Friday, April 12, 2013

Jimmie Johnson on the fine line sports walk when it comes to rivalries

   Five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson offered an interesting explanation on Friday to the fine line all of sports must walk between encouraging intense rivalries and promoting a rash of fights and punches.

    Johnson was asked why it was good for NASCAR to take - for the most part - a hands-off approach to rivalries. Here is Johnson's answer:

    "I think rivalries are good. That is the fine line that sports walk. Unfortunately, regardless of sport if it’s someone charging the mound like what happened yesterday to drivers charging other drivers that draws a lot more attention to whatever sport it is. There are a small percentage of people that like that and they want to see punches thrown, but I think in general sports fans like rivalries," Johnson said.

   "We all thrive for that moment. That is kind of a line we walk and where the wave crashes. We want the rivalries, we want heated emotions and we want door banging. I don’t think the fans want a sterile environment they want some trash talking. That is the part we want, but we don’t want broken backs. We don’t want drivers injured issues like that. It’s a fine line that our sport walks and all sports walk.”

Want to ask NASCAR star Denny Hamlin a question?

   Five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars will participate in a Q & A session with ticket tholds to the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on April 25 prior to the race at Richmond International Raceway.

he Q&A is scheduled for 4:45 p.m. in the Amphitheater and is open to all April 25 ticketholders. Fans can tweet their questions ahead of time to @DHFoundation. Drivers scheduled to participate include: Hamlin (who will not race), Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Michael Waltrip and Matt Kenseth.

   This season marks the third year the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown will run at Richmond. The race, which typically features a dozen NASCAR drivers and celebrities battling on the ¾-mile track with some of the best local Late Model Stock Car drivers, will serve as a fundraiser for the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
   In 2012, the Denny Hamlin Foundation committed to a 3-year grant totaling $150,000 for the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR).  Funds from the grant, which are raised through events like this year’s Short Track Showdown, will help accelerate the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab's ability to bring new therapies to cystic fibrosis patients. In addition, the newly established Denny Hamlin Foundation Summer Scholars program will help train the next generation of CF research scientists.
   Tickets for the event are general admission and $25. Children 12 and younger are free with a ticketed adult. Tickets include the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, which precedes the Short Track Showdown. Call (866) 455-7223 to purchase tickets.