(NOTE: some older links may not work)
2014 Lowe's Sponsor Schedule:
Sprint Unlimited, 2/15, Kobalt Tools
Daytona, 2/23, Lowe's
Phoenix, 3/2, Lowe's
Las Vegas, 3/9, Kobalt Tools
Bristol, 3/16, Kobalt Tools
Auto Club, 3/23, Lowe's "Spring Is Calling"
Martinsville, 3/30, Lowe's "Spring Is Calling"
Texas, 4/6, Lowe's "Spring Is Calling"
Darlington, 4/12, Kobalt Tools
Richmond, 4/26, Kobalt Tools
Talladega, 5/4, Lowe's/Valspar Reserve
Kansas, 5/10, Kobalt Tools
Charlotte, All-Star Race, 5/17, Lowe's Patriotic
Charlotte, 5/25, Lowe's Patriotic
Dover, 6/1, Kobalt Tools
Pocono, 6/8, Kobalt Tools
Michigan, 6/15, Kobalt Tools
Sonoma, 6/22, Lowe's
Kentucky, 6/28, Lowe's
Daytona, 7/5, Lowe's Patriotic
New Hampshire, 7/13, Lowe's
Indianapolis, 7/27, Kobalt Tools
Pocono, 8/3, Lowe's
Watkins Glen, 8/10, Lowe's
Michigan, 8/17, Jimmie Johnson Foundation
Bristol, 8/23, Lowe's Blue
Atlanta, 8/31, Kobalt Tools
Richmond, 9/6, Lowe's Blue
Chicago, 9/14, Lowe's Blue
New Hampshire, 9/21, Lowe's Blue
Dover, 9/28, Kobalt Tools
Kansas, 10/5, Lowe's Blue
Charlotte, 10/11, Lowe's Blue
Talladega, 10/19, Lowe's Blue
Martinsville, 10/26, Lowe's Blue
Texas, 11/2, Lowe's Red Vest
Phoenix, 11/9, Lowe's Patriotic
Homestead, 11/16, Lowe's Blue
Johnson and Harvick once camped out at 'Camp Hornaday': The last vestige of it rests in Lindy Hornaday's office, across the street from the house where it became a peculiar NASCAR artifact. One 17 years in the making. The solitary remaining component of a hard-used and well-worn sectional couch from Ron and Lindy Hornaday's former Lake Norman home is the River Styx and "George Washington Slept Here" all at once. But more importantly it symbolizes the opportunity and the friendship the Hornadays afforded not only to young race car drivers named Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick in 1997, but the scores of other wayfaring dreamers the former Truck series champion and his wife have made in the place the racing community fondly refers to as Camp Hornaday.
That Johnson, a six-time Sprint Cup champion, and Harvick, newly minted with his first title at NASCAR's highest level in November, at one point lounged, slept or passed out on that couch has made it a talisman in black leather for the latest generation of drivers and mechanics with NASCAR ambitions that followed them in the Hornadays' home. Its newest layer of historic patina has made it a source of amusement for its owners. And perhaps one day, a resident of the Hall of Fame in Charlotte. "They've made our couch really famous because now everybody wants to sleep on it," Lindy Hornaday said with a laugh. "I talked to [historian] Buz [McKim] from the Hall of Fame. He was coming to my house to get some stuff of Ron's and I was teasing him about the couch. He said, 'You know we really ought to start thinking about that couch.'"
Simply put, Ron and Lindy Hornaday love people. They must. They better. That's the only explanation for how they not only endured by enjoying life in a 969-square-foot home in California with two kids, three guests, three dogs, two birds, a goat, a pig, a rabbit and numerous cats, all with one bathroom, before they relocated to North Carolina to better pursue Ron's racing career in the 1990s. When they migrated to Charlotte's suburbs in Mooresville and bought a comparatively spacious 2,400-square-foot spread on a cove on Lake Norman, Ron Hornaday Jr. could more easily indulge the habit of inviting folks out to visit, lounge or bunk down. And he did. "Hornaday's place was always a place where everybody felt like they had a connection to him," Harvick said. Now living across the street, with more space and a bigger dock, there's even more room for the Hornadays to connect. "Chasing money," Hornaday said, for the first time in his career and without solid plans to race in the NASCAR Truck series this season, he busies himself with other racing ventures. His wife has opened her own business, and although they still take in guests, they miss the din of the heyday of Camp Hornaday. Though Lindy Hornaday has occasionally scolded her husband, Ron said, for his "revolving door" of a liberal guest policy, the denizens of their commune credit her equally with fostering a family environment that keeps old friends returning for years, grilling out and telling stories after races, pulling up their boats at the dock on weekends just to see who will stop by. "I love Ron, but Lindy's the glue, the real champion of that house," Johnson said.
Johnson came to camp as a 21-year-old off-road racer from El Cajon, California, seeking his next career arc, "working any angle I could," he said, before Hendrick Motorsports agreed to fund a dirt Late Model car for him. He'd previously met Hornaday at a Chevrolet autograph session in Detroit, was invited -- of course -- to bunk at the lake if he decided to relocate to NASCAR's hub, and bought a one-way ticket for Charlotte once the Hendrick offer came. Johnson stayed with the Hornadays for roughly four months in 1997 before they helped him find his first house. Having won the first of four Truck championships in 1996 -- his most recent in 2009 with Harvick's now-defunct team -- Hornaday wielded the cachet to make connections for both of the young Californians. Hornaday's endorsement had weight as Richard Childress moved to sign Harvick to his Nationwide program. Lindy still calls them "her boys" and coos as much about how they have grown into doting fathers as about them being champions of NASCAR's top series.(see full article at ESPN.com)(12-31-2014)
Kenseth, Johnson appear in new Gatorade ad: In 2015, Gatorade is celebrating its 50th anniversary and kicked off the celebration on Christmas Day with the debut of its new "50" television commercial. The ad celebrates five decades of fueling champions through a montage of 50 iconic sports moments ingrained in the brand and includes athletes like Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Cam Newton among many others. Each moment corresponds with a number relevant to Gatorade.(Charlotte Observer)(12-27-2014)
Johnson helps Carolina Panthers 'Keep Pounding': Keep pounding. It's the motto of the Carolina Panthers, and it's what six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson did beore Sunday's game at Bank of America Stadium. Johnson was given the honor of striking the Keep Pounding drum to kick off Sunday's contest. It's a tradition before Panthers games that has been taken up by current and former players, Make a Wish kids, military personnel, Olympic athletes and now Johnson. Johnson's daughter, Evie, even got a chance to hit the drum after posing for a photo with the Panthers cheerleaders, the TopCats.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-16-2014)
2014 Most Mentioned Drivers: According to Joyce Julius, a company that tracks media mentions for sport sponsors, Kevin Harvick was the most-mentioned NASCAR driver on TV this year, but Jeff Gordon grabbed the most interview time. The top 10:
#4-Kevin Harvick, 54 interviews, time of 53:12, 5,740 media mentions
#24-Jeff Gordon, 47 interviews, time of 1:00:33, 5,094 media mentions
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 47 interviews, time of 42:41, 4,830 media mentions
#2-Brad Keselowski, 45 interviews, time of 41:30, 4,164 media mentions
#22-Joey Logano, 40 interviews, time of 43:00, 3,482 media mentions
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., 50 interviews, time of 56:32, 3,311 media mentions
#20-Matt Kenseth, 40 interviews, time of 36:16, 2,892 media mentions
#11-Denny Hamlin, 37 interviews, time of 39:29, 2,768 media mentions
#18-Kyle Busch, 31 interviews, time of 24:27, 2,371 media mentions
#5-Kasey Kahne, 25 interviews, time of 24:13, 1,889 media mentions
Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. (Joyce Julius)(12-1-2014)
What are Sprint Cup plans for Chase Elliott? In a Thursday interview on SiriusXM Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel, Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt said the team planned to field a car for Chase Elliott in a handful of Sprint Cup races next season under the guidance of Kenny Francis (who was promoted Wednesday from crew chief of the #5 to vehicle technical director by Hendrick). Duchardt didn't speculate further on the future for Elliott. The 18-year-old son of NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott will run the rebranded Xfinity Series next year for JRM. "We'll see what the right steps are for the future, but right now, we're just going to take 2015 and take a look at how things are progressing," Duchardt said. "It's like having a prospect in Triple A batting .380 and when's he going to come up to the club. I get it. But we'll work on that and see where that all heads. Right now, he'll run the NAPA Camaro in '15, and we'll run some Cup races and see where that leads us. I understand it's part of the fun and speculation of what could or should be done. I completely understand it. We're going to try to make sure we put him in the best position to be successful when he does come here full time."
