DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2013) – 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.
The FOX studio boasts a NASCAR-themed slot machine, at which celebrities are invited to try their luck – all in the name of charity. Johnson hit a $250 jackpot to which he added $300 for donation to the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation.
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. The action-packed week culminates with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards™ (Dec. 6, with FOX Sports 2 and NASCAR.com providing coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET; Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 at 8 p.m. ET).
It’s been three years since Johnson celebrated a championship in Las Vegas although as a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ contender he attended the 2011-12 ceremonies. That obviously motivated Johnson to return to the head table – which he’s now done six times.
“Winning races does it all,” he told NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum attendees. “That is my focus and my brand. What is next, (that’s) what keeps you motivated.”
That Johnson is one championship away from matching the record seven NASCAR Sprint Cup titles won by NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt figured prominently in questions Johnson fielded during the day’s events.
He admitted to still being a bit overwhelmed by his success.
“I never could have dreamed this big; when I hear my name mentioned alongside Petty and Earnhardt,” he said. “It still feels surreal.”
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, the latter slated to air at 7 p.m. ET, on Wednesday, Dec. 4. A sit-down interview with FOX’s Curt Menefee also will be broadcast at a later date.
Before flying to Los Angeles, Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus visited the corporate headquarters of the No. 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.