Champions Week: Day 2

One of the ‘must haves’ from a trip to New York City is pictures of the Big Apple’s world-famous landmarks. For Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, the pictures are even more meaningful because they’ll serve as a lasting reminder of their championship celebration.

The highlight of day two of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series 27th annual Champions Week for the championship driver and crew chief featured a trip around town to pose for pictures in front of the city’s most recognizable landscapes.

The first stop was the corner of East 48th St. and 2nd Ave. – one block up from the photos taken of Johnson and Co. last year following his first championship. Johnson won four of the final five races of the 2007 season to become the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup repeat champion since teammate Jeff Gordon accomplished the feat in 1997-98.

“This is one of the highlights,” said Johnson while standing on the street corner. “To get to do it again is fantastic.”

The trip also included a stop in front of the United Nations and in front of the historic Flatiron Building.

There will be more photo opportunities Wednesday, when Johnson’s No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will lead the top 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers in a 1.5-mile, stock car Victory Lap through the streets of New York, starting on 44th Street and Broadway in front of Good Morning America’s Times Square studios and finishing up on 43rd Street and 7th Avenue in front of The Hard Rock Café. ABC will begin its live coverage of the Victory Lap shortly after 8 a.m. (ET).

“Having a place here allows me to have a better appreciation,” said Johnson of being part of the iconic images. “The photo opportunity in Times Square – I can’t believe we’re there.”

Tuesday, Johnson’s day began with appearances on the CW Morning Show, FOX Business Network and the Rachel Ray Show. His schedule also included a satellite media tour and interview on MRN’s NASCAR LIVE.

“There is so much going on this week,” said Johnson, who added the second time around is a little less hectic. “Last year, I spent a lot of time worrying about the smallest details. This year, everything is in place and I’m enjoying the moment.”

Said Knaus: “This time it’s a lot more relaxing. Last year, there was a lot of nervous energy. We didn’t know what to expect. This year, we have a better idea of what’s going on and we’re getting to enjoy it fully. Obviously winning the championship again was phenomenal. To experience this two years in a row is great.”

Johnson will be joined in this week’s celebration by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series top 10 drivers, as well as the champions of NASCAR’s national and regional series. A busy week of national media appearances and activities will culminate with Johnson’s official coronation during Friday night’s awards ceremony at New York City’s Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.

Spade To Be Featured Performer
Comedian/actor David Spade will be the featured performer for Friday night’s awards ceremony, which will air on ESPN Classic at 9 p.m. ET. Spade, a longtime fan of NASCAR, served as Grand Marshal for the March 19, 2006, race at Atlanta. He is currently starring in the CBS comedy Rules of Engagement, and was nominated for an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and an American Comedy Award in 1999 for his role on the series Just Shoot Me.

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