2017 Lowe's Sponsor Schedule so far:
Daytona, Clash, 2/18, Lowe's
Daytona, 2/26, Lowe's
Atlanta, 3/5, Lowe's
Las Vegas, 3/12, Kobalt Tools (1)
Phoenix, 3/19, Lowe's
Auto Club, 3/26, Lowe's
Martinsville, 4/2, Lowe's
Texas, 4/9, Lowe's / Hitachi
Bristol, 4/23, Lowe's / AO Smith
Richmond, 4/30, Lowe's ProServices
Talladega, 5/7, Lowe's
Kansas, 5/13, Lowe's
Charlotte, All-Star Race, 5/20, Lowe's Patriotic
Charlotte, 5/28, Lowe's Patriotic
Dover, 6/4, Lowe's
Pocono, 6/11, Lowe's
Michigan, 6/18, Lowe's
Sonoma, 6/25, Lowe's
Daytona, 7/1, Lowe's Patriotic
Kentucky, 7/8, Lowe's
New Hampshire, 7/16, Lowe's
the rest TBD
There are THREE race tracks (of 23) the Sprint Cup Series currently races at that #48-Jimmie Johnson has not won a Sprint Cup race at:
Kentucky: 0 for 6 with a best finish of 3rd in 7/2011 (all five top 10 finishes)
Watkins Glen: 0 for 15 with a best finish of 3rd in 8/2007 and 8/2012
Chicago: 0 for 15 with a best finish of 2nd in 7/2004, 7/2008 & 9/2012
Johnson also ran five races at Rockingham Speedway and didn't win there, best finish of 2nd in 2003.
Contract Status: Driver: 2020: Sponsor/Lowe's: 2018; Crew Chief: 2018
#48 Team / Driver News
Saturday Chicagoland Notebook
Jimmie Johnson encouraged by 14th-place qualifying effort Jimmie Johnson will start what he hopes is a run to his eighth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship from the 14th position on the grid in Sunday's Tales of the Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Believe it or not, that's an improvement over Johnson's 17.4 average starting spot in the 26-race regular season. Johnson hasn't won a pole this season, and if he fails to do so in the 10-race Playoff, it will mark only the second time in his career the driver of the #48 Chevrolet has failed to claim at least one Coors Light Pole Award, the other being 2011, when he also won a career-low two races.
KESELOWSKI IS SALESMAN OF THE MONTH-FOR RIVAL BRAND? If the war of words is any indication, the advent of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs brings out the persnickety side of the drivers involved. In a Friday tweet, Brad Keselowski bemoaned what he perceives as Toyota's performance advantage over the Fords and Chevrolets in the field. That earned the driver of the #2 Team Penske Ford a lot of return fire from the Toyota camp. After qualifying second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch, Toyota driver Denny Hamlin couldn't resist a foray into the fray. "I'd like to know what Toyota is paying Brad, because he is their best spokesman," Hamlin quipped. "I need more money for my PSA. If you're shopping for a midsize sedan, get the unfair advantage - get a Toyota."
DALE EARNHARDT JR. THINKS HE'S LEAVING NASCAR RACING IN GOOD HANDS There's no debating that the highest level of NASCAR racing is witnessing a changing of the guard. Jeff Gordon retired from full-time racing at the end of the 2015 season. Tony Stewart followed a year later. Earnhardt is playing out his final year in the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Danica Patrick has announced she won't return to Stewart-Haas Racing next year. And veterans Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne are out of their current rides, with no concrete plans to announce yet for 2018. That doesn't mean, however, that the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is short on star power. With neophytes Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones leading a parade of talented 20-somethings, Earnhardt believes he's leading the competition in firm hands. "Yeah, absolutely," Earnhardt affirmed. "I think that these young guys are really crafty with social media and I think that's a great direction for them to interact with not only current fans, but to find new fans. I think they do a great job at that."(NASCAR Wire Service)[Read More Here](9-17-2017)
Hendrick Motorsports announces several team promotions: Hendrick Motorsports has elevated eight senior leaders into new positions designed to strengthen the 12-time and defending NASCAR Cup Series champions and enhance the team's overall management structure. The eight executives, who will assume their new roles immediately, have more than 150 combined years of service with the organization.[More](8-15-2017)
Jimmie Johnson to wear the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope at Michigan: Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson will wear the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which features five charities working to improve K-12 public education, this weekend during the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn where a special paint scheme featuring the Jimmie Johnson Foundation (JJF) will be featured on his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. As a show of support to Johnson's efforts to raise funds for programs that support K-12 public education, a number of his NASCAR Cup Series competitors will display JJF-branded decals on the visors of their helmets.[More](8-8-2017)
Jimmie Johnson to take bike tour of Detroit Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and seven-time champion on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, will participate in the Slow Roll bike tour in Detroit on Thursday, July 13. The 45-minute tour will take place from 3:25 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. and will cover approximately seven miles. It will begin and end at Brew Detroit, 1401 Abbott Street and will travel through Corktown, downtown Detroit and along the Detroit River. Johnson will start his tour of the Detroit area at the Michigan State Police - Metro South Post where he will gain hands-on experience operating tactical units. He will speak to the youth about physical fitness at the Detroit Police Athletic League before starting the bike tour, according to a news release. In 2017, Slow Roll is focusing on continuing to educate people about Detroit, engage riders with local businesses and charities, and create the cohesive and peaceful community we all strive for, according to its website.(Michigan Live)[Read More Here](7-13-2017)
UPDATE Johnson took about a 5.5 mile bike ride through the heart of Detroit, led by members of the city's own Slow Roll bike club and the Detroit Police Department. The trip took Johnson through Detroit with about 70 fellow cyclists as he took in the scenes of the Detroit Riverfront, Heart Plaza and much more. After the ride ended, Johnson had a lot of positive thoughts about the Motor City. With the bike ride starting and ending at Brew Detroit on Abbott street just a couple blocks east of Rosa Parks Ave., Johnson enjoyed taking in the architecture and the and the new vibrancy that Detroit has to offer.(Michigan Live)(7-14-2017)
Truex, Johnson nominated for ESPY: Martin Truex Jr. has received a 2017 ESPY nomination in the Best Driver category. Joining Truex on the ESPY BEST Driver ballot are Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Simon Pagenaud (IndyCar), Ron Capps (NHRA Funny Car) and Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1).[More](7-6-2017)
Johnson to tun red, white & blue scheme at Daytona For the second time this season, Jimmie Johnson's #48 Chevy will feature a patriotic theme. Longtime partner Lowe's has a lengthy history of supporting the military. Currently, Lowe's has more than 14,000 veterans, active military and Guard/Reserve employees.(HMS)(6-28-2017)
JRM Licensing Announces Partnership with CounterFind: JRM Licensing, LLC, which manages the licensed merchandise programs for all the Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports teams and drivers, announced today a partnership with CounterFind, a company specializing in eliminating counterfeit merchandise in the social commerce space. The partnership is the first of its kind for JRM Licensing.
