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*Jimmie Johnson Returns Home *Around Town: Plenty Of Action Away From The Track Busy Week In Southern California For Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson and his wife Chandra will have their hands full in Southern California long before they make it...

*Jimmie Johnson Returns Home *Around Town: Plenty Of Action Away From The Track

Busy Week In Southern California For Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson and his wife Chandra will have their hands full in Southern California long before they make it to California Speedway.

The two will be hosting events in Jimmie's hometown of El Cajon, to benefit the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.

The week kicks off when Jimmie makes his first return to his alma mater -- Granite Hills High School -- since his graduation. He will make a donation to the school and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Tuesday night, the couple will host a charity dinner before the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Inaugural Golf Tournament Presented by Lowe's on Wednesday.

More than 200 golfers are scheduled to participate in the sold-out tournament including Bobby Labonte (No. 43 Cheerios Dodge), Brian Vickers (No. 83 Red Bull Toyota), Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Wrigley's Big Red Dodge) and Kyle Petty (No. 45 Wells Fargo Dodge).

All proceeds from the week will help build a San Diego Habitat for Humanity house in El Cajon.

"It's hard to put into words how much this week will mean to Chandra and me," Johnson said. "San Diego is the place where I grew up and I feel a lot of my success comes from the values I learned and support I've had from the people there."

Keys To Victory

California Speedway is a grueling 2-mile track that takes a toll on engines. The track offers a lot of the same characteristics as Michigan, but this race has an additional 100 miles.

* Engines -- Engine tuners may need to be a bit on the conservative side this weekend. The track has a history of engine troubles.

* Pit Strategy -- Crew chiefs must be aware of track position and fuel mileage. The race can be won or lost by a crew chief's decision of when to pit and what adjustments to make.

* Closers -- Teams must put themselves in position to make a move in the closing stages of the race.


ESPN will have live coverage of Sunday's Sharp AQUOS 500 from California Speedway before turning the broadcasting reins over to sister network ABC for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

ABC will broadcast all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, marking the first time that all Chase races will be televised by a single network.

Around Town: Stevie Wonder Named Honorary Official; California Natives Pace Field

Stevie Wonder To Serve As Grand Marshal
Stevie Wonder will sing a new tune this Sunday at California Speedway. The 25-time Grammy Award winner is the Grand Marshal for the Sharp AQUOS 500 and will give the "Gentlemen, Start Your Engines" command.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have a talent the likes of Stevie Wonder serving as our Grand Marshal," said California Speedway President Gillian Zucker. "Stevie is one of the most influential icons in the world of music who literally has millions of fans across the globe."

Seven California Natives Enter Race
Seven drivers hailing from the "Golden State" are expected to participate in Sunday's Sharp AQUOS 500. All seven are full-time competitors in the series -- the most from any state. Virginia and North Carolina are tied for second-most with five.

The seven drivers are AJ Allmendinger (No. 84 Red Bull Toyota), David Gilliland (No. 38 M&M's Ford), Jeff Gordon, Robby Gordon (No. 7 Jim Beam Ford), Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Pennzoil Platinum Chevrolet), Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears (No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet).

Bowyer, Truex Highlight TMS Fanfest
Texas Motor Speedway will host its inaugural FanFest! on Tuesday with drivers Clint Bowyer (No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet) and Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet). The two drivers, who both are currently in position to make the Chase, will conduct a fan forum and sign autographs.

The event will be held from 5-10 p.m. CT in the TMS infield. In addition to meeting the drivers, fans will have the opportunity to take a spin around the track in one of several ride-along programs.

Kasey Kahne Holds Sprint Car Challenge
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 UAW/Dodge Dealers Dodge) will be joined by Tony Stewart for the second annual Kasey Kahne Foundation Sprint Car Challenge Wednesday night.

The duo will be competing in winged 360 at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash.

The Kasey Kahne Foundation was created to raise and donate funds to charitable organizations that care for disadvantaged youths and chronically ill children and their families.

Raines To Wear No. 66 Hat
When Jeff Green (No. 66 Best Buy Chevrolet) passed Tony Raines (No. 96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet) on the last lap Saturday night, there was more at stake than three points.

The two had made a friendly wager before the race, with the losing driver having to wear the winners' hat during the upcoming race weekend at California Speedway.

"We just wanted to do something different (by making the bet)," Green said. "It's kind of funny that we finished one right in front of the other, and that my team won the bet with a pass on the last lap."

Hamlin To Visit Children's Hospital
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Chevrolet) will make a visit to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles on Thursday. As part of the visit, FedEx will donate $25,000 to the hospital. Hamlin also will receive a special helmet designed by Childrens Hospital Los Angeles patient Angelica Ramirez.

Hamlin will wear the helmet for all on-track activity this weekend. It is the seventh of 11 helmets specially designed by children's hospital patients. All 11 race-worn helmets will be displayed and auctioned to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

On Deck: Richmond Marks Chase Cutoff

The Race to the Chase concludes next Saturday with the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Following the race, the top-12 drivers will be seeded based on their wins for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.

Kevin Harvick won last year's race, Denny Hamlin was the pole sitter.

At least one driver outside of Chase contention has raced his way into the Chase at Richmond in each of its three years. In addition, the winner of all three Richmond races leading into the Chase has been a Chase participant.

The Race: Sharp AQUOS 500

The Place: California Speedway
The Date: Sunday, Sept. 2

The Time: 8 p.m. (ET)
TV: ESPN, 7 p.m. (ET)

The Track: 2-mile oval
The Distance: 500 miles, 250 laps

The Purse: $6,097,134

2006 Winner: Kasey Kahne
2006 Pole: Kurt Busch

Pre-Race Schedule (local/PT time): Friday -- Practice, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Qualifying -- 3:10 p.m., Saturday -- Practice, 4-4:45 p.m. and 5:10-6:10 p.m.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya