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Johnson's daughter ready to get behind wheel

June 06, 2014, David Caraviello, NASCAR.com

Six-time champion considers getting a go-kart for eldest daughter

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LONG POND, Pa. -- The next generation of Johnson may be about ready to slide behind the wheel.

Jimmie Johnson, the six-time and defending champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, said he and his wife Chandra are exploring the idea of getting a go-kart for their oldest daughter Genevieve, who turns 4 next month.

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Genevieve has already been motoring around on a tiny four-wheeler, and Johnson wouldn't rule out the possibility of a quarter-midget somewhere down the road if his daughter shows enough interest.

"She's a couple of years away from all that yet," he said Friday at Pocono Raceway. "But in our race shop, a lot of our crewmen have their kids in kid karts and driving at various places. So I've considered it. I've served it up to Chani, first of all, making sure she's OK with it. And she's semi-OK with it. And Genevieve is all about it. So hopefully this summer, I'll get a chance to put her in a kart and just see how it goes. She's very responsible on her four-wheeler."

Earlier this spring, Jeff Gordon, Johnson's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, watched his 6-year-old daughter Ella Sofia wheel a quarter-midget kart for the first time. "It terrified me. From a parent's standpoint, it's kind of tough to watch them go around there and not have any control of what's going on and know that it's all on them now," Gordon said earlier this week while testing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"Honestly I think the only reason she's interested in it is because I'm her dad and she just wants to please me and wants to do something that I do," he added. "And again, that's not all bad. It can be good as well. It's just how you handle it and how you go about it. You have to handle it properly because it could go really good or it could go really bad."

Gordon began racing at 5, and many other drivers who broke into NASCAR's national levels started at a similar age. Johnson was also 5 when he started racing motorcycles. Like Gordon, he'll allow his daughter to ultimately decided how interested she is in the pursuit, but for now all systems are go -- with one specific caveat.

"If I can find a pink go-kart," Johnson said, "I think she's in."

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