"We have seen a big uptick in the amount of counterfeit merchandise advertised on the various social media platforms," said Joe Mattes, vice president of JRM Licensing. "We're confident this new partnership with CounterFind will assist in reining in the counterfeiters. We want to proactively police the marketplace to protect our clients' brands and trademarks. NASCAR has one of the best fanbases in all of sports, and it's our responsibility to ensure that fans are purchasing authentic, quality merchandise manufactured by officially licensed vendors." Founded by former NFL player Darren Woodson, CounterFind is a turnkey technology used by some of the world's leading sports and entertainment brands to combat counterfeit goods in social commerce. CounterFind's software combines image recognition with human intelligence to detect and report all ads marketing counterfeit merchandise on Facebook and Instagram in real time. "CounterFind is solving the problems that broad internet protection companies can't figure out," said Woodson, CounterFind Founder. "If someone launches an ad on Facebook marketing a counterfeit product for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, or Chase Elliott, we will find it and have it removed in less than 24 hours."(JRM Licensing)(6-28-2017)
Original docuseries following Hendrick Motorsports to debut in July Complex Networks, Film 45, Markay Media, and NASCAR champions Hendrick Motorsports have teamed up on an original eight-part documentary series that journeys deep inside the teamwork, sophistication and heart that makes stock car racing an American institution. Road to Race Day goes behind the scenes with Hendrick Motorsports during the 2016 season, delivering unprecedented access to witness the passion, determination, and talent that propels its superstar drivers - Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - and crew to be the winningest team in professional stock car racing. Directed by Cynthia Hill (A Chef's Life, Private Violence) and executive produced by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Patriots Day), Road to Race Day premieres on Complex Networks' Rated Red available on go90 on Wednesday, July 19.(Hendrick Motorsports)[Red More Here](6-22-2017)
Jimmie Johnson press conference transcript: Johnson met with the media Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway after announcing a three year contract extension.[More](6-16-2017)
Hendrick Motorsports extends relationships with Johnson and sponsor Lowe's: Hendrick Motorsports and defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson have agreed to a three-year extension that will keep one of the most accomplished drivers in history behind the wheel through 2020. In addition, Lowe's Companies Inc. has extended its longstanding relationship with Hendrick Motorsports after signing an agreement that will continue its full-season, 38-race primary sponsorship of Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS team through 2018.[More](6-16-2017)
Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray quotes on Pocono accidents: Both drivers fell out of the race after brake issues on lap 95 at Pocono Raceway. [More](6-112017)
Hendrick Motorsports GM Doug Duchardt leaving Hendrick Motorsports executive vice president and general manager Doug Duchardt will leave the organization later this summer. He will remain in his role through the end of June. Duchardt, 53, came to Hendrick Motorsports in January 2005 as vice president of development, a position in which he oversaw race car design, engineering and production. In July 2013, he was elevated to the newly created role of general manager, directing all racing operations for the team. Duchardt's responsibilities will be assigned to multiple team members, including Hendrick Motorsports president Marshall Carlson, chief financial officer Scott Lampe and vice president of competition Ken Howes. The organization does not plan to fill the general manager role.(Hendrick Motorsports)[Read More Here](6-6-2017)
Johnson has Basal Cell Carcinoma removed Seven-time NASCAR Cup Champ #48-Jimmie Johnson, who won the race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, posted via his Twitter this morning that he had Basal Cell Carcinoma cut out of his shoulder.(Jimmie Johnson Twitter)[Red More Here](6-5-2017)
Jimmie Johnson wins at Dover for milestone victory The man who once made his parents stop at Hardee's because he thought it was Cale Yarborough's race shop pulled even with his childhood hero in Sunday's AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover International Speedway. Getting the jump on #42-Kyle Larson on an overtime restart at the Monster Mile, #48-Jimmie Johnson crossed the overtime line on the backstretch moments before a multi-car wreck brought out the 15th caution of the race and froze the field with Johnson in the lead and a frustrated Larson running second. The victory was the 83rd of Johnson's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, and it tied him for sixth on the all-time wins list with Yarborough, a NASCAR Hall of Famer.(NASCAR Wire Service)[Read More Here](6-4-2017)
Johnson wins at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the AAA 400 Drive for Autism Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway for his 3rd win of 2017, 11th win at Dover and 83rd career win. Johnson ties Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for 6th in all-time wins with 83.
#42-Larson (who led the most laps with 241) finished 2nd followed by #78-Truex Jr., #31-Newman, #24-Elliott, #19-Suarez (career best finish), #1-McMurray, #11-Hamlin, #4-Harvick and #10-Patrick.
Cup debuts: #15-Ross Chastain finished 20th and #83-Ryan Sieg finished 26th.
The race under NASCAR Overtime when #38-Ragan lost a tire and hit the wall causing the caution to come out with 4 laps left.
The race restarted on lap 404 with #42-Larson leading and #48-Johnson in 2nd. Johnson got a good restart and took the lead, winning the race.
The leaders got past the NASCAR Overtime line when #13-Dillon slid in the speedy dry involving eight seven other cars and ending the race under caution.
The nine cars were involved in the race ending wreck: #1-McMurray, #3-Dillon, #5-Kahne, #6-Bayne, #13-Dillon, #31-Newman, #47-Allmendinger, #72-Whitt, #77-Jones
#78-Truex Jr. maintains the Driver Points lead by 9 points over #42-Larson.
Stages 1 & 2 were won by #78-Truex Jr.
During the 1st caution on lap 18, then leader #18-Busch and pole winner pitted and got off pit road first, but the crew had a problem with the left rear and didn't get the lug nuts tight. The jackman let the car down and Busch left. The wheel came off just after Busch went back on the track and tore up some of the left rear sheet metal of the car, but Busch stayed on the lead lap until late in the race, finishing 16th, down one lap.
There were 17 lead changes among 9 drivers and 15 cautions for 72 yellow flag laps
The average speed of the race was: 104.955mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more at:
Unofficial Race Results (pdf)
Cumulative Report (pdf)
Penalty Report (pdf)
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).
