Champion's Week, day one report

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Week Presented By Sprint - Day 1 * National Media Appearances Highlight Jimmie Johnson's Busy Monday DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 27, 2006) -- The whirlwind officially began for 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series ...

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champions Week Presented By Sprint - Day 1

* National Media Appearances Highlight Jimmie Johnson's Busy Monday

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 27, 2006) -- The whirlwind officially began for 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) on Monday, as he kicked off one of the busiest and most exciting five days of his career.

The reason? NASCAR is celebrating its 26th annual Champions Week in New York City this week, marking the beginning of Johnson's year-long reign and the recognition of all the sport's 2006 champions.

Included in this week's very busy and wide-reaching itinerary are national media appearances, activities with the other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers and the crowning moment -- Friday night's awards ceremony.

Johnson, who clinched his title in the series' season finale last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, arrived in New York on Sunday evening, where he enjoyed a welcome dinner with NASCAR and Sprint Nextel executives at the sport's longtime Champions Week headquarters -- the historic Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.

"It's been a great journey for us," said Johnson. "We feel like we were in contention last year and the year before to win the championship but came up a little short. In racing there's only one winner; one champion. To be a champion is so difficult to do."

Johnson's Monday began with his appearance on ESPN's Cold Pizza, followed by guest stints on radio shows and an early-afternoon appearance on FOX News Live. He also was scheduled for afternoon interviews with Forbes.com, XM Satellite Radio and Associated Press interactive.

Johnson, who won his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title in only his fifth season, hopes this week's activities won't be his last as a series champion.

"I really feel we are coming into our prime as a team," he said. "I am hopeful that as time goes on we can stay in that championship mindset and win a couple more."

Champions Week, Part II ... Jimmie Johnson's Champions Week gets busier as the hours tick by. Here's a quick glance at some of what the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion will experience over the next four days:

Tuesday: More national and New York media interviews, visits and a prime photo shoot at one of the Big Apple's Art Deco landmarks -- Rockefeller Center's observation deck, or, "the Top of the Rock." Later that night, Johnson appears on the nationally-syndicated "NASCAR Live" radio show on the Motor Racing Network (MRN).

Wednesday: The third annual Victory Lap -- a procession of the Top 10 drivers in their show cars -- will thunder through Manhattan beginning at 44th Street and Broadway in front of ABC's Good Morning America studio in Times Square and finishing at 42nd Street and Broadway in front of ESPN Zone. Later, expect a photo shoot at Times Square's Military Island.

Thursday: The NASCAR/National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Luncheon at Cipriani on 42nd Street will honor the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 drivers, champions from NASCAR's other series and all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers who win seasonal awards. Afterward, all 2006 series champions will gather for the traditional champions' photo shoot at Rockefeller Plaza.

Friday: Johnson and his team will pose for formal photos on New York's Park Avenue before attending several pre-awards ceremony receptions. Then, Johnson officially will be crowned NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion; the awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Waldorf=Astoria's venerable Grand Ballroom. TNT will air the ceremony at 9 p.m.

Fast Facts

What: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony

Where: Grand Ballroom, The Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, New York City.

When: 7-10:30 p.m. (ET). Friday, Dec. 2.

TV: TNT, 9 p.m. (ET & PT).

Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.

Final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Jimmie Johnson 6,475. 2. Matt Kenseth 6,419. 3. Denny Hamlin 6,407. 4. Kevin Harvick 6,397. 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6,328. 6. Jeff Gordon 6,256. 7. Jeff Burton 6,228. 8. Kasey Kahne 6,183. 9. Mark Martin 6,168. 10. Kyle Busch 6,027.

11th-place driver: Tony Stewart.

Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Denny Hamlin.

Musical Entertainment: Jewel.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin