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Nothing Else Matters

“So close no matter how far. Couldn’t be much more from the heart. Forever trust in who we are and nothing else matters.” Metallica’s lyrics seem fitting this weekend for Jimmie Johnson as he heads to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

There are a lot of good things going on for the five-time champion at the track, including a special paint scheme touting the new animated movie “Monsters University,” a scheme he says his daughter Evie is looking forward to. He’s not too bad getting around the concrete mile oval, either. He is currently the winningest active driver at the track and has a shot at becoming the all-time winningest driver with a victory Sunday. But fun paint schemes and historic records pale in comparison to what Johnson will do Thursday when he is scheduled to visit tornado-ravaged Oklahoma to distribute relief supplies at the Lowe’s store in Moore.

Suddenly those lyrics take on a whole meaning because, when it comes to helping those in need, truly “nothing else matters.”

  • As part of the $1 million pledge, Lowe’s donated $500,000 to the American Red Cross and matched  the earnings of Johnson from Sunday’s NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway with an additional donation to the Red Cross. Lowe’s will use the remainder of its $1 million commitment to fund local projects in areas of greatest need as identified by its national nonprofit partners.
  • Johnson and his wife, Chandra, who is from Muskogee, Okla., have pledged Johnson's winnings from Sunday's race  to go to disaster relief as well. That amount totaled nearly $148,000.

Here is what Johnson had to say about the race:

You have a special paint scheme this weekend that you will be running at Dover. What are your thoughts about it?

“We have the Monsters University movie, we’re promoting the movie, and it will be on our racecar this weekend at the Monster Mile. So excited to have a fun car. I know my daughter has enjoyed the rendering of the car and my helmet and all that goes with it. We had a lot of good luck last year with Madagascar on the car, and I hope that this one will bring us some more luck, as well.”

You are tied for all‑time wins at seven tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule. Are those records on your radar at all?

They are now. When you said seven, I had no idea I had that opportunity or that honor taking place. That’s mind‑boggling to me. I knew of the Charlotte stuff and I knew about Dover and Martinsville, but I didn’t know about the others. I’m extremely proud of that. I’ve worked hard to put myself in this position and so does the team, and we’ve been able to capitalize on those opportunities and hard work and get stuff done, so I’m really excited about that.”

Do you feel as good about things right now as your points lead would indicate your team is that good?

No, I mean, I feel good about things. We’ve got a huge points lead and we’ve had the wins and there have been tracks that we’ve been really hot at. But I feel like our mile‑and‑a‑half stuff we’ve been really a top-five car. Our short-track stuff and superspeedway stuff we’ve been a winning car. With the mile-and-a-half tracks occupying so much of the year, and especially the Chase, we have a little bit of room for improvement there. I do feel very good about our cars and don’t want to undermine that. But the points lead is huge, and I’d love to keep it that way and roll into Richmond or the races before Richmond with that kind of points lead so we can lock in.”

Race Statistics

  • Seven wins (June and September 2002, September 2005, June and September 2009, September 2010 and June 2012).
  • Three poles (September 2009 and 2010, June 2011).
  • 11 top-five finishes (50 percent) and 16 top-10s (72.7 percent) in 22 starts.
  • Sprint Cup’s best driver rating (120.6 average of a possible 150 points).
  • In 12 Sprint Cup races run this season, Johnson has finished in the top-five six times.
  • With a win Sunday, Johnson would surpass Richard Petty and Bobby Allison on the all-time win list at Dover. The three are currently tied with seven victories each. Johnson is the only active driver with seven wins at the Monster Mile.

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Jeff Gordon
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson
Started: 8th
Finished: 1st
November 15th, 2015
2:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Kobalt Hot Pass