Hendrick also has signed Jimmie Johnson through next season. At a Thursday event to announce more than $500,000 in education grants from his foundation, the six-time series champion indicated he hoped to have an extension soon and said he had been unaware of Kahne's deal. "That's good news for Kasey," he said. Asked if Elliott was in line for his #48, Johnson said with a laugh, "No. I think there's maybe somebody else in line to retire before I do."(USA Today)(11-21-2014)
Jimmie Johnson Foundation announces grants: Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife Chandra, announced the recipients of the 2014 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants. The grants, which are awarded to K-12 public and charter schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson's respective hometowns of Muskogee, Oklahoma, El Cajon, California, and where they currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina, totaled $556,623. The announcement took place at Garinger High School. Garinger is one of five schools in the Charlotte area to receive a Champions Grant. Students and staff from the five local schools were in attendance as the Johnsons made the announcement on behalf of the Foundation and program partner Lowe's. The Johnsons shared that these schools, along with seven others from Muskogee and the San Diego area, have been selected to receive the grants. This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grant awards included $257,870 toward science and technology needs, $168,316 for health and fitness activities, $80,458 toward arts programs and $49,979 toward literacy initiatives. The funded projects for 2014 range from constructing an outdoor classroom and kitchen to creating a district-wide e-library to creating a visual arts program. Several schools also received technology grants to purchase new computers. Nearly $3.7 million has been contributed through the Champions Grant program since 2009. To see a detailed list of the 2014 Champions Grant projects, visit Jimmie Johnson Foundation.(Jimmie Johnson Foundation)(11-21-2014)
Knaus faces no penalty after unauthorized use of wheel spacer: NASCAR called Chad Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports executives to its at-track offices after the season finale Sunday, but Knaus and Jimmie Johnson's #48 team will not face any penalties for what is being characterized as a misunderstanding on pit road. On a pit stop during the Ford 400, Knaus wanted to put on a wheel spacer after having a loose wheel. The NASCAR official in the pit saw it and told him not to, and Knaus had the team do it anyway. Because he disobeyed a NASCAR order, Knaus and team general manager Doug Duchardt were called to the NASCAR hauler after the race. "It's really not a big deal," NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said. "We were just trying to clarify what went on. ... It's fine. We just wanted to clear the air and clarify everything. It's really not an issue." NASCAR allows wheel spacers but they must be "acceptable to NASCAR officials," according to the rulebook. They have a maximum diameter of seven inches and may not be less than one-sixteenths of an inch thick and must meet certain safety specifications. Pemberton said that a team should ask for permission before putting the wheel spacer on the car. It appears from the rulebook that the spacers must be approved, although Pemberton said he wouldn't get into specifics of the rule.(Sporting News)(11-16-2014)
Knaus, Johnson confirm they will be back together next season: Following #48-Jimmie Johnson's victory in Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas, his longtime crew chief Chad Knaus confirmed he will be back as the leader of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team next season. Rumors have swirled in recent weeks that Knaus might step down or head elsewhere after a disappointing 2014 season for the six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. But Knaus said Sunday night he'll be back on the pit box next year. During his post-race press conference at Texas Motor Speedway, Knaus was asked about the rumors he might be leaving. "I haven't heard any of that stuff," Knaus said. "You write all the bad stuff, don't tell me the good stuff. No, man, I'm set. I don't foresee a change with the 48 car from a driver or crew chief standpoint in the near future. I don't foresee that happening. If it does, I'll have to be a reporter because I don't know what the hell I'm going to do after that."(FoxSports)(11-3-2014)
Johnson wins at Texas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for his 4th win of the season, 4th at Texas and his 70th career win. It is the third straight November win at Texas for Johnson. The race featured two Green-White-Checkered finishes. #24-Gordon had a decent lead with 4 laps to go when #15-Bowyer smacked the wall, setting up the first G-W-C. On the first G-W-C Gordon chose the outside lane with #48-Johnson next tow him on the inside and #2-Keselowski in third. On the green flag the #24 and #48 separated a bit and the #2 went between the two cars, with #24 and #2 cars making contact, causing a tire to go down on the #24, which sent the #24 scraping the wall bring out the 13th record breaking caution. Gordon lost a lap pitting to get tires. Johnson led on the restart and kept the lead to the checkered flag. Harvick was able to pass Keselowski and take 2nd. Gordon was relegated to 29th.
#4-Harvick 2nd followed by #2-Keselowski, #18-Busch, #1-McMurray, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #42.Larson, #41-Busch, #99-Edwards (was two laps down at one point) and #11-Hamlin.
Pole winner #20-Kenseth finished 25th after having a tire rub late in the race.
After the race, #24-Gordon stopped his car next the Keselowski's, got out and headed around the car to confront Keselowski. The two drivers were yelling back and forth when Harvick pushed Keselowski, which then set up a mini brawl that left both Gordon and Keselowski with blood on their faces.
There were 23 lead changes among 7 drivers. There were a record 13 cautions for 61 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 132.239mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(11-2-2014)
Johnson open to team changes next season; except crew chief: #48-Jimmie Johnson talked to the media Friday at Martinsville Speedway:
WE'RE INTERESTED TO KNOW YOUR MINDSET OVER THESE FOUR RACES. YOU CAN'T DEFEND YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP BUT YOU CAN CERTAINLY WIN RACES.
The mindset is simple. We want to close out the year well and finish as high as we can in points. We want to win races. That's what we're here for. We did not have a good last three races for a variety of reasons. The results weren't there. Frankly, two of those results would have eliminated us from championship hope (in past years). I felt like at Talladega, we were given a pretty big gift and we came close to taking advantage of that opportunity. We want to do well. We want to win races. At the same time, this does open up an opportunity for us to work on '15 from a personnel standpoint and even from a 2015 test plan. Obviously testing is gone next year, so anything we can do to work on the 2015 package will suit us well. We're not slowing down any. These last four weeks are going to be about as busy as any as we're getting geared up for 2015."
THE PAIRING OF GREAT DRIVERS AND GREAT CREW CHIEFS IN THE SPORT EVENTUALLY COME TO AN END. DO YOU SEE THE DAY WHEN MAYBE CHAD ISN'T ON YOUR PIT BOX?
"Yeah, that day is out there. I think a crew chief's lifespan is much shorter than a driver's. They live in dog years and drivers can carry on much longer. I've been accused of being loyal to a fault in the past, that's me. I have no plans or desires to make a change. When Chad decides he's had enough of being the guy on the box, it will be his decision to step down. As far as I'm concerned, we've made it 13 years in this thing. I want to see it go as long as it can. We're honest with each other and know each other well enough to work through the bad times. It might not be pretty, and I'm sure you guys have heard things on the radio that got your attention. We're like family, and we fight like family. We can call each other out on that stuff, and you only hear a piece of it on the radio. There is plenty more that goes on behind closed doors and in meetings. It's more of a timeframe of when Chad says, 'I've put in my time here as crew chief and I need to slow down a little bit.'"(Chevy PR)(10-25-2014)
Johnson going red at Texas: Lowe's is rallying around its employees and introducing the #48 Lowe's Red Vest Chevy SS at Texas Motor Speedway during the AAA Texas 500 race weekend. The #48 Lowe's Chevy will don the famous red and blue colors to celebrate the more than 260,000 Lowe's employees who perform like champions every day. The red vests employees wear have become symbolic of Lowe's commitment to its customers and providing outstanding service each and every day. "I know what the red vest means to everyone at Lowe's. That's why I'm proud to have red on my car at Texas. I want to show Lowe's 260,000 employees that this is for them," said Jimmie Johnson. "It takes a team to run a race like this one, and it takes a team at Lowe's, day in and day out, to win!"(Lowes Racing), see an image of the car on the #48 team paint schemes page.(10-22-2014)
The Four drivers eliminated from Chase...comments:
TALK ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONS:
"It feels relieving to go down swinging. The last two weeks were really poor. At least we went down swinging. I'll take some pride in that."
YOU'LL GO INTO THE FINALE WITHOUT HAVING A CHANCE OF WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP.
"The last I can think of is with Carl (Edwards) and Tony (Stewart). I vividly remembered the lunch presser that took place with the champions and how much that ate at me to watch it on TV and not be a part of it. I get the pleasure of going through that again. Today I went down swinging, and I take pride in that. Am I disappointed in our Chase? Absolutely. In the last two weeks, people have tuned on the radio and there have been plenty of articles have been written this week. Frustration was high between Chad (Knaus, crew chief) and I and the fact that we haven't been able to produce like we wanted to. Today we went down swinging. We had a chance and came up short. We have to make the best of '15. We have a chance to finish fifth in points, which would mean the world to me. The worst I've finished is sixth in the points, so it's not time to put our feet up. We need to finish strong and try to be in the top-five."
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THIS RACE TODAY?
"Two restarts from the end, I was trying to make something happen on the restart. I was in a weird position there behind the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski), and if I pushed him to the win, he moves on and I don't. So I tried going to his outside. I looked up and I had no friends in the mirror. If I had known we were going to have a second green-white-checker, I would have stayed in line. That would have shuffled the order around and I wouldn't have been behind him, and maybe we would have had another shot at it. We had a fast, fast Lowe's Chevrolet today. Disappointed we didn't advance, but truthfully the way the last two races went, today was an opportunity for us, and we were kind of playing with house money and just didn't get it done."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF NOT GOING TO THE NEXT ROUND?
"Truthfully, I showed up this weekend thinking I've been playing with house money and I've had a very unique opportunity to advance. In any Chase, after two bad races like we had the last two weeks, you wouldn't have a shot at the championship. So, the frustration was kind of peaking over the last two weeks. This week's been chill. We qualified second and ran up front all day. And it's so hard to win one of these races. You can't come in here and say you're doing to dominate Talladega and win the race. We dominated it. We just didn't lead the lap that counted."(Chevy Racing PR)(10-20-2014)
2015 team sponsorships coming together: Some top NASCAR Sprint Cup teams have sold their primary sponsorships for all of next season, but space remains on the cars of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and #15-Clint Bowyer four months before the 2015 season begins. Among the teams that have sold all their primary sponsorship for next year are #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #22-Joey Logano, #4-Kevin Harvick, #20-Matt Kenseth, #18-Kyle Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. "It's certainly not easy finding a sponsor, but there was an abundant amount of interest in our sport and in our team," said Dave Alpern, chief marketing officer at Joe Gibbs Racing, which expands to four cars next season. Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, says that the three-car organization has fewer primary sponsorship openings then it did at this time a year ago. Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer at Richard Childress Racing, says that his three-car organization also is ahead in selling sponsorships, noting some companies were willing to start negotiations earlier. "I think the climate is getting better," Newmark said. "It's not where we need to be, but I think the whole sport is doing a better job of marketing." Newmark credits more collaboration with NASCAR compared to when he arrived at Roush four years ago. Newmark also said that the team has made many changes to better serve sponsors. See more team-by team info at Motor Racing Network and check out the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team / Driver Chart.(10-16-2014)
ESPN employees visit Hendrick Motorsports: Five years ago, Rich Feinberg - ESPN vice president, motorsports, production - came up with an idea. "At ESPN, we cover all sports, but it's a very stick-and-ball culture," Feinberg explained. So he brought a concept to ESPN management and eventually NASCAR management. Why not gather a group of ESPN employees and bring them inside the world of NASCAR? "By immersing people in it, they learn about it, they have a new respect for it, and when it comes down to working on it, they do better," he said. ESPN and NASCAR loved the idea, and for five years, Feinberg has hand-picked a group to make the trek to Hendrick Motorsports headquarters in Concord, North Carolina. In the 2014 version of the immersion program, that certainly proved true. In addition to NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports employees, among the participants were SportsCenter anchors Jay Harris, Chris Hassel, Darren Haynes, Lisa Kerney and Jaymee Sire in addition to ESPN Radio host Freddie Coleman, executive producers Mike Shiffman and Andy Tennant, senior news editor Jodi Herbert and Director of Talent, Planning and Development Chris Duffy. Included in the immersion was an overview of the human performance element of the race teams, featuring a tour of the training field, gym and pit pad. At the pit pad, the group got a chance to take a shot at changing a tire, splitting into two teams racing against the clock for the win. After the competition, the group went on to tour the engine shop and the race shops for the #5, 24, 48 and 88 teams. Finally, the group got to take an exclusive tour of Hendrick Motorsports Owner Rick Hendrick's Heritage Center, featuring his extensive car collection. It was just part of their immersion, as the group later got the chance to take in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-15-2014)
Biffle not sure what happened with Johnson: #16-Greg Biffle says he's not sure why he got into #48-Jimmie Johnson, causing the six-time champion to crash in Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway. Biffle made contact with Johnson on Lap 85. Johnson lost 68 laps for repairs. He finished 40th, jeopardizing his chances of advancing to the next round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. "I don't know if (Johnson) got slowed up a little bit coming off the corner,'' Biffle said Monday at an appearance promoting this weekend's race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We were coming off the corner two-, three-, four-wide. My car started to lose the nose a little bit, started to slide up the race track. It looked like (Johnson) had good momentum off the corner. It looked like I was going to be able to move in behind him. I don't know if he got slowed up any from the cars in front of him or I tried to move over too early and caught his left rear. You're going to have that contact when you're back there two-, three-wide scrambling on a restart. We just got together.''(MRN)(10-7-2014)
Johnson comments about his wreck: #48-Jimmie Johnson was involved in a multi-car crash on lap 85 of the Hollywood Casino 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, his comments: "We're going to try to get the car back out on the track and run some laps and get a few points if we can, and then this just puts a premium on next weekend and the weekend after."
DESCRIBE WHAT THIS DOES IN THE CONTENDER ROUND GOING FORWARD: 'Well, it just means we've got to be on our game at Charlotte and Talladega. There is still a lot of racing left. Stuff can happen. We'll see how the other Chasers fare. If I can get taken out today, somebody else can later in this event or at Charlotte. We'll do our best to get on track and then certainly need W's, I would assume, going forward."
Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
Johnson: "Just got tagged in the left-rear. I heard on the radio that it was the #16 (Greg Biffle). I haven't seen the video or anything yet. I was cruising along the top, thought everything was fine, and then found myself sideways down the back straightaway."
Q) HOW WAS THE CAR UP UNTIL THEN?
Johnson: "It was okay. We were stuck in traffic. Our problem really started on Friday not qualifying right there. We were moving forward and in a good position. I felt like our times had us capable of a top-five finish. But just back there in that mess and ended up being the mess."
Q) CAN YOU EVEN PROCESS THIS YET?
Johnson: "It's really fresh, just trying to get the car fixed and get back out there and go to work. Definitely disappointing, but not much I can do. I hit from the inside. If I can put any blame anywhere it would be on our qualifying effort on Friday. If you are going to be in the back in qualifying you are putting yourself in harm's way and today is proof of that." Q) NEVER SAY DIE #48?
Johnson: "Oh yeah."
Q) WAS THE CAR GOOD ENOUGH THAT YOU COULD HAVE RAN IN THE TOP 10?
Johnson: "For sure the top 10 was definitely within reach. I think a top five would have been in our cards. Just listen to lap times and watching myself catch the big group of cars in front of me I felt like we would have been a top-10/top-five."(Team Chevy)(10-5-2014)
Johnson attends Moore school's ribbon cutting for storm-destroyed gyms: Jimmie Johnson and Lowe's Home Improvement are used to working as partners on and off the track. Johnson drives the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS in the racing sport's top series, and lends his celebrity status to the store's charity efforts. In 2013, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Lowe's joined forces to help three Moore schools whose gym facilities had been destroyed or damaged by the May tornadoes. On Thursday, the three schools - Highland East Junior High, Plaza Towers Elementary, and Briarwood Elementary - celebrated the opening of their new and improved gyms. Johnson attended the ribbon-cutting at Highland East along with 40 Lowe's employees and two basketball teams worth of grateful kids. Johnson's support of Moore began almost immediately after the tornado. Days after the catastrophe, he came to Oklahoma to help with Lowe's relief efforts, distributing food, water, and cleanup supplies to affected families. During his time there, he witnessed first-hand the devastation a tornado leaves behind. Johnson's wife, Chandra, is a Muskogee native and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. The state has a special place in both of their hearts, Johnson said, and he was thrilled to see how things had improved upon his return. Lowe's employees also pitched in to give the school a much-needed facelift. Volunteers from the Moore, south Oklahoma City, and Norman stores pitched in to landscape the school's campus, planting dozens of trees and shrubs. The store also donated two benches with Highland East's mascot, a cougar, carved into them.(The Oklahoman)(10-3-2014)
Johnson feeling better UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports said Tuesday defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is feeling "much better" after suffering from dehydration at Richmond. A spokeswoman also said crew chief Chad Knaus found nothing wrong in the car that would have caused Johnson's dehydration. The six-time NASCAR champion was assisted to the infield medical center following his eighth-place finish Saturday night. Johnson was lying down next to his car after the race and was helped by his crew to a golf cart. He spent nearly 90 minutes in the care center and needed 5 liters of intravenous fluids and said after he wasn't sure what caused the dehydration. Johnson plans to fulfill all his obligations this week associated with NASCAR's promotion of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Johnson has a full slate of media activities planned for Wednesday in New York, then again on Thursday in Chicago.(Associated Press)(9-9-2014)
UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson said the cooling system for his helmet was blowing warm air and that likely caused his dehydration following last week's race at Richmond. Johnson said the issue with his cooling system was discovered by his Hendrick Motorsports team on Tuesday. "It's nice to have a good idea as to what went wrong and why I got so hot in the race car," he said in quotes provided by Hendrick Motorsports. "It's a newer system that we've implemented, so we're just going back to our old faithful system that's worked for years and years. We should have the problem rectified." The team earlier Tuesday said crew chief Chad Knaus did not discover anything wrong with the car itself. Johnson said he's feeling much better and traveled late Tuesday to New York to begin media obligations for the beginning of NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.(Associated Press)(9-10-2014)
Johnson collapses on pit road after race UPDATES: after finishing 8th in the Federated Auto Parts 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, #48-Jimmie Johnson got out of his car on pit road under his own power, sat down on pit road, tried to get up and collapsed due to dehydration. Medical personnel were notified and Johnson was taken to the infield care center on a cart. Johnson was conscious entering the care center.
UPDATE: Per NASCAR's Twitter: Jimmie Johnson has been treated and released from the infield care center.
COMMENTS Team Chevy Post Race Notes and Quotes:
Q) TELL US ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED?
Johnson: "Just got dehydrated in the car. Not exactly sure what led to it we will have to dig in and see what happened. I started cramping when I got out of the race car. Then when I was cramping I was trying to stand-up because I was fine when I sat down then I would stand-up I would get dizzy. When I would sit back down I would start to cramp again. Just really dehydrated. Ended up with five liters of IV in me. I was definitely dry. I will have to dig in and understand what happened in the car. I was hot in the car so I will have to make sure all my fans were working and stuff like that. Scary moment and I hate that it happened, but have to learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Q) TALK ABOUT NOT BEING ON THE CHASE STAGE AND HAVING THIS HAPPEN FOR AN ATHLETE A GUY WHO IS PROBABLY THE BEST TRAINED. IT WOULD BE ODD THAT YOU WOULD BE THE ONE TO HAVE DEHYDRATION:
Johnson: "Yeah there is something that went wrong today. It could have been my own nutrition plan. I felt like I came in plenty hydrated. We will have to make sure that all the fans and stuff were working in the car. I was warm at the midway point and didn't feel like my helmet fan was working. That could definitely cause an issue."
Q) DID YOU HAVE SOMETHING BAD TO EAT OR HAVE YOU BEEN SICK OR ANYTHING?
Johnson: "No, I haven't been sick. I had a light week of training as well because I had planned on competing in my triathlon tomorrow morning. Well rested, nutrition and all that was there. It is really bizarre that I got hit as hard as I did tonight with dehydration. I will have to dig in and see what happened."
Q) ON HIS TRAINING:
Johnson: "This week has been pretty light just because I'm supposed to compete in an event tomorrow morning. Still going to go and attend, but won't be able to compete especially with the cramping that I had. Just a lot of questions right now, but I cramped pretty bad there on pit road and got dizzy and light-headed and had to come over here and get a bunch of bags of IV."
Q) SO WHEN YOU PARKED THE CAR YOU FELT OKAY, BUT WHEN YOU CLIMBED OUT IT WENT HAYWIRE:
Johnson: "Yeah I sat in the car and was talking to my guys about the run and having a good race. I started to cramp a little bit in my legs so I figured I would just get out of the car and as I climbed out of the car the cramping got far worse. Then standing outside the car I kind of got dizzy so I wanted to sit down. Once I sat down the cramping got worse so then I wanted to stand up. I got up and off the ground two or three times and that whole process got me really dizzy. And had the cramps really kicking so fortunately then I was able to get on the golf cart and come over here and get plugged into an IV."(Team Chevy)(9-6-2014)
Hendrick Motorsports tests at Martinsville...comments: Martinsville Speedway's position as the first race in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup has the track's most successful drivers understanding the importance of the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500. #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson, who lead all active drivers with eight Martinsville wins apiece, spent the past two days testing at the iconic half-mile speedway. The two were joined by their Hendrick Motorsports teammates, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Kasey Kahne.
"You want to give yourself every opportunity to win at every race that's in the Chase to guarantee yourself moving forward," said Gordon. "We know that Martinsville is a great track for us. I think all of Hendrick Motorsports understands that we've had great success here and we have confidence here and we can run really well here, and it's important. It's in the Chase."
"We haven't tested here in a long, long time, so as a group we kind of sat in a room and raised our hands as to what tracks in the Chase we wanted to test at and the majority wanted to come to Martinsville," said Johnson. "We're not reinventing the wheel while we're here, but we're certainly learning a lot and are hopeful to strike when we come back in the Chase."
Some of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s biggest wins have come on NASCAR's largest tracks. But it is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' shortest track ... Martinsville Speedway ... that is a sentimental favorite for Earnhardt. Part of that sentiment stems from Earnhardt's love for the roots of racing, and no track has deeper roots in NASCAR than Martinsville Speedway. And some of that sentiment comes from Earnhardt's great success on the half-mile oval. Earnhardt Jr. doesn't have a Martinsville win or one of the iconic grandfather clock trophies in his house, but his driver rating at Martinsville is consistently among the top two or three in the sport. He has 11 top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes on the difficult short-track and has finished second twice and third four times. While some drivers don't especially look forward to 500 laps on the tight confines of Martinsville Speedway, Earnhardt relishes the two trips a year to Martinsville.