Jimmie Johnson Foundation, Blue Bunny Ice Cream announce recipients of the 2017 Helmet of Hope: Seven-time NASCAR Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, along with Mike Wells, President and CEO of Wells Enterprises, Inc., announced today the five recipients of this year's $25,000 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope grants. The Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program invites fans and consumers across the country to nominate not-for-profit (501c3) organizations that support K-12 public education for the opportunity to receive one of five (5) available grant packages.[More](5-18-2017)
Johnson's patriotic Lowe's Chevy for 600 unveiled on special trip to Ft. Bragg: When Lowe's and Jimmie Johnson wanted to unveil the special #48 Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet SS that the driver will pilot for the Memorial Day weekend 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, they wanted to make it special.[More](5-18-2017)
Ron Malec honored with Brian Lunniss Lifetime Achievement Award: Established in 2016, the premier Lunniss Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Ron Malec, Car Chief of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet team for Hendrick Motorsports on Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race weekend. The Brian Lunniss Lifetime Achievement Award is dedicated to the hardest working hands in racing - the unsung heroes of motorsports - those who possess exceptional drive and inspire the team to win. [More](5-16-2017)
Johnson, Lowe's renewal expected soon: Rick Hendrick said he is ready to announce a new deal with Jimmie Johnson sponsor Lowe's "probably anytime" over the next 3-4 weeks and Nationwide also has indicated a willingness to continue with Hendrick Motorsports after the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the end of the season. One sponsor Hendrick doesn't have to worry about is Earnhardt sponsor Axalta, which opened a 36,000-square-foot training and customer service center today on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. Hendrick, whose automobile dealerships use 40,000 gallons of paint a year, said he would discuss 2018 driver options with Axalta leadership later today.[ESPN.com](5-16-2017)
Jimmie Johnson stays hot with Monday victory at Bristol Grabbing the lead from #4-Kevin Harvick on Lap 480 of 500 in Monday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, #48-Jimmie Johnson stayed out front for the final 21 laps and beat #14-Clint Bowyer to the finish line by 1.199 seconds. The checkered flag was Johnson's second at the .533-mile short track, his second straight this season and the 82nd of his career in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, leaving him one victory behind Cale Yarborough for sixth on the career wins list - and two behind Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison. Bowyer passed Harvick, his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, on Lap 485 to post his best finish since running second at Richmond on April 27, 2013. Harvick held third, followed by #20-Matt Kenseth and #22-Joey Loga. Polesitter Kyle Larson came home sixth after leading the first 202 laps, but the driver of the #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet had to recover from a Lap 421 penalty for speeding on pit road.(NASCAR Wire Service)[MORE](4-25-2017)
Jimmie Johnson wins rain delayed race at Bristol: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the rain delayed (was supposed to run Sunday) Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 2nd win of the season, 2nd win at Bristol and 82nd career win. It is the 11th win at Bristol by a Hendrick Motorsports driver. Johnson led 81 of the 500 laps.
#14-Bowyer finished 2nd (his best finish since a 2nd at Richmond in April 2013) followed by #4-Harvick, #20-Kenseth, #22-Logano, #42-Larson (led the most laps 202), #24-Elliott, #78-Truex Jr., #17-Stenhouse Jr. and #11-Hamlin.
#88-Earnhardt Jr. had a oil cooler break and caused him to wreck. #18-Busch had tire issues and hit the wall.
There were 14 lead changes among 7 drivers and 9 cautions for 76 yellow flag laps and a 5:10 red flag.
The average speed of the race was: 86.674mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more at:
Unofficial Race Results (pdf)
Cumulative Report (pdf)
Penalty Report (pdf)
Pit Stop Times (pdf) (4-24-2017)
Johnson, Dale Jr. and Gordon help out Sam Bass NASCAR licensed artist Sam Bass has opened a GoFundMe.com account to try and raise $350,000 for a kidney and pancreas transplant. Bass has waged on an ongoing battle against medical issues resulting from his diabetes. You can donate to Bass' account by clicking here.(FoxSports)[More](4-22-2017)
Jimmie Johnson's victory celebration comes with a price After his victory two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson was late for his post-race press conference - and with good reason. Because of a malfunction with his fluid delivery system, Johnson was dehydrated by the end of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Consequently, a trip to the infield care center for IV fluids delayed his appearance in the media center. During the NASCAR off week over Easter, Johnson took on very different sorts of fluids, in Mexico no less.(NASCAR Wire Service)[More](4-22-2017)
More teams eligible for playoffs so far this year: After seven races in the NASCAR season, the sport's premier series is experiencing its highest level of parity this early since the introduction of the current playoff format in 2014. Jimmie Johnson's win Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway put the number of teams and drivers eligible for the playoffs via wins at six each ahead of the Easter break.[More](4-17-2017)
Johnson treated at infield car center after race: Jimmie Johnson's celebration of his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win of the season was interrupted by a visit to the infield care center at Texas Motor Speedway. Johnson complained about overheating and cramping up during his Victory Lane interviews, moments after posting his seventh win at the 1.5-mile track.[NASCAR.com](4-9-2016)
Race recap: New pavement at Texas can't stop Jimmie Johnson juggernaut: Jimmie Johnson proved on Sunday that you can't keep a good driver, a good car and a good team down for long-even if you change the playing field at one of his favorite race tracks. The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion passed Joey Logano for the lead on Lap 318 of 334 and pulled away for his first victory of the season in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at newly repaved and reconfigured Texas Motor Speedway.[More](4-9-2017)
Johnson wins at Texas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 7th at Texas, and 81st career win.
He led 16 of the 334 laps, the final 16 laps of the race.
#42-Larson finished second (his 4th second place finish of the year), followed by #22-Logano, pole sitter #4-Harvick, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #2-Keselowski, #1-McMurray, #78-Truex, Jr., #24-Elliott, and #41-Busch.
#21-Blaney led at the end of the both Stage 1 and Stage 2 and led 148 laps on the day, but got out of pit sequence at the end of stage 2 and never could move back up through the field.
There were 16 lead changes among 6 drivers and 8 cautions for 35 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 147.137mph.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, April 10 at 6:30am/et on FS1; Monday, April 10 at 7:00pm/et on FS1
See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more at:
Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
Penalty Report (pdf)
Cumulative Report (pdf)
See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf)
Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).
