Richmond II: Jimmie Johnson preview

Final Two Charities Selected for Samsung Helmet of Hope The Hendrick Marrow Program (Concord, N.C.) and Little Smiles (Wellington, Fla.) have been selected as the final two charities to be featured on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Samsung Helmet...

Final Two Charities Selected for Samsung Helmet of Hope

The Hendrick Marrow Program (Concord, N.C.) and Little Smiles (Wellington, Fla.) have been selected as the final two charities to be featured on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Samsung Helmet of Hope at Auto Club Speedway in October.

Each organization will also receive a grant of $10,000.

Greg Bailey, of Charlotte, N.C.'s WCNC-TV, nominated the Hendrick Marrow Program and its Transplant Grants for Kids program. The Hendrick Marrow Program is part of the Be The Match Foundation® , which raises money to add more potential marrow donors to the National Marrow Donor Program Be The Match Registry®, and helps patients pay for some uninsured transplant costs, which are often a barrier to treatment.

"Marrow donors save children's lives," said Bailey. "Every year the Hendrick Marrow Program unites anonymous donors with the children they save. This year the featured donor told us, 'Everyone is thanking me. I would like to thank YOU for showing me the true meaning of life.' With support and attention, The Hendrick Marrow Program can save more lives and reach more people every year."

Kimberly Kramp of Naples, Fla. nominated Little Smiles, whose mission is to help children escape their everyday pain and allow them to be a kid again, even if it's for a short period of time. It responds to the needs of the children and provides whatever it can to make their day a little brighter.

"I work at (a restaurant) in Naples, Fla. and every year we have a month long fundraiser where 100% of our collections go to the Little Smiles," explained Kramp. "The money we give goes to help kids in our own community.

"This past week one of our favorite kids from Little Smiles passed away from bone marrow cancer," continued Kramp. "He was a huge NASCAR fan and an even bigger Jimmie Johnson fan. I think that it would be great to give him the honor of having his organization that has given him so much for his short life be on Jimmie's helmet. I think even though he passed away it would give the angels something to smile down on."

Chassis No. 590 will be the primary for Saturday night's event. Johnson last piloted that car to a ninth-place finish at Martinsville in March.

Back up chassis No. 520 has collected four wins in five starts -- the most recent coming at Martinsville Speedway in March.


WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE POSITION THAT KEVIN HARVICK IS IN--BEING THE POINTS LEADER GOING INTO THE CHASE. DO YOU THINK THAT GOING FORWARD WITH THE CHASE WE NEED TO EXAMINE THE AMOUNT OF POINTS SOMEBODY GETS FOR WINNING THE REGULAR SEASON SO TO SPEAK, OR BEING THE POINTS LEADER GOING INTO THE CHASE? IT SEEMS LIKE YOU'RE REWARDED TO WIN THE RACE, BUT TO BE THAT POINTS LEADER GOING IN AND THEN YOU GET NOTHING FOR IT ONCE THE CHASE STARTS. "Yeah, there are definitely arguments both ways. You have to look at it either way. I struggle with it because at times, especially when NASCAR is asking my opinion on changes for it, people chuckle and don't want to take me seriously with changes that I suggest after winning four championships. So I've just kind of left my point out throughout a lot of this stuff. There is no doubt that the points are tight and it benefits being consistent more than anything else. From my opinion I feel like our series is so long that the points structure should reflect a consistent team and driver. I think over a ten-race span, what we have could be modified some. I think you could have a bigger gap to win a race, but still at the end of the day, it does reflect consistency. If we only ran 10-12 times a year or played 16 games here or whatever compared to other sports, then I think you could be more creative with it, but when we race 36 times a year the champion needs to reflect what the season is about."

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR CHANCES ARE THIS WEEKEND AT RICHMOND? "I'm hoping we will be a little better this time around. We didn't have the greatest run there in the spring even though we finished 10th. The first couple of pit stops are always real important so you can get the car adjusted right. Track position is so important - it's not like you can come in and work on it if it's not where you want it. We've won there before but it just seems like we are up and down there. We just need to stay on top of it and try to get things going the right way as we start the Chase. It was a big relief to lock ourselves in (to the Chase) at Atlanta. It takes a little bit of the pressure off this weekend but that doesn't mean that we aren't looking for the win."

-source: gmrm/lowes

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson