CHARLOTTE, N.C. - What started with the simple question, "Can you win?" has turned into one of the most successful partnerships in all of sports. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson along with crew chief Chad Knaus and Hendrick Motorsports are celebrating 10 years together with sponsor, Lowe's. The longest running partnership currently in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series between driver, crew chief, team and sponsor will be celebrated throughout the year with a variety of events, several geared toward the team's loyal fans.
"I will never forget my first meeting with Lowe's," said Johnson, five-time reigning Sprint Cup champion. "I was a little nervous. We walk in and sit down and the first question is, 'Can you win?' Of course I said yes but I definitely felt some pressure to follow through. So, when we got that first win in California, it was like a big weight was lifted. I felt like I might have a job in this sport after all."
That first win at Johnson's adopted home track of Auto Club Speedway will serve as the official kick off of the 10-year celebration. Fans can relive Johnson's career-changing accomplishments on the Team Lowe's Racing fan page on Facebook under a special "Celebrating 10 Years" section. Beginning March 25, fans and media are encouraged to post their favorite memories, memorabilia and photos from throughout the team's 10 years together, beginning with the day in California when Johnson first visited Victory Lane in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet.
"Getting our first win at California was a big deal to this team," Knaus said. "We were a bunch of new guys working together for the first time with a partner like Lowe's on our car. We wanted to show them that we could succeed. It's hard to believe how far we've come together. I think the fact that we have managed to keep our core group for so long has allowed us to have success on the track. It allows us to focus on what we were hired to do and that is win races."
During weekend activities in California, Johnson will debut a specially-designed race helmet which he will wear throughout the year. Johnson, who collaborates with Nevada-based artist Jason Beam on the design of his helmets, worked with Lowe's on the helmet's retrospective look. It features historical Lowe's photos including the first store location in North Wilkesboro, N.C., as well as other original store sites from the 1950s and 1960s.
"The long-term relationship Lowe's has developed with one of NASCAR's most successful drivers of all-time, Jimmie Johnson, exemplifies the principles of hard work, passion and integrity shared by our 234,000 employees and our millions of customers," said Robert Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "We look forward to continued success with Jimmie, Chad and the entire Team Lowe's Racing team."
Currently in its 10th full season in the Sprint Cup Series, Johnson and team have amassed a record of 53 wins, 136 top-five and 205 top-10 finishes. Johnson currently ranks 10th on the all-time win list, one victory behind driver Lee Petty. Knaus is the only crew chief to win three consecutive championships in the series.