HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – “Hey now, you’re an All Star. Get your game on. Go play. Hey now, you’re a Rock Star. Get the show on. Get paid.” The members of the rock band Smashmouth didn’t have the Sprint All-Star Race in mind when they wrote the lyrics to their song “All Star,” but it certainly fits for Jimmie Johnson as he and the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit pull into Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for Saturday’s non-points-paying event, the Sprint All-Star Race.
While Johnson is most certainly an all-star, having won the race three times – May 2012, 2006 and 2003 – a victory Saturday night may put him on the road to rock star status. He would surpass Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon for most wins in the event.
Drama is always at a premium during a race where the competitors have a million reasons to go to victory lane. And Johnson has had his share of all-star theatrics. His battle with Kevin Harvick in 2007 resulted in a runner-up finish but included a last-lap attempt to get around the leader that produced final-turn excitement.
With his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet painted a patriotic red, white and blue, and appropriately ringed in stars, there’s sure to be some more excitement this weekend in a race “where all that glitters is gold.” And where “only shooting stars break the mold.” Johnson will certainly have some gold in his pocket should he go on and break the mold by becoming the most successful driver in All-Star history.
Johnson’s All-Star Race Quick Stats:
Three wins (May 2012, 2006 and 2003) in 11 starts.
One pole (2009).
Seven top-five finishes (63.6 percent) and seven top-10s (63.6 percent) in 11 starts.
Average start of 9.1. Average finish of 6.6.
One DNF (did not finish) – May 2004.
984 of 1,020 laps completed (96 percent) and 209 laps led.
Sprint Cup’s fourth-best driver rating (104.9 average of a possible 150 points).
Driver, Team and Sponsor Notes
Jimmie Johnson will drive the No. 48 Lowe’s “Patriotic” Chevrolet SS in the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The car will be painted red, white and blue and ringed in stars.
Lowe’s and its No. 48 team have a long history of supporting the military and honoring the nation over the years. In 2001, Johnson’s first Sprint Cup race came at Charlotte in the Lowe’s Chevrolet, which was specially painted to honor the country. In 2009, crew chief Chad Knaus helped create a patriotic-themed car that carried the names of more than 12,000 Lowe’s employees who are military veterans or reservists.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, Driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s “Patriotic” Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports:
Talk about what it means to win the All-Star Race. “It means a lot. Now it’s got a million more reasons if you are able to win all the segments. It’s a huge payday. It’s fun to race without points and that sets you up for a nice Memorial (Day) weekend and a good starting point with your racecar.”
You are going to be running a special patriotic paint scheme for both the race weekends at Charlotte. What does doing that mean to you? “I’m just the fortunate, lucky guy who gets to talk about what Lowe’s is doing. They want to pay tribute to the men and women who serve our country. I am so thankful they do. My grandparents served, my father served, so it’s part of the life I knew and grew up in, that environment. Happy to carry the colors on our car and hopefully take them to victory lane.”