Another second-place finish at Phoenix and a ninth at Homestead secured his championship.
    " Johnsons point lead of 124 points over Matt Kenseth following Race #22 (Watkins Glen) was the largest by any driver this season.
    " Johnson has ranked in the top-10 in the championship point standings for 105 races, the sixth-longest streak in the top-10 since the point system modification in 1975.
    " Johnson won the season opening Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. The winner of the Daytona 500 has won the championship that season eight times. The winner of the Brickyard 400 has won the championship that season six times, including four consecutive years (1998 through 2001) and the past two seasons.
    " This is Jeff Gordons first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship in his fifth season as an owner. Gordon co-owns the Lowes Chevrolet with Rick Hendrick, making this the sixth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup owner championship for Hendrick Motorsports.
    " This is the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title for Chad Knaus in his fifth full season as a crew chief, all with Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports. Knaus is 35 years old and from Rockford, Ill.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-19-2006)

  • Championship Week in NYC: For the 26th consecutive year, the Nextel Cup Series Awards Ceremony is coming to the famed Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City. This years event is set for Friday night, Dec. 1 and, as always that will culminate a full week of activities for the Nextel Cup champion, and an entourage of other titlists  from the NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, the NASCAR Autozone Elite Divisions and the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series.
    From a media standpoint, there are a variety of opportunities, starting with a third-year event that has quickly become perhaps THE highlight of NASCARs yearly week in Manhattan  Victory Lap, when the 10 drivers who competed in the Chase for the Nextel Cup jump behind the wheels of show cars and provide a colorful  and raucous  parade through Midtown.
    This years Victory Lap is set for Wednesday, Nov. 29, starting at 8:30am/et in front of Good Morning Americas Time Square studios on 44th Street and Broadway. Victory Lap ends approximately a half-hour later at the ESPN Zone in Times Square, at 42nd and Broadway. Following will be a media availability session from 9:30-10:30pm/et with drivers.
    Moving on&NASCARs annual luncheon for New York and Northeast media is again slated for the renowned 21 Club on Wednesday afternoon from 12:30-2:30pm/et
    On Thursday, Nov. 30, the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon will be held at Ciprianis Restaurant, which for the first time will be a combination of two long-running previous events.
    For a number of years, NASCAR held an annual press conference on Thursday afternoon of Champions Week, featuring the top-10 drivers and a state of the sport theme, while the NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) had its annual Myers Brothers Breakfast on Friday morning, where a variety of year-end awards were presented.(NASCAR PR), any news, appearances will be posted on my 2006 Cup Awards Page.(11-17/19-2006)

  • Johnson re-ups with Levi Strauss: Jeans, Johnson a Perfect Fit: For Levi Strauss Signature jeans, Jimmie Johnson is the perfect fit. After three years of a successful partnership, the mass retail brand recently extended its sponsorship with the NASCAR driver and Hendrick Motorsports through the 2009 calendar year. As part of the three-year agreement, the Levi Strauss Signature brand will continue to be the official apparel sponsor of Johnson, as well as the official jeans of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team. The Levi Strauss Signature brand will continue to feature the El Cajon, Calif., native in its national marketing and public relations programs.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-30-2006)

  • Dodge and Chevy to change models in 2007? UPDATE Impala for Chevy in 2007 COT races: Beginning in 2007, Dodge and Chevrolet will campaign new models in Nextel Cup competition, Yahoo! Sports has learned. Dodge will run the Avenger, while Chevrolet will run the Impala SS, according to sources with some of NASCAR's manufacturers. The change also was indicated in a technical bulletin distributed to all teams last week. Both Dodge and Chevy soon will announce that they have been given approval by NASCAR to change to the new models, with Chevy's announcement possibly coming as soon as this week. According to the sources, the stock car version has been approved for use by Dodge teams for both the current Nextel Cup car as well as the Car of Tomorrow version, starting next season. The switch from Monte Carlo to Impala could signal the end of the Monte Carlo name from the Chevrolet lineup, as its rear-drive design [NOTE: the Monte Carlo is front wheel driven - verified at the chevrolet.com site] is used on its model alone and at the present time, no replacement is on the drawing boards at GM. However, unlike its Dodge counterpart, the Impala SS will only be used by Chevrolet teams for their Car of Tomorrow, according to sources. Manufacturers and NASCAR also are continuing to move forward with plans to change all of the models used in the Busch Series, perhaps as soon as the 2010 season. That change would put smaller, sportier models into competition, like the retro-designed Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger  as well as the Toyota Solara.(Yahoo Sports)(10-24-2006)
    UPDATE: After a decades-long hiatus from stock car racing, Chevy's legendary Impala nameplate - enhanced with the SS performance designation - will once again compete in NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) in select races of the 2007 NASCAR season. Chevy's Car of Tomorrow entry, slated to make its first run at Bristol in March of 2007, will be an Impala SS and will share the NNCS schedule next season with the current Monte Carlo SS. The Car of Tomorrow will share both the 2007 and 2008 racing seasons with the current race car design until its first full season in 2009. The new car is scheduled to race at sixteen events in 2007, consisting of those at tracks less than a mile and a half in length, the road courses and the second Talladega race. In 2008, all races at tracks two miles or more in length are expected to feature the new design. Chevrolet introduced the Impala in 1957 as a 1958 model (50 years ago next year) and drivers immediately took to the big car, racing it first on the beach at Daytona, then at Daytona International Speedway in 1959. Redesigned that year, Bob Welborn scored a victory with the new model for the qualifying race of the 1959 Daytona 500 - the first 500 at the Speedway. Success continued for Impala with consecutive NASCAR championship titles in 1960 (Rex White) and again in 1961 (Ned Jarrett). In 1963, stock-car legend Junior Johnson ran 32 races of the 55-race schedule in the famous white #3 Impala owned by Ray Fox and collected seven wins, 12 top-fives, 13 top-tens and nine poles.(GM Racing PR), images of the 2007 #48 Lowe's Chevy Impala on the 2007 #48 Team Schemes page.(10-27-2006)

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 5th win of the 2006 season and 23rd of his career [tied for 21st overall with Ricky Rudd]. Johnson led the most laps with 245. #11-Denny Hamlin finished 2nd, followed by #43-Bobby Labonte, #20-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top-10 were #42-Mears, #9-Kahne, #66-Green, #29-Harvick and #45-Petty. Points leader coming in to the race, #31-Jeff Burton, lost an engine and finished 42nd, falling to 5th in points. #17-Matt Kenseth finished 11th [the highest finishing Ford driver] and takes over the points lead, 36 points over #29-Harvick. The top-8 drivers in the points standings are separated by 99 points. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a late race run-in with #9-Kasey Kahne spun and finished 22nd, Earnhardt Jr. took blame for the spin. There were 18 cautions for 107 laps and 5 drivers lead the race with 16 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Martinsville Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Martinsville page
    Race Rundown: see my Martinsville Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-22-2006)

  • Johnson DID serve penalty: [since I am tired of answering this question] #48-Jimmie Johnson DID serve the pass-thru penalty after getting caught speeding on his final pit stop at Kansas Speedway. On Speed's Victory Lane it was mentioned Johnson had not served the penalty, no place else was it reported, it was reported on MRN coverage that Johnson did serve the penalty, Larry McRaynolds explains this at FoxSports.com: "There's no question that he served the penalty. It's the reason he finished 14th. The #48 car had a pretty good lead when he attempted to make his green-flag stop. Most of the cars running near the front  Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards  made pit stops as well. Those guys ended up finishing in front of Johnson because they did have to serve a pass-through penalty. As he [Johnson] approached pit road to make his green-flag stop, the #9 car spun out coming to pit road. Making a great move back on the track, Johnson anticipated that a caution was going to come out. If the caution had been thrown, a ton of cars would have gone a lap down, and he would have been in pretty good shape. Johnson probably would have come to pit road and taken four fresh tires, which would have put him in position to win the race. Unfortunately for Johnson, the caution did not wave. When he finally came back around to make a green-flag stop, he knew that he had given up a lot of time slowing down to come to pit road and then getting back up to speed on the last lap. There's a chance that he went over the speed limit to make up ground. If pit road speed at Kansas was 45 mph, Johnson was going in excess of 50 in at least one of the eight to 10 sections of pit road measured by loops. He only had to be speeding in one of those sections to get penalized. The penalty under green is called a pass-through. The driver has to come back to pit road. He doesn't have to stop in his pits, but he must maintain pit road speed. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kyle Busch, was caught speeding under caution at lap 196, and the penalty under caution is starting at the tailend of the longest line."(10-3-2006)

  • Johnson to race in Paris again: Jimmie Johnson is expected to return to Paris for the Race of Champions Dec. 16, and Formula One stars David Coulthard and Jenson Button are also expected. Promoters are hoping to get Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso in the race, too.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-25-2006)

  • Special 60th for Lowe's on #48 at LMS: #48-Jimmie Johnson will run a special paint scheme at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 14th to honor the 60th Anniversary of Lowe's Home Improvement opening. See an image on my #48 Team Schemes page.(9-23-2006)

  • Foamy mess at Hendrick hanger: Maintenance workers at Hendrick Motorsports have a foamy mess to clean up at the companys airline hanger after the building's fire extinguishing system activated. The foam covered Hendrick aircraft inside the hanger at Concord Regional Airport and workers used fans, shovels and cardboard boxes to push the foam out. The building holds about 1,200 gallons of the foam and firefighters estimated that 500 to 700 gallons of the foam discharged. The foam does not pose any environmental impact and can be dissipated with water, firefighters said. Firefighters have not determined how the system was tripped. The aircrafts were not damaged.(WCNC.com)(8-31-2006)

  • Johnson and the Levi Strauss Signature brand Launch Racing Webisodes: #48-Jimmie Johnson and the Levi Strauss Signature(r) brand have launched a series of webisodes featuring Johnson and his smart-talking sidekick, "Lil'JJ". This is type of webisode is believed to be a first for a NASCAR driver. "Creating the Lil' JJ webisodes was a great experience," said Johnson. "I really enjoyed working with the Levi Strauss Signature brand on this project which shows a different fun side of my personality." The webisodes can be accessed through levistrausssignature.com.(Alan Taylor PR)(8-20-2006)

  • Johnson wins at Indy: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his 4th win of 2006 and 22nd of his career. Johnson came back from 38th early in the race when he lost a left front tire and had to pit just before the 4th caution, but didn't lose a lap and slowly came back to win the race, leading 33 laps. #17-Matt Kenseth finished 2nd, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick, #07-Clint Bowyer, #6-Mark Martin, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kyle Busch, #20-Tony Stewart, #99-Carl Edwards and #11-Hamlin-c (14-r)
    . #31-Jeff Burton, the pole sitter and who led the most laps, fell back late and finished 15 [revised from 12th]. #9-Kasey Kahne was involved in an accident on the last lap while running 9th, finished 36th and fell 4 spots in the points to 11th and out of the Chase. There were 9 leaders with 18 lead changes and 8 cautions for 24 laps (counting the last lap caution)
    Race Results on my Indy Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Indy page
    Race Rundown: see my Indy Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-6-2006)

  • Knaus Extends with Hendrick Motorsports: #48 Nextel Cup Series crew chief Chad Knaus has signed a contract extension that will keep him with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2010 racing season, mirroring the organization's recent agreements with driver Jimmie Johnson and team sponsor Lowe's. Financial terms were not disclosed. "Chad is one of the great young minds in NASCAR and a key member of our organization," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick. "He's done an unbelievable job building the Lowe's team into a championship contender and we're excited about continuing our relationship with him." In December 2001, Knaus was named crew chief of Hendrick's #48 Lowe's Chevys driven by Johnson, then a Cup-level rookie. The team earned the pole position for its first race, the 2002 Daytona 500, and has since posted 60 top-five finishes, 102 top-10s and a series-leading 21 victories in only 167 starts. Johnson has raced each of his four full seasons with Knaus as crew chief, never finishing outside the top five in championship points. The team is currently first in the 2006 standings with three wins, seven top-five performances and 16 top-10s, best among all Nextel Cup competitors. Knaus' contract was set to expire following the 2007 NASCAR season.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(8-5-2006)

  • Johnson Foundation to build 4-Lane Bowling Alley at Victory Junction: The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced its commitment to raise $600,000 to build Victory Lanes, a four-lane bowling alley at Kyle and Pattie Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C. In support of its NASCAR Nextel Cup driver, Lowe's, through its Charitable and Educational Foundation, announced it would fund half of the project with a $300,000 donation. Fans may donate to the cause as well by visiting jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org, a limited edition Victory Lanes commemorative coin is available with a donation of $48 or more. Johnson said he hopes the coin and the worthy cause will appeal to NASCAR fans. The first 100 donors will have their coins autographed by Jimmie Johnson. The Victory Lanes coin is featured on a special #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Chevy unveiled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The car features the Jimmie Johnson Foundation logo on the hood and is scheduled to run in the Busch Series race at California Speedway on Sept. 2. Johnson said his and Chandra's foundation is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. The foundation strives to help everyone, particularly children, pursue their dreams. Lowe's said it supports the Johnson's commitment to community projects.(Jimmie Johnson Foundation PR)(8-5-2006)

  • Shamu scheme on the #48 at Daytona: Shamu will be featured in a special paint scheme on the #48 Lowe's Chevy that Jimmie Johnson drives. The paint scheme is part of SeaWorld's introduction of its new Shamu show, "Believe," open now at all three SeaWorld parks. In addition, Lowe's will offer Build and Grow Kids' Clinics when the Team Lowe's Fan Experience visits SeaWorld Orlando Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2 during park hours, and at the more than 1,250 Lowe's stores nationwide, Saturday, July 8 at 10 a.m. The clinics offer young fans the opportunity to build wooden #48 race cars featuring the Shamu paint scheme that Johnson will race in Daytona.(GMR/Team Lowe's PR), see images of the car on my #48 Team Schemes page(6-30-2006)

  • Johnson to share with Wimmer..for a while: Dover International Speedway has only 42 pit stalls, and since #48-Jimmiw Johnson is starting 42nd on the grid after spinning out on his qualifying lap, Johnson must share a pit stall with #4-Scott Wimmer, who is starting 43rd. "We were pretty excited afterwards," Johnson said about the spin where he amazingly kept the car from hitting the wall. "Shortly thereafter, we found out we had to share a pit stall, and the smiles went away." Most tracks have 43 pit stalls, but Dover does not. Once a pit stall opens up from a car that has dropped out of the event, Johnson can choose to move to the open pit stall or tell Wimmer's team to move. If both Johnson and Wimmer are on the lead lap when the caution comes out, the highest positioned driver will get to pit first. "We've just got to make the most of it and stay ahead of the 4 car [of Wimmer]," Johnson said. "I would assume the first chance we have to separate, we will do whatever we can. We'll split up as fast as we can." Usually when teams share a pit stall, it's two teams low in points and does not create a big stir. But with Johnson being the point leader, the issue has been thrown into the spotlight. "It's tough for me to believe that in today's world of racing, they can't modify pit road and adjust pit road for 43 cars to have their own pit stall," Johnson said. "I just wasn't aware of it. It just doesn't give anybody a fair shot." Wimmer said he hopes the Morgan-McClure team can use the situation as a learning experience. "Just pitting with those guys, we'll learn a lot about pit strategies and things like that," Wimmer said. "It might end up helping us out. But it's going to be interesting the first few stops because there are going to be times where they will want to come in and we will want to come in, too. Unfortunately, that's what happens when you qualify bad." Wimmer said he will be considerate considering Johnson is the point leader, but if he is ahead of Johnson, he plans on coming in with the lead-lap cars and make Johnson pit later. We definitely don't want to ruin his race, but we've got to get ourselves up to the top 35 in points so we don't have to rely on qualifying so much," Wimmer said.(SceneDaily.com)(6-4-2006)

  • Hendrick plans to keep Knaus: #48 crew chief, Chad Knaus isn't going anywhere says team owner Rick Hendrick. When the contract for Jimmie Johnson and his sponsor Lowes was extended until 2010 last week, one loose end had yet to be tied. Chad Knaus, crew chief for Johnson is currently under contract to the team until 2007 and when his name wasnt among those who were re-signed last week, speculation began that perhaps Knaus would soon be headed for the door. Knaus has been under the microscope after he was caught cheating and forced to sit out for four races at the start of the year and the rumors began to fly that perhaps Knaus would be forced out or would leave to start his own team as his mentor Ray Evernham did several years ago. Theres no problem with the Knaus contract according to team owner Rick Hendrick. I dont know how that all got out on the street that we werent re-upping Chad, Hendrick said Thursday at Lowes, as teams get ready for the Coca-Cola 600. Usually with crew chiefs a year in advance is enough, so were happy with Chad and I think Chad is happy. He plays a big part not just in the 48 team, but in our whole organization. We look for Chad to be with us for a long time. Weve already talked about this week trying to going ahead and finish up the contract and go ahead and put that to bed.(Cup Scene Daily)(5-25-2006)

  • Red Bull Shop...and rumors: Mears? Sadler? Knaus?: Toyota's Marty Gaunt has turned the lights on over at Roger Penske's old shop [in Mooresville, Lakeside Park], hired about 40 people for NASCAR's newest team, and is now looking for a couple of good men to run Dietrich Mateschitz's Red Bull [Toyota] Camrys on the Cup tour next season. #42-Casey Mears may be signing with Red Bull for 2007, leaving Chip Ganassi. Mears, in the final year of his Ganassi contract, was courted by car owner Richard Childress, either to fill Kevin Harvick's ride if Harvick had decided to leave, or to run a fourth Childress car. #38-Elliott Sadler [but is signed with RYR thru 2008] may also be signing with Red Bull, leaving Robert Yates, who is already dealing with the defection of Dale Jarrett to Toyota's Michael Waltrip for 2007. #48-Crew chief Chad Knaus, who has put Jimmie Johnson in the thick of the Nextel Cup championship race for four years now, may also be getting a major offer from the Red Bull team, though his current contract with car owner Rick Hendrick runs through 2007. Hendrick just extended Johnson's contract through 2010, but Knaus said that no one has talked with him about a contract extension.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-21-2006)

  • Knaus/Hendrick: No Negotiations: Chad Knaus was left out of the recent round of contract extensions at Hendrick Motorsports, and the crew chief said Friday he's not received indication that he'll get one. "I love my job. I love my team. I love it at Hendrick Motorsports," Knaus said during preparations for the Nextel All-Star Challenge. "But no one has talked to me about staying beyond 2007." Driver #48-Jimmie Johnson and sponsor Lowe's both signed three-year extensions this week that keep them with Hendrick through the 2010 season. But Knaus is still working under his old deal, which expires at the end of next year. Knaus was included in the last round of extensions, which came in May, 2003. Not getting one this week created speculation through the garage that something was amiss.(Associated Press)(5-20-2006)

  • Lowe's extends with #48 team and Johnson: Lowe's announced a multi-year extension of its primary sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports and the #48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Under the new agreement, Lowe's will continue its primary sponsorship of the #48 Chevrolet through the 2010 racing season. Johnson, 30, also signed a contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports that keeps him behind the wheel through 2010. Financial terms were not disclosed. The pacts build upon a partnership launched in 2001 when Hendrick Motorsports selected Johnson, who at the time had never started a Nextel Cup race, to pilot the new Lowe's-sponsored #48 Chevrolet. Now in the midst of its fifth full season, the team has posted 21 victories and four top-five points finishes. For more information on Team Lowe's Racing, visit Lowesracing.com.(GMR Marketing/Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-15-2006)

  • Johnson helps with Soap Box Derby Workshop: #48-Jimmie Johnson introduced an American tradition to boys and girls of the Greater Washington, D.C. area as the Levi Strauss Signature brand hosted a Soap Box Derby car-building workshop in the nation's capital. Youths ages 10 to 17 constructed gravity-powered cars with the help of the Daytona 500 champion and adult volunteers from the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby (GWSBD) chapter. Johnson, the national spokesperson for the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), assisted in the assembly and construction of the cars and offered his racing knowledge to the children who will now have an opportunity to race in the 65th GWSBD championship race on June 17. Local winners across the nation will advance to the 69th AASBD World Championship scheduled to take place on July 22, 2006, with Levi Strauss Signature awarding college scholarships to the winners. For more information on how to become involved with the All-American Soap Box Derby, an official youth initiative of NASCAR, visit www.aasbd.com.(5-5-2006)

  • Knaus Wins WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Talladega: In typical Talladega fashion, the Aaron's 499 played out like a 200 mph game of chess. In the end, it was Chad Knaus' decision to bring the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet in for service on the last round of pit stops which proved to be the game winning strategy. Jimmie Johnson's fresh tires were exactly what he needed to climb through the pack and capture the win. Knaus' triumphant tactics earned him the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. With 22 laps to go, Knaus was left with the difficult choice of whether to have his driver pit or stay on the track. Knaus elected to have Johnson reload with fresh tires for the final run. The decision put Johnson in 15th place for the restart, but Johnson had little difficulty storming to the front. A panel of voters; including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Sr. and a Wypall Wipers representative; agreed that Knaus' strategy earned him Crew Chief of the Race honors. For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, Wypall Wipers presented Knaus $1,000. At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. This was Knaus' first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him with Darian Grubb, Todd Berrier and Roy McCauley for second-place in the standings. Robbie Reiser and Kenny Francis are tied for the lead, each with two wins.(Wypall PR)(5-2-2006)

  • Johnson wins at Talladega: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the rain-delayed Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, leading the final lap, drafting by #25-Brian Vickers on the last lap, bring #20-Tony Stewart with him. The win is Johnson's 3rd of 2006 and 21st of his career plus his 2nd straight restrictor plate race win. Stewart finished 2nd, followed by Vickers, #31-Jeff Burton and #26-Jamie McMurray. #24-Gordon was leading with 2 laps to go and got shuffled back and finished 15th. Pole sitter, #38-Elliott Sadler finished 16th. Johnson retakes the points lead and wins the $60,000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus for leading the points and winning the race. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost an engine on lap 151 and finished 31st. There were 8 cautions for 34 laps and 22 leaders with 56 lead changes. The stands at Talladega were pretty full even after the race was postponed a day due to rain on Sunday.
    Race Results on my Talladega Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega page.
    Race Rundown: see my Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-1-2006)

