CONCORD, N.C. -- Jimmie Johnson said he did his research while writing his acceptance speech for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Banquet in Las Vegas.
In particular, he read through Dale Earnhardt's speech, which the driver gave after winning his seventh championship in 1994.
"I was left with the impression that he was faced with the questions and -- not the controversy -- but the discussion about tying 'The King' and who was better," Johnson said of Earnhardt's speech. "Just in the tone and the way he spoke, he wanted to pay respect to Richard (Petty). As soon as I saw that quote and watched it for myself, I knew it was going into my speech."
For more on how Johnson prepared for his speech, take a look at the video above.
Prior to his speech, Johnson was welcomed onstage by 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.
"That was a complete, total shock," Johnson said.
To hear more about what the driver and Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick had to say about Phelps introducing Johnson, watch the video below.