"I just love short-track racing. I don't really like running into people, but I like rubbing," Earnhardt said during his lunch break Tuesday. "I can appreciate someone using the bumper to get a spot without really causing too much of a problem for the guy who gets moved out of the way. I can respect that because you have got to do that sometimes. I feel like you come to expect that at this particular track. Since we're all fighting to get around the bottom, you can only wait so long behind a guy before you have to get creative and get physical with the race car. I can take it as well as I can dish it. I do enjoy racing here. The success we have here just comes from a lot of testing, a lot of practice," said Earnhardt, who finished third in the STP 500 at Martinsville last spring. "When we first started racing here, I wasn't very good and I remember coming several times and testing the first couple of seasons I was in the Cup series and that seemed to get us in a good direction. We got some good balance on our cars and what we need to get a car around this place and keep the tires on it."(Martinsville Speedway)(8-29-2014)
Johnson crashes Independence High football practice: #48-Jimmie Johnson surprised members of the Independence High School football team with a visit to the school during Wednesday afternoon practice. Johnson and members of his Hendrick Motorsports pit crew visited the school as part of the Gatorade Beat the Heat campaign - an effort by Gatorade to educate athletes, parents and coaches on the importance of proper hydration to reduce heat-related illnesses during athletic events. Johnson, who is known as one of the most physically fit NASCAR drivers, even joined the team in some conditioning drills. A spokesman for Gatorade said Johnson has worked in the past with Independence High, which won seven straight state football championships from 2000 to 2006. Wednesday's visit was well-timed. Temperatures at the time of practice were about 90 degrees, with a heat index in the mid-90s.(Charlotte Observer)(8-24-2014)
Lowe's goes back to blue on the #48: After a series of subpar finishes, Jimmie Johnson reached out to Lowe's to ask if the partner could switch up the paint scheme on the #48 Chevy. Lowe's, a 13-year sponsor of Johnson, agreed wholeheartedly. The blue-and-white paint scheme first appeared on Johnson's Chevrolet for the 2012 season and Johnson wrapped up his sixth championship in 2013 in the familiar blue scheme. This car has visited Victory Lane five times since its debut. Johnson chose "Let the Good Times Roll" by The Cars for his introduction song at Bristol Motor Speedway.(HMS/TeamLowes), see images of the 'new' blue scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(8-20-2014)
Chase Elliott could run some Cup races in 2015: Rick Hendrick's plan for NASCAR Nationwide Series phenom Chase Elliott evidently entails a few NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts next season, the champion car owner said Wednesday in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The 18-year-old Elliott tops the Nationwide Series standings and leads all series regulars with three race victories. Dale Earnhardt Jr., co-owner of his JR Motorsports race team, has said that Elliott is likely to run another full season on NASCAR's No. 2 circuit next year. Hendrick, also a co-owner at JRM, sounded as if a few premier series starts will also be sprinkled into that mix. A test session in which Elliott tested the cars of Hendrick Motorsports champion drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon convinced the team owner the youngster was ready, even before he took the Nationwide circuit by storm.
"We haven't arrived at a decision for sure, but I think you'll probably see him run a few races next year," Hendrick told the satellite radio network. "Before he ever won a Nationwide race, I watched him test Jimmie's car and Jeff's car at Nashville, and Jimmie and Jeff both commented to me, 'This kid is super smooth and super fast. He takes care of his equipment, and he doesn't get in a jam.' Although Hendrick currently fields four full-time cars, the maximum for one organization as allowed by NASCAR, rules do permit teams to run an additional vehicle on a limited slate for prospective rookie drivers.(NASCAR.com)(8-7-2014)
How would a few drivers change the Sprint Cup schedule: #31-Ryan Newman, #41-Kyle Busch, #48-Jimmie Johnson met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and discussed what changes they would make to the 2015 schedule. The transcripts in part:
NEWMAN: "If I was NASCAR, how would I change the schedule? My answer to that would be not giving any -- not being partial to any ISC or SMI tracks. I'd turn some of those tracks into Wednesday night races, and the other ones would be Saturday night or sometime Sunday afternoon when it made sense. I'd give us a little bit more off weekends. We can still run 36 or 38 races but we don't need to be at the racetrack, especially for the Daytona and Talladega for three, sometimes four days with the inspection process. So I think just realigning it and giving us the opportunity to be on TV and be our own special event on Wednesday night, especially in football season, would be good for our sport."
"Wednesday night shows and how would I foresee doing that? I think it all depends what that day is like. I mean, obviously, if you go to a place like Pocono and it rains three-quarters of that day, it changes everything and you have obviously Thursday to work with. But I think situations like that, you'd have the crew guys come in on a Tuesday evening, Tuesday afternoon, let the -- tech the cars and whatever window it is, let the guys go back and have a decent dinner with their team, and then come and start practice the next morning, practice, qualifying and race. You've got people in the grandstands for an entire day of activities and they can sell hotdogs and all the other things that way. I'm no businessman, but I know from our scheduling standpoint that there's a lot of credibility to having some weekday races, especially when you consider who we're up against in the football season."(Team Chevy)
BUSCH: "Oh, my. Could I be president for the day and then decide what we're going to do? Wow, there's so many opportunities. I think the first one should be the final race should be bid on like a committee such as the Super Bowl. There's a committee that goes around and it gets filled in with who does the best job with their community to present themselves as the frontrunner to have the Super Bowl. Why not do that with our final stock car race? You know, The Chase, I think Chicago is a great place to start it off. Those Chase races are valuable. And could we mix it up and change some of the races that are in The Chase and not in The Chase? One unique thing is maybe we should take Talladega out of The Chase, put Richmond in The Chase and use Talladega as the cutoff to get into The Chase? Why not? Because we're all driving around, they're very tentative and trying not to get in a wreck at Talladega. But why not make it the final race to get in and throw a huge wild card in to try to make it into The Chase. Because by then you have 15 guys that are pretty much locked in. That means those top 15 guys are going to throw it on the line to try to win. They're not going to be riding in the back to protect their points. To change the schedule, I would change Richmond and Talladega, and it works because NASCAR owns both those tracks."(Team Chevy)
JOHNSON: "I've always felt like we could use an off weekend before The Chase starts just to leave us an opportunity to have a make-up race. I know it's a pretty severe event if it would take place. And the last unfortunate situation that was created was 9/11, but I think that was good to give the teams a break and give everybody a break that deep in the season before The Chase starts. Ultimately, you know, I buy into the philosophy that we have a bit of oversaturation with race distances and how often we compete. I think we could trim that stuff down. I don't know where I would go to first, but I think adopting a little bit of less is more would be beneficial.(Team Chevy)(7-26-2014)
Johnson to wear Helmet of Hope: #48-Jimmie Johnson will wear a special helmet this weekend at Indianapolis commemorating the Jimmie Johnson Foundation's Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program. The helmet paint scheme features the five winners of the 2014 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which is a program that awards grants to not-for-profit organizations that support K-12 public education. Approximately 438,658 votes were cast for the 10 semi-finalists and five organizations were ultimately voted as the winners: Crayons to Classrooms in Dayton, Ohio; Champions for Learning in Naples, Florida; HEART Tutoring in Charlotte, North Carolina; Le Mars Community Schools Foundation in Le Mars, Iowa; and Reading Partners in Denver.(HMS)(7-25-2014)
Harvick is most mentioned driver in first half of season: According to data compiled by Joyce Julius, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Gordon have accounted for the most driver mentions during NASCAR telecasts though Daytona this month:
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr......29.....0:26:21.....1,950
Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season through Daytona (Race #18).(Joyce Julius)(7-20-2014)
Johnson sidelined at NHMS due to tire issues:
Q) WHAT HAPPENED?:
Johnson: "The first one (tire) I was able to drive the car all the way through Turns 1 and 2. I knew I had a flat and then got down the back and came in. The other one just blew on the straight as soon as I hit the brakes. I'm not sure what caused it. I'm sure there will be a lot of speculation and I'm sure finger pointing back to the teams or our team. But we saw some issues here especially with that particular tire the last couple of days. We will try to dig in and learn more, but I can promise you one thing is wasn't low tire pressure. I've been out here for two days running around and haven't had a flat."
Q) CERTAINLY NOT THAT QUICK INTO A RUN EITHER?
Johnson: "Well there are many ways to speculate and think what could have caused it and certainly after the first we could have had damage that allowed something to rub on the tire and blow the second one so quickly. But just a bummer, I'm expecting people to quickly point back at the team and say it's our fault and I guess if it is we will accept it. But the car was fast, had a great day qualifying. We spent the time to come up here and test and get everything ready and prepared and just unfortunate that we are out so early."
Q) WHAT HAPPENED THE FIRST TIME?
Johnson: "I'm not really sure. It just went soft on me. I don't know why. But I can promise you one thing, it wasn't due to low left rear tire pressure, which is what a lot of people are speculating. We've been here for two days running and I had no issues. It's unfortunate, regardless. And then you can look at the second tire and think that maybe some damage was done from the first tire that caused the second one to go so quickly. That's a good argument but I just don't know at this point. I don't know if we'll ever know. Unfortunately, two tires went flat in a matter of laps."
Q) IN RELATION TO WHAT YOU HAD HOPED TO LEARN TODAY THAT WOULD HELP YOU IN SEPTEMBER, HOW BIG OF A SETBACK IS THIS?
Johnson: "It's definitely a setback. We had a good test up here. We had a very fast car. It would have been nice to get a race in here before we come back for the second one, so it's definitely a setback missing out on track time."
Q) HOW WEIRD IS IT TO HAVE ONE ISSUE AND THEN ANOTHER ISSUE?
Johnson: "Yeah, it's weird when that happens. I didn't expect it and I stood on the brakes into Turn 1 and it exploded and I'm like, oh boy; here we go."
Q) ON THE TEST AT NHMS EARLIER
Johnson: "We were up here testing. And in the last two days here, Friday and Saturday in race trim, we never had an issue. We saw some others have left rear problems, but it's something we didn't expect at all."(Team Chevy)(7-13-2014)
Johnson would like to see a shorter season: #48-Jimmie Johnson, met with media at New Hampshire and discussed many things including the upcoming off-weekend and the newly-formed RTA, the transcript in part:
Q) OFF-WEEKEND IS COMING UP. IS IT ONE YOU WANT TO SEE OR NOT WANT TO SEE BECAUSE YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN SO GOOD LATELY?