    Shamu To Join Johnson At Daytona In July: Lowe's and SeaWorld announced today that Jimmie Johnson will feature a Shamu paint scheme on his Chevrolet when the Daytona 500 champion returns to the superspeedway on July 1. Lowe's is the official Home Improvement Store of all the Busch Entertainment Corp. theme parks, including SeaWorld. The paint scheme is part of SeaWorld's introduction of its all new Shamu show, called "Believe" at each of the SeaWorld parks this year. In addition to the Shamu paint scheme, a lucky race fan will have the opportunity to see the new show and watch as Jimmie Johnson races the Shamu #48 Lowe's Chevrolet. Fans can log on to www.lowesracing.com, sign up for a free Team Lowe's Racing fan club membership, then race the specially designed #48 Chevrolet online. The fan with the fastest time will win a trip to Orlando to visit SeaWorld and Discovery Cove as well as the opportunity to watch Jimmie race. The Contest will run from April 7 to May 12.(GMR Marketing PR), see an image of the car on my #48 Team Schemes page.(4-8-2006)

  • Johnson wrecks in LMS tire testing: #48-Jimmie Johnson crashed in Turn 4 when his right rear tire went flat at Lowe's Motor Speedway during the Goodyear tire test Wednesday morning. Johnson was not injured in the accident, but his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy could not be repaired enough for him to continue to test on the newly repaved track. "The tire went down, lost air pressure," said Rick Heinrich, Goodyear's Nextel Cup product manager. "He had felt the tire start to go down in Turn 1, and in Turn 3, the deflation of the tire completed. ... We're still looking at the tire and trying to come up with a concrete determination of what caused the tire to go down. We don't know if it was a puncture or wear-related at this point." Johnson's was the only incident during the Tuesday all-day session and the Monday morning session. #43-Bobby Labonte, #10-Scott Riggs, #29-Kevin Harvick and Bobby Hamilton Jr. in a truck also participated in the session.(SceneDaily.com)(3-29-2006)

  • Johnson beats Kenseth at Vegas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a last lap pass during a Green-White-Checkered finish, beating #17-Matt Kenseth by 1/2 a car length. Kenseth led 146 of the 270 laps and Johnson led 1, the most important one, the final lap. The win is Johnson's 2nd of 2006 [in 3 races], 2nd in a row at Las Vegas and 20th career win in 150 starts [13%]. Johnson has 2 wins and a 2nd this season, now leads Kenseth in the points by 52 points. #5-Kyle Busch finished 3rd [and tangled with #20-Stewart again], followed by #9-Kasey Kahne and #24-Jeff Gordon. Johnson is the first driver to win a Cup race from a top-5 starting spot [3rd]. 2005 Nextel Cup champ, #20-Tony Stewart was in the top-5 most of the day until late contact with the wall slowed him to 21st. #42-Casey Mears, who fell from 2nd in drivers points to 4th, still was able to finish 9th, he and Johnson are the only drivers who have top-10's in all three races so far in 2006. There were 7 cautions for 30 laps. There were 22 lead changes with 11 leaders.
    Race Results on my Las Vegas Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Las Vegas page.
    Race Rundown: see my Las Vegas Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(3-12-2006)

  • Johnson admits chief went too far: #48-Jimmie Johnson admitted Friday that suspended crew chief Chad Knaus erred in judgment by utilizing a device to raise the rear window of the #48 Lowe's Chevy to gain an aerodynamic advantage during Daytona 500 qualifying. "Chad is an innovator and has pushed hard on a lot of fronts, but it just isn't worth it, to be honest," Johnson said. "I think [the suspension] sent a message to all the teams. It sent a message to Chad. We've got to walk on the right side of the line." Johnson, who continued to reiterate his Daytona 500 winning car passed post-race technical inspection, is confident he will be a Nextel Cup title contender this season despite losing Knaus to a four-race suspension. "I think we've got to spin this and make it a positive for our race team," Johnson said. "And we're making our race team stronger right now by going through this. I hope it gives us what we need to win a championship."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-25-2006)

  • Explanation of why no points penalty for #48: Examples:
    Points penalty
    Last March at Las Vegas, #29 crew chief Todd Berrier welded the fuel filler so it looked like it was full of fuel when it wasn't.
    Two weeks ago at Daytona, the Hall of Fame Racing's #96 car qualified with an unapproved carburetor.
    According to NASCAR, those two infractions warranted not only a fine but a reduction of 25 driver and owner points because the fuel filler and the carburetor were absolutely unapproved parts. NASCAR was able to walk over to the car and confiscate those pieces, and their use was premeditated. The pieces were specifically made to skirt NASCAR's rules.
    No points penalty
    Last fall during qualifying at Talladega, Berrier and the #29 team had some trap doors in the trunk that weren't properly sealed off. The shocks were open when they were supposed to be closed. And some hose clamp that holds the fuel-filler pipe in place came loose. The next thing you know, Kevin Harvick's car had air underneath the car, going up through the trunk and escaping out a hole in the back of the tail light. In that instance, no unapproved parts or pieces were used.
    During Daytona 500 qualifying this year, crew chief Chad Knaus and the #48 team put a sleeve over the trackbar adjuster. Like the #29 car at Talladega last fall, all of those parts and pieces were still part of the car that they raced in the Daytona 500.
    so....Points penalty: In simple terms, here's the pattern. If you maliciously put something on a car that's made or machined, and it's an unapproved piece that can be confiscated, the team will be fined, the crew chief will be suspended and the driver and owner will lose 25 points.
    No points penalty: If you take something that's already on the car and use it to beat the spirit of the rule, then it warrants a suspension and a fine, but it does not warrant the loss of 25 driver and owner points. See Larry McReynolds full article at FoxSports.(2-23-2006)

  • #48 and #96 Penalties Announced:
    NASCAR announced today that four penalties have been issued to two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, as a result of rule violations this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
    Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, has been fined $25,000 and suspended from all NASCAR events until March 22, 2006 [thru Atlanta race]. Knaus has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006. The penalties come because of an unapproved template modification to the rear window area, violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 20-3.12.1 (A) (unapproved template modification.) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule book. The violation was discovered during Feb. 12 post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500. On Feb. 13, NASCAR ejected Knaus from further participation in Daytona 500 activities as a result of the violation.[No Point Penalties]
    Three penalties were assessed to the #96 Chevrolet team, due to the use of an unapproved carburetor, a violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book. Crew chief Philippe Lopez was fined $25,000; driver Terry Labonte was penalized with the loss of 25 driver championship points; and car owner William Saunders was penalized 25 owner championship points. This rule violation was also discovered during post-qualifying inspection for the Daytona 500.(NASCAR PR)(2-21-2006)

  • Johnson's winning car inducted in Daytona USA: Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team were reunited with their Daytona 500-winning #48 Lowe's Chevy at DAYTONA USA on Monday morning for the Eckrich Champion's Breakfast. After celebrating his first Daytona 500 victory on Sunday night, Johnson, owner Rick Hendrick and substitute crew chief Darian Grubb were up bright and early to induct the winning racing machine into DAYTONA USA. The #48 car will rest inside Gatorade Victory Lane at DAYTONA USA for the next 364 days and will be returned to the team before the start of the 49th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, 2007. Johnson, Hendrick and Grubb participated in a fan forum inside the attraction and received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig and Gatorade presented the 2006 Daytona 500 champ with a framed photo from Victory Lane.(DIS PR)(2-20-2006)

  • Johnson on the tube: 2006 Daytona 500 champ Jimme Johnson is now off to New York City and Los Angeles to handle media obligations that come with being the Daytona 500 champion. First stop will be the Late Show with David Lettermen on Monday night and Live with Regis and Kelly on Tuesday.(DIS PR)(2-20-2006)

  • Johnson wins the Daytona 500: #48-Jimmie Johnson led late and without suspended crew chief Chad Knaus, won the 2006 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with a green-white-checkered finish. #42-Casey Mears [career best finish] finished 2nd, followed by #12-Ryan Newman, #38-Elliott Sadler and #20-Tony Stewart. The rest of the top 10: #07-Bowyer, #25-Vickers, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #21-Schrader and #88-Jarrett. There were 18 leaders, a new track record. Pole sitter, #31-Jeff Burton in the Cingular Chevy, got involved in a late wreck and finished 32nd. Petty Enterprises started off good, until #45-Petty got caught up in an early wreck, but #43-Bobby Labonte was running in the top-15 until he got caught up in the Burton-McMurray wreck. #27-Kirk Shelmerdine, with support from Childress Vineyards, had a nice run and finished 20th, his career best. #20-Stewart and #24-Gordon tangled, #20-Stewart and #17-Kenseth tangled. Stewart and #5-Busch were penalized for aggressive driving during he race.
    Race Results on my Daytona Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona page.
    Race Rundown: see my Daytona 500 Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(2-19-2006)

  • #48 Team on the phone with Knaus: When #48-Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, was suspended last week after Johnson's car failed post-qualifying inspection, Knaus packed up and headed home to Charlotte, NC. He was banned from all remaining Speed Weeks events, and NASCAR will consider expanding the penalty after today's Daytona 500. Since Knaus went home, NASCAR has approved the Hendrick Motorsports crew chief's post-practice telephone and e-mail communication with his team and Johnson in preparation for the 500. The team has adjusted to communicating with Knaus from four states away. Johnson, though, would prefer his 500 didn't play out this way. "We talk at night and work on a game plan for the next day and work on that test matrix, if you will," Johnson said, "and come back and have a conference call the next evening and talk about what worked and what didn't. It's definitely a different way of working on a race car. I've never been through it and certainly hope we're never in this position again."(Palm Beach Post)(2-19-2006)

  • Hendrick Keeping Knaus: Chad Knaus was sent home from Daytona, but he's not in danger of being sent packing from Hendrick Motorsports. Team owner Rick Hendrick said Knaus still has two years left on his contract, but Hendrick has no intentions of letting him go. "We want him, he wants us, Lowe's is happy, life is good," Hendrick said. "We're going to renegotiate. This was a little bump in the road, but we're going to put it behind us and go on." Knaus signed a five-year extension with Hendrick on May 26, 2003, but Hendrick said he hopes to have a new deal done by the end of this season.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(2-19-2006)

  • Knaus looking to get canned? UPDATE denied: By the way, a rumor floating around the garage says that [#48 crew chief Chad] Knaus has been trying to get out of his contract at Hendrick so that he can move to Evernham Motorsports, and that he might be trying to get fired to accomplish that goal.(Yahoo Sports)(2-16-2006)
    UPDATE 1a: Daytonas most ridiculous rumor was that Knaus got himself kicked out of the Daytona 500 because hes trying to get fired from his job at Hendrick Motorsports so he can go back to work for his old boss, Ray Evernham. Not only is the rumor untrue, it is patently absurd. Knaus worked for Evernham twice, once as one of Jeff Gordons original Rainbow Warriors, the second time very briefly after Evernham formed his own team. After that, the two split for good, perhaps because their personalities are so similar. Dont expect them to work together again any time soon.(Speed Channel)
    UPDATE 1b: been told by Hendrick Motorsports Knaus is not looking to leave the #48 team.(2-17-2006)

  • More on the #48 infraction: A respected source in the garage area reports NASCAR officials had a little help discovering the ingenious manner of cheating which lead to the ejection of Chad Knauss from the remainder of the Daytona activities. To add salt to the wound inflicted on the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team, this source reports the finger pointing that led officials to the infraction came from within the Chevrolet camp.(CircleTrackPlus)(2-16-2006)

  • Knaus expected gone longer the Daytona: Although NASCAR will wait until next week to decide on its final penalties for Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the #48 Lowe's Hendrick Motorsports team, Johnson hinted Thursday that he expects Knaus to be missing from the team for the next few races. Knaus was ejected from Daytona 500 Sunday after NASCAR inspectors discovered he had altered a rear jack bolt to move the rear window on the #48 in an attempt to improve aerodynamics. After busting Knaus, NASCAR sent him back to North Carolina for the remainder of Speedweeks and said that it may levy additional penalties to the team next week. Johnson met with press for about 10 minutes prior to Wednesdays first Daytona 500 practice sessions. Twice he hinted that Knauss suspension would extend beyond Daytona. Referring to Darian Grubb, the teams lead engineer and fill-in for Knaus at the Daytona 500, Johnson said, Darian Grubbs & been our engineer for the race team, hes been on the (pit) box. He was going to be on the box next to Chad through this year, but now hes going to be solo on the box for the first few races. Later, Johnson added of Knaus, Unfortunately, he stepped over the line. Its something that he admits, and feels terrible about. Hes at home going crazy over this & Hell be back after just a couple of weeks at home.(Speed Channel)(2-15-2006)

  • Johnson could had lost car to NASCAR: After his #48 Lowe's Chevrolet was disqualified after post Daytona 500 qualifying inspection there was a chance Jimmie Johnson was going to lose his primary car for the 500. However according to NASCAR's Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton; "We are not going to take the car. They'll be able to run that car. There are some things we need to work on when we get in the garage area Wednesday morning but the cars fine." Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby explains, "A lot of times you can hold an illegal part or piece in you hand. Then there's other situations where you use what is a very acceptable, very normal and very legal piece on the car and create a procedure that turns that part into something that it shouldn't do." Darby went on to explain what his inspectors found following pole qualifying. "Basically the pannard rod adjusting bolt had an additional clamp on it which enabled that adjusting rod to not only adjust the pannard bar but while the pannard bar was being adjusted it jacked the rear window up." The 48 team must now correct the illegal part for the car to be able to return to the track.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(2-14-2006)

  • Knaus Ejected from 2006 Daytona 500 Activities UPDATE 2 Hendrick Responds: NASCAR announced today that NASCAR Nextel Cup Series crew chief Chad Knaus has been ejected from any further participation in 2006 Daytona 500 activities as a result of a rules infraction discovered following pole qualifying runs Sunday. Knaus is the crew chief for the #48 Lowe's Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson. NASCAR said the #48 car failed post-qualifying template inspection in the rear window area [had a device installed that raised the rear window after pre-aualifying inspection]. The qualifying time posted by the #48 was disallowed and Johnson will have to start at the rear of the field in the first of two 150-mile qualifying races Thursday. The qualifying time of the #96 DLP Chevy driven by Terry Labonte was also disallowed. NASCAR officials said an unapproved carburetor was found on the 96 car. Labonte will also have to start from the rear of the field in Thursdays qualifying races. Additional penalties for both cars will be determined following the Daytona 500.(NASCAR PR)(2-13-2006)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick today responded to NASCAR sanctions levied against crew chief Chad Knaus following Sunday's Daytona 500 post-qualifying inspection at Daytona International Speedway. "We understand NASCAR's position," Hendrick said. "Our expectations for the team remain high. It's a deep, championship-caliber group and they'll step up this weekend." Darian Grubb, lead engineer for the #24 and #48 Hendrick Motorsports teams, will immediately assume Knaus' at-track duties in preparation for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500. "It's obviously disappointing to miss the biggest race of the year, but I'm confident in Darian and the rest of my teammates," Knaus said. "There's been a lot of effort put into the Daytona 500 and I know the team will be successful with the support they'll receive from the entire organization."(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-13-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Knaus cannot appeal the deci-sion, and Darian Grubb, the lead engineer for Johnson and Jeff Gordon's teams, will assume Knaus' duties at the track in preparation for Sunday's race. This is the seventh time Knaus has been fined and/or suspended by NASCAR for infractions on one of his cars. The first two came in 2001 when he was working on Stacy Compton's car. The other five have come with Johnson. He has been fined a total of $74,250, and this is the third suspension he will serve. Knaus also was suspended two races and fined $35,000 last March at Las Vegas when Johnson's race-winning car was found to be too low. He appealed the suspension, and NASCAR overturned it but put him on 90 days probation and kept the fine and the 25-point docking. In September at Dover, Johnson's car failed postrace inspection but later passed on a second attempt. NASCAR did not punish the team but did rewrite a rule about shock absorbers that Knaus had found a way to work around.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(2-14-2006)

  • Johnson's qualifying run disqualified MORE Burton and Gordon cars also being looked at AND #96 also disallowed: on Speed Channel's Victory Lane show, Bob Dilner reported that #48-Jimmie Johnson's Daytona 500 qualifying run has been disqualified due to an illegal traction control adjuster on the right rear of the car. Johnson had qualified 5th on Sunday with a speed of 188.762mph and the rear tires were rubbing and smoking during his run. So Johnson will not have his speed to fall back on if he has a bad run in the Gatorade Duel race on Thursday, but since he is in the top-35 2005 owners points, he is guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500. Could be a fine and/or points penalty coming.
    AND Jimmie Johnson qualified 5th on Sunday in Daytona 500 time trial runs. He has been disqualified. Johnson had an illegal off-set track bar adjuster in the right rear of that car. If you remember during his time trial run, the #48 was smoking out on the racetrack in the left rear. With this illegal adjuster, it boosted up the back glass and actually made the left rear rub a little bit so that time has been disallowed by NASCAR. There are a bunch of other issues in the garage area. In fact, some issues with the #31 team of Jeff Burton. That's right. Your Daytona 500 polesitter. Those issues have to do with the engine, and that's being hotly discussed in the garage area right now. In the media center after the Budweiser Shootout, NASCAR said it is researching several things from post-500 qualifying tech, including Burton's car as well as the #24 car of Jeff Gordon.(FoxSports), see qualifying results on my Daytona 500 Qualifying/Grid page.
    UPDATE: been told that Jeff Burton's #31 Cingular Chevy passed inspection and there is no issue with the motor. BUT have been told the #96 DLP Chevy's time has been disallowed due to an unapproved carberator modification, so Terry Labonte will start from the rear at the Gatorade Duel's.(2-12-2006)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR officials late Sunday disqualified the Daytona 500 qualifying times set earlier in the day by Jimmie Johnsons #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and the #96 Hall of Fame Racing Chevy driven by Terry Labonte. According to NASCAR, in post-qualifying inspection Johnsons car failed a template inspection, while Labontes car had a carburetor violation. Both cars had cleared pre-qualifying inspections. As a result, both cars will have to start in the back of the field during next Thursdays Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race, which will set the final field for the Daytona 500. NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said Sunday night that additional penalties could be forthcoming. Those penalties could include points taken away from the teams, monetary fines or both. Hunter said that although NASCAR had not confiscated Johnsons car, that is also a potential option at the sanctioning bodys disposal. These were serious infractions, Hunter said, adding that the sanctioning body was treating them as such, given that they occurred prior to the first and most visible race of the season, the Daytona 500.(Speed Channel)
    UPDATE 3 - Suspension?: #48 Crew chief Chad Knaus faces possible suspension for altering the height of the rear window in driver Jimmie Johnson's car before Sunday's qualifying for the Daytona 500. The biggest penalty could come as early as Monday against Knaus, according to a NASCAR source. According to the source, an instrument was placed inside the car that raised the rear window after it went through pre-qualifying inspection to provide an aerodynamic advantage. The height difference was discovered during a post-qualifying inspection and considered a flagrant attempt to gain a competitive advantage.(NASCAR.com)(2-12-2006)

  • Hendrick offer bonus for The Chase: Hendrick Motorsports Team owner Rick Hendrick said he will split a $1,248,525 bonus between his four full-time teams if they qualify, figuring to increase his odds of winning the title. Last season Roush Racing placed its five Fords in the 10-race playoff among the top 10 drivers. Hendrick's lone qualifier, Jimmie Johnson, finished fifth. "We're thankful for what we've done, but that doesn't count," Hendrick said Wednesday during the media tour of Nextel Cup garages. "We're hungry for another championship here. We want to win Busch and Cup titles, we want to all be in the Chase, we have bonuses, we have coins that say all four are in the Chase ..." The bonus amount is comprised of the car numbers of four-time champ Jeff Gordon (24), Johnson (48), '05 Rookie of the Year Kyle Busch (5) and Brian Vickers (25).(USA Today)(1-26-2006)

  • Johnson Hits the Big Screen at Atlanta: While his Hendrick Motorsports teammates were hitting the Daytona pavement testing their stock cars, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus were hitting the big screen at Atlanta Motor Speedway today, filming an upcoming episode of the hit NBC TV series "Las Vegas." Johnson, playing himself, starred with Nikki Cox, who gets driving tips from the two-time winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Knaus, Johnson's crew chief, also plays himself in the episode which is tentatively set to air on February 6. While Johnson may seem like a natural on the track, he admits acting isn't quite so easy for him. "You have a writer trying to write things that you would say and you have to make it sound like what you would say," the driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet said. "Fortunately, I am playing myself, so I can turn to the writers and say 'I would do it like this,' and they are OK with that." Johnson also admits that it could be even more difficult for him. "Remembering the lines and trying to look like you're not thinking about the lines that you have to deliver is the most difficult part," Johnson commented. "If I was playing someone else and there was a particular way I had to deliver lines and have a certain personality, I would be in big trouble."(AMS PR)(1-18-2006)

  • Knaus leaving #48 rumors were just that: Jimmie Johnson said he and crew chief Chad Knaus laughed at the off-season rumors that Knaus was about to leave the Hendrick Motorsports team that fields the #48 Lowe's Chevy for Johnson. "I think it started banquet week," Johnson said. "He called me and asked if I fired him and my response back was, 'No, are you leaving?'" Johnson did admit that he and Knaus were both frustrated near the end of the 2005 season as they again unsuccessfully chased a Nextel Cup title. "Last year was tough at the end and we were frustrated," Johnson said. "I give Chad a lot of credit for how hard he was working. It just didn't give us the results that we wanted. I think...the rumors kind of generated from that. And really, there was not any internal talk, there was not any discussion about a different crew chief, ever, and those rumors were something that we kind of laughed about and joked about."(ThatsRacin)(1-11-2006)

