Johnson turns camera lenses on himself
Jimmie Johnson, in an admission that he’s near the end of his driving career, has opened the doors to his life to a few professional photographers for all-access looks at select race weekends.
He started with the 2016 finale at Homestead, where photographer Liz Kreutz chronicled his run to a record-tying seventh NASCAR Cup championship, and he continued allowing photos at Daytona, Talladega, Pocono, Sonoma and Indianapolis this season.
“As I’m getting toward the end of my career, it was just one of those things where I wanted to capture more images,” said Johnson, 41.
Some of the photos have been posted on Johnson’s social media accounts, “but just for my own archives ... I know some day I’m going to be flipping through all these images and just love it,” Johnson said.
He plans another shoot at Homestead this season if he makes the cut to the final four drivers vying for the championship.
Amateurs also have shot races, and Johnson will select the one with the best image for a $10,000 grant.
Last season at Homestead, Johnson let Kreutz in his car for a few laps during which he explained the car and track. Johnson also has let the photographers in on team meetings, family time with his wife and two daughters and his long bicycle rides.
Earnhardt on Harvick: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he found “hurtful” comments Kevin Harvick made that Earnhardt has stunted NASCAR’s growth because he is the circuit’s most popular driver even though he hasn’t won a championship.
“I still respect him as a champion and ambassador for the sport,” Earnhardt said in Detroit, where Chevrolet unveiled its 2018 Cup car Thursday. “That’s just the way it is, I guess. I hate that’s how he feels.”
Harvick, the 2014 Cup champ, spoke on his radio show on SiriusXM, saying Earnhardt has “these legions of fans and this huge outreach .... but he’s won nine races in 10 years at Hendrick Motorsports and hasn’t been able to reach outside of that. Imagine how popular he would have been if he won two or three championships?”
Harvick succeeded Dale Earnhardt Sr. at Richard Childress Racing after Earnhardt was killed in a crash in 2001, and he drove an Xfinity Series car for the family’s JR Motorsports from 2014 to 2016.
Former umpire Kaiser dies: Ken Kaiser, a colorful figure between the lines who briefly moonlighted as a professional wrestler to make ends meet while working in the minor leagues, died at 72.
The World Umpires Association said Thursday he died in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y., on Tuesday. Kaiser had diabetes for years.
An American League umpire from 1977-99, Kaiser umpired two World Series, one All-Star Game and several playoff series.
The 6-foot-3 Kaiser weighed just under 300 pounds and often was criticized for that portly physique during the more than 3,000 big league games he umpired.
Jimmie Johnson helps unveil a Camaro ZL1 that will be Chevrolet’s NASCAR Cup Series car in 2018 during an event Thursday in Detroit.