Johnson: "I'm happy to see it. I think we could use six or seven more of them. I think everybody in the room would agree. Get down to a 25-race schedule or something with more weekends off would be awesome. I'm excited. Even if we were winning and didn't want it to stop from that momentum stand point, I can't wait to chill out with family and relax."
Q) WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? DO YOU HAVE PLANS?
Johnson: "As little as possible."(see the full transcript at Team Chevy)(7-12-2014)
Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE: A group of nine multi-car teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) announced today they have formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance (RTA). The purpose of the organization is to create an open forum for the teams to explore areas of common interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing. The organization intends to open up its membership to all full time NSCS teams in the very near future. In providing a vehicle for the teams to work together, the organization creates for the first time a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport's teams and drivers. As part of its focus, the RTA also plans to explore innovative ways to harness the combined purchasing power and scale of the teams' operations to drive efficiencies in costs. Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has been elected the first chair of the RTA.
"With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group." said Kauffman. "The key word is 'Collaboration'. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues - the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners."
The following teams are the executive members of the RTA: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motor Sports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.(RTA)(7-7-2014)
UPDATE: Statement from NASCAR: "We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we're still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR's mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we'll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will."(NASCAR)(7-7-2014)
Patriotic scheme for Johnson: For the third time this season, Jimmie Johnson will run a patriotic-themed Chevy SS. Each year since 2001, Lowe's has designed a patriotic-themed car for Johnson to drive in an event. The #48 Lowe's Chevy SS scheme for this weekend is a throwback to the 2010 Memorial Day car, which was heralded as a fan-favorite through a recent social media poll.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #48 team paint schemes page.(7-3-2014)
Johnson honored by Obama: President Barack Obama says NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson deserves a permanent visitor's pass to the White House since he's been there so many times. Obama recognized Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports team members on Wednesday for winning the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It's Johnson's sixth Sprint Cup title in eight years. And he's gunning for a seventh trophy this year. Obama says Johnson is like the Michael Jordan of NASCAR. The retired NBA player led the Chicago Bulls to six championships in eight years. Johnson's appearance continued a sports theme at the White House this week. Obama hosted a reception Tuesday for American and international professional golfers, including Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, who competed for the 2013 Presidents Cup. Woods clinched the victory for the U.S. team.(Associated Press)(6-26-2014)
Johnson, Earnhardt, Jr. nominated for ESPYs: Teammates #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. have something else in common now. Both are among the driver nominees for this year's ESPY awards. Johnson is on the ballot in two categories -- for best championship performance for his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup title and for best driver. Other nominees in the best championship performance category are: NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs; UConn's Shabazz Napier, who helped the Huskies upset Kentucky to win the men's NCAA tournament; and David Ortiz of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Joining him in the best driver category are: Hendrick Motorsports teammate Earnhardt Jr., 2013 IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, 2014 Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and 2013 NHRA Funny Car titlist John Force.(USA Today)(6-25-2014)
President Obama to Honor NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson: On Wednesday, June 25, President Obama will welcome Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team members to the White House to honor his 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. This visit will continue the tradition begun by President Obama of honoring athletes and sports teams for their efforts to give back to their communities.(PR)(6-23-2014)
June 17 is Jimmie Johnson Day in El Cajon: June 17 will now be Jimmie Johnson Day in El Cajon in honor of the six-time NASCAR champion. Mayor Bill Wells as well as city councilors and Senator Joel Anderson bestowed the honor Tuesday to Johnson, a native of El Cajon, in a public celebration. The response was fitting for a champion. Dozens gathered to snap photos of Johnson's #48 show car on display at Centennial Plaza. Hero cards of the local star also were available to fans. In El Cajon, Johnson is known as much for his philanthropic support as his successful racing career. He's given more than $6.5 million to schools in El Cajon and throughout the United States. Fans who turned out for Johnson's celebration said the honor was a long time coming.(NBC San Diego)(6-18-2014)
Hendrick Motorsports stretches win streak to five races: #48-Jimmie Johnson's performance at Michigan marked Hendrick Motorsports' fifth consecutive points-paying Sprint Cup win of 2014. #24-Jeff Gordon kicked off the current streak with his Kansas victory on May 10, which was followed by Johnson winning on May 25 at Charlotte and June 1 at Dover. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. kept the trend going with his first-place finish at Pocono Raceway on June 8. It is the third time Hendrick Motorsports teams have combined to win at least five consecutive points races, including the 2007 Sprint Cup season when the organization posted separate win streaks of five races and a NASCAR modern era (1972-present) record of six races. The all-time NASCAR record of 16 consecutive Cup-level points victories was recorded in 1956 by car owner Carl Kiekhaefer with a combination of four different drivers.(HMS)(6-18-2014)
Johnson wins at Michigan: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway for his 3rd win of 2014, his 1st win at Pocono and his 69th career win. The last five points races have been won by a Hendrick Motorsports driver, the first time a team has won 5 in a row since HMS did it in 2007.
Pole winner #4-Harvick finished 2nd followed by 2-Keselowski, #27-Menard, #5-Kahne, #24-Gordon, #88-Earnhardt Jr., rookie #42-Larson, #22-Logano and #15-Bowyer.
#4-Harvick, the pole winner, led the most laps with 63.
#24-Gordon (1 win) keeps the points lead after finishing 6th and leads #48-Johnson by 15 points.
#48-Johnson leads the Chase Seeding with three wins, 2nd in points. #88-Earnhardt Jr. is second with 2 wins, 3rd in points then #22-Logano has 2 wins and is 8th in points and #4-Harvick has two wins and is 9th in points.
There were 25 lead changes among 13 drivers. There were 8 cautions for 36 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 143.441mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Michigan Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Michigan Penalty Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Michigan Race & Points Report (pdf).(6-15-2014)
Michigan a tough track for Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson has yet to win at Michigan International Speedway in 24 Sprint Cup races. In fact, MIS is just one of five Sprint Cup Series tracks overall that he has not won at in his career, a list which also includes Chicago, Homestead, Kentucky, and Watkins Glen. MIS is the only track left on the list that hosts two Sprint Cup races a year. His average finish at MIS is 16.8.(MIS)(6-11-2014)
Johnson going for three-in-a-row: after winning at Charlotte on May 25th and Dover on June 1st, #48-Jimmie Johnson is going for his third win in a row. During Johnson's 13-year Sprint Cup career, he has recorded three consecutive wins on two occasions - once in 2004 and once in 2007 during a span of four consecutive victories. He is the most recent driver to win three consecutive races. See the full list of drivers in NASCAR's top series who have won three or more consecutive races in a season on the All-time wins page.(6-5-2014)
Johnson to be honored in hometown: #48-Jimmie Johnson will return to his hometown of El Cajon, California, on June 17, where the city council of El Cajon will recognize his racing accomplishments and philanthropic contributions. Mayor Bill Wells, the city council, Senator Joel Anderson and other local dignitaries will be honoring Johnson during a special ceremony that begins at 11:00am local time at El Cajon's Centennial Plaza. Portions of the event will be broadcast live on 101.5 KGB. For more details, visit www.ci.el-cajon.ca.us.(6-5-2014)
Johnson had off-season hernia surgery: Six-time Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson had hernia surgery three days after the 2013 awards banquet in December. The surgery, which Johnson revealed prior to Sunday's race at Dover, kept him out of the car for a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway the week following the banquet but he was back training 10 days after the Dec. 9 surgery. "I had bilateral hernias, one on each side, and then a third one in my belly button, so I was very lucky to go in and have all three fixed," Johnson said Sunday after his win at Dover International Speedway. "It wasn't a sports hernia. It was something over time and getting older that something like 60 percent of men near the age of 40 have these and don't know. But I saw one midseason, a little protrusion in my skin and went and had it checked out, and they're like, 'You've got a couple years to get it fixed,' so I figured I'd get it fixed sooner rather than later and went in right after the banquet." Johnson, who mentioned the surgery in a prerace interview on Fox Sports, said he wasn't trying to keep the surgery a secret and that many in the garage area knew about it. He said it was a laparoscopic procedure, which utilizes small incisions and small instruments with cameras that allow for a less invasive surgery.(Sporting News)(6-2-2014)
Johnson wins Coca Cola 600: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Coca Cola 600 Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Seedway for his 1st win of 2014, 7th win at Charlotte and his 67th career win.
#4-Harvick finished 2nd followed by #20-Kenseth, #99-Edwards, #1-McMurray, #55-Vickers, #24-Gordon, #27-Menard, #18-Busch and #2-Keselowski.
#48-Johnson, who won the pole, won from the pole for his 14th time in 33 poles.
#24-Gordon, who came into the race as the points leader, finished 7th and still leads the points by 11 over #20-Kenseth.
#22-Logano leads the Chase Seeding with two wins. #4-Harvick is second, also with 2 wins, but lower in points. They are followed by #24-Gordon, #18-Busch and #99-Edwards.
There were 34 lead changes among 9 drivers and there were 8 cautions for 44 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 145.484.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Charlotte Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Charotte Penalty Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Charlotte Race & Points Report (pdf).(5-25-2014)
Johnson wins at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the FedEx 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway for his 2nd win of 2014, 9th win at Dover and his 68h career win. He dominated most of the race, leading 272 of the 400 laps.
Pole sitter, #2-Keselowski finished 2nd followed by #20-Kenseth, #15-Bowyer, #11-Hamlin, #78-Truex, Jr., #14-Stewart, #22-Logano, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., and #27-Menard.
#24-Gordon, who came into the race as the points leader, finished 15th. #20-Kenseth took over the points lead, 2 points over Gordon.
#48-Johnson now leads the Chase Seeding with two wins. #22-Logano is second, also with 2 wins, but 7th in points. #4-Harvick also has two wins and is 12th in points They are followed by #24-Gordon, #99-Edwards and #88-Earnhardt, Jr.
There were 18 lead changes among 6 drivers and there were 8 cautions for 41 yellow flag laps.
There were two red flags during the race - one for 6 minutes track cleanup following an accident that spread debris on the track and another for 22 minutes for track repair after a piece of concrete came up in turn 2.