  • Knaus leaving Hendrick? UPDATE 3 staying..but changes: hearing that #48 Hendrick Motorsports crew chief, Chad Knaus may leave the team and driver Jimmie Johnson and go back to Evernham Motorsports [was one of Evernham's first hires, until moving to #92 Melling team in 2001], then Hendrick Motorsports in 2002 to crew chief Johnson.
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports says Knaus has no plans to leave Hendrick Motorsports and has multiple years remaining on his contract.(12-2-2005)
    UPDATE 2: hearing some crew members from the #48 Lowe's Hendrick Motorsports team have left and gone to Evernham Motorsports recently and that one of the Evernham's engineers could be headed over to be the crew chief on the #48.(12-19-2005)
    UPDATE 3: Chad Knaus is not leaving Hendrick Motorsports. It seemed inevitable at the end of the 2005 season, and the rumor is still hot, but Knaus told [Marty Smith] late last week he is working with HMS officials on a new long-term contract that will keep him atop the #48 pit box for the foreseeable future, and he was in the wind tunnel with the #48 team last week. Many key HMS crewmembers, however, have departed the #24/#48 shop during the offseason. No less than four crewmembers are gone from the #48 team, one to Robert Yates Racing, another to Richard Childress Racing, another to Evernham Motorsports and another to Bill Davis Racing. Sources close to HMS said the #24 team lost roughly the same number of crewmen, and to the same teams.(NASCAR.com/Marty Smith)(1-4-2005)

2005 News

  • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun at Martinsville Speedway [3rd], a $1,000 donation was made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Jimmie Johnson. This is the 11th time this year that a donation in Johnson's name has been made to the NPCC. Info on past contests and the drivers at gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Comm. PR)(10-27-2005)

  • Georgia Pacific to Hendrick? hearing that Georgia Pacific, current sponsor for #45 Kyle Petty, will go to Hendrick Motorsports in some capacity. Could be as a full associate and part-time primary one or more of the Hendrick teams, which are #5-Kyle Busch, #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, #44-Terry Labonte, #48-Jimmie Johnson. Petty had announced midseason Georgia Pacific would not be back, they were also rumored to be the new sponsor for Roush Racing's #6 with Mark Martin driving but looks like AAA will be the sponsor there. Georgia Pacific is scheduled to make an announcement of some sort at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday.(10-26-2005)

  • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: The Chase for the coveted NASCAR NEXTEL Cup continues, and so does your chance to win big. This is the last weekend in which fans who pick the correct finishing order of the Gillette Young Guns - Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Matt Kenseth - by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com will have the chance to win $1 Million and a trip to the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun at Lowe's Motor Speedway, a $1,000 donation was made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Jimmie Johnson. This is the 10th time this year that a donation in Johnson's name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-22-2005)

  • Hendrick unsure about attending Martinsville: Car owner Rick Hendrick won't decide until Sunday whether hell travel to Martinsville for the Subway 500 cup race. It was one year ago this weekend when a Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed into Bull mountain near Martinsville while attempting to land in foggy conditions.10 people lost their lives, including his son Ricky, brother John and head engine builder Randy Dorton. Hendrick told PRN'S Garagepass; Ive learned since the accident that I have to take things day by day. I can have three or four days great and then Ill get really down and thinking about things. It could be somebodys birthday or Rickys daughter comes over to the house or whatever and it just unleashes a lot of emotions so I just try not to make too many plans. I want to go back to support the guys and I also feel like you just cant run from it. But, if that morning if it doesnt feel right then I wont go.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-20-2005)

  • Knaus Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Charlotte: Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus did it again. Together, the duo overcame a last place starting spot, a faulty alternator and a compressed fender in route to their fourth straight win at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson's win marked his fourth of the season and catapulted him into first place in the championship point standings. For leading his driver to Victory Lane, Knaus won the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. The panel of voters, including a Wypall Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr., all agreed that Knaus's performance deserved Crew Chief of the Race honors.
    Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Greg Zipadelli are tied for second-place with three wins. Bob Osborne, Jimmy Fennig, Robbie Reiser, Chad Knaus and Robbie Loomis are tied for third-place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Greg Erwin, Slugger Labbe, Pat Tryson and Pete Rondeau are tied for fourth place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(10-17-2005)

  • Johnson wins at Charlotte: #48-Jimmie Johnson didn't lead until the last 13 laps, but pulled off the win in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, for his 4th win at LMS in a row, 5th in the last 6 races there, 4th of the season and 18th win of his career. Johnson is the first driver to sweep the races at a track in 2005, winning both Cup races at LMS this season. It was a wild race with a ton of tire problems with most of the problems with the right front, three drivers were leading when they lost a right front, #5-Busch, #20-Stewart and #9-Kahne. The win vaults Johnson into a tie for the points lead with Stewart, although Stewart is the leader with 5 wins over Johnson's 4. The top-10 Chasers are now within 142 points. #97-Kurt Busch finished 2nd, followed by #16-Greg Biffle, #01-Joe Nemechek and #6-Mark Martin. #11-Denny Hamlin, only in his 2nd race, finished 8th and was running in the top-5 until a few laps to go. The race started a little late as NASCAR waited for NBC to finish up with the USC-Notre Dame college football game which lasted until 7:43pm/et, the race was scheduled to start at 7:20pm/et. Due to the tire problems NASCAR mandated a minimum tire pressure for the tires that Goodyear posts in its tire notes and PRN radio said that NASCAR said that teams caught not maintaining the minimum air pressure will lose points. There was an event record 15 cautions for 83 laps and 17 drivers led a lap with 35 lead changes.
    For my race rundown, laps led, DNF's, caution info, Lucky Dogs and some notes, see my Charlotte/LMS Race Info/Rundown Page.
    For race results and awards, and other site links, see my
  • Jayski's Charlotte Race Results/Awards page.(10-16-2005)

  • Johnson to narrate Soap Box Derby special: NASCAR and the All-American Soap Box Derby have created a documentary this year entitled "Derby Dreams: Stories from the 68th All-American Soap Box Derby." It is produced by NASCAR Images and narrated by NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Jimmie Johnson and will appear on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, October 22 at 8:00pm/et.(Alan Taylor Communications)(10-7-2005)

  • Johnson accepts blame for wreck: #48-Jimmie Johnson acknowledged Tuesday he was at fault for an eight-car crash at Talladega Superspeedway that scuttled at least one other driver's championship hopes. Johnson had denied responsibility immediately after Sunday's accident, which cost both himself and Mark Martin valuable ground in the race for the Nextel Cup title. After watching tape of the accident that occurred 20 laps into the race, Johnson said he realized he ran into the back of leader Elliott Sadler to start the wreck. Johnson initially claimed he was pushed into Sadler by Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I feel bad, I don't know what else I can say," Johnson said. "I started a wreck and took out a lot of good cars. That was the last thing I intended to do and I feel horrible for it. So I'm taking the responsibility. I needed to see the video to really understand what took place." Johnson was widely blamed by the other drivers in the accident, especially Sadler. "I guess he's trying to keep his streak alive -- he caused a big wreck here last year and he caused a big one again this year," Sadler snapped. "Maybe that's his way of racing here at Talladega ... try to get rid of everybody so he can win the race." Johnson said he has apologized to Sadler, and left a message for Michael Waltrip, who flipped several times during the accident. He now believes the accident was caused because he got too close to Sadler entering the first turn, causing Sadler's car to bobble. Sadler had to slow to save it, and Johnson rammed into the back of him. Earnhardt then hit Johnson, starting the chain-reaction crash. "That's the last thing in the world I wanted to do," Johnson said. "I went and spoke to Elliott immediately after the race and he knew. Even though he was upset, he apologized for saying some harsh things, but he knew what took place and that I got him loose before I actually got into him. I apologized." Johnson was also blamed for starting a 25-car accident at Talladega in April, a wreck that led Earnhardt to call him an "idiot" and create a wave of criticism about Johnson's driving style.(ESPN.com/AP)(10-4-2005)

  • OT to be paid: Hendrick Motorsports will pay more than $350,000 in back overtime wages to employees after an investigation found the racing company violated federal labor laws. The company, which designs, builds and races cars in NASCAR, acknowledged it failed to pay 214 salaried production workers $351,783 in overtime between July 2003 and July 2005. The U.S. Labor Department said it determined Hendrick violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. "We certainly wanted to make sure our employees received any compensation to which they were entitled, so we were glad to make the appropriate payments," Hendrick spokesman Jesse Essex told The Associated Press on Saturday in an e-mail. "We've updated our internal policies and do not anticipate any ongoing issues."(ESPN.com/AP)(10-2-2005)

  • #48/#5 too high in post race inspection at Dover? UPDATE: been told that the winning #48 Chevy that Jimmie Johnson drove to victory at Dover didn't meet the height reqiurements in post-race inspection and supposedly the #5 Chevy was too high also. #5-Busch finished a very close 2nd. Hearing the height was over 3/4" off in the rear of the cars. It was mentioned during the race broadcast that the two cars sat higher then other cars on the track. Was told that it was reported to the media that all cars passed inspection, not sure if their is a shock issue or if fines will be handed out, Tuesday is usually the day NASCAR announces such things [except for after New Hampshire last week]. The #5 team was fined back in March for having the quarter panels too high at Las Vegas and the #48 was fined after Vegas for being too low with Johnson winning and Busch finishing 2nd.(9-27-2005)
    UPDATE: For the second time this season, a cloud hovers over a 1-2 finish by Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. The shock absorbers from six cars, including those of Johnson and Busch, were confiscated after Sunday's race at Dover. They were taken for testing to see if they are in compliance with NASCAR rules. Johnson won the event and took the lead in the chase for the Cup championship as Busch finished a close second. Their shocks were taken after their cars had trouble passing post-race inspection. Johnson and Busch had a 1-2 finish tainted at Las Vegas when the rear of Johnson's car was too low and the right-rear of Busch's car was too high during post-race checks. Shocks were also confiscated at Dover from the cars of Penske Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace; and the Roush Racing cars of Mark Martin and Greg Biffle. Of the six, only Busch is not among drivers in the championship chase.(High Point Enterprise)(9-28-2005)

  • Hendrick was nervous: Car owner Rick Hendrick watched nervously from his home the final laps of the race at Dover recovering from a touch of the flu; however that didnt stop him from getting word to his rookie driver #5-Kyle Busch prior to racing teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson for the win. I called Doug Duchardt (V.P. of Development) and I said give Alan Gustafson (Buschs crew chief) a message&tell him to tell Kyle not to do anything stupid&(laughs) Then when the flag dropped on the green, white, checkered I said evidently he didnt get the message. So, Monday morning I said, you didnt get my message? Kyle said&I got it&.I wasnt on him&I didnt touch him! I said, well it was too close for me. But it was good race and a good result.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(9-28-2005)

  • Johnson wins at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway, holding off teammate #5-Kyle Busch on a green-white-checkered finish to win for his 3rd win of the season, 3rd at Dover and 17th of his career. The win vaulted Johnson into the Points Lead, 7 over #2-Rusty Wallace. Wallace finished 3rd, followed by #6-Mark Martin and #12-Ryan Newman [the pole sitter]. #20-Tony Stewart, the points leader going into today action, had a tough day all day and even with two lucky dog passes still only finished 18th, 2 laps down. #17-Matt Kenseth had a tire go down early, lost a lap, got the luck dog, then late in the race had another tire go down, smacked the wall and retired the #17 Ford in 35th. #97-Kurt Busch finished 23rd, 3 laps off the pace after tire woes and is now 170 points back in 10th spot. Busch led the most laps with 192. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a stout car early in the race, but had brake problems, made an unscheduled pit stop, lost 7 laps and ended up 31st. #38-Elliott Sadler finished 6th and has a 40 point lead over #29-Kevin Harvick for 11th points place. No tempers or crazy wrecks this week, a few tire problems and debris on the track were about it.(9-25-2005)

    For the race rundown, with caution info, lap leaders, some race notes and lucky dogs, see my Dover Race Info/Rundown Page.
    For race results and awards, and other site links, see my
  • Jayski's Dover Race Results/Awards page.(9-25-2005)

  • Johnson to test at Texas: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to test on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at Texas Motor Speedway in prep for the Nov. 6th Dickies 500. No word on if it is open to the public.(TMS)(9-1-2005)

  • 2006 #48 Scheme? UPDATE yep, more images: have posted what is supposed to be the new #48 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevy scheme for 2006, see it in my 2006 #48 Team Schemes page. Supposedly the new scheme will be officially unveiled on Thursday at a Lowe's store in CA.(8-30-2005)
    UPDATE - Lowe's Employee Designs New Paint Scheme For 2006 #48 car: Jimmie Johnson unveiled a redesigned version of his #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet today at the Lowe's store in Santee, Calif., just minutes from his hometown of El Cajon. The newly painted #48 Lowe's Chevrolet was designed by a Lowe's employee and serves as the first major redesign of the car since Johnson assumed driving duties in 2001. The new design, one of six finalists, was the top choice of the more than 20,000 employees who voted. The scheme was submitted by Bryan Turnmire, a production artist at Lowe's corporate office in Mooresville, N.C., a fact that was unknown to the voters. Turnmire is a 14-year Lowe's employee, originally from Creston, N.C. The new paint scheme will debut at the Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 16, where hundreds of Lowe's employees who represent the top stores in the company will be in attendance. The #48 Chevrolet will make its full-time debut in the 2006 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. See my 2006 #48 Team Schemes page(9-1-2005)

  • Papis Tests for Hendrick: Road-course driver Max Papis spent Aug. 23-24 testing with NASCAR's Hendrick Motorsports at Road Atlanta in an effort to evaluate the team's gearboxes used specifically in a road-racing configuration. Papis drove the demanding Georgia course in one of Hendrick's NEXTEL Cup Series Chevrolets [#48], which was used as a backup race car at Watkins Glen, N.Y., the most recent road race on the circuit. The Italian driver, who tested Road Atlanta solely in race trim, gave excellent feedback throughout the two-day session and helped garner vital information for Hendrick Motorsports. Max Papis is a works driver for General Motors Racing. He drives Corvette C6.R's in endurance races such as the 24 hours of Le Mans and Cadillac CTS' in American Le Mans Series sprint races. He also keeps a busy schedule filling his time in the Grand-Am series where he pilots the TRG Pontiac prototype in selected sports car races. Max will return to Road Atlanta in four weeks time where he will drive a works Corvette C6.R in the ALMS Petite Le Mans event. Max Papis said, "First I must thank everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for presenting me with this opportunity. Everyone was so professional and helpful. This was my first time on a road course in a Cup car. To be able to do such a test in one of the best Cup cars, with one of the best teams was a great learning experience for me. I felt at home after the first twenty laps. To drive one of these cars really fast requires such finesse and focus, and I have to tell you that the engine is incredible! The car is like a rocket down the straights! I think my experience in different types of racecars really helped me in being able to evaluate and offer useful feedback to the team. I think we made good progress in evaluating the team's road race transmissions. It was all hard work, but for me it was fun. Not only because I had the opportunity to drive such a good car, but also because the guy's at Hendrick Motorsports were so good to work with. I would love to be able to work with them again."
    Ken Howes - VP Competition, Hendrick Motorsports: "The main reason we scheduled this test with Max was to evaluate the reliability of our transmissions in a road race set-up. We asked Max to drive for us because of his road racing abilities and his experience in a variety of different types of racecars. We felt he could help out. We also wanted his input on all aspects of the car. Another point of view. We now have lots of data to sift through. We learned a lot and are very pleased with Max' efforts. It was a very good test."(Max Papis site)(8-29-2005)

  • EA teams up with Gordon and Johnson as cover athletes for Nascar 06: Electronic Arts announced today that its EA SPORTS branded NASCAR videogame, NASCAR 06: Total Team Control, will feature NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. The two avid "gamers" personify the focus of this year's game - Team Racing. NASCAR 06: Total Team Control for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and Xbox video game system from Microsoft will be on store shelves September 1st and is rated "E" for (Everyone) by the ESRB.(Wasserman Media Group PR)(8-22-2005)

  • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update
    By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Sirius Satellite Radio at the Glen at the Watkins Glen International on August 14, Connie T. of Grand Prairie, TX was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Connie picked Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Jimmie Johnson. This is the ninth time this year that a donation in Johnson's name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications)(8-19-2005)

  • Johnson OK: UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson hit the wall with 15 laps remaining and doesn't remember anything from the time he crashed until he woke up on pit road. He doesn't recall driving his car into the pits. Johnson was treated and released from a hospital, but his crew chief, Chad Knaus, was unhappy with the response to the accident. He said Johnson walked all the way to the garage before getting any medical attention. "His bell was definitely rung," Knaus said. NASCAR said Johnson initially refused medical attention from two emergency attendants.(Rocky Mountain News)(8-9-2005)
    ORIGINAL: It was a disastrous race for pre-race points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson, who started 42nd after his car failed inspection on Saturday. He was able to drive into the top 20 early in the race but spun out and wound up being sent to the rear of the lead lap cars after making two pit stops for repairs when NASCAR had pit road closed. Johnson was dazed after slamming hard into the wall late in the race. Calling it the "hardest hit I've taken," he had to be helped out of his car in the pits when the engine caught fire. Asked if he realized the car was on fire, Johnson said, "No, I don't really remember coming from turn four to the pits. I just remember kind of waking up on pit road and the guys pulling me out of the car. So, it's all good." Johnson, who fell to second place in the standings, 75 points behind Stewart, was examined at Methodist Hospital and released.(USA Today)(8-8-2005)

  • So...why didn't Johnson get to qualify at Indy? Jimmie Johnson, points leader and driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevy did not make a qualifying lap, and will start the Allstate 400 at the rear of the field because the car did not make it through inspection and get to the line in time. From a GM Q&A PR with crew chief Chad Knaus:
    WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM WITH PASSING INSPECTION? We just had a little problem with the chain that holds the droop on the right rear. NASCAR didn't like the way it was. It wasn't a big deal. We were trying to fix it; we just didn't have time. We didn't come up here and test, so we spent a lot of time after practice trying to make sure we had the exact shock and spring package on the car that we wanted. It put us behind from the getgo. We left the garage about 15 minutes later than we were supposed to and that put us behind. And then when we had that issue with technical inspection, we just couldn't recover from that and get out there in time.
    CAN YOU GIVE US A LAYMAN'S EXPLANATION OF THIS CHAIN AND HOW IT GOES THROUGH INSPECTION? When you watch the guys do pit stops and they jack up the car, there's a chain that holds the axle housing to the chassis, and that's what picks up the tire. NASCAR just didn't like the way that was. It was a little bit too snug for them. So we had to adjust it.
    DID YOU AGREE WITH NASCAR'S DECISION TO NOT ALLOW YOU TO TAKE A LAP? Oh, yeah. We didn't make it, plain and simple. They've got a five-minute rule and they hold to that pretty true. I don't think we were the first one. I think the #38 car maybe even had than happen here a couple of years ago, I don't know. It happens from time to time. When you're in a compressed schedule like what we've got here because of the weather and then putting it into an impound situation. And then we weren't able to test. We were really trying to dot all our i's and cross all of our t's and we just got behind.
    WHO IS TO BLAME FOR THIS? Well, me. I'm the crew chief. Ultimately. Look at the rule book. Everything is my fault.(GM Racing PR)(8-7-2005)

  • Johnson to a back up, not a tire: #48-Jimmie Johnson quotes regarding Friday practice accident at Pocono Raceway, Johnson crashed in Turn 1 during Friday's first practice session.
    WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE?
    Well, I just got loose into Turn 1, spun out and tore up the race car. If there's a time to have it happen, now is the time. There's a long break before the second practice. We'll take it from there. Just trying hard and got loose. One of those deals.
    IT WAS A HARD HIT. ARE YOU OKAY?
    Everybody's asked. It was a really soft impact from my spot, so I guess everything crushed around me like it needed to. Everything's fine.
    ANY INDICATION OF A TIRE GOING DOWN?
    #I knew when I turned off into the corner that I was loose and as I started cycling through the bumps it just kept coming around. At that point you just kind of drop your head and hold on.(GM Racing PR)(7-22-2005)

  • Stewart catching Johnson: Over the past five races, #20-Tony Stewart has gained 295 points on #48-Jimmie Johnson, outscoring the points leader 905-610.(Gaston Gazette)(7-18-2005)

  • Biffle got wrong idea says Johnson: Becoming the points leader was special for #16-Greg Biffle on Sunday at Infineon Raceway, but what he said made it better was the perceived slight he got from #48-Jimmie Johnson, who had been leading the points. Biffle noted how Johnson laughed after Biffle got off course Friday in qualifying and started 41st in the 43-car field. "I hate that he misunderstood it,'' Johnson said. "I know his team knows where I'm coming from because they were standing right there with me when I watched it on the Jumbotron when he went off the track. I was applauding him. I thought he did a great job saving the car. If you look on the video from qualifying, I'm clapping and commending him on his job of saving the car and you can see my lips say 'great save.' '' (Ronokae Times)(6-29-2005)

  • Executive Changes at Hendrick: In a tactical realignment of his business entities, Rick Hendrick today announced personnel changes affecting the Hendrick Automotive Group (HAG), Hendrick Motorsports and, now, the Hendrick Companies. As part of the refreshed business model, Hendrick introduced longtime Automotive Group executive Jim Huzl as president and chief executive officer of Charlotte-based HAG. In his new role, effective July 1, Huzl will oversee the direction of one of the nation's largest privately held auto retailers with 68 franchises, 4,000 employees and more than $3.5 billion in revenue. Sharing Huzl's former duties as HAG's chief operating officer will be three new senior vice presidents: Tom Blocker, East Division; Kirk Heppler, West Division; and Gary Davis, who will manage retail operations support. Huzl succeeds Jim Perkins, who will transition to become the first president and COO of the Hendrick Cos., an organization recently formed to manage strategic initiatives relative to Hendrick's various business enterprises. Perkins will continue to serve as a member of HAG's partnership committee.
    Bobby Rice, a trusted friend and business associate of Hendrick since 1976, was named executive vice president of the Hendrick Cos. and special adviser to the chairman. Rice also will work in a consultative capacity with Hendrick Motorsports, which fields multiple stock-car racing teams in two different divisions of sanctioning body NASCAR..(HMS PR)(6-20-2005)

