Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson (left) is joined by 10-year-old racing fan Sam Valenti during an event at the House of Blues in Dallas on Wednesday.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
DALLAS -- Jimmie Johnson will have covered all four time zones and five states on his Daytona 500 victory tour by the time he climbs in the car for the first of two races in Phoenix this weekend.
To the victor go the toils, although that's hardly the way the five-time Sprint Cup champion view things.
"I know what time zone I'm in," Johnson said Wednesday during a stop in Dallas to promote the April race in Texas. "I'm a little confused on days. Not much sleep, but some of that is self-induced. But it's been a very fun ride."
If Johnson was feeling a little road weary, maybe a pep rally with primary sponsor Lowe's will help.
There was double cause for celebration Wednesday night in Las Vegas after Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team announced a two-year extension with the only primary sponsor Johnson has ever had. The new contract runs through 2015.
The Daytona victory celebration started with an impromptu Harlem Shake video, followed by the early Monday morning ritual of turning in the winning car for display at the Daytona track. Then it was on to Connecticut for part of a day, and New York overnight for a full day of media engagements Tuesday.
Johnson and his publicity team landed in the Dallas area Tuesday night, and he was back at it Wednesday before hopping a plane to Vegas. He'll be in Los Angeles today before finally getting back to the business of racing Friday.
After his first Daytona victory in 2006, Johnson remembers the following week as busy. Just not quite this busy.
"I think that NASCAR has worked very hard to get us in major markets, and people want to see us," Johnson said. "They want to see the winner, want to talk to the winner. I think there's more interest today than what I personally had and what our sport had in 2006."
All-Star race incentive
CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR's All-Star race format has been changed again, but this time to discourage drivers from riding around at the back of the field.
Charlotte Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith has posted a $1 million bonus as incentive to a driver who wins all five race segments. The overall winner of the Sprint All-Star race gets a $1 million payout.
The race will again be four 20-lap segments, followed by a 10-lap dash for the cash. Last year, the top four starting spots in the final sprint went to the winners of each segment. It left little incentive for the drivers to race after they won a segment, and they instead just rode at the back.
Jimmie Johnson won a middle segment, saved his car, and then cruised to the win.
Jimmie Johnson was only partly joking when he likened the Daytona 500 to the lottery - every driver in the field had a shot at holding the winning ticket.
One glance at the finishing order proved Johnson's theory: Michael McDowell and J.J. Yeley, who more often than not are forced to start-and-park their rides, both finished inside the top 10.
McDowell, who drives for Phil Parsons Racing, was ninth for his first career top 10 in 115 starts.
"For us, an under funded team to come here to Daytona and get a top 10 finish is pretty cool," McDowell said.
Yeley was 10th for his first top 10 since 2008, and he came from 41st and a lap down to get his finish.
In his first season with Tommy Baldwin Racing, Yeley also hit a milestone with sponsor Golden Corral: Every time he gets a top-10 finish this season, kids eat free on Monday.
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