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Johnson, Knaus enjoy relaxing Champion's Week

LAS VEGAS (Dec. 3, 2010) – Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus are proof enough that practice truly does make perfect.

Their demeanor the entire week was one of cool calm, mirroring their machine-like professionalism at the racetrack. A packed agenda did little to hinder the pair’s enjoyment of yet another NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week.

“Vegas breeds fun,” Johnson said prior to the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony held at the Wynn Las Vegas. “It used to be a lot more stressful. I don’t even have a speech written. I’ve just been having fun with my guys and family. It feels good to relax a bit. I’ve enjoyed the week.”

Knaus, who now stands alone in second among championship crew chiefs with five, echoed his driver’s sentiments.
“We’ve definitely smiled more this week than during any other Champion’s Week,” Knaus said. “There is a lot less pressure. I used to feel so much anxiety for the speech and everything that went along with the week. Now I’m used to it.”

Rick Hendrick, who won his record-breaking 10th Cup series owner championship, said the latest history-making title is still hard to fathom.

“The championships are all special, but this year is just hard to believe,” said Hendrick, who also extended his NASCAR national series owner championships record to 13. “It’s just starting to set in. You never know if you’ll be back, so you enjoy it while you can.”

At the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony, Johnson received his championship ring, and the top-10 drivers in the final points standings were honored. The evening featured a star-studded entertainment lineup, including country music superstars Rascal Flatts, comedic host Frank Caliendo, country singer Martina McBride, singer Colbie Caillat and a performance from the Las Vegas show “Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil.”