  • New Campaign Features All-American Soap Box Derby Spokesperson Jimmie Johnson: NASCAR and All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD) announced they have teamed up to launch the first-ever national advertising campaign centered around the Derby. The AASBD is one of the most established grass roots youth and family organizations in the United States and a NASCAR official youth initiative. The print and broadcast spots feature one of racing's most popular drivers Jimmie Johnson, the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points leader, who was recently named the AASBD national spokesperson. Johnson is the official spokesperson for the Levi Strauss Signature brand, which is currently the title sponsor for the AASBD. A first for the AASBD in its 68-year history, the new campaign titled "Wind Tunnel" is part of NASCAR's effort to raise awareness for this great youth pastime. The 30-second commercial, created by Jump Co. of St. Louis, will break in June. Mirroring what takes place at NASCAR race shops, the spot shows Johnson assisting a group of children as they go through the steps of building an actual Soap Box Derby car. Johnson supports the kids in a simulated wind tunnel setting and helps fit the car with a cardboard template, illustrating some of the Derby's core values, such as: basic construction skills, teamwork, friendship and the completion of a project. The spot is set to air in NASCAR race broadcasts on FOX, FX, NBC and TNT as well as other NASCAR-related programming on SPEED Channel. The print campaign also shows Johnson working with a group of kids on a Soap Box Derby car. The advertisements will run exclusively in NASCAR-licensed publications, including NASCAR Scene, NASCAR Illustrated and NASCAR Games and Puzzles and will encourage consumers to get involved by joining local AASBD chapters. In Soap Box Derby, boys and girls ages 8-17 build gravity powered cars from kits with assistance from a parent or other adult and compete in more than 450 races in 170 cities across the country. Held annually since 1934 in Akron, Ohio, local race winners advance to the AASBD Championship, which will be held this year on July 30. To get involved or for more information on the AASBD, call (330-733-8723) or visit www.aasbd.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-15-2005)

  • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the MBNA RacePoints 400 at Dover International Speedway on June 5, Chastity M. of Fond du Lac, WI was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Chastity picked Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the sixth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.(Alan Taylor Communications)(6-9-2005)

  • Levi's to sponsor Soap Box Derby, Johnson involved: The Levi Strauss Signature brand has entered into a sponsorship agreement with the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD) to become the title sponsor of the premier youth and family oriented racing program in the United States. The AASBD's annual event, held since 1934 in Akron involving boys and girls ages 8-17, will be called the All-American Soap Box Derby presented by Levi Strauss Signature. In addition, the Levi Strauss Signature* brand's spokesperson and current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points leader Jimmie Johnson will serve as the AASBD's national spokesperson. A NASCAR official youth initiative, the AASBD season runs year-round and is comprised of more than 450 races across the United States and overseas, culminating with the 68th AASBD Championship scheduled for July 30, 2005. Each competitor builds his / her own gravity-powered car from kits purchased from the AASBD, typically with assistance from a parent or other adult. By nurturing children to become solid community citizens through the teaching of basic construction skills, teamwork, the spirit of competition, perseverance and family values, the AASBD is highly respected by community leaders, educators, racing enthusiasts and beginners alike. For more information about the Levi Strauss Signature brand and its products visit levistrausssignature.com. To get involved or for more information on the About the All-American Soap Box Derby, call (330-733-8723) or visit www.aasbd.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(5-20-2005)

  • Last double DNF for #24 and #48? Before Saturday at Ricmond's Cup race, the last time Hendrick Motorsports teammates #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson both failed to finish a race was at Dover on June 6, 2004.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-17-2005)

  • Hendrick Suspensions different?: #24-Jeff Gordon made a rare driving mistake, one which resulted in his hitting the wall and doing damage to the front end of his car. And being the class act he is, Gordon admitted making the mistake on national television. "It was one of the stupidest things I've ever done in my life," he said. Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson also had front-end woes that put him out of the race early. I [Yahoo! Sports] was told that the Hendrick Motorsports guys have found something that makes the front end suspension of their cars work better. I [Yahoo! Sports] understand it has to do with both mechanical and aerodynamic elements. Perhaps it also has made their front suspensions more susceptible to damage.(Yahoo Sports)(5-16-2005)

  • Johnson has spoken to Dale Jr.: Jimmie Johnson says hes talked with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and everything is okay between them. This after Junior on Tuesday during testing at Lowes Motor Speedway called Johnson an idiot and blamed him for causing both major crashes last Sunday at Talladega. "Yeah it (Dales comments) defiantly caught me off guard, said Johnson, and from what I understand he (Dale Jr.) was put in a bad position during the interview&was put on the spot and some allegations of a comment that came out of my mouth&so looking at that I dont blame him for saying what he did and I spoke to him and everythings fine there. Well just move on. Its racing and this Lowes team is very strong&I believe in my team and they believe in me and I know everybody in the garage area respects me. Everybodys given their opinion, right or wrong everyone can point fingers in every direction but in my opinion its a racing incident."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-6-2005)

  • Jimmie Johnson To Join Rumsfeld At Troop Support Concert: #48 Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson will join Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and country music stars Thursday afternoon at the Pentagon for the first "America Supports You" Salute to Our Military Men and Women concert. Johnson will be at Darlington Raceway preparing for Saturday night's NASCAR Nextel Cup race, but will join the Pentagon concert via satellite. Johnson, Rumsfeld, and Lowe's executives will unveil the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet carrying the "America Supports You" decal on the rear deck lid (trunk). This car plus the #5 Lowe's Busch Series car will race with the decal at Darlington, Richmond and Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte during the month of May. The hour-long concert, scheduled to begin at 12:15pm/et, will include singers Keni Thomas, Craig Morgan and Rockie. It will air live on the Defense Department's American Forces Radio and Television Service to 177 countries throughout the world. In addition to the Pentagon event, Lowe's will offer free "America Supports You" bumper stickers in its more than 1,100 stores across the country and take its Team Lowe's Fan Experience interactive mobile display to six military bases. Military families will have an interactive experience with Team Lowe's Racing. Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet will provide "Dare to Repair" clinics on the Fan Experience using products from local Lowe's stores.(GMR Live PR)(5-5-2005)

  • Johnson wins 1st Qtr Driver of the Year: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Speed Channel Driver of the Year first quarter, 2005. The voting saw six drivers earning first place ballots, but Johnson had the most with six. With 93 points beat the Indy Racing Leagues Dan Wheldon (at 86), and Nextel Cup runner-up Greg Biffle (74). Four-time series champion and four-time Driver of the Year, Jeff Gordon had three first-place votes he earned 49 points. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Steve Kinser, with one first-place votes in the World of Outlaws series. Sebastien Bourdais, the defending Champ Car World Series champ was sixth. Noteworthy; Kevin Harvick racing in both the Nextel Cup and Busch series won the fan vote, and Carl Edwards who also drove in both series was second. Gordon was third.. More than 32,000 fans clicked their votes on the www.SpeedTV.com website. In its 39th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV. President of the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.(Speed Channel)(4-24-2005)

  • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Radio Shack / Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 17th, Patricia K. of East Bangor, PA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Patricia picked Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the fourth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson. In last year's Checker Auto Parts 500 [Nov 2004] at Phoenix, all six members of the Gillette Young Guns finished in the top-ten, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. taking the checkered flag followed closely by fellow Young Gun Ryan Newman.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-21-2005)

  • Johnson's streak continues: #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 8th at Martinsville and has scored five victories and 12 top-10 finishes in the 12 races since Charlotte last October. Johnson is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in all six races in 2005.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-11-2005)

    Hendrick may attend Martinsville: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick is leaning toward attending today's Advance Auto Parts 500 at Martinsville Speedway. It's the first event at the track since a Hendrick plane crashed on the way to Martinsville last October. Engine builder Randy Dorton, General Manager Jeff Turner, President John Hendrick and Vice President Ricky Hendrick were among the 10 killed in the crash. Besides his brother and son, Rick Hendrick also lost two nieces.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
    NOTE: Hendrick is at the track today for the race.(4-10-2005)

  • Johnson Gillette Young Gun at Atlanta: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Golden Corral 500, Presented by Gillette Mach3 Turbo Nitro at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20th, Cynthia W. of Conyers, GA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Cynthia picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the third time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.(Alan Taylor Communications)(3-29-2005)

  • THE RULING ANNOUNCED on the APPREAL
    National Stock Car Racing Commission Statements
    #48 Team: On March 22, 2005, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the Appeal of Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus concerning three penalties assessed by NASCAR relative to the #48 car following the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 13, 2005. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book Actions detrimental to stock car racing and Section 12-4-Q Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules: roof height too low in post-race inspection.
    The penalties assessed were:
    " Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Jeff Gordon.
    " Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Driver Points for Jimmie Johnson.
    " $35,000.00 fine and suspension from NASCAR until April 6, 2005 and suspension from the next two (2) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races for crew chief Chad Knaus.
    The car was in violation of the rules at the conclusion of the race. This was not contested during the hearing.
    Upon review of the evidence presented, and by a majority vote, it is the decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the penalties assessed against Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson and to amend the penalty assessed against Chad Knaus as follows:
    $35,000.00 fine. Probation for 90 days, effective from the date of this Hearing.
    This decision pertains specifically to the evidence presented in this Appeal. The Commissions rulings do not have a bearing on existing or announced NASCAR enforcement policies. The Appellant has the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner. Commission were John Cooper, Jack Housby, George Silbermann, Chairman.(NASCAR)(3-23-2005)

    What Does this mean? everything stands EXCEPT the suspensions to Knaus and Gustafson have been recinded.

  • Hendrick Statement: Team owner Rick Hendrick today commented on the results of Tuesday's NASCAR appeal hearing, which today rescinded the suspensions of two Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs. "I appreciate NASCAR giving us the opportunity to present the facts," Hendrick said. "From our perspective it's important everyone, especially our fans, know that we absolutely had no intention of breaking any rules. This sport has a rule book for good reason, and it's vital it be enforced. As an owner, I know it's equally important to have a just forum for teams and a fair system of checks and balances. We respect NASCAR's decision and look forward to carrying some momentum into Bristol."(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-23-2005)

  • Young Guns Update: By picking #48-Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 13th, Sam H. of Paducah, KY was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Sam picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the second time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson. This is the last race in which consumers can celebrate the beginning of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season with the Gillette Young Guns $1 Million Watch & Win Sweepstakes. This exciting new promotion offers race fans the chance to win $100,000 during each of the first four races of the season, starting with this year's Daytona 500. Info at www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Commincations)(3-18-2005)

  • Been Asked - UPDATEs:
    1) Does #48-Jimmie Johnson get to keep the $30,000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus he won at Las Vegas for winning the race and having the points lead? I can only assume [gasp] so as last year, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was docked 25 points and fined at Talladega, he had won the award and was allowed to keep it as he did lead the points after the win.
    2) Can any of the suspended crew chief communicate with the team as Michael 'Fatback' McSwain did with the #21 team when he was out due to back surgery? While I directly do not know if, I doubt NASCAR [who monitors the scanners] would allow direct contact with the driver, they may be able to sneak a cell phone call in.
    UPDATE on #2: None of the suspended crew chiefs will be permitted to communicate with their race teams via cell phone or radio during the time they are suspended, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said.(FoxSports/AP).
    3) And no word if Fatback will be back at the track for the Atlanta race to call the shots for #21-Ricky Rudd.
    UPDATE on #3: XM Radio reports that Michael "Fatback" McSwian, crew chief for the #21, is at Atlanta and back working.(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(3-18-2005)

  • Appeals Allow Suspended Crew Chief's to be at Atlanta; Berrier to sit out: NASCAR crew chiefs Chad Knaus [#48] and Alan Gustafson [#5] will be allowed to compete in Atlanta this weekend while they appeal their two-race suspension. Both were suspended on Tuesday for allegedly cheating at Las Vegas last weekend. Team owner Rick Hendrick appealed, and the National Stock Car Racing commission can't assemble until next week to hear their case, NASCAR officials said Wednesday. Under NASCAR's rules, the crew chiefs can still compete until their appeal has been heard. Todd Berrier was suspended for four races, and NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said they expected to receive notice of his plans to appeal in time for him to compete in Atlanta this weekend.(AP/ESPN.com). Richard Childress said onSpeed Channel's NASCAR Nation that Berrier will sit out the Atlanta race and the suspension will be appealled.(3-17-2005)

  • Top Two Finishers May Face Penalties UPDATE Penalties, Fines and Suspensions: Speed Channel is reporting that #48-Jimmie Johnson, the winner at Las Vegas, was found in post race inspection to be too low and the 2nd place finisher #5-Kyle Busch's Chevy quarter panels were too high. NASCAR decisions will come Monday or Tuesday. The win will probably stand.(3-13-2005)
    UPDATE: NASCAR probably won't take away #48-Jimmie Johnson's victory in Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, despite his car's failing an inspection after the race for being too low at the roof. First, it might be difficult to give the win to teammate #5-Kyle Busch, who finished second, because Busch's car also failed post-race inspection, for being too high at the rear quarterpanels. But it's not nice to try to fool John Darby, NASCAR's competitions director, and his justice may be harsh for both Johnson and Busch. But, a win is a win, no matter the asterisks - and no matter the razzing from rivals. The low roof that led to Johnson's violation would likely provide both an edge in speed on the straightaways as well as better handling in the corners because more air would reach the crucial rear spoiler. The high rear quarterpanels that led to Busch's violation would likely provide an edge in handling in the corners, because the rear spoiler would be higher. What NASCAR will likely do is take away enough points, probably 25, to knock Johnson out of the Nextel Cup points lead. That would put Kurt Busch, who finished third, back atop the standings.(Winston Salem Journal)
    Wanna stop the cheating....take the freakin' win away, make a statement, that starting next week, post-RACE infractions cost 25 points, if it is the winner, they drop to 4th or 5th, and the win goes to the 2nd place car, or the next legal car.(3-15-2005)
    UPDATE - Fines, Penalties and Suspensions: NASCAR has announced that rule infractions this past weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have resulted in the suspension of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chiefs.
    The #48 Chevrolet team received three penalties, due to the car's roof height being too low in post-race inspection  a violation of Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules). A penalty of 25 driver points dropped Jimmie Johnson  the race winner at Las Vegas  back to second place (500 points) in the standings, 10 behind reigning series champion Kurt Busch (510). Chad Knaus, Johnson's crew chief, has been suspended from competition for the next two races and fined $35,000; Jeff Gordon, the #48 car owner, has been penalized 25 owner points.
    #29 Team: Todd Berrier, crew chief for the #29 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick, has been suspended for the next four races and fined $25,000. Those penalties resulted from the #29 having an unapproved fuel filler and unapproved fuel cell vent. The car was in violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q. The violation was found during post-qualifying inspection. In addition to Berrier's penalties, Harvick has been penalized 25 driver championship points, dropping him from eighth to 10th in the driver standings, while car owner Richard Childress loses 25 car owner championship points.
    #5 Team: Alan Gustafson, crew chief for the #5 Chevrolet driven by Kyle Busch, has been suspended for two races and fined $25,000, due to the car's quarter-panel heights being too high in post-race inspection  also violations of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q. Busch has been assessed 25 driver points, dropping him from 18th to 22nd in the standings; car owner Rick Hendrick loses 25 owner points.
    In addition:
    Harold Holly, crew chief for the #32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., was fined $5,000 because of the #32 having an unapproved deck lid, a violation of Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q that was determined during opening-day inspection.
    John Latchford, crew chief for the #89 Dodge driven by Morgan Shepherd, was fined $1,000 because of an unapproved fire suppression agent found during opening-day inspection. That also violated Sections 12-4-A and 12-4-Q.
    Larry Carter, crew chief for the #2 Dodge driven by Rusty Wallace, was fined $1,000. During opening-day inspection, the car's shoulder harness did not have a date tag displayed, a violation of Sections 17.2-C (and 12-4-A).(Fox Sports/Sporting News)
    POINTS UPDATED on my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Las Vegas page.(3-15-2005)

  • Hendrick Responds to sanctions and to Appeal: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, today responded to sanctions levied by NASCAR on two of his NEXTEL Cup Series entries. "I'm not disputing NASCAR's right to levy sanctions," Hendrick said. "As a team owner, I understand why these standards are in place and have always taken pride in the fact that our organization has kept a very clean record. In this particular instance, though, we disagree with the severity of NASCAR's stance and plan to appeal their decision. I want to make it clear that we in no way intentionally ignored guidelines and I'm certain everyone understands that."(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-15-2005)

  • Seven Drivers in Tylenol Spots: Johnson & Johnson has signed endorsement deals with seven Nextel Cup drivers to promote the launch of Tylenol's Extra Strength Rapid Release Gels, Street & Smiths's SportsBusiness Journal reports. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jarrett, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler make up Team Tylenol. The campaign will include television ads during race broadcasts and sponsorship at 11 tracks. Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon are scheduled to be featured on packages of the product sold during the third quarter of the year. Exact financial terms of the deal were not reported, but the story by Terry Lefton says the entire campaign is "an eight-figure investment."(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(3-8-2005)

  • Johnson top young gun at Calif: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway on February 27th, John B. of Marshall, TX was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. John picked Johnson as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the first time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(3-8-2005)

  • Meeting at the White Trailer: After the post-race garage altercation between #20-Tony Stewart and #48 Crew Chief Chad Knaus, NASCAR officials called Stewart, Johnson and their crew chiefs to the hauler. Ten minutes later, Stewart and Johnson emerged together proclaiming friendship, in a very unusual, almost bizarre peace scene. "It's fine," Stewart said. "Like Jimmie says, we're racing on the last lap of the Daytona 500. I was mad he pinched me into the fence. We bumped into each other; we both did the same thing to each other. So it's fine. We both had good weeks here; we both finished in the top-10. We're both leaving here in a good situation in the points. NASCAR, more than anything, wanted to make sure it wasn't something that would linger overnight. Like I told Jimmie, we're both really, really good friends, and this isn't even something that's going to linger tonight. It's over with."(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND #48-Jimmie Johnson and #20-Tony Stewart were called to the NASCAR trailer for rough driving in the closing laps. Stewart claimed Johnson "pinched" him into the #10 car of Scott Riggs while Johnson said Stewart ran him into the wall. When asked what was discussed with the sanctioning body, Stewart answered, "We were trading cooking secrets." Stewart, who finished seventh, had the dominant car, leading 107 laps. It was the second consecutive year he has led the most laps at the 500 and come away without a win. Johnson finished fifth.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-21-2005)

  • #48 to carries special sticker: Jimmie Johnsons #48 Lowe's Chevy carried a decal that read, In Memory of Cpl. Jonathan Bowling. Bowling, 23, of Martinsville, Va., was one of four Marines killed last month during an ambush attack on a convoy in Iraq's Anbar Province. Bowlings father, Darrell, a Virginia State Trooper, was one of the police officers who responded to the Oct. 24, 2004, crash of a Hendrick Motorsports airplane near Martinsville, that killed 10 people, including team owner Rick Hendricks son, Ricky, and brother, John. The elder Bowling responded to the scene of the crash at Bull Mountain, Va., and stayed with the bodies of the victims until they could be brought down from the mountain. Bowling also recovered a ring and a medallion from the crash and returned it to the Hendrick family. During that time, the day that he was bringing us the ring, he got a phone call that his son was killed in Iraq, Hendrick said of Bowling. We were close to them because of what they did for our family, and in the effort of trying to bring something back to us, he found out his son had been killed. So were running the sticker to honor him.(Speed Channel)(2-20-2005)

  • Harvick, Johnson meeting to clear air: After #29-Kevin Harvick exited the infield care center with an aching chest Thursday, #01-Joe Nemechek nearly hit him with a water bottle. It was a clear display of the anguish Harvick caused during the second of two 150-mile qualifying races for the Daytona 500. Harvick bumped #48-Jimmie Johnson more than halfway through the 60-lap race, starting a seven-car wreck and stirring the emotions of several drivers and their crews. "It's frustrating because I know how much all these guys have put into this, and to have it taken out by someone like him, that's stupid,'' Nemechek said. Johnson, who trailed only three-time Daytona winner Dale Jarrett in pole qualifying last Sunday, was leading the race when he slowed in the second turn and got rear-ended by Harvick. The bump turned Johnson's car sideways and ignited a crash that took out Johnson, Harvick, Nemechek and fellow top contenders Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace. None of them was injured. But some of their cars were badly damaged. Harvick, Nemechek and Wallace were forced to switch to backup cars and will move to the back of the field for NASCAR's biggest race. "It's a shame. He just tore up six or seven good race cars,'' said Johnson, adding that team owner Richard Childress should fire Harvick and NASCAR should penalize him. "This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.''
    Harvick and Johnson were summoned to the NASCAR trailer after tempers had cooled. Harvick acknowledged fault in the wreck, and NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter warned the drivers that future problems could result in fines or suspensions. "We told them that they need to either work it out for themselves or we'll work it out for them,'' Hunter said. "We just consider it a racing incident. If they get into it again, there could be some severe penalties, like missing a race.'' Hunter added that the drivers shook hands and agreed to meet by themselves Thursday night -- without crew chiefs, car owners or NASCAR officials -- to work through their differences, which began at Phoenix last year. "We want to make absolutely sure that at the start of a new season, there's no carry-over,'' Hunter said. Harvick apologized for his error, but that did little to soothe emotions in the garage area. "I just spun him out, and I feel sorry for the teams and everybody involved,'' Harvick said.(ESPN.com/AP)(2-18-2005)

  • More changes at Hendrick? UPDATE: hearing that Eddie Dickerson, Manager of Hendrick Motorsports Chassis Shop, which was responsible for building all of the Chassis, and hanging all of the bodies, has left the organization.(2-16-2005)
    UPDATE: Eddie Dickerson, the director of chassis engineering at Hendrick Motorsports, left the team. Team spokesman Jesse Essex said Dickerson's duties likely will be split among several team members, including Doug Duchardt, who who left his position as director of GM Racing two weeks ago to become Hendrick's vice president of development.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(2-17-2005)

  • Media Choses Johnson as the 2005 'favorite': If media voters prove accurate prognosticators, look for the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship battle to mimic recent history. The defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series champion, #97-Kurt Busch, won the 2004 title by eight points over #48-Jimmie Johnson  the closest finish in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup history. And while both drivers remain title candidates, Johnson has been selected as the media favorite in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10. A total of 213 votes were cast in the balloting, which began Feb. 3 and ended Feb. 13. Drivers received 10 points for first place, nine points for second place, eight points for third place, seven points for fourth place, six points for fifth place, five points for sixth place, four points for seventh place, three points for eighth place, two points for ninth place and one point for 10th place. Eight drivers in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 competed in the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
    Johnson received 1,765 points and 87 first-place votes. Trailing him by only 25 points in second is Hendrick Motorsports teammate #24-Jeff Gordon, who received 1,740 points and 65 first-place votes. Third place in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 belongs to #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who received 1,355 points and 25 first-place votes. Only eight points separate #20-Tony Stewart and Busch for fourth and fifth place, respectively. Stewart received 1,030 points and seven first-place votes while Busch received 1,022 points and five first-place votes.
    As for the rest of the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10, sixth-place #12-Ryan Newman received 844 points and nine first-place votes. In seventh place is #9-Kasey Kahne, the defending Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Kahne, who received 707 points and one first-place vote, didnt make the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but he has been voted to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10.
    In eighth place is 2003 series champion #17-Matt Kenseth. Kenseth received 657 points and no first-place votes. Behind Kenseth, in ninth place, is #42-Jamie McMurray , the second driver who didnt make the inaugural Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, but has been voted to the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10. McMurray received 546 points and two first-place votes. Tenth in the 2005 NASCAR Preseason Top 10 media voting is #6-Mark Martin, whos beginning his final fulltime season. He received 453 points and four first-place votes.(NASCAR PR)(2-15-2005)

  • Johnson wins the Budweiser Shootout: #48-Johnson got a great pitstop by his creww and was the first car out that took 4 tires, #12-Newman took 2, and after 4 laps, Johnson and the pack caught Newman. Johnson held on to lead the final 16 laps and win his first Budweiser Shootout with Newman finishing 2nd, followed by #24-Gordon, #20-Stewart and #16-Biffle [who led 44 laps]. Pole sitter, #88-Jarrett led the first lap and fell off early and finished 15th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to fall to the rear after making a transmission change [new rule this year] and in the first segment [20 laps] he car ran poorly. During the 10 minute break, the crew changed igintion boxes and spark plugs and Dale Jr. was able to finish 7th and was up into the top-5 for a bit.(2-12-2005)

  • Johnson voted oval racer of the year: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the choice of RACER magazine readers as the overall Racer of the Year for 2004, but when it came to choosing the top oval driver for the season past, the Daytona 500 champ was eclipsed by Nextel Cups most successful driver of the season, Jimmie Johnson. The Hendrick Motorsports star, who led the Nextel Cup ranks with eight wins, bested IRL IndyCar champ Tony Kanaan in the voting, as tabulated via an online ballot here at SpeedTV.com. Jimmie has always understood racing very well, noted his crew chief, Chad Knaus, who offers his impressions of how his driver hit his stride so quickly in the feature article revealing all of this years Racers of the Year, in the March issue of RACER that goes on sale Feb. 22. In fact, RACER readers gave credit to Knaus, too, for Johnsons outstanding season, by selecting him as the Crew Chief/Team Manager of the Year. Ferrari chief Jean Todt was a distant second in voting for this category. The Most Promising Oval Racer of the Year category was the biggest runaway of the nine categories, as Nextel Cup rookie Kasey Kahne gathered no less than 55 percent of the vote. No surprise to his boss, Ray Evernham: How can you not be impressed with him, asked Evernham, who compares his new phenoms progress with that of his former charge, Jeff Gordon, elsewhere in the issue.(Speed Chanel)(2-11-2005)

  • Young Guns back: After a highly successful 2004 season, the Gillette Young Guns are kicking the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series into high gear with new sweepstakes and consumer promotions that will give fans and the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) the chance to win prizes ranging from $1,000 to $1 million. The Gillette Young Guns - #97-Kurt Busch, #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #29-Kevin Harvick, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #17-Matt Kenseth and #12-Ryan Newman - dominated their inaugural 2004 season, winning over 50 percent of the 36 Cup races. Busch won the 2004 championship, followed by fellow Young Guns Johnson and Earnhardt Jr., who finished second and fifth in the final points standings, respectively. Newman and Kenseth finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively, and Harvick finished 14th overall for the season. Collectively the Young Guns won 22 of the 36 races in 2004, claimed 70 top-fives and 109 top-10 finishes along the way. Gillette will again leverage these drivers and its NASCAR sponsorship with a comprehensive marketing communications program on several levels throughout the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. The program includes consumer promotions and retail events, a national "Watch & Win" consumer sweepstakes, dedicated NASCAR print and broadcasting advertising, licensing, interactive on-line consumer promotions, charitable contributions and hospitality. Consumers can celebrate the beginning of the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season with the Gillette Young Guns $1 Million Watch & Win Sweepstakes. If the year end Chase for the NEXTEL Cup isn't exciting enough, consumers will have the opportunity to win big by following the Gillette Young Guns over six of the last seven races of the season. By correctly predicting the finishing order of the six Young Guns for each race, fans will automatically be entered into a points race of their own. One lucky fan that wins this unique points race will win a trip for two to the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami and the chance to win up to $1 million. Cnsumers also will be able to register online to predict the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun prior to each of this season's 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Each week, all correct entrants will be automatically entered in a drawing for a $5,000 prize. More info on my Racing Contests page or at www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(2-11-2005)

  • Jimmie Johnson to run some races: Lowe's and Hendrick Motorsports announced that Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, will run select races in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2005. Johnson will bring his #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to the series with additional sponsorship from Kobalt, a line of tools and accessories available exclusively at Lowe's. Johnson is scheduled to run six races in the #48 Lowe's/Kobalt Chevrolet with unique paint schemes that represent the breadth and depth of the enhanced Kobalt line. Chad Knaus, Johnson's crew chief in the Nextel Cup Series, will also lead the team in the Busch Series events. Johnson is scheduled to begin his limited Busch Series run at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 19, followed by runs at Chicagoland Speedway on July 9, California Speedway on September 3, Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, as well as both events at Lowe's Motor Speedway. For more information on Team Lowe's Racing, visit Lowesracing.com.(GMR Marketing PR)(2-10-2005)

  • Hendrick announces new VP's: Hendrick Motorsports general manager Marshall Carlson announced that competition director Ken Howes and longtime General Motors executive Doug Duchardt have been named vice presidents over the organization's racing operations. Transitioning from his role of competition director, Howes has been tabbed as vice president of competition. The Johannesburg, South Africa, native will oversee Hendrick's day-to-day competition-related activities, now encompassing teams, crew chiefs and pit-crew trainers, along with at-track logistics and execution.
    Duchardt, who most recently managed General Motors' North American motor sports initiatives as director of GM Racing, has been named Hendrick Motorsports' vice president of development, a position in which he will control race-car evolution through design, engineering and production in the chassis and engine areas.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(2-7-2005)

  • Tire Testing at Atlanta Jan 11-12th: A Goodyear Tire test is scheduled for January 11-12 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 2004 Rookie of the Year #9-Kasey Kahne and #48-Jimmie Johnson will test the brand new Goodyear compound at NASCAR's fastest track next week as they prepare for the March 18-20 Golden Corral 500 weekend. The test session will be closed to both the media and the public. The test will be the first with the new Atlanta Goodyear tire, which is a different compound than any for any other speedway. Mark Keto, lead engineer for Goodyear's stock car tire development group, said the session will be used to gauge how well the new compound works with the 2005 NASCAR rule changes, such as the reduced spoiler height. NASCAR officials are expected to be on hand to analyze the results. Additional NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams are scheduled to test throughout February and March for the spring race weekend. For more information on the Golden Corral 500 weekend, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(1-9-2005)

2004 News

  • Congrats: The wedding of Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson and model Chandra Lynn Janway was announced in Sunday's Charlotte Observer. The ceremony was Saturday at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Gustavia on the island of St. Barthelemy in the French West Indes.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(12-14-2004)

  • Hendrick Awarded: Team owner Rick Hendrick is the latest winner of the Buddy Shuman Award: Buddy Shuman was a popular NASCAR driver in the early 1950s who died in a hotel fire in 1955. The award has been given annually since 1957, honoring someone from the NASCAR community for contributions to the sport. Hendrick, a popular figure in the garage area, lost his son, his brother, two nieces and two key team officials among the 10 persons who died in an Oct. 24 crash of a team plane on the way to a race in Virginia. Hendrick's team has won five Cup championships and fields cars in both the Cup and Busch Series.(Augusta Chronicle/AP)(12-5-2004)

  • Dorton Honored: The late Randy Dorton, the chief engine builder for Hendrick Motorsports, who was killed in an October plane crash, was honored as Clevite Engine Builder of the Year. The award was accepted by his widow, Diane Dorton.(ESPN/AP)(12-5-2004)

  • Kovalainen wins ROC, Johnson and Mears lose early: Heikki Kovalainen of Finland beat world rally champion Sebastien Loeb of France to win the Race of Champions on Saturday. Kovalainen downed Loeb 2-0 in a best-of-three legs final at Stade de France after overcoming seven-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher in an elimination heat. The Race of Champions, a yearly event since 1988, featured 16 pilots from various motor racing disciplines, including NASCAR, Champ Car and Indy 500 specialists. The Stade de France, home of the French soccer and rugby teams, was covered by a .6-mile asphalt figure-eight track with a crossover bridge. Kovalainen, 23, selected a Peugeot 307 rally car to take on Loeb in his familiar Citroen Xsara. The Finn is the youngest driver to win the ROC trophy. Some 60,000 fans, hoping to see their countryman force a deciding leg, jeered the time penalty handed to Loeb. In the elimination rounds, competitors were split into two groups of eight -- called the Rally Group and the Racing Group. After quarterfinals and semifinals, the winner of each group met head-to-head for a place in the overall final to decide the Champion of Champions. One key driver who was slated to run in the event -- four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon -- didn't race because of a flu that also kept him from much of NASCAR's year-end celebrations in New York City this week. Casey Mears, who raced in Gordon's place, lost in a heat to Jean Alesi, who then fell to Kovalainen. The other American driver on hand, Jimmie Johnson, also lost early.(ESPN/AP)
    UPDATE: Casey Mears became the choice over Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne mostly because he had a passport and experience in this event last year (then in the Canary Islands). Johnson and Mears left Friday night after NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony in New York, landing at 2 p.m. They changed clothes in the car and got five practice laps. Johnson struck a course barrier to draw a 10-second penalty in each of his two races; Mears split matches with Coulthard in the team events and lost to Alesi in the individual. Gordon's absence was felt more by the competitors than the fans. Schumacher said the opportunity to race the four-time NASCAR champion led him to race outside of F-1 for the first time in four years.(Indianapolis Star)(12-5-2004)

  • Another Johnson: SS Racing announced the signing of Jarit Johnson, the 25-year-old racer and younger brother of Nextel Cup star Jimmie Johnson. SS Racing has an alliance with NEXTEL Cup powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports and hopes that Jarit will soon join Hendrick's growing driver development program. The goal is to run Johnson fulltime in the ASA and part-time in the Craftsman Truck Series, however, if the ASA does not have clear direction during the month of December, they will be forced to move their attention 100% to Craftsman Truck Series. When he's not racing, Jarit will work fulltime for SS Racing assisting in it's growing Driver Development Program which includes Hendrick Motorsport's driver Chase Austin, splitting time at the Indianapolis home base with Deneau and satellite Charlotte shop with Miller.(SS Racing PR, nothing on their site)(12-5-2004)

  • Johnson Wins 4th Quarter Speed Channel DOTY Vote: Jimmie Johnson bounced back from a slow start in the fourth quarter to win four times in five races, and dominate the voting for the Speed Channel Driver of the Year, fourth quarter, 204. Johnson, who drives the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, finished runner-up to Kurt Busch, by only eight points, in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship. It was an emotional roller coaster for the 29 year-old driver, After an engine problem at the EA Sports 500 and an accident at the Banquet Foods 400 put him next to last in the Chase, he took three straight wins at UA-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's, then the Subway 500 at Martinsville, VA, and the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta. He also won the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington. Along the way he and his team faced the personal tragedy of losing ten team members, family and friends in an airplane crash on the Martinsville's race day. While feeling that loss, yet still being prepared to race and win, he proved the strength of his Hendrick Motorsports team. In New York for the annual NASCAR awards banquet Johnson, winner in the second quarter, was flattered to learn of his fourth quarter honor. In the voting he took 13 first-place Speed Channel Driver of the Year votes, and a vote on every ballot for a total of 143 points. Sebastien Bourdais, the Bridgestone Presents Champ Car World Series powered by Ford Champion, was second in the tally with 67 points and one first-place vote. The French born driver of the McDonalds Lola-Ford for Newman/Haas Racing, scored two wins including a victory from the pole at the season finale in Mexico City. Kurt Busch driver of #97 Sharpie/IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Taurus, and first Nextel Cup Champion, was third in the voting with one first-place vote and a total of 66 points. Busch had a win at the Sylvania 300, and except for one engine failure finished in the top ten in all ten races in the quarter. A total of 13 drivers scored points in the fourth quarter voting, including fourth place Tony Schumacher from the POWERade Top Fuel division, fifth place Steve Kinser, with two first-place votes in the World of Outlaws series. And Martin Truex, Jr. from the Busch Series was sixth.
    Noteworthy; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won the fan vote, and Johnson was second. Bourdais was third. More than 40,000 fans clicked their votes on the www.speedtv.com website. In it's 38th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV. A separate vote will determine the 2004 Driver of the Year shortly.(DOTY PR)(12-4-2004)

  • Odds for 2005: Nextel Cup odds have already been established for the 2005 season. Jimmie Johnson is a 9-2 favorite of one Internet site, with Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon second at 6-1. Kasey Kahne was the #5 favorite with the same odds as 2004 champion Kurt Busch -- 8-1 -- and lower odds than former series champions Stewart (10-1), Matt Kenseth (10-1), Bobby Labonte (30-1), Dale Jarrett (40-1) and Rusty Wallace (50-1).(Indianapolis Star)(11-26-2004)

  • Rick Hendrick at the track: mulit-team owner [#5,#24,#25,#48], Rick Hendrick, is at the track and made a statement today in the media center, thanking the racing community and fans for their support in the aftermath of the tragic plane crash. No questions were taken, to see Hendrick's comments in full, see my Hendrick Tragedy Page.(11-20-2004)
  • Randy Dorton/Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown: The event began with a moment of silence, but the roar of 600-horsepower engines soon filled the room as Hendrick Motorsports and Hendrick Automotive Group employees gathered this week for the third annual Randy Dorton/Hendrick Engine Builder Showdown. Sponsored by Dana Corp., the two-day contest teamed Hendrick Motorsports engine builders with Hendrick Automotive Group certified master technicians for head-to-head competition. Twelve pairs were clocked until their respective powerplant established a one-minute run after complete assembly, with the shortest elapsed time taking home first-place honors. Monday's qualifying round set the grid for Tuesday's finals, with the team of Jon Young and Mike Maiwald posting a build of 20 minutes, 52 seconds to tie the event record and earn the victory. Young is a Hendrick certified master tech from Gwinnett Place Honda in Atlanta, while Maiwald, of Hendrick Motorsports, is NASCAR's defending Engine Builder of the Year. For his efforts, Young was presented with an all-expenses-paid trip to the February 2005 events at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Runner-up Vince Bonfiglio, who teamed with Larry Zentmeyer, was also presented with a Daytona vacation package. Bonfiglio represented Hendrick BMW of Charlotte." This is a wonderful event that recognizes the > '> best of the best> '> in our industry," said Jim Perkins, Hendrick Automotive Group CEO. "It gives us the opportunity to bring the two companies together and acknowledge the contributions of our top-level staff." The brainchild of Rick Hendrick and the late Randy Dorton, the Showdown draws from more than 800 Automotive Group technicians, taking the 12 that are deemed most qualified by a one-of-a-kind Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exam created specifically for Hendrick employees. Those 12 are then paired with Hendrick Motorsports engine builders. Hendrick is owner of NASCAR operation Hendrick Motorsports, and chairman of the Hendrick Automotive Group, an organization comprised of 64 car dealerships across the United States, from the Carolinas to California. Dorton, recognized as one of the most gifted engine builders in NASCAR history, won nine championships during his two-decade tenure as head of Hendrick Motorsports' engine department before tragically losing his life Oct. 24. The Showdown was officially renamed in his honor shortly afterward. A silent moment of remembrance opened the competition at the Hendrick Motorsports Museum in Charlotte, and many of the participants wore red -- Dorton' s favorite color -- throughout the two-day experience.(HMS PR)(11-20-2004)

  • Johnson and team disappear after poor qualifying: The car cover was wrapped tightly around the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, its driver and crew long gone for the day. All around the garage, teams worked feverishly on their cars, but Jimmie Johnson was nowhere to be found. The absence of the Hendrick Motorsports team after qualifying Friday raised eyebrows everywhere at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Did they go home in disgust after qualifying 39th for Sunday's season finale -- Johnson's worst starting position of the year? Or were they playing mind games with the competition? No one was really sure. All that was certain was that it was unusual for Johnson to qualify so poorly. His effort was the worst of his career, surpassing two 37th-place starting spots last season. But even stranger was that noted perfectionist Chad Knaus, the crew chief, wasn't tearing the car apart trying to figure out what went wrong. "I heard him on the radio -- it didn't sound like he was disappointed in the lap," Jeff Gordon, Johnson's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, said. "It sounded like the speed wasn't there." Johnson heads into Sunday's season finale trailing series leader Kurt Busch by 18 points in the race for the Nextel Cup. Gordon is third in the standings, three points behind Johnson. Robbie Loomis, Gordon's crew chief and Knaus' partner in strategy, said it was way too early to count Johnson out. "They probably are as strong as anybody in this garage when they have their backs stacked up against the wall," Loomis said.(AP/CBS Sportsline)(11-19-2004)

  • Did ya know? The first and last Southern 500s were won by drivers from Southern California. Johnny Mantz won it in 1950 and Jimmie Johnson won it in 2004.(Gaston Gazette)(11-16-2004)

  • GM head of racing to Hendrick? General Motors' Doug Duchardt, head of the company's world-wide racing operations, is apparently being wooed by car owner Rick Hendrick to move to North Carolina to take a key position at Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick's racing operations were hard-hit by the plane crash three weeks ago that killed 10. Among those killed were John Hendrick, the company's president; Randy Dorton, the legendary engine builder and head of the company's engine department; and general manager Jeff Turner.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-13-2004)

  • Hendrick Motorsports update: Ken Howes, Hendrick Motorsports director of competition, played a major role in talking the team through the aftermath of the plane crash that killed seven employees of the team on Oct. 24. He just took responsibility for taking us through that, said Jimmie Johnson. A team spokesman, Patrick Perkins, said that Bobby Rice, a close business associate of Rick Hendrick, would oversee the operation for the time being while Hendrick recovers from the loss of his brother John, son Ricky and nieces Kymberly and Jennifer. Also lost in the crash were general manager Jeff Turner and head engine builder Randy Dorton. Jeff Gordons stepfather, John Bickford, will take on a more prominent role in the business side, and controller Scott Lampey will oversee financial operations. Jeff Andrews and Jim Wall will combine in directing the engine department.(Gaston Gazette)(10-30-2004)

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, his 6th win of the season, 12th of his career, 2nd in a row [he won at Charlotte last week] and first ever win at a short track [less then a mile in length]. #42-Jamie McMurray got by #12-Ryan Newman for second on the last corner, #40-Sterling Marlin was 4th and #97-Kurt Busch, the points leader, finished 5th. #43-Jeff Green finished 7th and ran strong all day, getting his first top-10 of 2004. Busch now has a 96 point lead over #24-Jeff Gordon who moved into 2nd. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had trouble all day and parked the car after a wreck, finishing 33rd and dropping to third. There was no victory celebration due to the fatal plane crash involving many of the Hendrick family [see above].
    For more on the race, cautions, lap leaders, narrative, etc., see my Martinsville Race Info/Rundown Page
    See race results at:
    Jayski's Martinsville Race Results page
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(10-24-2004)

  • First sweep at Charlotte since 1986: #48-Jimmie Johnson became the sixth driver to sweep a seasons races at Lowe's Motor Speedway and the first since 1986 when the late Dale Earnhardt won both. There otheres:
    1975, Richard Petty
    1974, David Pearson
    1971, Bobby Allison
    1965, Fred Lorenzen.(10-18-2004)

    .
  • Johnson wins at LMS; sweeps both Cup races: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-GM 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, sweeping both 2004 Cup races, but not quite as dominatig as the Coca-Cola 600 when he led 334 of the 400 laps. #9-Kasey Kahne pretty much dominated the first 400 miles, leading 207 laps before a right front tire blew out, sending Kahne into the wall. While the win helped Johnson gain a few points, #97-Kurt Busch, who was involved in a lap one accident with minor damage, slowly worked his way thru the field and finshed 4th, maintaining a slim 24 points lead over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [which could change pending Dale Jr's penalty appeal on Monday]. #24-Gordon, who was involved in two early wrecked, came back and finished 2nd with a beat up car, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., after starting 25th, finished 3rd, followed by Busch and last weeks winner, #01-Joe Nemechek. There were 11 caution flags for 53 laps and 18 lead changes among 9 drivers.
    For race results, see:
    Jayski's Charlotte Race Results/Awards page
    Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Standings
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(10-16-2004)

  • Team 48 and Team 5 are "Racing for Relief": In response to Hurricanes Charley and Frances, Lowe's Monte Carlo drivers Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch are "Racing for Relief" at Richmond International Raceway this weekend to generate funds for disaster relief efforts. Last month, Johnson announced the implementation of an in-store customer donation program at Lowe's stores along the Gulf and East Coasts to assist the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe's announced it will match donations up to $1 million. In addition, for every lap that Johnson completes in the 400-lap NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Richmond on Saturday night, Lowe's will donate $48 (Johnson's car number). For every lap that Busch completes Friday night in the 200-lap Busch Series race at Richmond, Lowe's will donate $50 [Busch finished 5th, ran all 250 laps, total is $12,500]. Racing for Relief is a program Lowe's first introduced in April of 2000. The program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornados and floods, raising more than $350,000 to date.
    In addition, Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevrolet will carry a special decal on the rear deck lid (trunk) and hood supporting the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Anyone interested in donating to the fund may go to any Lowe's store along the Gulf or East Coasts or make an online donation at www.lowes.com or www.redcross.org.
    All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of the recent hurricanes and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.(9-11-2004)
    THANKS: $12,500 for Busch's 250 laps, and $16,224 for Johnson's 338 laps run.(9-12-2004)