The average speed was 117.724mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Dover Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Dover Penalty Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Dover Race & Points Report (pdf).(6-1-2014)
Johnson plans to run Over the Mountain Triathlon: The 15th annual Over the Mountain Triathlon is expecting #48-Jimmie Johnson to be among the competitors on May 17 in Kings Mountain, NC. Johnson is planning to compete in the triathlon, race director Ellis Noell said he has been told by representatives of the driver, though that could change. The Sprint All-Star Race is in Concord that night. The triathlon will include a one-mile open water swim across Moss Lake, a 30-mile bike ride and a 10K run through the West Side Historic District.(Gaston Gazette)(5-17-2014)
Warner Bros/DC Entertainment join forces with Hendrick Motorsports: Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP), in conjunction with DC Entertainment (DCE), has joined forces with Hendrick Motorsports in a unique three-year agreement that will allow the team and its partners to develop consumer promotions and original content to engage youth, drive fan excitement and energize licensed merchandise initiatives. WBCP and DCE will work with Hendrick Motorsports and its partners to build on- and off-track programs teaming drivers #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with the most recognized characters in Super Hero lore, including Batman, Superman, The Flash and Green Lantern.
Potential programs include co-developed car paint schemes, comic books and digital content incorporating DC Comics Super Heroes and illustrated likenesses of Hendrick Motorsports drivers. Team partners will have exclusive opportunities to align with upcoming Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Comics-inspired programming and releases.
The first joint program will come to life around upcoming Sprint Cup events at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 25) and Michigan International Speedway (June 15) where Superman, the world's first and most recognized Super Hero, will be featured on Earnhardt's #88 Chevy. The Superman-themed paint scheme will pair the Army National Guard with the Superman Hall of Heroes, a new online gift-giving portal that empowers consumers to honor their personal heroes; those who have made a positive impact on their lives or the lives of others. The #88 National Guard/Superman Chevrolet SS will be unveiled May 21. Fans can learn more by following Hendrick Motorsports on Facebook and Twitter.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-15-2014)
Charlotte giving Johnson "Key to the City": Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver #48-Jimmie Johnson will be presented with the "Key to the City" during the regularly scheduled Charlotte City Council meeting on Monday. Johnson will be recognized by Mayor Dan Clodfelter for his outstanding philanthropic contributions to the Charlotte region and other parts of the country the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. The Jimmie Johnson Foundation was launched in 2006 by Johnson and his wife, Chandra, and is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. To date, more than $6.7 million has been contributed to various organizations. The foundation currently focuses on funding K-12 public education.(Charlotte Observer)(5-11-2014)
Johnson's non-win streak to start the season, his third longest: #48-Jimmie Johnson has now run 10 races to start the 2014 without a win. It is tied for the third longest such streak of his career. In his rookie season of 2002, Johnson won in this 10th race that season at Auto Club Speedway (his 1st career win in his 13th career race) and finished the season 5th in the championship. In 2012 Johnson didn't win his first race for that season until the 11th race at Darlington, finishing 3rd in the championship. Johnson's longest streak was in 2003, his 2nd full-time season, not winning his first race of the season until Charlotte, the 12th race of the season and finishing 2nd in the championship.(5-5-2014)
Jimmie Johnson Foundation winners of Helmet of Hope: The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced the five winners of the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, a program that allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate not-for-profit (501c3) organizations that support K-12 public education. Each of the winners will be awarded a $25,000 grant. The 5 winners are:
· Crayons to Classrooms in Dayton, Ohio
· Champions for Learning in Naples, Florida
· HEART Tutoring in Charlotte, N.C.
· Le Mars Community Schools Foundation in LeMars, Iowa
· Reading Partners in Denver, Colorado
The final five were selected via public vote. Approximately 438,658 votes were cast for the 10 semifinalists during the voting period.
"We are thrilled with this year's Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program," Johnson said. The competition was tough. The public rallied around the semifinalists to show their support. It was exciting to see the number of votes go up each day. All of the semifinalist organizations were very deserving. Chani (wife) and I are honored that the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, in partnership with Blue Bunny, is able to support the great work of the 5 winners."
In addition to a $25,000 grant, each of the five winners will receive a Blue Bunny ice cream party and special recognition on Johnson's race helmet during the Sprint Cup Series race on July 27, 2014 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To date, the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program has contributed more than $560,000 to 71 different charities.
"Congratulations to the five winners of the 2014 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope grants," stated Mike Wells, President & CEO, Wells Enterprises, Inc., maker of Blue Bunny ice cream. "The rallying effort by the fans and supporters of each of the 10 semifinalists was impressive and illustrates the energy and passion around the purpose and mission of each organization. It is an honor to help each of them further the important work they are committed to around education."(5-2-2014)
Different look for the #48 at Dega: Jimmie Johnson will drive the #48-Lowe's/Valspar Reserve Chevy in this weekend's race. Valspar Reserve, available exclusively at Lowe's starting May 1, is a new interior and exterior paint with HydroChroma Technology that is stain resistant and fade resistant - so the colors you love stay the colors you love.(HMS), see images of the car on the #48 Team Schemes page.(5-2-2014)
Johnson and Harvick getting most television exposure: #48-Jimmie Johnson has accumulated the most television on-screen time for his sponsors during the first eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of 2014. Meanwhile, #4-Kevin Harvick, coming off a victory at Darlington, ranked second in cumulative on-camera time, but at the same time racked up nearly twice as many brand mentions for his corporate backers as Johnson. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc., which specializes in measuring the scope of sponsorships across all forms of media , Johnson's sponsors as a group appeared for 11 hours, 11 minutes, 40 seconds (11:11:40) during live and replayed race broadcasts. Johnson's sponsors were also mentioned 37 times by the FOX/FS1 announcers. Harvick's sponsors enjoyed 10:47:00 of in-broadcast exposure time to go along with a Series-leading 73 verbal references. Additional driver sponsorship findings through Race #8:
• The most seen hood on TV belonged to Joey Logano with a total on-screen time of 2:27:16. Jeff Gordon's hood was second with 2:17:11.
• Brad Keselowski and Gordon shared the distinction for having the most monitored sponsors during the telecast with 58 each.
• Kyle Busch helped generate the single-most TV exposure for a car manufacturer with a contribution of 1:07:17 and 24 mentions leading to more than $6.5 million of exposure value for Toyota.
(Joyce Julius & Associates)(4-26-2014)
Hendrick pit coach is leaving for a job outside of racing UPDATES: One of the best pit coaches in NASCAR is leaving racing for work outside of the sport. As of Darlington two weeks ago, Hendrick Motor Sports pit coach Lance Munksgard will no longer be at HMS. Munksgard will be taking a new job in McGregor, Texas at Fourseventy Claim Management. Pit Talks talked with Coach Munksgard, he had this to say. "I was blessed to have been able to live a dream of working with the best mechanics and pit crew members in NASCAR over the years which was an unforgettable experience. I couldn't have asked for a better organization than HMS to finish my NASCAR career. HMS is a truly professional company that starts from Mr. Hendrick down through the management, crew chiefs, and through the pit crews. It was a true pleasure to work with a strong coaching staff and pit crew members at HMS and watch them progress each week. I will truly miss the competition on pit road each week and wish all the guys on pit road the best of luck."(Pit Talks)(4-21-2014)
UPDATE: Greg Morin, who has been pit crew coach for the teams of Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon, and Chris Krieg, the assistant coach to Munksgard, will oversee the pit crews for Earnhardt and Johnson until a full-time replacement is hired.(MRN)(4-22-2014)
UPDATE 2: Greg Morin and Chris Krieg were the 2 assistants for the #48/#88 pit crews will now be sharing duties until a replacement is hired for Munksgard. The #5/#24 pit coaches will remain the same.(4-23-2014)
Johnson to appear on The Queen Latifah Show: While #48-Jimmie Johnson was in Los Angeles two weeks ago he stopped by "The Queen Latifah Show" for a guest appearance. The show is scheduled to air Friday, April 4. Check local listings for air times.(HMS)(4-3-2014)
Under Armour enters NASCAR with Hendrick & MWR: The sporting goods company, Under Armour, has signed multiyear sponsorships with Hendrick Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. It becomes the official apparel provider for both teams, outfitting everyone from the pit crew to the front office in Under Armour-branded apparel. The deals don't include the teams' drivers, and financial terms weren't available. Last year, Under Armour signed a one-year, trial sponsorship with Hendrick Motorsports and outfitted the team's pit crews. It opted to expand that deal this year with a three-year extension that will see it outfit not only the pit crews but the rest of Hendrick's 500 employees. It provides everything from footwear and hats to polos and pullovers. It also has branding on Hendrick pit crew members' fire suits (Under Armour does not produce fire suits) and on the team's pit wall banners, haulers, pit box and pit toolbox. The deal doesn't include Hendrick's drivers - #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson or #5-Kasey Kahne - but Under Armour does have rights to use their likeness as well as the likeness of their car and number, which it could use on apparel.
