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Johnson back in New York City as repeat champion

 

NEW YORK (Nov. 26, 2007) – Jimmie Johnson knows what to expect this week. After all, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet got to experience the glitz and the glamour of the Big Apple last year when he won his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship. This year, he’s back for more.

Johnson is returning to the New York City spotlight—and the main stage of the national media—following his successful 2007 defense of his championship and will be the focal point as NASCAR celebrates its 27th annual Champions Week.

“Coming down the steps (of the Waldorf=Astoria) started bringing back some memories of last year,” said Johnson, who became the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series repeat champion since Jeff Gordon won back to back championships in 1997-98. “The thing I really want to do this year is savor every moment, because before I knew it last year, it was all gone and we were on our way back to North Carolina and the banquet was over. And, I wanted to enjoy those moments a little bit longer.”

Johnson will be joined in this week’s celebration by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series top 10 drivers, as well as the champions of NASCAR’s national and regional series. A busy week of national media appearances and activities will culminate with Johnson’s official coronation during Friday night’s awards ceremony.

Johnson, who clinched his second straight title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, arrived in New York Sunday evening. He enjoyed a welcome dinner with NASCAR and Sprint Nextel executives at the sport’s longtime Champions Week headquarters—the historic Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.

His media blitz kicked off Monday with the airing of his appearance on LIVE with Regis & Kelly, followed by appearances on the FOX News Channel’s “Live Desk” and the Sports Net NY “Daily News Live.” Later in the day, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus helped ring the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange.

Here are the highlights from Johnson’s daily schedule the remainder of this week:

Tuesday – Johnson will be appearing on the CW Morning Show, FOX Business Network and the Rachel Ray Show. Johnson has photo opportunities scheduled in the afternoon at 48th and 2nd Streets, the historic Flatiron Building and Radio City Music Hall, followed by a satellite media tour and interview on MRN’s NASCAR LIVE.

Wednesday – Johnson will be joined by the top 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers on ABC’s Good Morning America (8 a.m. ET). In what has become a staple of NASCAR’s Champions Week, Johnson will lead the top 10 drivers in a 1.5-mile, stock car Victory Lap through the streets of New York—starting on 44th Street and Broadway in front of Good Morning America’s Times Square Studio and finishing up on 43rd Street and 7th Avenue in front of The Hard Rock Café. The morning’s activities conclude at the Hard Rock Café with driver media availability from 9:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Thursday – The NASCAR/National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Luncheon at Cipriani on 42nd Street will honor the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Chase drivers, champions from all of NASCAR’s racing series and all NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers who won seasonal awards. Afterward, all 2007 series champions will gather for the traditional champions’ photo shoot at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Later that evening, Johnson will also be part of a private dinner for all of NASCAR’s champions at the Waldorf=Astoria.

Friday – Johnson and his race team will pose for formal photos on New York’s Park Avenue before attending several pre-awards ceremony receptions. That evening, Johnson officially will be crowned the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion; the awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Waldorf=Astoria’s historic Grand Ballroom. ESPN Classic will air the ceremony beginning at 9 p.m.

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