Series Champion's Week, day one report

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week -- Day 1 Johnson's Week Begins In the Spirit Of The Season: By Giving To Others California Segment Of Champion's Week Ends Tuesday; Rookie Logano Gets Busy DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2009) --...

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week -- Day 1

Johnson's Week Begins In the Spirit Of The Season: By Giving To Others California Segment Of Champion's Week Ends Tuesday; Rookie Logano Gets Busy

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2009) -- Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) 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.

Here are some highlights of Johnson's schedule leading up to Friday night's awards ceremony:

Tuesday -- Johnson will wrap up the California portion of Champion's Week at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana where he'll have breakfast and visit with 700 of the speedway's invited guests.

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 p.m.-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

-credit: nascar

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