Daytona II: Jimmie Johnson preview

HELMET OF HOPE Jimmie and Chandra Johnson announced last week that in conjunction with the Jimmie Johnson Foundation's 2nd-Annual Golf Tournament, race fans and media members will have the opportunity to participate in the Helmet of Hope ...

HELMET OF HOPE

Jimmie and Chandra Johnson announced last week that in conjunction with the Jimmie Johnson Foundation's 2nd-Annual Golf Tournament, race fans and media members will have the opportunity to participate in the Helmet of Hope initiative, which allows them to nominate charities which they feel should be featured on the race helmet that Johnson will wear at the Auto Club Speedway in August.

Fans can nominate their charity by visiting www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org and explaining why their organization should be chosen.

"We get a number of requests to help so many worthy charities throughout the year, but unfortunately we aren't able to assist everyone," said Chandra Johnson, co-founder of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. "The helmet is our way of getting some recognition for charities that are special to people who follow and work in the racing community. We are all a family and most of us have a personal tie to a charity. This helmet is our small way of honoring those causes."

Johnson will draw two charities during each weekend beginning in Daytona and ending at Michigan. When he climbs behind the wheel of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Chevrolet for the Cup race in August, he will have 12 winning charities featured on his helmet.

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Team Lowe's Racing will visit the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway for this Saturday night's Sprint Cup event.

In his 12 Cup Series starts at Daytona, driver Jimmie Johnson has collected one win, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He started from the pole in this season's Daytona 500 and finished 10th in last year's summer classic.

JIMMIE JOHNSON:

ON RETURNING TO DAYTONA: "I'm ready to go back to Daytona and see what we can get done in the Lowe's Impala SS. I felt like we had a car that could win there in February, especially in the beginning of the race. But we lost some track position and it was hard to work through traffic and get the track position back.

"We're taking the same car we had in Talladega this year and we had a pretty good run there. Restrictor-plate racing is all about patience so hopefully we can stay out of trouble and get a good finish."

ON THE HELMET OF HOPE: "There are so many great charities and Chani (wife, Chandra) and I have a hard time really deciding where and what we support and who we support. At the same time, we feel this is a great opportunity for the fans and for the media to bring some recognition to charities that are important to them.

"We just thought it would be a great way to keep everybody involved and also to bring recognition to a lot of these charities. I'm looking forward to drawing the first two organizations this weekend and getting the Helmet of Hope underway."

RACE NOTES:

Daytona International Speedway

* Johnson has made 12 Cup Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, collecting one win (Feb. 2006), five top-five and eight top-10 finishes. * He has completed 98.7% (2247 of 2277) of competition laps at the 2.5-mile track and has led 55. * Johnson has an average start and finish of 8.6 and 13.2.

Chassis

* Johnson's primary chassis in Sunday's Sprint Cup event will be No. 482, which he drove to a 13th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in April. His backup chassis, No. 419, grabbed a runner-up finish at Talladega last season.

-credit: mh

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson