As the clock winds down to Sunday's Daytona 500 NASCAR race, the winner will receive a championship trophy. But Jimmie Johnson will receive a two-track championship that might be tougher to earn, but easier to handle.
It will be his last two-track season. Coming out of retirement, Johnson will run a limited schedule this year for Hendrick Motorsports, racing the No. 48 Chevrolet and in the No. 94 Chevrolet of The Wood Brothers and drive only the Daytona 500.
Because of his age, 39, and the limited schedule, he won't be racing every weekend. He said he looks forward to spending time with his wife, Chandra, their two children, Meadow and Jack, and to enjoying his personal time more.
"For me it will be so much about, 'How am I going to make this more enjoyable? How am I going to take advantage of this?' " Johnson said. "The schedule that we have looks really good. It looks great from a Hendrick Motorsports perspective. For me, there's a lot of opportunity to just grab some extra time at home."
Last year, Johnson started the Daytona 500 and finished ninth. He was 21st at Las Vegas. He led 67 laps at Phoenix but never got a green flag run.
On Sunday, he said he'll approach the Daytona 500 on equal footing as the rest of the field.
"I don't want to come in here and have a bunch of goals or expectations because that would probably get in the way of enjoying the experience," he said. "But what I'm going to do is go there and give it everything I've got. I'm not coming in there going, 'Oh, I want to lead the most laps.' I don't need to do that. I'm not chasing records. I'm not chasing victory laps. I've won enough championships to get to Victory Lane."
What Johnson wants to do is establish a track record.
"My goal will be to keep it rolling," he said. "The Daytona 500 is one of our showplaces, but the race on the 2-mile tri-oval with 500 miles is just a cool trip.
"Anytime you win the Daytona 500, it's one of the all-time great moments in our sport and that's pretty fun to have. To be in the record books — I want that."
Easy decision for Josh
Darren McMullen, the 1988 California Speedway 400 winner, and the driver of the No. 99 Chevrolet, finally has a sponsor for the Wally Parks Classic 150 dirt racing race in Fontana on Saturday night.
Racing Camp, which is based in Gilbert, Ariz., is the sponsor of McMullen's No. 99 Chevrolet. Racing Camp is also the sponsor of Team Chick-fil-A in NASCAR's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season.
"We are pleased to partner with this great organization and look forward to racing with its supporting banners in the Pocono Sprint Cup Series race and the West Coast 200 at Auto Club Speedway in March," said Kory Inan, Racing Camp's CEO.
McMullen is in the inaugural Firebird Country Showdown dirt track racing series that also includes Chris Reed and Josh Saater. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Scott Pemberton will serve as grand marshals at the July 7 racing event at Auto Club Speedway.
Joey Logano will not use an ARCA team in his final ARCA season to help with revenue, Bob Somerville said on the ARCA Racing Network web site.
"For him it was really about wanting to get in as much money as he can because it's his final year," Somerville said. "We had been trying to figure out how that all worked out and there were some hard issues. So we are satisfied he'll run the full schedule. It was important to them. He's also going to do a NASCAR ARCA schedule."
ARCA driver Josh Kroon recently tweeted that Kroon's Toyota Camry. is his mother's car.
Somerville said Kroon will drive Logano's no. 78 Ford in the series and "he's stepping in for Brian Scott who is headed to his family."