Under Armour signed with Michael Waltrip Racing because it saw similarities between its identity as an upstart brand that's challenged established apparel companies and the team's identity as a relatively new, gritty team that's pushing its way into the upper echelon of NASCAR. Terms of the two-year sponsorship are similar to the deal with Hendrick. Under Armour will supply pit crew apparel and team and executive apparel and receive the same mix of pit assets it is getting from Hendrick. It also will become the presenting sponsor of a new athletic facility and gym that MWR built at its headquarters in Cornelius, N.C., which has been branded as the MWR Performance Center Presented by Under Armour. The deal is the first apparel sponsorship for MWR. The team previously bought its apparel from Oakley.(SportsBusiness Journal)(4-1-2014)
Sad News - Jordan Janway: [Jimmie and Chadnra] Johnson are saddened by the tragic passing of Chandra's brother, Jordan Janway, 27. Jordan was an incredible son, brother, uncle and friend and will be dearly missed. Please keep the Janway family in your thoughts and prayers. The family asks for privacy at this time.(JimmieJohnson.com)
AND more information Jordan Janway's accident at the Associated Press.(3-31-2014)
30th anniversary of Hendrick's first win: 30TH ANNIVERSARY: In 2014, Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating 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. Driver Geoff Bodine won the Martinsville Speedway spring race on April 29, 1984, marking Hendrick Motorsports' first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-28-2014)
"Spring is Calling" on the #48: To commemorate the first day of spring, March 20, Johnson's #48 Lowe's Spring Is Calling Chevy SS will have some additional character during the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends. The Lowe's marketing campaign bird and green accents will adorn the #48 Chevy SS for the races in Fontana, Calif., Martinsville, Va. and Fort Worth, Texas.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #48 team paint schemes page.(3-20-2014)
Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Blue Bunny Ice Cream Announce $25,000 Grant Opportunities: Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson announced Friday the launch of the 2014 edition of the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign, which this year includes new criteria for being named one of the five $25,000 grant recipients. Johnson, along with Mike Wells, president and CEO of Wells Enterprises, maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, revealed that not-for-profit (501c3) organizations supporting K-12 public education will be eligible to compete for one of the five available grants of $25,000 - an increase in the individual grant amount from 2013. The Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program, which began in 2008, allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate their favorite education-focused charities, including Parent/Teacher Associations, to receive a $25,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party, and special recognition on Johnson's race helmet. Nominations will be accepted at www.helmetofhope.org through April 4. Ten semifinalists will be selected from these nominations. The public vote to choose the final five grant recipients will take place April 17 through 24. To date, the program has contributed more than $560,000 to 71 different charities.(Jimmie Johnson Foundation)(3-15-2014)
NASCAR's Highest Paid Drivers 2014: NASCAR driver salaries have been shaved in recent years with fewer dollars available as sponsors cut back on their financial commitments to teams. Drivers that once made $4-6 million in salary are getting re-signed to deals for $3 million in some cases. Guys on poorly funded teams are lucky to make seven figures. Licensing and endorsement money has also dried up for all but the very elite drivers. Endorsement deals that once paid $500,000 a clip are now $250,000 and many have disappeared completely. But for the sport's stars, the paychecks are nearly as big as ever and can reach eight figures in salary alone. The 10 highest-paid drivers pulled down $170 million in 2013 in cumulative salary, endorsements and their share of winnings and licensing income.
Leading the way for the sixth straight year is Dale Earnhardt Jr., who earned $25.6 million in 2013 by Forbes' count. Earnhardt's licensing income is down significantly from five years ago when he was making $30 million a year, but he is still the sport's biggest star with the biggest salary, as well as the top licensing and endorsement income, according to sources. Earnhardt's #88 Chevy carries the most expensive real estate in the sport. The Army National Guard spent $30 million in 2013 on sponsoring 20 races on the #88 car and activating around the sponsorship. Hendrick Motorsports entered the past two seasons with 13 races to sell on Earnhardt's car, but even if owner Rick Hendrick has to pick up the tab on a couple of races, the sponsorship revenue for Earnhardt's car is still the envy of the sport.
#48-Jimmie Johnson, ranks No. 2 with estimated earnings of $24.8 million last year. Johnson won his sixth Sprint Cup title, which carried bonuses and special awards of $5.8 million. Johnson's total prize money haul of $14.7 is twice as much as Earnhardt, but Johnson's endorsements and licensing income lag behind. #24-Jeff Gordon in third earning $18.2 million in 2013. His merchandise was the sport's second best seller, behind Earnhardt, in 2013, according to multiple sources. Gordon also benefits from his ownership stake in the #48 car. NASCAR's golden girl, Danica Patrick, ranks No. 9 with earnings of $13.5 million. See full report at Forbes.com.(2-22-2014)
The Most Valuable NASCAR Teams 2014: Thirty years ago Rick Hendrick launched All-Star Racing with five employees and 5,000 square feet of workspace. Geoff Bodine raced the fledgling outfit's sole NASCAR Cup entry in the #5 car and finished ninth in the season long standings, including three victories. The company was rebranded Hendrick Motorsports the following year and a racing dynasty was born. Hendrick Motorsports today carries more than 500 employees in 430,000 square feet of workspace across a 140 acre campus in Concord, N.C. It has racked up 218 victories and a record 11 season titles in Sprint Cup, plus an additional 52 wins and four championships in the Nationwide and Truck series. The success has propelled Hendrick to the top of the NASCAR food chain. The team is worth $348 million, by Forbes' count, twice as much as any other NASCAR squad.
Joe Gibbs Racing ranks No. 2 with a value of $171 million, up 2% from last year. Roush Fenway Racing ranks No. 3 with a value of $157 million, down 6%. The team making the biggest jump is Stewart-Haas Racing, which ranks fourth with a value of $148 million, up 20%. #5 is Richard Childress Racing at $128 million; #6 is Team Penske at $108 million; #7 is Michael Waltrip Racing at $80 million; #8 is Chip Ganassi Racing at $69 million; #9 is Richard Petty Motorsports at $50 million. See full report at Forbes.com.(2-22-2014)
Jimmie Johnson Foundation Announces Inaugural Wellness Challenge: Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, announce the inaugural Jimmie Johnson Foundation Wellness Challenge. The Foundation has partnered with Cool Breeze Cyclery to facilitate a series of four events encouraging individuals and corporations to prioritize health, wellness and teambuilding. In addition, the Foundation is encouraging fans to show their support of being physically active by joining TeamJJF and sharing their experiences via social media.
The Wellness Challenge consists of four events based in the Charlotte, NC area:
The Jimmie Johnson Foundation 5K held on Sunday, April 27, 2014 (Huntersville, NC)
The Lake Norman Excursion (a 5K run and multi distance bike ride) held on Saturday, July 12, 2014 (Mooresville, NC)
The Jimmie Johnson Foundation Cane Creek Sprint Triathlon held on Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014 (Waxhaw, NC)
The Lake Davidson Sprint Triathlon held on Sunday, Sept 7, 2014 (Davidson, NC)
In conjunction with the launch of the Wellness Challenge, the Johnsons also encourage fans to connect with the Foundation through TeamJJF, an initiative started in 2013 to build a community of supporters for the Foundation. For details on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Wellness Challenge and how you can be a part of TeamJJF, please visit www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.(2-15-2014)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson team up with Valvoline for Reinvention Project: Valvoline and Hendrick Motorsports announced a first-of-its-kind consumer challenge called the Reinvention Project. Valvoline is working with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to secretly reinvent two classic Chevy trucks and will be keeping them under wraps to give fans a chance to get in on the action. Car enthusiasts everywhere can put their know-how to the test in an attempt to guess the various features of Earnhardt Jr.'s and Johnson's creations. A virtual garage hosted at www.ReinventionProject.com invites consumers to select the parts that the drivers hand-picked for their high-performance trucks, from Chevrolet Performance* engines, to American Eagle* wheels and Goodyear* tires. More info at Hendrickmotorsports.com.(HMS)(2-12-2014)
Johnson to be honored at Bobcats game: The Charlotte Bobcats announced that the team's game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, February 11, will be presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Night will be highlighted by an in-game presentation recognizing six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion #48-Jimmie Johnson of Hendrick Motorsports.(see more at Beach Carolina)(2-9-2014)
Jimmie Johnson Wins the Off-Season Too...media coverage: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #48-Jimmie Johnson was referenced in more than 6,000 news media stories this off-season. When comparing the size of the audience generated by the news media coverage to the cost of reaching the same audience through traditional advertising, the mentions of Johnson's name drew an estimated exposure value in excess of $10 million.
According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc., which specializes in measuring the scope of sponsorships across all forms of media, #10-Danica Patrick actually was referenced in about 700 more media stories appearing on television, print and the Internet than Johnson this past off season. However, the estimated audience of Patrick's media coverage was smaller than Johnson's, and as a result, she amassed slightly less estimated exposure value ($9.8 million) from her coverage. The Joyce Julius study began the day after the NASCAR Banquet last December and concluded this past Monday following the Super Bowl. Johnson was referenced during 1,274 television programs, as well as in 4,499 Internet and 234 print articles during the two-month period. The bulk of the coverage centered on Johnson's sixth series championship, and how the newly-altered NASCAR playoff format may effect him moving forward. Meanwhile, Patrick's off-season media coverage focused on her hosting duties at the American Music Awards and reviews of her GoDaddy Super Bowl commercial.(Joyce Julius & Assoc)(2-7-2014)
Hendrick Motorsports profiled on Showtime show Wed night: In a sport where their performance has to be 12 seconds or less, every tenth of a second can make the difference between victory or defeat. That's why NASCAR pit crews are so important to auto racing and why teams like Hendrick Motorsports are using athletes from college programs to make their pit crews the best they can be. CBS News correspondent on assignment, Jeff Glor, profiles a Hendrick team for the next edition of 60 Minutes Sports premiering tomorrow/Wed., Feb. 5, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.(PR)(2-5-2014)
NASCAR pit crews help renovate homeless shelter: Some of NASCAR's biggest musclemen are helping make sure a Charlotte homeless shelter gets a much needed makeover-- 40 years in the making. They are used to hard work and heavy lifting, but carrying 200 pound consoles up three flights of stairs is not how Jimmie Johnson and Dale Juniors' pit-crews usually spend their Mondays. "Normally go in and do some light duty stuff like some yoga and some rehab, but today's not quite like that," T.J. Ford says laughing. Instead they are getting in a workout helping with a long overdue makeover at Charlotte's Rescue Mission. "Yeah, you can tell I'm out of breath right now; carrying those 200 pound consoles upstairs takes teamwork-- just like pit-stops." The men at the Rescue Mission have spent the last two months sleeping in the gym so the 1930s building can be completely redone. Everything at the mission had been here since the 60s. Reverend Tony Marciano runs the mission and says, "The building had really deteriorated over that time; the furniture itself was probably 30, 40 years old, so we really needed to renovate everything." They're completely re-configuring the men's dormitory. It was military barracks style, but now they're going to have four guys sleeping in the same area. The idea is to build a bond between the men. Marciano says there's a good reason. "So if one is thinking of quitting there's three other men that if he has a relationship with that will encourage him to stay within the program. For addicts, finishing something is very difficult." They're hoping fresh paint, new floors and furniture will help the men realize they're worth a fresh start. "The old system reinforced the fact that they had messed up their lives; I hate to say that. With the new furniture it says your best days truly are ahead of you," Marciano said. The men are supposed to be able to move from the gym to the newly redone dorms later this week. The renovations cost $400,000 and come from donations and from part of the non-profit's operating budget.(NBC Charlotte)(2-5-2014)
Johnson wins 2013 Driver of the Year Award: Jimmie Johnson was voted the 2013 Driver of the Year by an elite panel of broadcasters and journalists. As a result of the vote the six-time Sprint Cup Champion eclipsed his teammate Jeff Gordon who was the only other four-time winner of the Driver of the Year award .Mario Andretti, who was the first annual winner, and Darrell Waltrip are tied with three awards apiece. The DOTY is America's original race driver's award. Johnson, the 38-year old California native, continued to make NASCAR history with his 2013 championship Only Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt have more with seven Cup titles. Johnson's previous Driver of the Year awards were in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. Journalist and broadcasters, who voted in a secret ballot for a single driver, gave Johnson 12 votes, John Force - the 1996 DOTY winner - received six votes, and World of Outlaws driver, Daryn Pittman, received one vote. In a related development the NHRA's John Force won the fourth quarter voting.(Driver of the Year Foundation)(1-21-2014)
Johnson wins November Hickok Belt Award: #48-Jimmie Johnson has been selected as the Hickok Belt Award winner for the month of November 2013. Voting was conducted by a select panel of members of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA). Johnson won the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship title with a total of six wins in 35 starts and finished 19 points ahead of second place driver Matt Kenseth. The win was Johnson's sixth Sprint Cup title within eight years, placing him within reach of the overall record of seven titles held by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. Other finalists for the month of November in order of how the NSSA voters ranked them included: Nick Foles (football), Paul George (basketball), Novak Djokovic (tennis), Manny Pacquiao (boxing), Henrik Stenson (golf), Cam Talbot (hockey), Evgeni Malkin (hockey), Gary Stevens (horse racing), and Kory Sheets (football).