Johnson working on contract extension: #48-Jimmie Johnson was asked about the status of his contract during his media availability on Friday at Auto Club Speedway. "We are always talking and working on the details. We don't have anything ready yet, but I'm sure we will announce before long."[More](3-25-2017)
Johnson to be inducted into ACS Walk of Fame Jimmie Johnson, winner of the 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Auto Club 400, will be inducted into the Speedway's Walk of Fame in Friday, March, 24.(ACS)[More](3-21-2017)
Jimmie Johnson announces grant opportunities, Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Mike Wells, president and CEO of Wells Enterprises, maker of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, announced the launch of the 2017 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign, which will award $125,000 to five non-profit organizations in May. The announcement on Johnson's Facebook page, revealed that not-for-profit 501c3 organizations that directly support K-12 public education will be eligible to compete for one of the five available $25,000 grants.[More Info](3-7-2017)
Hendrick Motorsports goes for third straight Atlanta win Georgia has been "peachy" to Hendrick Motorsports in recent memory. The four-car outfit owned by Rick Hendrick has won the last three races at Atlanta Motor Speedway behind the efforts of #5-Kasey Kahne (2014) and #48-Jimmie Johnson (2015-16). On Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports will go for its fourth consecutive win at the 1.54-mile track as it travels to AMS with Kahne, Johnson, Georgia native #24-Chase Elliott and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (NASCAR Wire Service)[More](3-3-2017)
Hendrick cars running Monster logos when required UPDATE: Car owner Rick Hendrick gave a short response to a question Friday about his cars not always displaying logos of Cup series sponsor Monster Energy when they are away from the track.
UPDATE: Monster Energy doesn't have a problem with Hendrick Motorpsorts taking steps to avoid using the Monster logo when its cars or drivers are not in the garage. [More](2-28-2017)
Several cars to the rear for Daytona 500: With their primary cars damaged in Thursday night's Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #27-Paul Menard and #21-Ryan Blaney will start the Daytona 500 from the rear of the field in backup race cars. They'll be joined at the rear by three cars that failed to meet the minimum ride height requirement during inspection after the Duels.[More](2-24-2017)
Forbes ranks NASCAR's most valuable teams: A dozen years ago, few leagues could match the popularity of NASCAR, which boasted record-high viewership and was going toe-to-toe with the NFL. But then few leagues suffered worse during the economic crash.[More](2-23-2017)
Jimmie Johnson is now NASCAR's highest-earning driver: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has been the biggest personality in NASCAR for more than a decade. He's clinched the fans' most popular driver vote for 14 straight years. His merchandise sales lap the competition annually, and he's been the highest-paid driver in the sport for eight straight years. But concussion symptoms caused Earnhardt to miss the final 18 races of the 2016 season and the prize money that comes with it[More](2-23-2017)
New format can help ease pressure in Jimmie Johnson's quest for eighth title: The new format in place for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship this year will help Jimmie Johnson keep his mind off what could be a monumental accomplishment.[More](2-22-2017)
Does Jimmie Johnson's Daytona DNF spell trouble for Hendrick drivers? Twice during Sunday's rain-delayed Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway, #48-Jimmie Johnson spun without provocation off Turn 4. The first time, on Lap 17, he took out the #41 Ford of Kurt Busch. The second time, Johnson nosed into the inside wall near the entrance to pit road crashed out of the 75-lap exhibition race. Forget that Johnson failed to finish the Clash for the sixth straight year. More important is the observation that the balance of the Hendrick Motorsports cars has been problematic at restrictor-plate tracks. Watching from the TV booth as Alex Bowman drove his #88 Chevy to a third-place finish Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed apprehension when Johnson spun once, then twice. Remember, Earnhardt spun three times on plate tracks last year before a concussion sidelined him for the final 18 races of the season. Unlike last year, Earnhardt plans to practice extensively for next Sunday's Daytona 500. Sunday's accidents left Johnson thinking in the same vein. "It's bizarre, because it drove really good everywhere else," Johnson said after the second wreck. "Then off of (Turn) 4, the first time I had a handling problem was when it broke free and I got into the #41, and then after that it was really loose after that caution and the last long stretch before I crashed again. "Just off of Turn 4. The sun certainly sits on that edge of the track a little bit harder than anywhere else. We will take some notes and learn from those mistakes and apply that to the (Daytona) 500 car." As to possible solutions, Johnson already was pondering potential fixes. "I would have to assume that it's relative to the height of the rear spoiler," said the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion. "When there is less air and the air is so turbulent back there, the spoiler is so small it's real easy to get the pressure off of it, and then the back just rotates around. We can adjust rear shocks, rear ride height and try to get more pitch in the car in a sense to keep the spoiler up in the air longer."(NASCAR Wire Service)(2-20-2017)
"Jimmie Johnson Day" celebrated in Phoenix: Seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson took Governor Doug Ducey on a ride along in the #48 on Thursday, Feb. 16. The ride around the State Capitol in Downtown Phoenix ended with a ceremonial burnout followed by a proclamation from the Governor to celebrate "Jimmie Johnson Day" throughout the State of Arizona. Johnson was in town to promote the upcoming Camping World 500 NASCAR race weekend at Phoenix Raceway on March 17-19. Johnson received the official proclamation from the Governor, and gave him autographed racing gloves worn in the Nov. 2016 Can-Am 500 in return. To celebrate "Jimmie Johnson Day", Phoenix Raceway is offering special champion-sized savings for the Camping World 500 on March 19. For 48 hours only, fans can purchase an Upper Foyt Grandstand ticket for just $48 - a savings of over 46%. The Jimmie Johnson Day offer expires Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 11:59pm or while supplies last. Tickets are available by calling a Phoenix Raceway representative at 866-408-RACE (7223) or by visiting online.(PIR)(2-17-2017)
Johnson happy with race format changes: #48-Jimmie Johnson discussed his thoughts on NASCAR's race format changes that were announced on Monday:
"The championship piece, we still get to Homestead and it's very similar for that event itself. How you get there is a bit different. The big takeaway I have is when you put all the smart people in the room and let everybody decide what it could and should look like, from TV owners, NASCAR, and driver representation, I think that's a smart move. And, I feel that knowing our environment and knowing how to take the best from each of those folks in the room, all the major stakeholders, and come up with this system, I have a lot of faith in that."
"I'm excited that everybody took the time to put their heads together. Another couple of takeaways for me is that it's all about winning and finishing the best that you can. It doesn't matter if it's the Duels, or what it is, there's incentive to go out there an perform. As a competitor, it's tough to say that's going to change much of what I do. But, I know there will be opportunities where that point matters for someone. We're at 100 percent in those cars, and then we try to articulate that all the time. Some get it and some don't. It might take people from being at that 100 percent mark to making them a little bit more desperate in given situations, and create more storylines. So, I feel that there has been a lot of time and effort and serious thought put into this and it touches a lot of areas that needed to be addressed in our sport right now and the way things are evolving."(Chevy PR)(1-25-2017)
National Motorsports Press Association names awards winners: Jimmie Johnson, who won a record-tying seventh NASCAR championship this past season, has been voted the winner of the 2016 Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award presented by the National Motorsports Press Association. Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, was named on 62 percent of the ballots cast for the award of the NMPA membership. Others receiving votes were Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing), Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing), Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing) and Joey Logano (Team Penske).
