Five-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson lives life in the fast lane. He is on the road just about every weekend of the season — nine months a year. Johnson eases the strains of life on the road by bringing his family along with him. Every Thursday, Jimmie, wife Chandra and 2-year-old daughter Genevieve head out to racetracks across America from Miami to Talladega to Northern California -- as a family.
Jimmie and Chandra documented some of their most intimate moments in the new book “On the Road.” Photographer Missy McLamb traveled with the Johnsons for the last 10 weeks of the 2011 season, the Chase for the Championship and captured moments behind closed doors to give fans a view of the champion they haven’t seen before.
“NASCAR is a family sport and that’s one of the things I love about it. This project was a labor of love,” Chandra says. “When we decided to do the project, Jimmie and [I] both just said we have to be real and raw and just be ourselves. And in a lot of the photos I don’t have makeup on and she’s with us in the morning when we’re having coffee and I’m wearing a grey sweatshirt so you’re definitely vulnerable.
"We put ourselves out there, but I think fans will really appreciate that behind the scenes look at Jimmie’s life, at him as a race car driver, at him as a father and trying to balance everything and for a sixth title,” Chandra says.
Each week, the Johnsons join the rest of their NASCAR family — the entire Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team at the track — not to mention 80 to 90 people in the entire four-team Hendrick fleet. There are about 15 crew members per team including pit crew members, drivers for the transporters that haul the race cars and a driver for the motor homes that the driver and crew chief sleeps in. NASCAR folks travel in packs much like a traveling circus.
“So we finish a race, break down, the planes leave, transporters leave for the race shop, and (the) motor home heads onto the next venue and then we all reconvene on Thursday. Everybody pulls back into the next town,” Johnson says.
The NASCAR family rolls into its final stop this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway where Johnson will battle with points leader Brad Keselowski for the title. If Johnson wins, it will be his sixth championship.
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