Jimmie Johnson has been on a dizzying schedule since winning his fifth straight Sprint Cup championship Sunday afternoon in Homestead, FL.
New York City has been Johnson’s temporary home Monday and Tuesday as he has appeared on a wide range of local and national television and radio shows, a run that included racing pedal cycles against late-night host Jimmy Fallon.
There were no injuries.
There is much more to come, of course. After a brief break for Thanksgiving, Johnson will report to Las Vegas Monday for the beginning of Champion’s Week in the desert and the myriad of festivities leading up to the awards banquet.
Johnson has made this circuit four times now and knows the drill. It’s a lot of talking, a lot of smiling, a lot of repetitive questions to answer and a bunch of hands to shake.
Other than a couple of naps, Johnson’s time has not been his own since the checkered flag fell Sunday in Homestead.
“It’s been a busy two days and a lot of fun talking about what we’ve done,” Johnson said Tuesday afternoon. “It’s everything. It’s been an amazing experience for myself and the team.”
Of the thousands of photographs that have focused on Johnson since Sunday’s race, the best might be one showing the champion standing in the center of the five trophies, in an arc at his feet. It’s the kind of photo no Cup driver had ever posed for.
“I haven’t seen the finished product, but when I walked up to the set with the five trophies, it was staggering to see that in front of me and my name on those trophies,” he said.
Will there be more hardware at his feet next season? And the next?
“I feel satisfied, but I’ve never set marks for myself,” Johnson said. “What’s drawn me to racing is this feeling inside of me and the passion I have for this sport and the feeling I have while competing and what I do on a car or a bike or whatever it’s been. I guess someday when that goes away I’ll stop.”
But at least seven titles, which would tie Johnson with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr., is a clear goal. And maybe beyond.
“I would love to get to 10 straight,” he said. “I don’t know how ridiculous that sounds. The realistic side of it is there’s no telling how long it’s going to last. I think we’re all shocked that it’s gone on this far.
“I do feel in my heart that we’ll have a shot next year. I don’t know what the challenges will be and what the competition will look like. If I can string together seven to tie those two greats, I’d be extremely honored. If I was able to surpass them, it would be out of this world.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 28 years. He has written several books on NASCAR, including "NASCAR: The Definitive History of America's Sport" and "Then Tony Said To Junior: The Best NASCAR Stories Ever Told". He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.