Other awards: Veteran motorsports journalist Al Pearce was named the 2016 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Pocono Spirit Award. Pearce raised more than $13,000 through the auction of a racing helmet bearing the signatures of the 20 living World Driving Champions as well as those of Phil Hill and Sir Jack Brabham prior their passing. Proceeds from the project, which took nearly four years to complete, went to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation.
Veteran public relations representative Dave Ferroni was named the 2016 recipient of the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award. Ferroni has been involved in various forms of auto racing for more than 30 years. His company, DMF Communications, currently handles public relations for Furniture Row Racing and driver Martin Truex, Jr. in NASCAR's premier series.
ESPN.com motorsports writer Bob Pockrass was named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Joe Littlejohn Award for 2016. The award is named after the former track owner from Spartanburg, South Carolina, and is presented annually by the NMPA in recognition for outstanding service to the organization. Pockrass recently completed his eighth year as secretary treasurer for the NMPA.
2017 schemes unveiled for Johnson: Thursday Team Lowes Racing unveiled paint schemes for the #48 Chevy of Jimmie Johnson in 2017. Images for the standard blue and yellow Lowe's scheme as well as the black Kobalt scheme were posted to Twitter. See images of the cars on the #48 team paint schemes page.(12-16-2016)
NASCAR luminaries gather to honor Johnson, Stewart at awards gala: Jimmie Johnson was unfailingly humble, even on a night when the NASCAR community came together to honor his monumental accomplishment. With a victory on Nov. 20 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Johnson claimed his record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Nevertheless, the driver of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy was reluctant to claim the same stature as the two seven-time champions who preceded him - Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. "Dale said this in '94 after winning his seventh," Johnson said in concluding his remarks during the Sprint Cup Awards on Friday night at the Wynn Las Vegas. "I might've won as many championships as Richard Petty, but he will always be the King. I completely agree and must say, I might've won as many championships as Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt but... I will never be the King or the Intimidator. I'm just a guy from California who always wanted to race." But Johnson will continue to shape his own legacy, having brought a 12th series title to team owner Rick Hendrick, who also fielded championship cars for Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte.
As he addressed the packed house in the Latour ballroom, Johnson said the magnitude of the seventh title was still sinking in. "Loyalty and a never-quit attitude are at the foundation of our success," Johnson said. "Add that with Mr. Hendrick's leadership and the unwavering support from (sponsor) Lowe's, and put it all in a Chevy... good stuff happens. We've been through a lot over the years. Ups and downs, winning and losing, heartache and heartbreak. Even a golf cart incident (a reference to Johnson's fall from the roof of a golf cart after his first championship in 2006). Amongst it all, we are still together and more unified than ever."
Hendrick also was an integral part of an unexpected honor for three-time champion Tony Stewart, who is retiring from NASCAR Sprint Cup competition after 18 years. Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder, who befriended Stewart earlier this year, introduced the driver, and Hendrick added a surprise. Hendrick announced a $1.8-million donation from the motorsports industry in Stewart's name to Vedder's effort to combat EB, a pernicious skin disease. Stewart said he got involved with Vedder's charity, "when I met him earlier this year is South Carolina. It's a very important charity to him and his wife. When you meet people like him that are that passionate about something, it immediately makes you want to be that passionate as well. That's why we got involved."
For his part, Hendrick also had strong words for his seven-time champion driver and his crew chief, Chad Knaus. "Jimmie, you are a champion in every sense of the word," Hendrick said. "Chad, you are what your record says you are, the best crew chief of all time." Even Johnson's fiercest competitors expressed deep admiration for his accomplishments. "If I had to finish second to someone, I guess the third seven-time champion in our sport's history is acceptable," said Joey Logano, who finished second to Johnson in the final standings. "Congrats to Jimmie, and thank you for always being a great representative for the sport."
"Great to finally see you guys make it up here on the big stage," quipped 2015 champion Kyle Busch. "But seriously, when you tie a record set by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, the accomplishment pretty much speaks for itself."
Despite missing half the NASCAR Sprint Cup season because of a concussion, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was named the series' most popular driver for the 14th straight year. The fan support, Earnhardt said, "really motivated me to get healthy. It motivated me to come back." Earnhardt will test in December and expects to be back in the #88 Chevrolet for the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.
Team owner Roger Penske, who celebrated his 50th year in motorsports this season, received the Bill France Award of Excellence from NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France (NASCAR Wire Service)(12-3-2016)
#48 team named Mechanix Wear's Most Valuable Pit Crew: In addition to Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, also celebrating #se7en is the #48 Lowe's team, who has been with the driver and crew chief every step of the way during the 2016 season. In the midst of their champion's week celebrations, the Lowe's pit crew received their own award as they were named the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew of 2016. The six over-the-wall members of the #48 team include: Kyle Tudor (jackman), R.J. Barnette (front-tire carrier), Kevin Novak (front-tire changer), Calvin Teague (rear-tire changer), Ryan Patton (rear-tire carrier) and Brandon Harder (fueler). The #48 Lowe's team aided Johnson in claiming five wins, 11 top-five finishes, 16 top-10s and one pole award throughout the 36-race season.
In the 15 years since the award's inception in 2002, the #48 Lowe's team has won the award a total of four times (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2016). The title of Most Valuable Pit Crew is awarded to the team who shows the most consistency on pit road throughout the season and is the longest-running and most prestigious pit crew award in the sport. Every nine races (each quarter of the season), the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs vote for the pit crew they believe contributes the most value to their team on race day. Each quarter, a semifinalist is chosen to receive an award and is given the opportunity to win the overall Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew award at the end of the season.(Hendrick Motorsports)(12-1-2016)
NASCAR Champion's Week in Las Vegas: Thursday, Dec. 1
· NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon: The annual awards luncheon and industry gathering will take place from 11 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. at Wynn Las Vegas, where several team and individual awards will be presented. Hosted by Mike Joy, the event will be live-streamed on NASCAR.com.
· NASCAR Victory Lap Fueled by Sunoco: All 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will parade their race cars down Las Vegas Boulevard and perform burnouts beginning at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and finishing in front of The Park. Fans can catch pre-race introductions hosted by Jamie Little at 2:45 p.m. followed by green flag at 3:30 p.m. For a list of burnout locations, fans can visit the NASCAR Fan Lounge at Beerhaus or ChampionsWeek.NASCAR.com. The event will be simulcast live on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and NASCAR.com.