Johnson's selection as the Hickok Belt Award winner for November 2013 recognizes him as "the best of the best" in professional sports for the month and makes him the eighth candidate eligible to receive the 2013 overall award, joining previous 2013 monthly winners David Ortiz, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, Miguel Cabrera, Lebron James, and Phil Mickelson.(Digital Journal)(1-5-2014)
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)
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 I'm 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 Johnson's community involvement, and also plans to extend an invitation to Jimmie Johnson and his #48 Lowe's 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 Johnson's 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). Earnhardt's 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 Lowe's 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: Johnson's 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: Lowe's has been the primary sponsor for Johnson since the #48 team's 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 Lowe's 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 Johnson's 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 sport's 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 Lowe's 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 night's 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 ESPN's 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 show's 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 Lowe's 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 don't know if SportsCenter knows what they are getting themselves into," Johnson joked. "It's probably a good thing I'm there pretty much all day preparing. I've got some tough shoes to fill with Billy Crystal and Ken Jeong but I've 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 ESPN's 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.
"We're always looking for opportunities to change it up and give SportsCenter viewers a different take on the day's 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 Hendrick's organization also won four titles with Jeff Gordon, co-owner of Johnson's #48 Chevrolet, and one with Terry Labonte. Johnson's 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.
Johnson's five previous championships - all consecutive - came from 2006-2010. He has finished first or second in eight of the 12 seasons in which he's been a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor. His 66 victories rank second among active drivers, behind only Hendrick Motorsports teammate Gordon's 88 wins.
Johnson's 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 Illustrated's 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 season's final race. Perhaps more importantly, Johnson is being honored for helping others. The five-time champ's 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/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants. The grants, which are awarded to schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson's 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 Lowe's. 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:
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 Cable's 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 Friday's 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. It's really fast. I'm 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. There's nothing wrong with the engine. It's 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 team's 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 organization's 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 today's 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 Saturday's 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 that's the end of it. Unfortunate day, but I'm 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. It's 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 didn't 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 point's 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. It's 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 didn't 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 wasn't the one in the primary, but I don't 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 it's 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. I'm 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. I'm a little puzzled as to why I spun out going in because I've 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 it's not like I was right on him. To me it felt like I lost downforce just from the traffic scenario. I'm 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. Johnson's 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. That's 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 it's not guaranteed, since a win won't 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).
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, Lowe's 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 NASCAR's 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 Lowe's 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 Lowe's, 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 can't 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 school's 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 school's 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 Chevrolet's 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 car's 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, can't 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 we've seen in a long time," Hendrick tells Cowan. Cowan's 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 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:
· Construction Tech Academy (San Diego, Calif.)
· Flying Hills Elementary School (El Cajon, Calif.)
· Santana High School (Santee, Calif.)
· 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.)
· 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|
|Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||54||0:54:11||3,422|
|Martin Truex, Jr.||24||0:26:15||2,444|
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
Auto Club 9
New Hampshire 8
Watkins Glen 6
Las Vegas 5
North Wilkesboro 4*
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 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
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)
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 4-5 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. That's 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. "There's a fine line between slowing down and not slowing down. I don't know where that line is. I came around as quick as I thought I could without NASCAR getting upset at me. You know, I don't know. If I'd 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 didn't just stop. I carried speed around. They ask you to slow down. You can't run down there wide open or they'll get you for that. You know, I don't know. I don't know what the right thing to do there is. I'll 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 Carolina's 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 isn't a typical outcome. Only once in the previous five preseason polls has Johnson been tapped as the favorite - in 2005, the last season he didn't 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 racing's 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 winner's 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 Racing's 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. Ganassi's 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 weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway. Johnson crashed in the left-hand kink area of Daytona's 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. Johnson's 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 team's 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 he'll 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 racing's 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 2009's 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)
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 NASCAR's 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 wasn't 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 Johnson's fourth consecutive title in a season where Hendrick drivers swept the top three spots in the standings. "I've never seen him where he's in a position where he couldn't 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. It's 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, he's going to remember 2009 forever."(SceneDaily)(12-6-2009)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week - Day 5: The first Champion's 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 Wednesday's landmark photo shoot. Despite the numerous appointments, Johnson said he enjoyed them all, and said this Champion's 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 didn't 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 driver's feelings on the week, and expects it to be even better in the future. "Honestly, it's been a lot of fun," Knaus said. "Everything has been such a good time. And the more times we're here, the more it's 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 there's 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 Hendrick's ninth championship, meaning he's been a part of nine Champion's Weeks. It doesn't 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 it's so special. When I was young, I just wanted to go to Martinsville. I never dreamed I'd win races and championships. It's like growing up in Green Bay, and then winning the Super Bowl with the Packers. That's exactly how I feel. I'm very appreciative for everything I have."
Friday evening's 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, Johnson's 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 Champion's Week - Day 4: As the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week rolls toward the official crowning of four-time champion #48-Jimmie Johnson on Friday night, the celebration continues to focus on the sport's 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 Thursday's events which included the annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards, Top 12 Victory Lap Parade, NASCAR After the Lap Presented by Tissot and SIRIUS XM's 'Stewie Awards.' "With the TV package, (fan) access to NASCAR is growing and Champion's Week in the years to come can only get bigger and better."
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, in remarks during Thursday's 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 what's most important - delivering the best possible racing to the fans."
Two of NASCAR's 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 MRN's 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 track's 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 winner's signature "burn out" celebration performed by Johnson. Pit stop demonstrations also were held fronting Bally's 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 Wynn's 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 Thursday's 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
* O'Reilly 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 - Lowe's
* Champion Crew Chief Award - Chad Knaus
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 Champion's Week - Day 2: And now, on to Las Vegas. #48-Jimmie Johnson completed his Southern California Champion's Week visits on Tuesday. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion readies for three days of festivities that begin with Wednesday's 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 champion's fellow competitors turn up the heat by roasting Johnson in the name of charity at 1:30pm/pt. "You couldn't have scripted it any better," Johnson said of this year's Champion's 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. "I've definitely been able to work in a little more sleep," said Johnson comparing this year's event with his 2006-08 Champion's Week trips to New York City. "Of course, when we get to Vegas that may change. It's 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 champion's latest accomplishments were celebrated at a homecoming party at a Lowe's store in the San Diego suburb. The event attracted nearly 3,000 fans, Johnson's 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 community's speed limits, currently 45 mph, be raised to 48. Voepel responded "we'll work on that tomorrow."
Day 2 of Champion's 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 track's 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. "It's really an honor to be the Raybestos Rookie of the Year. It was one of our goals this year and I'm glad I did it since I don't 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. "It's 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 Force's 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 Tuesday's show.
On Wednesday [Dec. 2nd], Chad Knaus - Johnson's 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 Champion's Week - Day 1: #48-Jimmie Johnson will collect an armful of awards later this week as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week wraps up its inaugural Las Vegas run on Friday at Wynn's Las Vegas Resort.
On Monday, as Champion's Week began in the 2009 champion's 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/Lowe's Toolbox for Education in the amount of $922,000 were made public during ceremonies at Jimmie Johnson's 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. "I'm 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; I'm all for it." The day ended with a fan fest at the Lowe's 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 Building's 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 Sunday's 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 don't 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 Johnson's 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]:
* Johnson's Career 1st 8 years - 2002 to 2009
o 46 wins, 114 top fives, 176 top tens, three back to back championships
* Richard Petty's Career 1st 8 years (modern era) - 1972 to 1979
o 50 wins, 156 top fives, 181 top tens, 4 championships
* Cale Yarborugh's Career 1st 8 years (modern era) - 1973 to 1980
o 55 wins , 158 top fives, 172 top tens 3 back to back championships
* Darrel Waltrip's Career - 1st 8 years - 1975 to 1982
o 51 wins, 129 top fives, 154 to tens, 2 Championships
* Dale Earnhardt's Career 1st 8 years - 1979 to 1986
o 20 wins, 93 top fives, 143 top tens, 2 championships
* Jeff Gordon's career 1st 8 years - 1993 to 2000
o 52 wins, 129 top fives, 166 to tens, 3 championships
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, Lowe's donated $29,295, including $4,800 for Johnson's 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 Lowe's donated to the American Red Cross last week. Lowe's 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 Lowe's 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, Lowe's is making a $250,000 donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. In addition, all Lowe's 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, Lowe's 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, Lowe's will donate an additional $4,800. The Red Cross logo will be displayed on the deck lid of the #48 Lowe's Chevy. More info and to donate, see my Racing Charities page.(9-24-2009)
PRS Guitars donates guitars to drivers: This year's 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."
PRS's 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, PRS's 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 Lowe's 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 Lowe's, Johnson's primary sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and its Lowe's 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)
Johnson's Team Captures Tissot Pit Road Award at Watkins Glen: Jimmie Johnson's pit crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Monday's 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 Gordon's #24 crew, also from the Hendrick Motorsports stable. Greg Biffle's #16 crew leads the Tissot standings with four victories. Johnson's Lowe's 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. Johnson's 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 team's crew chief is Chad Knaus and the pit crew coach is Greg Morin. Johnson's 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)
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)