Introducing Jimmie Johnson

HARRISBURG, N.C. (September 25)- - Co-owners Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick unveiled the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet and driver Jimmie Johnson during a press conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gordon and Johnson's teams will share a new raceshop within the Hendrick Motorsports complex.

"This is the future of Hendrick Motorsports, and I think you'll find it's the future of Winston Cup racing," Gordon said. "I think you'll see a lot more two-car teams working together like this, sharing information and building off each other." In introducing Johnson, who recently turned 26, the sponsor rolled out one of his new cars pulling a motorized ski craft. "It may be a little small, but if you put that car into victory lane next year there will be a boat attached to it," said Bob Tillman, president of Lowe's.

Johnson, who has one win in the Busch series this season, will make his Winston Cup debut in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway next month. He'll also race in Homestead and Atlanta this year, then run a full schedule in 2002 competing for rookie of the year honors with Ryan Newman, among others.

Johnson caught the eye of Gordon a few years ago during a test session at Darlington Raceway, when the three-time Winston Cup champion was surprised to see Johnson not shy away from rubbing the walls his first time out on NASCAR's most demanding track. The two formed a friendship that eventually led Johnson to seek Gordon out for advice about his career. Gordon approached Hendrick about bringing Johnson aboard. The idea became a reality on Tuesday. "Last year, when I had that talk with Jeff I thought what a great opportunity that would be, but will it come together?" Johnson said. "It has, and I couldn't be more excited. The fact that I get to drive for an organization like this and for someone like Jeff means so much to me."

+#48 Lowe's Chevrolet | +Car and driver

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