· NASCAR After The Lap Sponsored by Chevrolet, Ford & Toyota: Beginning at 5 p.m., all 16 Chase Challengers will appear on stage at the Pearl Theater inside the Palms Casino Resort for NASCAR After The Lap sponsored by Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. Hosted by Rutledge Wood and restauranteur Guy Fieri, fans can watch live by purchasing tickets here or tune-in to NASCAR.com and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio for behind-the-scenes insight into the drivers' lives both on and off the track.
· NASCAR Silver Bullet Bash Presented by Coors Light: To commemorate and celebrate the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and toast the 2016 Champion, Coors Light will host the NASCAR Silver Bullet Bash starting at 10 p.m. in XS at Encore Las Vegas. Recording artists American Authors will give a special performance at the invite-only event.(NASCAR)(12-1-2016)
NASCAR Champion's Week in Las Vegas: Wednesday, Nov. 30 - Thursday, Dec. 1
· NASCAR Fan Lounge at Beerhaus Presented by Coors Light: Located at The Park just outside New York-New York, fans can enjoy giveaways, special appearances and check out the cars of the 16 Chase drivers at the NASCAR Fan Lounge at Beerhaus. Presented by Coors Light, the fan headquarters will also feature music and photo opportunities with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy.
Knaus wants his 8th championship: Jimmie Johnson's record-tying seventh Sprint Cup Series title put him in elite company with the legendary Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. It's quite the feat that the #48 team achieved, but Johnson's already thinking about eight. For crew chief Chad Knaus. Dale Inman currently holds the record for most championships as a crew chief with eight premier series championships. Having been atop of the pit box for of all seven of Johnson's championships, Knaus would tie that record with an eighth Sprint Cup title. "I mentioned it to him that we need to go get eight for him," Johnson told NASCAR.com on Tuesday morning. " ... He's honestly been such a huge part of my success and deserves the title of 'greatest ever.' So one way to really nip that is to go and put him up there with the same stats as Dale Inman."(NASCAR.com)(11-28-2016)
Hendrick Motorsports - 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Notes:
JOHNSON MAKES HISTORY WITH SE7EN: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, earned a record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with his first-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. He joined NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty as the only drivers in history to win seven Cup titles and became the first driver to do it since Earnhardt in 1994. Johnson's former Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon ranks fourth all-time with four Cup championships.
RECORD 12TH TITLE FOR HENDRICK: Johnson's 2016 Sprint Cup title is the 12th for Hendrick Motorsports and car owner Rick Hendrick, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January. Hendrick is the all-time leader in Sprint Cup owner championships, which he won with three different drivers: Johnson (7), Gordon (4) and Terry Labonte. He has 245 Cup-level race wins as an owner, ranking second all-time and first in NASCAR's modern era.
*The previous version of this note incorrectly stated that Hendrick was the only car owner to win titles with three different drivers. Joe Gibbs has also won championships with three drivers -- Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch.
ALL-TIME CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2016 Sprint Cup car owner championship is the 15th 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 12 titles in the Sprint Cup Series and three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hendrick Motorsports also won a NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championship in 2003, giving the organization 16 total national series titles.
ONE DRIVER, ONE SPONSOR, ONE TEAM: Lowe's has been the #48 team's primary sponsor since its inception in 2001. The home improvement retailer has been Johnson's only primary sponsor for 15 full seasons (2002-2016), encompassing all seven Sprint Cup championships, 80 race 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 history.
KNAUS SETS THE STANDARD: With seven career Sprint Cup championships, crew chief Chad Knaus ranks second all-time behind only NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Inman, who earned eight Cup titles as a crew chief. Knaus holds the distinction of being the only crew chief to win more than two 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 2002 rookie year in the Sprint Cup Series. In that 15-season span, he and Johnson have won seven titles and posted an average finish of 3.4 in the championship standings.
#SE7EN A SPECIAL TRIBUTE: Johnson began using the hashtag #se7en as a tribute to Ricky Hendrick, the late son of car owner Rick Hendrick. Early in his racing career, Ricky Hendrick drove a #7 car and later a #17, and he developed a habit of writing out the number with a "7" in place of the letter "V."
YOUNGEST TO SE7EN: At 41 years old, Johnson is the youngest driver to win seven Sprint Cup championships. Petty earned his seventh title in 1979 at age 42, a little more than two months after Johnson was born. Earnhardt was 43 when he won his seventh title in 1994.
SHORTEST SPAN: Johnson's seventh championship came 10 seasons after his first title win (2006). That marks the shortest period of time between the first and seventh title in history. Petty's final championship came in 1979, 15 seasons after his first title win (1964), and Earnhardt earned his seventh championship in 1994, 14 seasons after his first (1980).
CUP VICTORIES: Hendrick Motorsports has tallied 245 Cup victories in 33 seasons, a figure that leads all teams in NASCAR's modern era and ranks second all-time behind Petty Enterprises (268 wins). This season, Hendrick Motorsports posted five victories with its Chevy race cars. Hendrick Motorsports has been with manufacturer Chevrolet since its inaugural season in 1984.
COMPARISONS: In the major American professional sports leagues, Hendrick Motorsports' 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships are seventh all-time behind the New York Yankees (27 World Series titles), Montreal Canadians (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).
WINNING PERCENTAGE: Hendrick Motorsports is the most efficient championship team in major American professional sports, earning 12 titles since its inception in 1984 for a 36.4 all-time title-winning%age. The Boston Celtics rank second with 17 NBA titles in 70 seasons (24.3%), while the New York Yankees rank third with 27 World Series championships in 116 seasons (23.3%). The Los Angeles Lakers rank fourth with 16 NBA titles in 69 seasons (23.2%) and the Montreal Canadiens are fifth with 24 Stanley Cup titles in 107 seasons (22.4%). Hendrick Motorsports has won 12 of the last 22 Sprint Cup championships (1995-2016), putting the team's title-winning%age during that span at 54.5.
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 NBA championships and the Chicago Bulls have recorded six. The New York Yankees, San Antonio Spurs and Edmonton Oilers have tallied five titles apiece since 1984.
ROAD WARRIOR: Along with Johnson and Knaus, car chief Ron Malec has been on the #48 Lowe's team road crew for all seven championships. Malec started working as a mechanic with Johnson in the ASA Series in the late 1990s. When Johnson joined Hendrick Motorsports, Malec came on board. As car chief, he manages the crew members who work on the car both at the team facility in Concord, North Carolina, and during each race weekend. He is responsible for the preparation of the race car and seeing it through technical inspection.
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.
STILL ROLLING: Hendrick Motorsports never has run a Sprint Cup season without winning a pole position, recording at least one for 33 consecutive years (1984-2016). The team scored four in 2016, including one from Johnson, one from #88 team substitute driver Alex Bowman and two from Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Chase Elliott.