  • DEI and Hendrick teams test at NHIS: Hendrick Motorsports teammates #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson tested at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) on Wednesday, September 1 in preparation for the SYLVANIA 300 on Sunday, September 19. Both teams have clinched spots in the 2004 "Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup". Martin Truex, Jr. tested on Tuesday, August 31 and Wednesday, September 1 in the #1 Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Truex, Jr. will be attempting to qualify for the upcoming SYLVANIA 300 at NHIS. For ticket and race information, please visit the Speedway online at www.nhis.com or call Speedway Guest Services at (603) 783-4931.(NHIS PR)(9-4-2004)

  • Race of Champions to Announce 2004 Team USA UPDATE: The 2004 Race of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup - the motorsports equivalent of soccer's World Cup - will announce its two Team USA drivers [Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon] on Friday, Sept 3rd for the Dec. 4, 2004 race in Paris, France. This year's competitors include seven-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher and current World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb. Countries are represented by two-driver teams. At the ROC Nations Cup race, teams compete based on the number of heat wins and combined times (in the event of a draw). In every match, racers go head-to-head against their counterparts, resulting in extremely close action and finishes often separated by only fractions of a second. The team emerging from Saturday's final earns "the World's Fastest Nation" title.(Golin Harris PR)(9-3-2004)
    UPDATE: The 2004 Race of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup - the motorsports equivalent of soccer's World Cup - is set to draw the attention of fans from every major racing series in the world to Paris, France on December 4th, 2004 [the day after the Nextel Cup Banquet]. This year's competition marks the first year that the points leaders from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Formula One and the World Rally Championship will come together to battle for their country's right to claim they are "the World's Fastest Nation." Friday [Sept 3rd], at California Speedway, NEXTEL Cup points leader Jeff Gordon and second place driver Jimmie Johnson, running just 24 points behind Gordon, announced that they will lead Team USA's effort to reclaim the Nations Cup.
    Gordon and Johnson are intimately familiar with the challenge the ROC Nations Cup presents, having both been on the 2002 winning team that claimed the first Cup ever for the U.S. The ROC Nations Cup offers the ultimate test of a driver's skills, and is the only opportunity for racers from different countries and disciplines of motorsports to compete in equal machinery and on an equal track. Four-time NASCAR Champion Gordon and 10-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner Johnson are attempting to capture the United States' second Nations Cup title, but it will not be an easy task considering the stiff competition that includes seven-time Formula One Champ Michael Schumacher driving for Germany and current World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb behind the wheel for France.
    Immediately following this year's NASCAR banquet, Gordon and Johnson will board a plane provided by Learjet, Inc, a subsidiary of Bombardier, Inc. and travel to Paris, France for the competition. "We are very proud to be playing a role in these great athletes' effort to recapture the title they first won for the United States in 2002," said Dana Arnold of Learjet. At the ROC Nations Cup, teams are eliminated based on the number of heat wins and combined time (in the event of a draw). In every match, racers go head-to-head against their counterparts, resulting in extremely close action and finishes often separated by only fractions of a second. The team emerging from Saturday's final lays claim to "the World's Fastest Nation" title.
    For more information on the ROC - Nations Cup, please visit: www.raceofchampions.com.
    For ticket information to the 2004 Race of Champions, please visit: www.stadefrance.com.
    The 2004 Race of Champions - Nations Cup supports ICM (The institute for Brain and Spinal cord Disorders) and ADREC (The Association for the Development of Research on the Brain and Spinal cord Disorders) www.icm-institute.org.(Golin Harris PR)(9-4-2004)

  • Johnson to run a special tool scheme at California: #48-Jimmie Johnson will drive a special Tool World paint scheme this weekend at California Speedway. The new Tool World is a remodeled section of 500 bits, blades, and power tool accessories in over 700 Lowe's stores across America. The new Tool World is designed for speed and convenience so customers can get what they need fast. Tool World sports the largest selection of America's best tool brands like DeWalt, Hitachi, Bosch, Shop Vac, Irwin and many more. Johnson's car will feature Hitachi power tools and Black & Decker Firestorm power tools.(Lowe's Racing)(9-1-2004)

  • #100 for Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to start his 100th Nextel Cup race on Sunday at California Speedway.(Lowe's Racing)(9-1-2004)

  • Team 48 Is "Racing For Relief": In response to Hurricane Charley, #48 Lowe's Monte Carlo driver and American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet member Jimmie Johnson and his team are "Racing for Relief" to generate funds for disaster relief efforts. Last weekend, Johnson announced the implementation of an in-store customer donation program at Lowe's stores along the Gulf and East Coasts to assist the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe's announced it will match donations up to $1 million. In addition, for every lap that Johnson completes in the 200-lap NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, Lowe's will donate $48 (Johnson's car number - 200 laps = $9600). Racing for Relief is a program Lowe's first introduced in April of 2000. The program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornados and floods, raising more than $350,000 to date. In addition, Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevrolet will carry a special decal on the rear deck lid (trunk) supporting the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Anyone interested in making donations to the fund may go to any Lowe's store along the Gulf or East Coasts or make online donation at www.redcross.org. All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricane Charley and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish).(Golin Harris PR)(8-20-2004)

  • Knaus takes the vote: Internet voters selected Chad Knaus as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after his driver, Jimmie Johnson, scored his fourth victory of the year in Hendrick Motorsports' #48 Chevrolet in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. He moves into second place behind Tony Eury Sr., crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s #8 Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Jr., in the yearlong contest for a $10,000 prize.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(8-6-2004)

  • 'Bottle Gate' continues UPDATE Johnson fined $10k: NASCAR is expected to levy a fine as early as Tuesday, upwards of $15,000 to Nextel Cup driver Jimmie Johnson for placing a sign atop his #48 Lowe's Chevrolet and obscuring the view of a sponsor's product during Sunday's Victory Lane ceremonies at Pocono Raceway, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Following his win in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 in Long Pond, Pa., Johnson exited his car and placed a Lowe's sign - Lowe's is the primary sponsor of Johnson's team - atop his car and in front of a large blue Powerade bottle. Powerade is an official sponsor of NASCAR. During the course of Victory Lane ceremonies, the Lowe's sign actually fell off the car, but was inexplicably picked up and replaced in its original position obscuring the Powerade bottle by NASCAR official Dave Finley, witnesses said. Hendrick Motorsports officials were notified Monday of a likely fine, sources said. Officials with Hendrick and NASCAR were unavailable for comment late Monday.
    Two weeks ago during a pre-race drivers meeting at New Hampshire, NASCAR president Mike Helton had told drivers "do not take it upon yourselves to remove products" placed on cars as they come in for victory celebrations. Johnson did not remove or move the Powerade bottle Sunday, witnesses said. Many of the recent issues have mostly been with a the large, blue Powerade bottle placed atop winning cars that some drivers have pushed or even knocked off their cars. The drivers who do so have affiliations with Gatorade or with Pepsi, which owns Gatorade. Powerade is a Coca-Cola product. "You can maneuver away from it or work around it," Helton said at New Hampshire. "If that doesn't begin happening again, we will be forced to deal with it."
    The fine for Johnson, the series points leader, would be the first for such issues this season. Johnson was asked about the Victory Lane incident Sunday night during his post-race winner's interview. Asked if he was told to touch or not touch any bottles in Victory Lane, Johnson replied, "No, I wasn't. I was a little more aware of camera angles to try to honor my sponsors and take care of them. I even took the liberty of putting a sign up in front of brand 'X'. It's weird that the driver - in Victory Lane - has to worry about defending and honoring your sponsor because of relationships that exist outside of your control. I hope we get this rectified and when you pull into Gatorade Victory Lane you're drinking Gatorade and that's all there is to it."(ThatsRacin.com)(8-3-2004)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson was fined $10,000 for a post-race incident that occurred Sunday in Victory Lane at Pocono Raceway, NASCAR officials announced today. Johnson was fined for not following the directive of a NASCAR official as well as actions detrimental to stock car racing. He was in violation of Sections 12-2 and 12-4-A, respectively, of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. NASCAR President Mike Helton thoroughly explained the proper protocol for victory lane ceremonies in a drivers meeting two weeks ago at New Hampshire, NASCAR spokesperson Jim Hunter said. Were going to address these situations in an orderly fashion, just as we always have. We expect our drivers to follow this protocol.(NASCAR PR)(8-3-2004)

  • Johnson wins at Pocono, completes sweep: #48-Jimmie Johnson won Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway completing the sweep of both Cup races at Pocono in 2004. Johnson is the fifth driver ever to sweep both races at Pocono, the others:
    Bobby Labonte 1999
    Tim Richmond 1986
    Bill Elliott 1985
    Bobby Allison 1982
    It is Johnson's 4th win of 2004 and 10th of hs career [95 starts]. It is also Hendrick Motorsports 10th win at Pocono (Johnson-2; Gordon-3; T.Labonte-1; Richmond-3; G. Bodine-1). #6-Mark Martin held off rookie #9-Kasey Kahne for second to finish as a runner-up at this track, where he has never won a Cup race, for the sixth time in his career. #16-Greg Biffle was fourth [his 1st top-5 of 2004] with #24-Jeff Gordon fifth. Pole-winner #41-Casey Mears finished 18th after fading at the end. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who said before the race he planned to go the distance this week, came to his pit on the 52nd lap and climbed out of the #8 Budwiser Chevy. John Andretti got into the car to finish the race while Earnhardt Jr. sat under a tent behind his team's pit stall, hanging his head.(see a good race narrative/race report at ThatsRacin.com)
    See my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for notes, caution info, lucky dogs, narratives, where the top 10 starters ended up and more.
    For race results, see:
    MotorsportsOne
    NASCAR.com.(8-1-2004)

  • Johnson 2nd Qtr Speed Channel Driver of the Year: Driving in championship form, Jimmie Johnson demolished the competition in voting for the Speed Channel Driver of the Year, second quarter, 2004. Johnson, who jumped to the top of the NASCAR Nextel Cup points standings after last week's DHL 400 in Michigan, had two victories including a win from the pole at in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway and a win at the Pocono 500 in the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet. He had a virtually unblemished second quarter with only one finish out of the top-four. Despite his fine record, Johnson was surprised when he learned of his award. "I couldn't believe it when someone told, me," he said. "I'm completely honored to win this award." Perhaps it's a tradition for his team. The 28 year-old drives under the Hendricks Motorsports banner in a car owned by Jeff Gordon, a four-time Driver of the Year. "When you at look at the people who have won (it) before it's pretty amazing company," he explained. "They're some of the best racers in the world."
    In the voting he took 12 first-place Speed Channel Driver of the Year votes, and a vote on every ballot with none lower than third place. As a result, he scored 144 points. Indy 500 winner Buddy Rice finished in second with 91 points and three first-place votes. Rice also won the pole and led the most laps at the Brickyard in the Pioneer Argent/Mortgage Rahal-Letterman G Force/Honda. Martin Truex, Jr., a protégé of Dale Earnhardt Jr., was third with 52 points. Driving the Dale Earnhardt Inc. owned Ritz Crackers Chevrolet, Truex notched three wins and one runner-up finish and continues to lead the points in NASCAR's Busch series. A total of 18 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting, including fourth place Greg Anderson (with three first-place votes) from the PowerAde Pro Stock division, fifth place Sebastien Bourdais, points leader in the Champ Car series, and IRL's points leader Tony Kanaan was sixth.
    Noteworthy; Jeff Gordon won the fan vote, with Earnhardt Jr. second, and Johnson third. More than 40,000 fans clicked their votes on the www.speedtv.com website. In it's 38th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV.(DOTY/Speed Channel PR)(6-26-2004)

  • Off to F-1 for the day: Teammates #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers and #48-Jimmie Johnson and several Hendrick Motorsports team members hopped aboard a helicopter and then a private plane and headed for Indianapolis immediately after the final practice Saturday. They made the quick trip to Indy in time to watch qualifying for Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix and take a tour of the Formula One garages at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We're going to show these guys a little bit about what Formula One is like and how it works," said Gordon, who earlier this year caught an F1 race in Barcelona, Spain. Joining the drivers, who will start 1-2-3 in Sunday's race, were Chad Knaus, Johnson's crew chief, Hendrick Motorsports competition manager Ken House and Brian Whitesell, team manager for Gordon and Johnson.(Michigan Live/AP)(6-19-2004)

  • Knaus wins Pocono WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the race: #48 crew chief, Chad Knaus for driver Jimmie Johnson in the Hendrick Motorsports / Lowe's Chevy, won the Crew Chief Challenge Winner on June 13, 2004 at Pocono Raceway.(WypAll Wipers site)(6-17-2004)

  • Johnson back to the Busch Series..for a race at LMS...with SpongeBob: #48-Jimmie Johnson who will join Kyle Busch in driving special "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" paint schemes during the Oct 15th, Busch Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The race will mark Johnson's first appearance in the Busch Series since 2001. Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevrolet will sport the SpongeBob character while Busch's #5 Lowe's Chevrolet will be outfitted with SpongeBob's starfish buddy Patrick. See more in the Track Section below.(Lowe's PR), see some images of the car on the 2004 Busch Paint Schemes page.(6-1-2004)

  • Johnson wins Coca-Cola 600...again: #48-Jimmie Johnson scored his 2nd stright Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in dominatining fashion, leading 334 of 400 laps [Johnson missed tying the record for the most laps led by 1, Jim Paschal holds the record of 335 done on May 28, 1967. It is Johnson's 2nd win of 2004 and eighth of his 87 race career. Johnson is the first driver in 2004 to win from the pole. It is Johnson's sixth straight top-10 finish.
    The rest of the top five were: #15-Waltrip [$5 off Domino's Pizza all day Monday], #17-Kenseth, #42-McMurray and #38-Sadler.
    Of note: #38-Sadler ran the whole race with the flu...and finished 5th, rookie #25-Brian Vickers suffered Stomach Cramps the 2nd half of the race but soldiered home to a 15th place finish. The race was red flagged for 5:27 for oil on the track, leading to a three lap shootout, which ended a 1/2 lap early when #9-Kahne bottomed out and tapped #18-Labonte who smacked the wall.
    And see a column at ThatsRacin.com.

    Race results can be found at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    Motorsports One
    NASCAR.com.(5-30-2004)

  • New Book about Hendrick: UMI Publications, in conjunction with Hendrick Motorsports, is pleased to announce a new book celebrating 20 years of NASCAR competition by one of the most outstanding organizations in motorsports history. What began as a chance meeting between a semi-retired crew chief and a successful businessman with a passion for racing ultimately grew into a motorsports empire that garnered well over 100 victories and nine NASCAR championships in just its first 20 years of competition. "Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports" documents the history of Rick Hendrick's racing organization from its inception, in 1983, and recounts each racing season leading up to and including Hendrick Motorsports' historic milestone, its 20th season, in 2003.
    Perhaps no other racing organization has accumulated such a record of success in such a short period of time, and "Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports" tells the whole story of how these achievements were accomplished. Quite simply, this is a story that needed to be told, and UMI Publications is honored to bring it to the public eye with award-winning writing and outstanding photos, many of which have never before been published.
    "Twenty Years of Hendrick Motorsports" is available directly from the publisher for $34.95 plus shipping & handling, and may by ordered by contacting UMI Publications, Inc., at 1-800-747-9287 or by visiting their website at www.umipub.com. Book excerpts may be viewed at www.ThatsRacin.com.(5-20-2004)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Fan Festival - May 26-28: As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, Hendrick Motorsports will host a fan festival at its Charlotte-based headquarters May 26-28 prior to the May 30 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Free and open to the public, the festival was designed as a way to thank fans for their support of the team since its 1984 inception. Scheduled to run 8:30am until 6:00pm each day, the event will include interactive games, show cars, sponsor displays, product sampling and autograph sessions from past and present Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Townsend's Gourmet will sell food throughout the festival, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Hendrick Marrow Program. The 15,000-square-foot Hendrick Motorsports Museum will offer festival-goers a free-of-charge glimpse into HMS history, including championship trophies; three of Jeff Gordon's #24 Chevrolets; Tim Richmond's #25 Chevy; the very first #5 "All-Star Racing" car; and the "Days of Thunder" Lumina driven by Tom Cruise. The facility has recently been updated with new trophies, cars and other memorabilia. Lowe's Motor Speedway will provide free festival parking, which can be accessed at "Lot Z" off Speedway Boulevard in Concord. Trams will be available to transport fans from the parking area to the festival grounds. For additional information, including directions and schedule updates, fans may visit www.HendrickMotorsports.com or call 877-467-4890 toll free.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(4-28-2004)

  • #48 News? New Tire Changer: hearing the #48 Lowe's Chevy team is looking for a new tire changer for Jimmie Johnson, not sure if anyone got let go or which tire changer position.(4-27-2004)
    UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson has a new rear tire changer starting this week, Shane Parsnow.(4-28-2004)
    UPDATE 2: been told Parsnow is just a temp and the team is looking for a full-time changer.(4-29-2004)

  • Johnson's brother starts racing career: One of the younger brothers of #48-Jimmie Johnson has started his own racing career, competing in the Dodge Weekly Racing Series at Hickory Motor Speedway. Jarit Johnson, 25, competed in a Spec Truck division in El Canjun, Calif., before moving to Mooresville, NC. Jarit maintains his Limited Late Model entry in a two-car garage that has been converted to a part-time race shop. When he's not racing, Jarit works in the NASCAR Busch Series shop of driver Michael Waltrip. "Right now, we're just going out there to get some experience and learn," said Jarit. "This is my first year in the Limited Late Model class. I'm just going to go out there, try to finish in the top five in points and hopefully win some races." So far, Jarit is off to a fast start. He earned his first race victory April 17 and is ranked in the top 10 in the Hickory track standings.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-24-2004)

  • Hendrick Motorsports 20th Anniversary 2004 Schemes: Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2004, Hendrick Motorsports goes to Lowe's Motors Speedway with special paint schemes on the Chevy's for the race in October 2004. #25-Brian Vickers, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, and #5-Terry Labonte of the HMS team will be racing together to commemorate the first twenty years of Hendrick Motorsports. These cars will be based on their primary paint schemes, but the colors will be replaced with a "silver on silver" paint palatte, giving them a platinum or chrome effect. Each car will have the Hendrick Motorsports commemorative 20th Anniversary logo.(4-23-2004)

  • Rick Hendrick gives CPCC $1 million: Rick Hendrick [#5, #24 and #48 Cup team owner], chairman of the national car sales company Hendrick Automotive Group, has donated $1 million to Central Piedmont Community College to build a center that will train mechanics in the latest automotive technology. CPCC will start construction on the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology, on the Levine Campus in Matthews, by fall. It should be completed by December 2005. The $4 million, 25,000-square- foot building will be named for Rick Hendrick's father, who has been involved in auto racing for more than 40 years. The other $3 million will come from bonds, donations and other sources, according to the college. Joseph "Papa Joe" Hendrick Jr., 83, co-owns Hendrick's #5 Busch and #25 NEXTEL series teams with grandson Ricky Hendrick. He is in a Charlotte hospital with an undisclosed illness.(Charlotte Observer)(4-22-2004)

  • Hendrick Motorsports signs prospects: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick today announced the signing of drivers Blake Feese, Boston Reid and Kyle Krisiloff, who will each compete under the Hendrick banner in 2004 thanks to a pair of developmental alliances that were also unveiled. Feese and Reid will each start a minimum of three ARCA Series events this season in the #5 Chevrolets of Bobby Gerhart Racing (BGR). The six-race schedule will serve as a driver-technology development project for Hendrick Motorsports, which will provide engines and chassis to the Gerhart team, headquartered in Lebanon, Pa. In addition to the alliance with Gerhart, Hendrick Motorsports has inked an agreement with Indianapolis-based SS Racing that will allow Krisiloff to compete in 13 American Speed Association (ASA) events in 2004. In only his second career start on the ARCA circuit, Feese won at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway on April 9, leading 29 of 113 laps in the #5 BGR Chevrolet powered by a Hendrick engine. Although unannounced at the time, the race was part of the Hendrick-BGR developmental program. In addition to his ARCA victory at Nashville, the Saybrook, Ill., native is scheduled to compete on the circuit at Kentucky Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway, both in the month of May. Driving the #5 BGR Chevrolets, Boston Reid will enter ARCA events at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway in May, Kansas Speedway in June and Kentucky Speedway in July. Krisiloff, 18, will race full-time in ASA competition with SS Racing beginning on May 29 at Lake Erie (Pa.) Speedway. Driving the #06 Chevrolets, he will be a teammate of three-time ASA champion Butch Miller.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)
    Cup team owner Rick Hendrick will be interviewed via telephone this evening on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel (10pm/et), discussing today's HMS announcement that Hendrick has signed drivers Blake Feese, Boston Reid and Kyle Krisiloff.(4-21-2004)

  • Johnson on MTV: There will be a distinct NASCAR flavor present as MTV's Total Request Live High School Week kicks off Monday. Nextel Cup driver Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to roar into Mansfield, Tex., in his #48 Lowe's Chevrolet to pick up high school student Travis Whitlock. Johnson takes him on the ride of his life and even outfits his room in the latest Jimmie/Lowe's merchandise. The Team Lowe's segment is scheduled to air Friday at 5:00pm/et (check your local listings). Other celebrities scheduled to take part in MTV's TRL High School Week include Matthew Perry, Bruce Willis, Usher and Hugh Jackman.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-7-2004)

  • #48 Shocks? NASCAR officials will lay out all the shock parts from Jimmie Johnson's winning Darlington car today, which should end all speculation about that part of the post-race inspection. Crew chief Chad Knaus said the car passed with no problems.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-27-2004)

  • Levi's Signs Jimmie Johnson: Levi Strauss says it has signed a sponsorship deal to make its Signature line the exclusive apparel sponsor for Nextel Cup driver Jimmie Johnson. The deal includes both retail and at-track programs. The brand says it has also agreed to a category-exclusive deal with NASCAR that will include usage of the NASCAR trademarks and opportunities to partner on special marketing programs. Financial terms were not announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(2-23-2004)

  • Hendrick Motorsports Website Re-launched: Hendrick Motorsports today unveiled its new-look Internet presence, www.HendrickMotorsports.com, with a fresh design and unique features found nowhere else on the Web. The latest version of the site, which received more than 1 million visits in 2003, marks the second re-design since HendrickMotorsports.com was initially launched in 1998.(HMS PR)(2-10-2004)

