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Celeb Q&A Jimmie Johnson

By Sean Doorly

Jimmie Johnson, a native of El Cajon, Calif., races Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo No. 49 for Hendrick Motorsports, under car owner Jeff Gordon. Johnson had an impressive rookie year in 2002 with three wins and 21 top-10 finishes. In 2003, he finished second at the Winston Cup championship and won the Winston all-star race. He finished the season with three wins and 14 top-fives.


ChannelOne.com: Have you ever been pulled over for speeding?

Jimmie Johnson: Yes, absolutely. I wasn't going too fast -- maybe some 20-overs. After a little while the cops realize I'm a racecar driver. They give me a warning, ask me to slow down and then send me on my way.

Q: What's the best thing about racing?

A: I was able to have my job end up being something that was a passion for me at such a young age. I feel very fortunate that my hobby turned into my career.

Q: What's NASCAR's appeal versus other sports like football and baseball?

A: Everyone wonders what it would be like to go fast in a car. That's the first thing that draws people to it. Everyone relates to driving a car and wanting to drive fast. I get to do it legally.

Q: What were you like in high school?

A: Through junior high I won the class clown award quite a bit. In high school I was so busy racing that I wasn't around a lot on the weekends. I was pursuing my dream of being a racecar driver. I had fun when I could. I surfed. I'd go to the desert and go camping and ride quads and buggies. I'd go to the river in the summer and water ski and jet ski. I loved being outdoors.

Q: If you could go back five years and give yourself some advice what would it be?

A: I'd go back and assure myself that I was doing the right thing. When you're pursuing something and you're tense and worried -- you hope it's going to play out right. Fortunately it did for me, so I'd go back and say just relax. Ride the wave and enjoy it. Don't stress out so much.

Q: How do you prepare yourself physically for racing?

A: Physically I do a lot of running and mountain biking and some light weights. I do more cardio than anything.

Q: Any specific diet?

A: No, it's too tough to keep up on it. I just try to eat well and take care of myself.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

A: I spend a lot of time skiing and snowboarding. I picked that up quick. I didn't realize that I'd be good at different things involving speed. It was so natural.