NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week -- Day 2
Johnson Says 2009 Champion's Week 'Couldn't Have Been Scripted Better'
Logano Meets Las Vegas Media; Will Make Thunderbird Flight Wednesday
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2009) -- And now, on to Las Vegas.
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) 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 a.m. 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 1:30 p.m. 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.
Joey Logano (No. 20 Home Depot Toyota), 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.
Here are some highlights of Johnson's schedule leading up to Friday night's formal awards ceremony at Wynn's Las Vegas Resort:
Wednesday -- The champion's Las Vegas celebration begins at 10 a.m. PT with the Chasers for Charity Fanfest at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Neon Garage. The free-admission portion of the event includes a red-carpet walk by the champion and other 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, car displays, live music, reduced-price concessions and a raffle drawing. A Charity Roast of Johnson will be held at 1:30 p.m. PT in the speedway's Blackjack Club and is open to the first 300 people who respond (information at www.lvms.com). A $250 tax-deductible donation to Speedway Children's Charities includes a private reception with Johnson and Chase participants plus reserved seats and parking. The event will be shown on closed-circuit television in the Neon Garage.
Thursday -- The annual NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards event will be held from 1-2:45 p.m. PT in the Venetian Showroom at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Johnson will be joined by the rest of the top 12 drivers in the 2009 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, plus Raybestos Rookie of the Year Joey Logano and other annual award winners. Race fans will get to see Johnson and fellow Chase drivers participate in a Victory Lap parade in their show cars on Las Vegas Boulevard -- the city's legendary "Strip" -- beginning at 3:15 p.m. PT at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. "Mr. Las Vegas," Wayne Newton, will drop the green flag to start the event. The lap includes a pit stop and "burnout" at the Spring Mountain Road intersection before returning to the MGM Grand at 4 p.m. PT. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will carry live coverage of the Victory Lap. Following the Victory Lap, fans will have the opportunity to have their questions answered by the Chase drivers at the NASCAR After the Lap Presented by Tissot from 4:30-5:30 p.m. PT (doors open at 3 p.m.) at the MGM/Hollywood Theater.
The Official Partners of NASCAR now have the ability to utilize Champion's Week to culminate their fan-centric promotions (i.e. Unilever's Real Fan of the Year, Ford I Drive One promotion and ASK.com's year-long Trivia Challenge). This week, fans will be able to submit their questions via Street Tour, AFLAC Pit Stop and Twitter to their favorite Chase drivers and hear the drivers respond to those questions at this event. SIRIUS NASCAR radio will broadcast the event live and NASCAR.COM will be producing a Video on Demand that will be available on its website afterwards. The Tissot Watch presentation to the top 12 drivers will also take place at this event. That evening, from 7-9 p.m. PT, Johnson and other Chase drivers will join Tony Stewart at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino as he presents the third annual "Stewie Awards," live on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio. The event, which honors the best, boldest and funniest moments of the 2009 NASCAR season, will take place at the Rio's Masquerade Village and is open to the public.
Friday -- Johnson formally accepts his 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship awards. 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 6-10 p.m. PT. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio will also broadcast the ceremony live nationwide. 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Champion: Jimmie Johnson
2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner Champion: Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports
Final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Top 12: 1. Jimmie Johnson, 6,652; 2. Mark Martin, 6,511; 3. Jeff Gordon, 6,473; 4. Kurt Busch, 6,446; 5. Denny Hamlin, 6,335; 6. Tony Stewart, 6,309; 7. Greg Biffle, 6,292; 8. Juan Pablo Montoya, 6,252; 9. Ryan Newman, 6,175; 10. Kasey Kahne, 6,128; 11. Carl Edwards, 6,118; 12. Brian Vickers, 5,929.
Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Joey Logano