  • Johnson's streak at 69: Jimmie Johnson extended the longest current streak for consecutive weeks in the NASCAR Top 10 to 69 weeks with his 2nd place finish in last seasons championship race. It is the 9th longest streak in the modern era (1972-present). Should Johnson remain in the NASCAR Top 10 the entire 2004 season, he will pass Richard Petty and take sole possession of sixth place on the all-time list. An interesting note is that the season-opening race put a halt to all but two of the streaks, the exception being Dale Earnhardts record streak of 174 weeks and Sterling Marlins 11th-ranked run (66 weeks).(Team Lowes Racing PR)(2-9-2004)

  • #48 Johnson Power of Pride Once again Lowes will be celebrating patriotism when they roll out the #48 Power of Pride at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May with driver Jimmie Johnson.(1-20-2004)

  • Johnson OK: Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's Chevy was just the second car on the track Thursday morning, spun in Turn 3 and hit the wall, doing extensive damage to the front end of the car. Johnson was unhurt. The car, however, was expected to be Johnson's entry for the Feb. 15 Daytona 500 and had been his fastest during this week's test. "Maybe the track's just wet, especially in the shadows," Johnson said. "We run the top all the way around here the first two laps basically and maybe it was still wet up there. Without a doubt there was something on the track." #41-Casey Mears was the first car on the track, starting just before 9 a.m. Eastern. He also experienced problems in Turn 3. "I went through there the first time and thought there was something on the track, but it could have been possible it was my car," Mears said. "The second time I went through the turn, I took it easy and it was OK. Then, Jimmie went in there and went into the wall." Johnson said losing car will likely mean his team will not chance participating in Thursday afternoon's scheduled drafting practice. They don't want to risk damaging both cars.(ThatsRacin.com)(1-15-2004)

  • Congrats: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevy got engaged recently to girlfriend Chandra Janway.(XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio - Subscription Required)(1-6-2004)

    2003 News

  • Cup drivers in the Daytona 24? Chevrolet is trying to have a big presence in the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona 24 hour early next year. Daytona Prototypes are under construction at Crawford Race Cars in Denver, North Carolina, all powered by GMs Gen III V8 engines, which GM hopes will be piloted by its Winston Cup stars. Chevrolet is looking at various driver combinations and its unclear how many cars will run. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart are strong candidates, and Jimmy Johnson and Jeff Gordon could figure in the mix. Regular GM road racers Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim are on deck as well. GM sources say there is no truth to rumors that another car is slated for Bobby, Terry and Justin Labonte.(Autoweek)(11-26-2003)

  • NASCAR Press Conference UPDATE Gillette Young Guns: NASCAR will be announcing a sponsorship deal involving six of NASCAR's top ten drivers this Friday, Nov. 14 at 12:45pm/et from Victory Lane at Homestead-Miami Speedway. On hand will be 2003 champ Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.(11-12-2003)
    UPDATE: hear it is something with Gillette.(11-13-2003)
    UPDATE 2: Gillette Co. is expected to unveil a $10 million-plus sponsorship deal today with NASCAR and six of its most prominent young and aggressive drivers. The Hub razor maker is gunning for a huge and growing group of auto racing fans with a sweeping deal to be unveiled in Miami. As an official NASCAR partner, Gillette and its Duracell and Oral-B brands will gain exclusivity in the shaving, battery and oral care categories, industry sources say. Gillette also will sponsor six young drivers including #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #29-Kevin Harvick and this year's Winston Cup Champion, #17-Matt Kenseth. The six - to be dubbed Gillette Young Guns - will anchor promotional programs designed to drive sales. Gillette is expected to spend more than $10 million on the effort overall. The deal is comparable only to Coca-Cola Co. (KO: chart, news)'s sponsorship of 13 drivers under its Coca-Cola Family of Racers campaign.(Boston Herald)(11-14-2003)
    UPDATE 3: Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman have been called "young guns" for some time. Next year, they'll get paid for it. In a deal worth a reported $20 million a year, Gillette has signed a multiyear agreement for those Cup drivers to endorse Gillette razors, Duracell batteries and Oral-B toothbrushes. The deal also includes "official" sponsor status for Gillette. The agreement also includes a weekly contest for fans, who can register online at www.gilletteyoungguns.com, to predict the highest finisher among those six in each 2004 race. All correct entrants will be entered in a drawing for a $5,000 prize. If those six drivers finish in the top six in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May or the Ford 400 at Homestead, and a consumer correctly picks the order of their finish, the prize would be $5 million. Gillette will also donate at least $1,000 per week to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition as part of the program. None of the money in the deal goes any of the race teams involved. The agreements are with NASCAR and the individual drivers.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-16-2003)

  • Johnson's Donation: #48-Jimmie Johnson promised to donate $48 dollars - the amount of his car number - for every lap he completed Sunday to the American Red Cross' Disaster Relief Fund. He completed all 312 laps so he will cut a check for $15,076 to help the wildfire victims near his Southern California home.(Augusta Chronicle)(11-3-2003)

  • Johnson Helping Out: Jimmie Johnson will donate $48 - he drives the #48 Chevrolet - for every lap he completes Sunday in the NASCAR Winston Cup Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. The money will be ticketed to help those families affected by the wildfires in Southern California. Johnson grew up in the city of El Cajon, near one of the fires burning in San Diego County. In addition, Lowe's, the sponsor on his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross.(Orange County Register)(10-29-2003)

  • Hendrick Named NCMA Vice Chairman: Richard Petty, chairman of the North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA), announced today that Rick Hendrick has been named vice chairman of the NCMA board of directors. "It is an honor to accept the position of vice chairman of the North Carolina Motorsports Association," Hendrick said. "I look forward to working with Richard and the board of directors in promoting and growing our sport statewide. The NCMA has served as the unifying voice for the racing industry in North Carolina for more than a year, and I'm proud to be a part of that continuing effort." Hendrick succeeds Keystone Marketing Co. Inc. president Roger Bear as the NCMA vice chairman. Bear will continue to serve the organization as an active board member. "Many thanks to Roger for his efforts and support in getting this great organization off the ground," said Ed McLean, NCMA executive director. The North Carolina Motorsports Association is a nonprofit corporation designed and structured to be an effective representative and proponent of and for the motor sports industry in North Carolina. The NCMA is a trade association of businesses and individuals involved in motor racing in North Carolina. Further information on the NCMA can be accessed via the organization's Web site, located at www.ncmotorsportsassociation.org.(North Carolina Motorsports Association PR)(9-25-2003)

  • Johnson Will Race at Dover to Support the American Red Cross UPDATE: In response to Hurricane Isabel, Lowe's and NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jimmie Johnson are Racing for Relief to generate funds for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe's will donate $50,000 to the American Red Cross at the beginning of this weekend's Dover 400, and for every lap that Johnson completes, Lowe's will donate an additional $48 (Johnson's car number). If Jimmie wins the race, Lowe's will round the donation up to a total of $100,000. Lowe's first introduced Racing for Relief in April of 2000. To date, the program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornados and floods raising more than $156,000. "Racing for Relief allows me the opportunity to pitch in and lend a hand, while I do what I do best - driving," said Johnson, driver of Lowe's Team 48 car and member of the American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet. "I'm glad I can do my part to support the American Red Cross and the people affected by hurricane Isabel."
    Racing for Relief programs will include the following:
    · September 21 Dover 400 Race
    · Customer Donation Program at all Lowe's stores
    · Online contributions for the American Red Cross will be accepted at Lowes.com and Lowesracing.com
    Lowe's supports the American Red Cross as part of its commitment to help people prepare for and recover from natural disasters. Lowe's serves as an official American Red Cross cash donation site and responds to disasters by contributing to local and national Red Cross disaster relief funds, donating vital emergency products and supplying volunteers for local cleanup efforts.(Golin/Harris PR)(9-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Lowe's total is $50,000 + $19,200 ($48 x 400 laps) = $69,200.(9-22-2003)

  • Been asked, so here it is: Question - I understand Chad Knaus' concern for his crew members, but shouldn't Jimmie Johnson have gotten a penalty when Chad went over the wall with no helmet and for having too many men over the wall? I'm glad no one was seriously injured.
    Answer Larry McReynolds: With all the rules in NASCAR being black and white or red and green, yeah, there's no question that Chad Knaus probably did look at the right front fender when he went over there. But, trust me, I know Chad, and I would have been the same way. He went over there to see if any of his crew members were laying on the ground. He didn't do any work. If he had pulled on the fender, rubbed on the grill or did anything, then I would say certainly that a penalty should have been assessed. But he didn't do that. He went to check on his fellow crew members.
    Answer Jeff Hammond: In hindsight, it would have given them too many men over the wall. I was only privileged to see a couple different angles of it, but I didn't see Chad Knaus do anything to the race car. If he was going out there to pick up somebody off the ground, check them out or see if his guys were OK, common sense prevails, and it's OK. Granted, the helmet wasn't on Knaus' head, but this was a unique circumstance. He didn't have the helmet, but he did, at least, have the fire suit. If he went over and did something to the race car and really participated in the pit stop, then I would say NASCAR blew a call. But from the different angles that I saw, all I could see was a concerned crew chief running over to see if everybody was OK. Everybody was getting up, moving and getting going again so he got back out of the way. A NASCAR official was there, but probably at about that time, he was too busy trying to think about what happened because he was trying to get out of the way. There were a lot of things going on, and the official probably just missed the call. But it was a common sense situation, and Knaus didn't do anything.(FoxSports)(9-16-2003)

  • Johnson wins at New Hampshire: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire. It is Johnson's third win of 2003 and 6th of his career. Johnson is the first driver to sweep both season races at New Hampshire. #21-Ricky Rudd finished 2nd, his 2nd top five in a row. #25-Joe Nemechek ended up third, followed by #9-Elliott and #8-Earnhardt Jr., who was running down a cylinder. Points leader, #17-Matt Kenseth finished 7th, and lost a few points to Dale Jr., but still leads the points standings by 404 points with 9 races to go. A scary moment early in the race while coming in to pit during the 1st caution, #24-Gordon mis-calculated and hit #15-Waltrip while they were going to their pit stalls, Waltrip had to go around #48-Johnson, Gordon, who is pitting right in front of Waltrip didn't realize that and tried to go inside Waltrip, hitting two of Johnson's pit crew members. TNT is reporting both are ok but one crew member Cory Quick went to the infield care center, has a bruised shin. Gordon had to wait for the rest of the cars to come in, back up and proceed to his pit. Waltrip's crew was able to fully complete their stop and go on. The crew was back to full strength for the next stop. See my Sylvania 300 Race Info page for my race run down, includes top 10, cautions and narrative, notes, cars off track.
    Race Re-air: NOTE: Speed Channel changed their lineup starting in August - so there is now a one-hour recap [called Fast Forward] of the race, scheduled this week for:
    Wednesday, September 17th at 7:00pm/et and again on September 18th at 1:00am/et;
    a full three-hour race show will re-air at 12:00pm/et on Thursday, September 18th.
    Race Results at JAYSKI's New Hamsphire/Sylvania 300 Race Results.(9-14-2003)

  • Special decal for Hendrick cars: The teams of Hendrick Motorsports [#5, #24, #25, #48] will carry very special artwork during this weekend's events at Bristol in support of one-year-old Cole Jackson of Waxhaw, N.C. The "C-post" decals will feature "Get Well Soon" wishes to the youngster, who suffers from bilary atresia, a rare liver disease that affects one in 15,000 babies and requires a liver transplant. Hendrick Motorsports president John Hendrick met the Jackson family at a charity golf tournament earlier this year and will lend his support at a silent auction at Firethorne Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, Aug. 24. For more information, visit www.HendrickMotorsports.com or www.TheJacksonFour.com.(HMS PR)(8-22-2003)

  • Drivers willing to pay for safety crews: #48-Jimmie Johnson said that drivers are willing to spend their own money to provide a full-time traveling safety team that NASCAR executives have steadfastly refused to pay for. 'I guarantee you that is something every driver would like to see happen,' Johnson said of canning the dangerous yellow-flag racing rule. 'And if it was required of the drivers to help in the funding of that safety team, I think the drivers would all participate. I'd like to see us put something in place like the CART series has, with a traveling group of (safety) people that all the drivers know and all the team members know, that are trained professionals and know our race cars inside and out and can respond immediately and be there on time. I know Alex Zanardi, and I know people that work with him. If that crew of people that CART has was not there and didn't start working on him immediately and rode on the helicopter with him to the hospital, Alex wouldn't be here today." Safety has resurfaced as an issue among NASCAR drivers, particularly the slow response time of emergency teams - in part because of NASCAR's rule about racing back to the caution flag - and the difficulty in getting out of a wrecked car. Racing back to the yellow, Johnson said, is part of the problem. 'That's a big part of it,' Johnson said. 'The last thing we want to do is put an ambulance or truck full of safety workers in harm's way because we race back to the caution. On a road course I think you could probably roll a little easier in come cases. But on an oval you've got cars coming at 200 mph. You've got to wait until everybody is contained by the pace car." NASCAR has a new emergency roof hatch that is expected to be approved later this summer. But some drivers are wary about installing it.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-14-2003)

  • Vickers may debut in Cup later this year: Car owner [#'s 5,24,25,48,60] Rick Hendrick said he plans to put Brian Vickers in a Cup car this season, most likely in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick said Vickers has tested a Cup car in Kentucky during an engine test.(Roanoke Times)(8-4-2003)

  • In NYC? Lookout for Johnson: Jimmie Johnson is becoming more accustomed to his new celebrity world, and he's added an interesting defense mechanism - an apartment in New York City, where he can be anonymous again. 'I'm lucky when I can get up there,' he said. 'I was there last week, but for the first time in three months. It's something more for winter, to enjoy New York, to try something different. It is colder than I want, but it's a nice getaway. People laugh at me when I say I go to New York to get away -- but when you're walking the streets of New York they're looking for movie stars, not race-car drivers. So it's a lot more relaxed.'(WSJ)(7-27-2003)

  • Lowe's team member injured: during the early stages of Happy Hour practice, #41-Casey Mears swerved to avoid another car in the garage area and ran over the right foot of #48 Team Lowe's mechanic/windshield cleaner, Ryan Dubois. Dubois was put on a stretcher and taken to the infield care center at Poco# Dubois was joking with Speed Channel's Marty Snyder saying 'it hurt bad'.(7-26-2003)
    Have not heard updates on Dubois.(7-27-2003)

  • Johnson signs with an agency: Wilhelmina Artist Management has signed Jimmie Johnson, driver of Hendrick Motorsports' #48 Chevrolet in the Winston Cup Series, to its growing list of athletes, today's SportsBusiness Daily reports. WAM spokesperson Danielle Rausch told The Daily that the company will meet with Johnson next week to determine specifics of a marketing plan. Other athletes represented by WAM include the NFL's Eddie George, NBA players Stephon Marbury and Matt Harpring and PGA Tour player Matt Kuchar.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-18-2003)

  • #48 Looking.... Ryan Pepe, the rear tire changer for the #48 Lowe's Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson, tore an ACL and is likely out for the year. The team will be looking for a replacement. Get well Ryan. AND any tire changers with Winston Cup experience looking.... Please contact the folks at www.racecityresumes.com they are currently receiving many inquires from CUP Teams looking for experienced tire changers. Also see other job sites on my Racing Schoools/Jobs page.(7-8-2003)

  • Hendrick Third at Daytona: Car owner Rick Hendrick, who fields Chevy for #5-Terry Labonte, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #25-Joe Nemechek [plus this week, #60-David Green], is third all-time with seven Winston Cup victories at Daytona. He trails only the Wood Brothers (12) and Petty Enterprises (11). Gordon (four), Geoffrey Bodine, Tim Richmond and Darrell Waltrip all have driven Hendrick cars to first-place finishes here, including four Daytona 500s.(Gaston Gazette)(7-5-2003)

  • NASCAR visiting NASA: #88-Dale Jarrett, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #12-Ryan Newman on Wednesday have been invited to take a special NASA tour at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. The group, which also will include Newman's crew chief Matt Borland and Penske Racing South Vice President Don Miller, is scheduled to visit various facilities and sites at the Space Center including the Space Station Processing Facility, Shuttle Pad A, NASA Crawler vehicle, Orbiter Processing Facility and Astronaut Memorial. One of the highlights of the visit will be at the Orbiter Processing Facility. The drivers are scheduled to get the rare opportunity to actually sit in a shuttle cockpit behind the controls.(NASCAR PR)(7-2-2003)

  • Johnson Helps Build a House: This past Monday, Team Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson joined former President of the United States Jimmy Carter to kick off the 2003 Jimmy Carter Work Project (JCWP) in Anniston, Ala., one of three sites on which the JCWP plans to build nearly 100 Habitat homes this week. "Being able to put on my tool belt and help build these homes was an uplifting experience," said Johnson, an accomplished do-it yourselfer. "My association with Lowe's has allowed me to do some amazing things and meet some amazing people over the past couple of years. To be able to help build homes for families that need assistance and to be able to do this along side a former President of the United States was a rare treat." In support of the JCWP, Lowe's has joined forces with Whirlpool and The Valspar Corporation to provide Habitat for Humanity with the products necessary to build and furnish the homes being built this week.(Golin Harris PR)(6-12-2003)

  • Square Pants for Johnson UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to run a Sponge Bob Square Pants paint scheme at Daytona in July for the Pepsi 400.(3-20-2003)
    UPDATE: Lowe's announced on Tuesday that Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants is swimming onto the NASCAR scene and taking over the #48 Lowe's Chevy paint scheme for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway later this summer. Team Lowe's will run the special SpongeBob paint scheme over the Fourth of July weekend to promote American Tradition Signature Colors Design Centers located in Lowe's stores nationwide. Lowe's and The Valspar Corporation have joined forces to deliver a breakthrough paint formulation in distinctive palettes with colors inspired by children's favorite Nickelodeon programs as well as five other popular American brands. In addition to the SpongeBob SquarePants palette, the Nickelodeon collection will feature five other color families inspired by favorite children's programs, including Blues Clues, Oswald, Dora the Explorer, Rugrats and Jimmy Neutron. These exciting and familiar bright colors are especially designed for children's bedrooms and playrooms, as are the coordinated kits of themed sponges and appliqués.(Golin Harris PR), see an image on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(6-11-2003)

  • Johnson and Carter help out: #48-Jimmie Johnson will travel to Anniston, Ala., on Monday to join former President Jimmy Carter in working on a Habitat for Humanity project. Johnson's sponsor, Lowe's, is donating materials to three Habitat projects this summer.(ThatsRacin.com)(6-9-2003)

  • Jimmie Johnson To Be Honored At Stewart-Marchman Dinner: The Stewart-Marchman Foundation will honor NASCAR Winston Cup star Jimmie Johnson during its annual Daytona Club gala at the Daytona International Speedway on July 2. Johnson has demonstrated his concern for others both as a friend and mentor to young race drivers. He has also volunteered for the American Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet and teamed up with Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse to help support our troops by raising money for Operation United Service Organizations (USO) Care Packages. Money raised through donations at local Lowe's stores will be sent to the USO and used to create care packages that troops will receive around the world. Joining Johnson at the gala will be former NASCAR driver and broadcast personality Bennie Parsons who will emcee the event. Title Sponsor for the fund-raiser is The Johnson Group, Inc.--one of Central Florida's most prominent builder/developers. Tickets and sponsorships for the event may still be purchased from the Stewart-Marchman Foundation, Inc.(PR), for more info, see my Racing Charity Page.(5-31-2003)

  • The Coca-Cola 600 has been called - Jimmie Johnson has been declared the winner: after 276 of 400 laps, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway was called due to a wet track and threatening weather in the Concord, NC area. #48-Jimmie Johnson is the winner of the race, winning his first race of 2003 and 4th of his career, the win puts him into the 2004 The Winston (or whatever it will be called, if they have it). Johnson is the fifth ever to win both the Winston and the Coca-Cola 600. Johnson is also the 7th driver to ever win from a provisional starting spot (see the list of all the previous winners from 35th or worse on my Stats Menu and Links page), his OFFICIAL starting spot was 37th, even though he had to fall to 42nd before the drop of the green flag, #31-Robby Gordon started 43rd. It was Johnson's first win since Spet 2002, 19 races ago. #17-Matt Kenseth ended up 2nd and increases his points lead to 160 over #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr, who had brake problems and finished 41st. It is only the third time the Coca-Cola 600 had been shotened due to rain. See my Coca-Cola 600 Race Info Page for my race rundown as it happened, lap leaders, DNF's, cautions and many notes.
    Race Results at Jayski - Coca Cola 600 Results and Driver/Owners Points after Charlotte, also at:
    ThatsRacin.com
    NASCAR.com - official
    MotorsportsOne(5-25-2003)

  • #48 Crew Chief fined: NASCAR officials announced today that Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Lowe's Chevy, has been fined $2,500 for rule violations on May 23 before qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway (held May 25). The #48, driven by Jimmie Johnson, was in violation of Section 12-4-A in the NASCAR Winston Cup rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (unapproved use of refrigerant near the fuel system).(NASCAR.com)(5-27-2003)

  • Lowe's extends with Johnson/Hendrick: Lowe's, primary sponsor of the #48 Chevy, announced today it signed a five-year contract extension with car co-owners Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon. Hendrick Motorsports also extended the contracts of driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus, keeping what is already regarded as one of the best driver/crew chief combinations together for at least another five years. "Jimmie's on-track performance over the past year has helped Lowe's become one of the most recognizable sponsors in NASCAR," said Dale Pond, Lowe's senior executive vice president of merchandising/marketing. "The team's performance, dedication and determination exemplify the team spirit Lowe's employees feel as they work together to serve our customers every day." In addition to sponsoring the #48 Lowe's Chevy, the company also has naming rights to Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Last season, Johnson's on-track success translated into Team Lowe's Racing becoming one of NASCAR's largest fan clubs. Lowe's also ranked second in sponsorship exposure value compared to all other major NASCAR sponsors. Based in Wilkesboro, N.C., the 57-year old company is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit Lowes.com.(Golin Harris PR)(5-26-2003)

