Champion's Week: Day 1

Champions Week

"I am trying to be much more responsible since I have the baby. It means a lot to me to have her here and it’s a great experience to share it with my family." (Photo: Getty Images)

Winning is never, ever mundane.

Apparently, neither is a day-long media tour – not when it involves a five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion who doubles as a new father.

Jimmie Johnson, winner of five consecutive championships and guest of honor during this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, hit a number of local media outlets today.

And all the while, he carried around a prop – his infant daughter Genevieve’s car seat. He needed it for the eventual arrival of his five-month old baby and wife, Chandra.

The daughter; the car seat; the new responsibilities. They’re just a few of the many new wrinkles to a week that has become ritual for Johnson.

“I am trying to be much more responsible since I have the baby,” Johnson said. “It means a lot to me to have her here and it’s a great experience to share it with my family. I mean, she will never remember it but we will have photos.”

Chad Knaus, Johnson’s crew chief for all five titles, joined Johnson on today’s media tour. He said that this championship has a different feel than past ones.

“This year, we didn’t have the product that we had in previous years in terms of race cars, so we had to find other ways to win,” Knaus said.

Even Knaus’ preparation for Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony is different.

“I haven't even written my speech yet,” Knaus said. “In the past I've had about a week or so to start thinking about it. This time it was like Lap 267 in Miami.”

But one factor remains the same: Johnson’s demeanor. Through the newborn, the uncertainty and, finally, the glory, Johnson has stayed cool.

“Jimmie is extremely consistent, his emotions, style, personality ... He's a stereotypical California kid,” Knaus said. “He's just a mellow kind of guy ... I think the baby just adds another level of enjoyment in his life. So for him it has really just been more of the same.”

The busy Day 1 schedule included three radio hits, six television spots and an hour-long chat with print media.

After Johnson completed the interviews, he hit a number of notable Las Vegas photo op hot spots for the traditional Landmark Photo Shoot. On this year’s agenda: the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, the Fountains of Bellagio and an evening shoot at the Foundation Room in the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, which overlooks the picturesque Las Vegas Strip.

After a 28-year run in New York, the annual postseason celebration returned to Las Vegas for a second-consecutive year, capped by Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at Wynn Las Vegas. SPEED, Sirius NASCAR Radio and MRN Radio will broadcast the event, live at 9 p.m. ET.

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