WIN STREAK: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 31 straight seasons, the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Geoff Bodine won Hendrick Motorsports' first Daytona 500.
YEAR IN REVIEW: In 2016, Hendrick Motorsports amassed five wins, four pole positions, 28 top-five finishes, 56 top-10s and 1,355 laps led. The five wins came at five different tracks -- Atlanta, Fontana, Charlotte, Martinsville and Homestead. The win at Martinsville propelled Johnson to the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he won the organization's 12th Sprint Cup Series championship.
*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.(HMS)(11-21-2016)
Jimmie Johnson wins at Homestead and the CHAMPIONSHIP: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the FORD EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series Championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 5th win of the season, 1st ever win at Homestead and 80th career win in NASCAR Overtime as the race was extended one lap for a late accident. #42-Kyle Larson, who led the most laps with 132, led the race when the final caution came out, setting up NASCAR Overtime. On the restart, #48-Johnson rocketed to the front, took the lead and kept the lead winning the race and the Championship / Chase. Johnson led 3 of the 368 laps.
Johnson won his record tying 7th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with 7.
#48-Jimmie Johnson had to start at the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag for unapproved body modifications after going through pre-race tech inspection.
#42-Lason (who led the most laps at 132) finished 2nd followed by #4-Harvick (pole winner), #22-Logano, #1-McMurray, #18-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #47-Allmendinger, #11-Hamlin and #59-McDowell.
#14-Tony Stewart, running his final Cup race, finished 22nd
#44-Brian Scott, retiring after this race, finished 15th
On a restart with 10 laps to go in the race, #22-Joey Logano shot deep to the inside in an attempt to pass #19-Carl Edwards for the lead among the championship contenders. Edwards reacted quickly and decisively, turning his car to the left in an attempt to block Logano. Logano didn't lift, and chaos ensued. Logano shoved Edwards into the inside wall. Edwards' Toyota bounced across the track, was hit hard by Kasey Kahne and slammed into the outside wall. The wreck involved nine cars [2,5,7,19,22,24,31,78,95] and caused a red flag of 31 minutes and nine seconds as track workers cleared the mess. Edwards refused to take an ambulance ride to the infield care center, instead choosing to make the long, sad walk. Along the way, he stopped at Logano's pit and talked to Logano crew chief Todd Gordon and other members of the team. Edwards' smashed car didn't finish the race. He wound up fourth of the four Championship 4 competitors.
There were 20 lead changes among 6 drivers and 7 cautions for 33 yellow flag laps and a 31:09 red flag.
The average speed of the race was: 128.869mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more [NOTE: money/winnings are no longer reported] at:
Unofficial Race Results (pdf)
Lap Summary Report (pdf)
Penalty Report (pdf)
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Homestead Race & Points Report (pdf).(11-20-2016)
Jimmie Johnson Makes History, Wins Record-Tying Seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship: History has been made. Jimmie Johnson captured his record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship with a stirring victory Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt atop the all-time list. Sunday's win was Johnson's 80th career victory. To win the 2016 championship, the driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevy outdueled the other Championship 4 drivers #22-Joey Logano (fourth), #18-Kyle Busch (sixth) and #19-Carl Edwards (34th) at Homestead. It was a year of sevens for Johnson, who took over sole possession of seventh place on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series all-time wins list after his win at Auto Club Speedway earlier this season. His wins at Atlanta and Auto Club catapulted him into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Johnson breezed through the first round of the Chase, logging his two highest laps led totals of the season to that point at Chicagoland and Dover. When the Round of 12 rolled around, he added his all-time track-record eighth win at Charlotte, leading a race-high 155 laps on the way to a Round of 8 berth. Johnson was the first to lock up a spot in the Championship 4, winning at Martinsville Speedway for the ninth time. At the age of 41, Johnson becomes the youngest seven-time champion. Petty was 42 when he captured his seventh title in 1979; Earnhardt was 43 in 1994. All seven of Johnson's championships were won under team owner Rick Hendrick and with crew chief Chad Knaus.
Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, captured his record-extending 12th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Along with Johnson's seven titles, Hendrick has won championships with Jeff Gordon (four) and Terry Labonte (one).
Knaus cemented his legacy as one of the top crew chiefs in NASCAR history with his seventh title, one shy of the all-time record held by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Inman.
Also on Sunday, #24-Chase Elliott was named Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.(NASCAR)(11-20-2016)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Championship Fast Facts:
Jimmie Johnson has won his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship (2016, '13, '10, '09, '08, '07, '06), joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty (1979, '75, '74, '72, '71, '67, '64) and Dale Earnhardt (1994, '93,'91, '90, '87, '86, '80) as the series leaders in titles.
Johnson wins the Ford EcoBoost 400 claiming the 2016 series title.
Johnson has become the third different driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the elimination-style format in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup (Kevin Harvick, 2014 and Kyle Busch, 2015).
Johnson finished the 2016 season with five wins, 11 top fives, 16 top 10s and one pole.
In 15 NSCS seasons, Johnson has posted 80 wins (most among active drivers), 216 top fives and 330 top 10s
Johnson also leads the series in wins during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with 29.
Owner Champion: Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports
This is Hendrick Motorsports' 12th series owner championship, the most all-time (2016, '13, '10, '09, '08, '07, '06, '01, '98, '97, '96, '95).
This is Hendrick Motorsports' 15th NASCAR national series owner championship, extending its all-time record.
Hendrick Motorsports was the first team to win five consecutive championships (2006-2010). It was also the first to win four straight, from 1995-98 (Jeff Gordon in 1995 and 1997-98; Terry Labonte 1996).
Hendrick Motorsports has won 12 of the last 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships (1995-2016), putting the team's title-winning percentage during that span at 54.5%.
Crew Chief Champion: Chad Knaus
Chad Knaus won his seventh championship (2006 - 2010, 2013, 2016), all with driver Jimmie Johnson.
Knaus is second on the all-time crew chief championships list, with seven. Dale Inman is the all-time leader in crew chief championships, with eight.
Knaus holds the distinction of being the only crew chief to win more than two NASCAR Sprint Cup titles in a row, a feat he accomplished when he led the #48 team to five-straight from 2006-2010.