  • Hendrick To Team With U.S.S. Nimitz At LMS Cup Entries Provide 'Friendly Competition' For Squadrons: Hendrick Motorsports will join forces with the U.S. Navy this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where all four of the team's NASCAR Winston Cup Series entries will display decals from fighter squadrons of the U.S.S. Nimitz (CVN 68 - more info at their site), a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Throughout the week leading up to Sunday's 600-mile event, each Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will display the Nimitz logo on the driver's side "C-post," along with the logos of two individual squadrons on the car's opposite side. The eight units were able pick which entry would carry their artwork, adding some "friendly competition" between squadrons.
    The decals, also known as "zappers," will be distributed as follows:
    #5 Kellogg's / got milk? Chevrolet and driver Terry Labonte: VFA-41 "The Black Aces" (based in Lemoore, Calif.) and VFA-14 "Tophatters" (Lemoore).
    #24 DuPont Chevrolet and driver Jeff Gordon: VFA-97 "Warhawks" (Lemoore) and VFA-94 "Mighty Shrikes" (Lemoore).
    #25 UAW-Delphi Chevrolet and driver Joe Nemechek: VAQ-135 "Black Ravens" (Whidbey Island, Wash.) and VAW-117 "Wallbangers" (Point Mugu, Calif.).
    #48 Lowe's Chevrolet and driver Jimmie Johnson: VS-29 "Dragonfires" (San Diego) and HS-6 "Indians" (San Diego).
    Each squadron employs up to 250 people and carries between four and 14 aircraft, including the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet, EA-6B Prowler, E-2C Hawkeye 2000, S-3B Viking, and SH-60B Seahawk. On Aug. 5, 2002, six Hendrick Motorsports employees spent a day on the Nimitz as part of the Navy's Distinguished Visitors Program, an initiative designed to increase public awareness and appreciation for the Navy. Named after Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, the ship was commissioned on May 3, 1975 in Newport News, Va., and is the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in her class. More than 18 stories high from keel to mast, the Nimitz was deployed to the Arabian Gulf from its home base in San Diego on March 3.(HMS PR)(5-21-2003)

  • Two Crew Chiefs Fined: NASCAR fined two Winston Cup crew chiefs from actions at The Winston. #40 crew chief, Lee McCall was fined $10,000 for an improper weight attached on the #40 Coors Light Dodge. #48 crew chief, Chad Knaus was fined $1,000 for an unapproved air directional device.(Fox Sports Net - Totally NASCAR)(5-20-2003)

  • Humpy Picks Johnson: H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, today predicted #48-Jimmie Johnson will win Saturday night's 19th running of The Winston and claim the $1 million first-place prize. Wheeler, known for his promotional flare and Karnac-type ability, has correctly picked the winner of NASCAR's all-star event eight times in the past 14 years. "I'm going to ruffle some feathers on this," said Wheeler. "These picks are not pulled out of some black hat. During the recent test session, I watched guys run into the corners and studied where they got back on the throttle. Most any idiot can run down a straightaway! But this is a real tough track and past winners of The Winston know how to get into the turns with a bunch of guys breathin' hot radiators down their back," Wheeler explained. "There are guys that can get in and out of the turns fast by themselves and are good qualifiers but don't do so hot when the big-toothed dogs are bitin' at 'em." Johnson and his Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse team had an impressive test at the 1.5-mile superspeedway two weeks ago, posting the second-fastest speed during the two-night session. In addition, the young California native was impressive in last May's events, including The Winston. "All of that is why I'm picking Jimmie Johnson to win this year," Wheeler said. "He runs very strong here and was one of the fastest in testing. I liked the way he dug into the turns. He looked like Jeff Gordon-running deep and keeping it smooth." Though not really a dark horse, Wheeler said #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is his "Wildcard" pick if Johnson doesn't get the job done. For The Winston Open, the final transfer spot into The Winston, Wheeler predicts veteran #99-Jeff Burton will win and move into the big show.(LMS PR)(5-13-2003)

  • Governor loses control of race car, wrecks at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Not Injured: North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, who was turning practice laps in a Winston Cup car at Lowe's Motor Speedway Friday morning, lost control of the car while exiting Turn 2 and wrecked on the backstretch. Easley was not injured, speedways officials confirmed. The accident occurred about 11:45am.et and Easley's car - a #48 Chevy from Hendrick Motorsports - was the only car on the track at the time. Easley was wearing the HANS device, one of two head-and-neck restraint systems mandated by NASCAR in October 2001. After the wreck, Easley stood by the car joking with his staff and track officials and even autographed the crumpled car before it was towed away. Easley drove two laps behind the pace cars for two parade laps before last October's Winston Cup race at Charlotte. He'd planned to run three laps in honor of the late Dale Earnhardt, but a rain delay and damp track conditions spoiled those plans. Easley was at the track Friday to practice in preparation of reprising that role during May race activities at the speedway.(ThatsRacin.com)
    AND A close call this morning for North Carolina Governor Mike Easley at Lowes Motor Speedway. Driving an old Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowes Chevy The Governor lost the handle coming out of turn 2 then crashed.along the backstretch wall while practicing for a pre-race event for The Winston All-Star race next weekend. Easley, who was clocked at just over 165 miles per hour when the accident occured was not injured. After autographing pieces of the wrecked car he continued his pace laps in an old Terry Labonte #5 Kelloggs Monte Carlo.(PRN's Garage Pass)(5-9-2003)

  • New Car Chief for the #48: Team Lowe's Racing and Hendrick Motorsports announced today it has promoted Ron Malec to car chief of the #48 Lowe's Chevy effective immediately. Malec, 28, has been with Hendrick Motorsports and Team Lowe's for the past two seasons as a team mechanic and rear tire carrier on race day. He replaces Jason Burdett, who recently left the team to pursue other racing interests [#88 Car Chief]. "Ron has been a vital part of Team Lowe's," explained crew chief Chad Knaus. "Since last season, we've been looking for a way to get his talents more involved with the team. Ron brings a lot of experience to the position, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to take on more responsibility. We're confident Team Lowe's won't miss a beat." The Franklin, Wis., native has a long history working with Team Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson, dating back to Johnson's off-road racing days in 1996. Johnson and Malec have been teammates since 1998, when Johnson first drove for Herzog Motorsports in the ASA series. Additionally, they two worked together for two seasons in the NASCAR Busch Series with Herzog Motorsports before the joining Hendrick Motorsports and Team Lowe's Racing in 2002. "I've been with Ron for as long as I've driven stockcars," said Johnson. "He has tremendous motorsports knowledge and someone I've really come to respect. He brings so much to the team and leads by example through his hard work and dedication. We're lucky to have him on Team Lowe's, and he's ready for this challenge." Malec fueled his passion for motorsports by racing go-karts when he was 10-years-old. After putting his racing days behind him in 1996, which included several years racing late-models, Malec began working on late-models for several Wisconsin-based teams beginning. In 1999, he was named crew chief for a Rick Johnson-owned race team, a team that earned rookie-of-the-year honors that year under Malec'sleadership.(Golin Harris PR)(5-8-2003)

  • #600 for Hendrick: When the teams of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series take the green flag at Richmond on Saturday, it will mark the 600th race started in the storied 19-year history of Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick teams have brought home 110 wins in 599 Winston Cup events [18.7%]. The four Winston Cup teams of Hendrick Motorsports [#5, #24, #25, #48] will display a special "600th Start" decal at Richmond. The artwork will take the place of the HMS logo on the "B-post" of each car.(HMS PR)(5-1-2003)

  • Johnson to be inducted: Jimmie Johnson will be enshrined in California Speedways Walk of Fame at 10:00am/pt on Friday April, 25th. The ceremony, which will take place at Gate 12, is open to the public.(California Speedway PR)(4-18-2003)

  • Johnson to throw out first pitch at Phillies game: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to throw out the 'first pitch' tomorrow night at the Philadelphia Phillies (Jayski's team) / Atlanta Braves to coincide with his Winner Circle appearance in Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 9th.(4-9-2003)

  • How did Johnson end up ahead of Wallace? been asked this quite a bit today, after #48-Jimmie Johnson got together with #23-Kenny Wallace towards the end of the race, Johnson spun and lost the lead draft and Wallace continued on, BUT Wallace ran out of fuel a few hundred feet after the incident with Johnson and finished 17th, Johnson finished 15th.(Speed Channel's Inside Winston Cup - Kenny Wallace, also the #77 crew chief, Bootie Barker is the hot seat guest this week)(4-7-2003)

  • Power of Pride campaign launched: The sponsor of Jimmie Johnson's #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, Lowe's, created the Power of Pride initiative in the fall of 2001 as a way to pay tribute to the armed forces, police and fire departments following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. On Thursday in Washington, Johnson, Lowe's officials and the United Service Organization (USO) unveiled the latest installment of the campaign - allowing individuals to send personal messages and care packages to members of the military overseas. The packages contain an assortment of items the personnel have requested, such as prepaid international calling cards, disposable cameras, toiletries, and sunscreen. In honor of the nearly 300 Lowe's employees serving in the National Guard and reserves, Lowe's launched its newest Power of Pride campaign a $100,000 contribution to the USO. Effectively immediately, donations to the program will be accepted at Lowe's stores nationwide and SMI races. Additionally, Lowe's will tour a giant "Thank You" banner to the military. Military supporters will be invited to write personal messages and signatures on the banner at sporting events and Lowe's stores throughout the spring. During the Memorial Day weekend, Lowe's will present a Power of Pride pre-race show at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, which will include a military exhibition, a country music concert and a check presentation to the USO. Also, Johnson will run a special Power of Pride paint scheme during the race and at The Winston all-star race on May 17. In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Lowe's, its employees and customers raised more than $6 million, which included Johnson running a Power of Pride paint scheme in selected races in 2001 and last season.(ThatsRacin.com), also see other ways you can supports our troops on my new look Racing Charites page and see real images of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(3-28-2003)

  • Hendrick Teams To Carry Patriotic Decal: In support of American soldiers at home and abroad, the NASCAR teams of Hendrick Motorsports will display patriotic artwork on the "C-post" of their Chevrolet Monte Carlo race cars beginning with this week's events at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. "During these turbulent times, it's especially important that we show support for the men and women of the United States military," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "This is a small gesture to show that our thoughts and prayers are centered around these brave individuals and their families." In the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, the decals will be carried on the #5 Kellogg's / got milk? Chevy of Terry Labonte, the #24 DuPont Chevy of Jeff Gordon, the #25 UAW-Delphi Chevy of Joe Nemechek and the #48 Lowe's Chevy of Jimmie Johnson. The #5 GMAC Financial Services Chevy of Busch Series driver Brian Vickers will also display the design, which depicts a yellow ribbon wrapped around the American flag.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-20-2003)

  • Marlin says wreck wasn't intentional: #40-Sterling Marlin denied intentionally hitting #48-Jimmie Johnson on the final lap at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, while Johnson dismissed rumors Tuesday of a later confrontation between the two at a casi# The drivers were in the only side-by-side battle headed to the finish line in Sunday's race. Fighting for eighth place coming out of Turn 4, Marlin's Dodge wiggled just a touch, enough to bang into the left side of Johnson's Chevrolet. The contact sent Johnson spinning through the grass and to an 11th-place finish, the final car on the lead lap, drawing questions over Marlin's intent.(ThatsRacin.com/AP)(3-5-2003)

  • Hendrick sends backups home: The unliklihood of any Winston Cup practice on Saturday prompted Hendrick Motorsports to send two of its teams' backup cars back to Charlotte. The backup cars the teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson taken to Rockingham this week are the primary cars both teams expect to use next weekend at Las Vegas. Bad weather canceled Saturday's final Cup practices, so Hendrick team officials decided to load up Gordon and Johnson's backup cars and take them back to team headquarters for final preparations for next weekend's race.(ThatsRacin.com)(2-22-2003)

  • Johnson on Nick: Lamott Ebron, a freshman at Simon Gratz High, will get to share his dream of becoming a NASCAR driver with a national television audience tonight. Ebron will be featured along with Winston Cup star Jimmie Johnson in A Walk in Your Shoes, an educational series that depicts two people from completely different backgrounds adapting to each other's environment. Tonight's episode will be televised simultaneously on Nickelodeon and as part of the teen block "The N" on Noggin - Nickelodeon's sister cable network - at 8:30. A repeat is scheduled for 7:30 tomorrow [Monday]night on Noggin. During the show, Ebron, a 14-year-old from North Philadelphia, takes viewers behind the scenes of October's Winston Cup race weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Along with a ride in the pace car and encounters with star drivers Jeff Gordon, Dale Jarrett and Kevin Harvick, Ebron experiences the rush of the stock cars zooming past at more than 170 m.p.h. from his perch on pit road. To Ebron, the life of a top-notch racer appears pretty simple. "All you have to do is drive in a circle and let your pit crew take care of the rest," he said. Ebron is one of 75 students who attend the Philadelphia-based Urban Youth Racing School, an inner-city program that provides youths - ages 8 through 18 - an opportunity to race go-karts and learn about career opportunities in motor sports and the automotive industry.(Philadelphia Inqurier)(2-16-2003)

2002 News

  • #48 scheme at Lowe's UPDATE 2: hearing the #48 Lowe's car will run a special scheme at Lowe's in May, not sure what kind of scheme or for what.(12-11-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing it will be a Power of Pride Blue with silver stars.(12-18-2002)
    UPDATE 2: being told it will run in May at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(1-31-2003)

  • New Crew Members for the #48: Look for major changes on the #48 Lowes Chevy team this season. Crew chief Chad Knaus, who was a part of two championships as a tire changer for Jeff Gordon, wanted a more athletic pit crew after several miscues cost driver Jimmie Johnson and his team valuable positions on the track last year. Cory Quick and Ryan McCray, who formerly were with Jack Sprague's BGN team, will pair up as the front tire changer and carrier. Ryan Pepe, who changed rear tires for the #36 [now #01] car last year, will take that position with the #48.(Sporting News)(1-6-2003)

  • #48 scheme at Lowe's UPDATE: hearing the #48 Lowe's car will run a special scheme at Lowe's in May, not sure what kind of scheme or for what.(12-11-2002)
    UPDATE: hearing it will be a Power of Pride Blue with silver stars.(12-18-2002)

  • Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig Win 2002 IRWIN Crew Chief of the Year Honors: Solid efforts and yearlong consistency both on the track and in the pits were the formulas for success that crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Jimmy Fennig used to win this year's IRWIN "Crew Chief of the Year" honors. For winning the honor, IRWIN, makers of professional power tool accessories like MARATHON saw blades and SPEEDBOR flat bits, will donate $5,000 to the Ellerbe, N.C. Educational Fund in their names. See rundown and more on my Pit Crew page.(Golin/Harris International PR)(12-4-2002)

  • World Cup of Motorsports UPDATE 2 Team USA wins: U.S. Joins Eight Countries for World Cup of Motorsports the 2002 Michelin Race of Champions Nations Cup. Team USA was among the first to announce involvement in this year's Michelin Race of Champions Nations Cup, the annual contest that puts the world's fastest rally, motorcycle and circuit racers against one another in fierce head-to-head competition. Representing the U.S. is four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon, Winston Cup rookie sensation Jimmie Johnson and World Superbike Champion Colin Edwards. This year's ROC Nations Cup promises to be the most hotly contested in the event's four year history, as the Americans take on the fastest drivers and riders from France, UK, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Brazil and Italy. Many recently-crowned champions are among the international cast, including this year's World Rally champ Marcus Gronholm (Finland), CART's Cristiano da Matta (Brazil), Formula 3000's Sebastien Bourdais (France), 250cc MotoGP Champion Marco Melandri (It), European Rally victor Renato Travaglia (Itay), European Touring Cars champion Fabrizio Giovanardi (Italy), World Enduro's Kari Tiainen (Finland), 125cc Motocross champ Mickael Maschio (France) and Speedway GP winner Tony Rickardsson (Sweden). Rounding out the rosters will be Formula One stars Fernando Alonso (Spain) and Nick Heidfeld (Germany), CART driver and former Indy 500 winner Kenny Brack (Sweden) as well as MotoGP riders Carlos Checa (Spain) and Alex Barros (Brazil).
    Supported by Michelin since the inaugural event in Paris in 1988, The Race of Champions was conceived, and remained for the first eleven years, a rally-only event that invited drivers to race head-to-head, side-by-side in exactly the same cars and on a figure-eight parallel-track. The premise was simple: using identical equipment and circuit, drivers could prove themselves based on their talent alone. In 1999, event promoters, seeing the potential for a World Cup of racing, introduced The ROC Nations Cup as a means of expanding that unique concept to other disciplines of motorsport and to allow racers to compete for their flags. In this event, three-man national teams, each comprising the country's best rally (or off-road), motorcycle and circuit racers' face off against one another in a series of 1-lap heats, quarter-finals and semi-finals leading up to the climactic final (this year, Saturday November 30th). The ROC Nations Cup is now a highlight of The Michelin Race of Champions weekend (November 29th - December 1st), which is hosted by the Circuito Ciudad Deportiva rally circuit in Gran Canaria and is largely responsible for the recent explosive growth in media coverage of this weekend of racing: the event is now televised in more than 187 countries. The nine countries in this year's ROC Nations Cup will be divided into three groups: each country will compete against all others in its group, with rally, circuit and motorcycle racers competing against their counterparts.(Golin Harris PR), no word on if any of the race will be televised.(11-28-2002)
    UPDATE: Sweden's Kenny Brack collected the honours in today's ROC America challenge beating NASCAR ace, Jeff Gordon, in an exhilarating two-lap Final. The inaugural ROC America pitted US based open-wheeled stars, Kenny Brack and Cristiano da Matta against tin-top racers, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. Racing in the unfamiliar hardware of the Michelin Race of Champions unique ROC Cars, the CART star powered past Gordon in a time of 1:56.45 - the fastest lap of the competition. The four-time NASCAR Champion had initially blitzed his way into the lead only to crash heavily into the barrier in the closing stages. He said: "The first lap was my best of the day, but I really messed up at the end. Even so, it was great fun." On his way to the Final, Brack notched up convincing victories over 2002 CART Champion, da Matta and Gordon. The eagerly awaited contest between Gordon and NASCAR rookie sensation, Jimmie Johnson, saw the former take the flag a mere sixteen hundredths of a second ahead of his protégé. Gordon quipped afterwards: "I'm gonna be proud of that moment for a very long time."(ROC Site) see more and pictures at the Jeff Gordon site.(11-29-2002)
    UPDATE 2: USA clinched the fourth Michelin Race of Champions Nations' Cup in Gran Canaria today. Colin Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson triumphed in dramatic fashion over the Italian bike, racing and rally trio of Marco Melandri, Fabrizio Giovanardi and Renato Travaglia by three heats to two. An ecstatic Jimmie Johnson said afterwards: "Admittedly, this is a big surprise but it feels great. We came here wanting to win, and to have some fun, and we had both. It's a truly awesome feeling." Four time NASCAR Champion, Jeff Gordon paid tribute to the dominance of Colin Edwards in the Honda Blackbird powered ROC Cars - the 2002 Superbike World Champion won every race: "He was the key player for us. Having been here a couple of years ago, he had the experience that helped make a difference. He was just so smooth." Edwards may have controlled both his heats, and Gordon may have scored a memorable victory over 2002 European Touring Car Champion, Giovanardi, but Johnson's six tenths of a second loss to Travaglia was the most exhilarating contest. On their way to the Final, the USA eliminated previous winners France (2000) in the Semis and Spain (2001) in the Opening Group Stages.
    The story of the day: Group Stages:
    After rolling his Peugeot 206 WRC in practice on Friday, Marcus Gronholm led Finland to victory in Group A over fellow Scandinavian's Sweden and the UK.
    Italy emerged triumphant from Group B wining 5 Heats to 3 over second placed France, with F1 driver, Nick Heidfeld scoring the only success for Germany.
    Group B was also the scene of the closest race in Nations' Cup history, where Frenchman Sebastian Loeb beat former double World Rally Champion, Walter Rohrl by just six ten thousandths of a second.
    Group C witnessed some of the most entertaining clashes with USA's Gordon spectacularly crossing lanes in his unsuccessful pursuit of Brazil's, Cristiano da Matta.
    Although Spain completed a white wash over Brazil to finish joint top with 4 Heat wins, the American triumvirate recorded the fastest collective time to book their place in the Semis.
    Much to the disappointment of the home crowd, 2001 Nations Cup winners, Spain, failed to clinch the last Semi-Final berth, which is allotted to the fastest runner-up. Group B's France registered a time of 5mins 47.11secs - over three seconds quicker than Spain.(ROC Site) and see more and some images at the Jeff Gordon site.(11-30-2002)

  • Hendrick Engine Problems: on ESPN2's RPM2Night (gonna miss that show in 2003) Hendrick Engine Builder, Randy Dorton was interview by Mike Massaro, the part that caused the engine failures in all 6 engines (#'s 5,10,24,25,36,48) at Talladega was a valve retainer clip that broke/failed.(10-10-2002)

  • IRWIN Rough to Finish Award #48 Team: The #48 Lowe's racing team's performance had its ups and downs in Sunday's Protection One 400 at Kansas Speedway. But thanks to a great pit strategy and some excellent driving, the Lowe's team left Kansas as the leader in the NASCAR Winston Cup championship standings, helping to earn team crew chief Chad Knaus this week's IRWIN "Rough to the Finish" award. The Lowe's team ran the majority of the first half of Sunday' s race in the top-five, until driver Jimmie Johnson radioed in to Knaus on lap 170 that he felt the right rear tire was going down. Johnson was forced to pit under green to change the tire, causing team Lowe's to go down one lap. Following the pit stop, Johnson returned to his top-five form, turning fast lap times while making up valuable time on the leaders. Johnson finally was able to gain his lap back, but fuel mileage soon became an issue, forcing the team to pit with just 33 laps to go. Despite the turn of events, Johnson was able to salvage his 18th top-10 finish of the season and take an 11-point lead in the championship race. "For us to finish in the top-10 after having a flat tire is a great accomplishment for this whole team," said Knaus. "It shows what teamwork and determination can do. Everybody in the pits is working hard each week; this award is a credit to their efforts week in and week out."
    Each week throughout the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup season, Irwin, makers of professional power tool accesso