CONCORD, N.C. -- Jimmie Johnson received a sentimental memento from his storied racing career Friday ahead of his final race at Fontana as a full-time driver.
Johnson, who will be honored in numerous ways at his hometown track this weekend, was gifted by Auto Club Speedway with a painted replica of the Moto-3 helmet he wore during his motocross days when he trained under mentor Ricky Johnson.
"What do you get somebody like Jimmie Johnson?" Auto Club Speedway president Dave Allen said before presenting Johnson with the gift. "I understand you have most of the gear you have ever worn ... I'm not sure you have this. I've heard reports maybe you don't, so I'm hoping this strikes a chord with you."
"Oh my gosh," Johnson said when he saw the helmet. "Wow. That is incredible. Thank you."
The helmet has "Too Hip" labeled on the back, which Jimmie Johnson said was a nickname for Ricky Johnson. He said he used to be be called "Too Hip Jr." and that he has fond memories with his original helmet.
A smaller note from the speedway on the base of the helmet says, "JJ, thanks for the memories. Stay on the gas."
"I remember the helmet and I have a picture of me at Speedway 117 in Chula Vista laying on my bike and this helmet is somewhere in the photo," Johnson said. "Some Wednesday night races we used to have there, there's a sprint car track and they built a motocross track in the infield and that's where we would go ride and race on the weekdays."
Aside from being Johnson's hometown track, it was the site of his first Cup Series win in 2002 and what Johnson describes as "the day he knew he was going to be employed." In total, he's won six times at the California track, the most of any driver.
The race at Fontana will be Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.