Knaus has 78 career series wins, all with Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR)(11-20-2016)
Richard Petty Comments on Jimmie Johnson's Seventh Championship: Comments from "The King" Richard Petty: "Records are a mark and they set something for everyone to shoot at. Jimmie and his team have done that tonight. They set a goal to get where they are and circumstances and fate made it a reality. They did what they needed to do and now they are at seven championships. Congratulations to him and his team. Jimmie is a great champion and this is really good for our sport."(RPM)(11-20-2016)
Hendrick thought about splitting up Johnson-Knaus: As #48-Jimmie Johnson struggled through the longest winless drought of his Sprint Cup career, team owner Rick Hendrick wondered whether it was time to split up the band. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus have won six Sprint Cup titles together, and Knaus has overseen the cars for Johnson's 79 victories (actually 77, Darian Grubb was the crew chief for 2 wins while Knaus was suspensed). But after 15 seasons together, Hendrick at least wondered a little bit whether they needed a change as Johnson went on a 24-race winless streak with 11 finishes outside the top 15. He didn't act on those thoughts, and Johnson is one of the four drivers vying for the Cup title Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "When you have two guys that have been so good and you try to decide is it time, and this year we started off really well, and then we hit a lull in the summer, and it was -- we asked ourselves then, 'Is this time, do we need to make a change?'" Hendrick said Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "But when you see things that are so close [to turning around], I think that's when they work harder. We really just sit down and work hard together and try to identify weaknesses, and I think they have both made a commitment -- they want to retire together. They want to finish their careers together." If Johnson wins a seventh title -- tying Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. for the most championships in a career -- it will be the first time a driver has won seven titles with the same crew chief.(ESPN)(11-19-2016)
Jimmie Johnson Foundation announces nearly $600,000 in Champions Grants: #48-Jimmie Johnson, and his wife Chandra, announced at an event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, that 12 schools will receive $599,891 in Champions Grants this year. The grants are awarded annually to K-12 public and charter schools in and around their hometowns in San Diego and El Cajon, California and Muskogee and Tulsa, Oklahoma, as well as their current residence in Charlotte, North Carolina. This year, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grant awards included $228,404 toward language and literacy initiatives, $195,745 toward science and technology programs, $145,742 for health and fitness activities, and $30,000 toward school improvement projects. See the full list of grants at jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org.(JJF)(11-12-2016)
Johnson Foundation Golf Tournament Tops $730,000 in Funds Raised: The Jimmie Johnson Foundation announced that its annual Jimmie Johnson Foundation Golf Tournament and Dinner raised more than $730,000. Johnson hosted 116 golfers at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California for Tuesday's golf tournament. The night before the tournament, the Johnsons hosted over 200 guests at a special dinner and auction at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, with music from O.A.R. The tournament, which in ten years has raised more than $6.3 million, benefits 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 Chandra and Jimmie Johnson's hometowns in California and Oklahoma, and where they currently reside in North Carolina.(JJF)(7-4-2016)
Drivers ranked on ESPN World Fame 100: It started off with a simple question: Who's the most famous athlete in the world? Ben Alamar, ESPN's director of sports analytics, devised a formula that combines salary and endorsements with social media following and Google search popularity to create the ESPN World Fame 100 rankings. The names might be familiar, but where the planet's biggest stars land on the list could surprise you. The #1 athlete is soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. Motorsports drivers on the list include:
57. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)
58. Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)
59. Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1)
63. Danica Patrick (NASCAR)
75. Fernando Alonso (Formula 1)
77. Tony Stewart (NASCAR)
94. Kyle Busch (NASCAR)
97. Kimi Raikkonen (Formula 1)
Recipients of Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope grants announced: Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, along with Mike Wells, President & CEO of Wells Enterprises, Inc., announced the five recipients of this year's $25,000 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope grants. The Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope is a program that allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate not-for-profit (501c3) organizations that support K-12 public education for the chance to receive one of five (5) available grant packages.
The 5 grant recipients are:
• ArtWell in Philadelphia
• Carlos Gilbert Elementary Parents! Teachers! Kids! in Santa Fe, New Mexico
• Change for Kids in New York
• Inside the Outdoors Foundation in Costa Mesa, California
• Mercy Child Advocacy Center in Sioux City, Iowa
The final five were selected via public vote. Nearly 225,000 votes were cast for the 10 semi-finalists during the voting period. Thanks to the generosity of Wells Enterprises, Inc., the remaining five semi-finalist charities will each receive a $1,000 grant and a Blue Bunny Ice Cream party as well.(JJF)(5-24-2016)
Johnson doesn't have retirement in mind: On the heels of Tony Stewart's announcement Wednesday that he would retire after next season, #48-Jimmie Johnson was asked Friday if he's decided when to quit racing:
Q: Do you have a time in mind of when you are going to hang it up and do something else?
Johnson: "No, I do not have a number and I have not picked a number. As a kid growing up racing and as I got in the sport, I didn't say, 'when I get to this age, I am going to step down.' I haven't had that conversation and have not picked a number with my wife and said, 'okay honey, this is the point that I am going to stop'. It's really been based on feel and I have Chani's support on that as well. When I feel like it's time, I am going to make that decision. Certainly don't feel like it's time now. I remember watching Rusty (Wallace) pick a number and then remember talking to Rusty in years following that and I still think he's mad he stopped. I still think he feels like he could be out here racing with us and winning races. So conversations with him, with Dale Jarrett, with other guys....I have always been curious. Why, when, what tells you to stop? Mark (Martin) tried a half dozen times to retire and couldn't walk away. So I want to make sure I do it once and not keep coming back. What I am looking for is that moment. That moment that you say, 'alright, it's time'. When that shows up, then I will step down."(Chevy Racing)(10-3-2015)
Johnson says this contract won't be his last: #48-Jimmie Johnson said his two-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsport announced this week won't be his last. "Not that I'm aware of, not unless Rick (Hendrick) wants me to do something else," Johnson said with a laugh while meeting with media during an open test at Kansas Speedway. Unless you count car dealerships, Johnson says there weren't any complicated layers to arriving at the extension, which was announced along with crew chief's Chad Knaus' three-year extension and the two-year agreement with sponsor Lowe's Home Improvement. Johnson now holds a stake in Hendrick's auto dealer empire. "The contract had changed a little bit between Rick and I," Johnson said. "With the automotive side, it just took awhile to get everything in place for that. They got Chad's done and out of the way then we finally got mine done." That's a deal Hendrick has entered into with other drivers that have raced for him, including Terry Labonte, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon.(NBC Sports)(9-17-2015)
Jeff Gordon vs. Jimmie Johnson: Even though Jimmie Johnson has been the top driver in NASCAR over the last five years, Jeff Gordon is the winningest active driver and has been the dominant driver over the last 18 seasons. Let's compare the two drivers after their first nine seasons:
Wins: Gordon 58 in 292 races; Johnson 53 in 324 races
Top 5s: Gordon 147 in 292 races; Johnson 134 in 324 races
Top 10s: Gordon 190 in 292 races; Johnson 203 in 324 races
Championships: Gordon (4) last in his ninth season in 2001, Johnson (5).(12-1-2010)