|03/20/12 11:45AM||Fontana, Jimmie Johnson, Knaus Final Appeal, NASCAR|
Of past wins, pressure and pictures
Johnson could return to Fontana, win Hendrick's 200th and photograph it all
By Joe Menzer, NASCAR.COM
March 20, 2012 1:18 PM, EDT
Jimmie Johnson, five-time Cup Series champion, answers this week's six questions.
1. This weekend you are headed to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., where you have won five times. Which win there is most memorable to you?
It's grown into more of a hobby. Especially now that I'm a father and I'm trying to capture more pictures of my daughter, I'm taking a lot more pictures.
-- JIMMIE JOHNSON
Johnson: For sure my first win [in 2002, which also was his first career win]. That was everything to me and my career. I knew driving Jeff [Gordon's] equipment that if I didn't win after he came off a championship season and basically handed me his cars that I was going to be in trouble. So to win in my 13th start -- the 10th race of that season -- that is my most memorable win, period.
2. What would be No. 2 on the list?
Johnson (laughing): The loss to Kevin [Harvick] is really at the forefront of my mind because that happened last time we were there. But I would have to say winning the first time with the Jimmie Johnson Foundation car. To build our golf tournament and raise so much money for the area and for the different things that the Jimmie Johnson Foundation participates in, to have that type of exposure and the Victory Lane [photographs] that I have with the Foundation paint scheme [on the No. 48 Chevrolet], it was really cool.
3. Any pressure on or competition among the four Hendrick drivers to see who can get that 200th career win for owner Rick Hendrick?
Johnson: It is a big deal to him. We haven't had a lot of bantering between the drivers, but we know how important it is to Rick and the company. We know that he hauls those [200th victory commemorative] hats around to remind us of that. And before each race he says something like, 'Are we going to do this today?' And then he gives you that look. We certainly want to get there for him.
4. You've been posting lots of pictures lately on Twitter. Is photography a hobby of yours?
Johnson: I've always been into photography some and I've bought cameras over the years. But the stuff that I've posted on Instagram, it's all through my iPhone and different apps that I've downloaded. I enjoy messing with it. It's funny to hear people searching for editing stuff that I do and just really all the basic stuff. I really enjoy Instagram and taking photos. It's grown into more of a hobby. Especially now that I'm a father and I'm trying to capture more pictures of my daughter, I'm taking a lot more pictures.
5. How long have you had a passion for photography?
Johnson: I've had it for a long time. When I was a kid going to the races with my dad, I'd buy those little box cameras at the time and I was out there taking all these cool angles and photos. And then I was really disappointed in the quality of my work after [those photos were developed]. But I can go back to when I was seven or eight when I was first interested in it. I'd say what really queued it up was a safari that I took in 2004 or '05. I bought all my equipment and took thousands of great photos then and that kind of started it.
6. With Tuesday's final appeal of penalties assessed the 48 team at Daytona to be decided, do you think that crew chief Chad Knaus' history of NASCAR rules violations may somehow affect negatively your legacy in the sport?
Johnson: I really don't. You all know that there is not a car more scrutinized in this garage area than the No. 48 car. It's been that way for the last decade. By no means do I think it hampers [my legacy] at all.Knaus, No. 48 team down to final appeal