Saturday, April 26, 2014

I had the pleasure of interviewing six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson for the May/June issue of Where Charlotte. It's the cover story, and you can read the article online by clicking here. You'll find the issue distributed throughout the Charlotte area (hotels, visitors centers, tourists attractions, and conveniently in the newsstands along the streets in Uptown) beginning next week.

The first question I asked Jimmie was about keeping his drive and competitiveness this season, now that he's won six championships. But before I asked him that question (in these Grown People Talking blog posts where I tout my published work, I like to give you a little anecdote that's not in the story), I said to him: "When I think of six championships, the first person who comes to mind is Michel Jordan." I then proceeded to tell the guy who could potentially become the winningest NASCAR driver ever, in terms of championships, that he should connect with Michael Jordan to make a special "6 Rings" edition of the Air Jordan sneakers. Sneakerheads are familiar with the 6 Rings kicks. And hey, it's not a stretch--both JJ and MJ reside in Charlotte.

Jimmie simply chuckled, and replied with a gracious thank you. He's truly one of the most humble superstars I've ever talked to. I believe that his humility comes across in the interview. He's also a fitness fanatic, which is not common with NASCAR drivers. You wouldn't think that a sport in which the athlete is literally sitting down for about four hours would require one to be physically fit--back in the early days of NASCAR, the drivers were known to have beer guts and chain-smoke cigarettes. Drivers have a different image today, though, but I don't think fitness is a part of it (their pit crews work out tremendously nowadays, however). Perhaps if more NASCAR drivers ran, biked, swam, and worked out as much as Jimmie Johnson, they'd be able to catch him.

Also, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, founded by Jimmie and his wife Chandra, have launched their first-ever Wellness Challenge, with four upcoming events in the Charlotte area:
  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation 5K Run and Family Fun Walk, April 27
  • Lake Norman Excursion Cycle/Run, July 12
  • Jimmie Johnson Foundation Cane Creek Sprint Triathlon, August 19
  • Lake Davidson Sprint Triathlon, September 7


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