News & Media

Johnson recalls Prelude win, post-race fun

June 08, 2011, Official Release,

The following is Jimmie Johnson's blog on his most memorable Prelude moment:

My most special Prelude to the Dream moment is an easy one. You can't beat winning, and it was a big deal to me to win last year's race.

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When Tony Stewart first asked me to run the Prelude to the Dream, I wasn't sure how I'd do. I grew up racing on dirt, but in a totally different way. I was in buggies and trucks running in stadiums and places like that. The dirt late models we run at Eldora are something totally different.

It was just a really cool night last year when I won. We lead every lap, but it wasn't easy. Kyle [Busch] and my car owner, Clint [Bowyer], were putting a ton of pressure on me, and I knew Tony was going to be a threat because he always is at that race. I just wanted to hold them off.

* Video: Recap of last year's Prelude to the Dream

I really enjoy driving other vehicles and figuring out how to be fast in them. To be competitive and find what it takes to go just a little bit faster than everyone else is really the toughest thing in any type of racing. I think that's what made it so sweet to win last year's Prelude to the Dream. It was also kind of fun to have bragging rights over Clint and give him a hard time since he was my car owner.

It's all fun and that's why I think everyone enjoys coming back. Tony makes it a laid-back atmosphere and really easy on us to come in, put on a good show for the fans, and have a good time in the process. It's high energy, but it's also low key. There's no pressure. We're not worried about where we're going to finish in the points that night or anything like that.

* Video: Stewart talks Prelude with Johnson

I think post-race is almost as fun as the race itself. We get to hang out with the other drivers and talk and have a few beers. I think the earliest I've gotten out of the infield is three in the morning. I've been giving Tony trouble, telling him he needs to build a bar or something for us for after the race so we can all just chill, have a few beers and pizza. Tony is usually on some sort of four-wheeler going to and from different areas of the infield, checking on all of us. If we had a central place, I was joking with him that we could save him some travel time and all just pull our coolers up and congregate in the same area.

Either way, I'm looking forward to defending my title and helping my teammates win some money for a good cause. I'm driving the Lowe's Summer Salute Chevrolet with the names of 48 people who are being honored for their service to our country. I'm pretty proud of that. You can still be a part of our Summer Salute program by going to to post your salute to the troops.

* Video: Johnson on racing for children | Team Levine scouting report

It's going to be a good time Wednesday night. If you're in the area, I encourage you to come out and see us having some fun. If you can't make it, tune in. I promise we'll put on a good show.

The four hospitals benefiting from the Prelude to the Dream are Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., Children's Medical Center Dallas, St. Louis Children's Hospital, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.