CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jimmie Johnson unveiled a new-look patriotic paint scheme on the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet set to hit the track for the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and his team will pay tribute to United States Army Sgt. Richard Donlan, who died in combat during the Vietnam War, as part of the 600 Miles of Remembrance tribute. Family members of Sgt. Donlan were on hand to help Johnson reveal the scheme decked in full camouflage.
Johnson played an integral part in designing the paint scheme for the crown jewel race with the help of sponsor Ally Financial. Ally also tasked Johnson with creating the new primary paint scheme on the No. 48 this season.
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“Ally has been very interested in my buy-in, from creating the primary paint scheme to working through the process on this one,” Johnson said at Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday. “There were a couple options and then we went the camo route and that direction. Their eagerness to have me involved with anything and everything with the race team is not like anything I’ve experienced before. It’s been a lot of fun.
“Also, a bit nerve-racking at times, especially when you’re responsible for a primary paint scheme. There’s been some sleepless nights worrying about all that.”
Along with the reveal, Johnson also assembled care packages for the USO of North Carolina, putting together snack packs, writing thank-you notes and folding flags for soldiers overseas.
All 40 Monster Energy Series drivers and teams will honor a fallen hero as the NASCAR Salutes portion of the season kicks off with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. NASCAR also will bring drivers down pit road following the end of Stage 2 for a moment of silence to honor those who have fought for our country’s freedom.
“Any moments like that to stop and think are important,” Johnson said. “I can only imagine how television will use that opportunity to honor those folks. Really use the night to say thank you, which is amazing.”
The entire Memorial Day weekend is an extra special one for Johnson, who had both grandfathers and his brother-in-law serve in the Armed Forces.
“It’s just such an honor,” Johnson added. “Times like this put it all in perspective. You meet family who’s associated with the fallen and you can only imagine what they’re going through and what they’ve been through.
“Then, you look through our industry and you see week in and week out the commitment we all have to the Armed Forces and the recognition that’s given. Then it all comes together for Memorial Day weekend and our sport just does an amazing job of being active and involved.”