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Jimmie Johnson seeks life balance, break from grind of 38-race NASCAR schedule – USA TODAY

Jimmie Johnson seeks life balance, break from grind of 38-race NASCAR schedule – USA TODAY
16 Dec
10:45

CONCORD, N.C. – Jimmie Johnson handed out mini bottles of Patron at his retirement announcement – so perfectly on brand for the cool Californian who stormed to a record-tying seven NASCAR championships yet somehow bored fans who found him too vanilla for their liking.

Nothing about Johnson was ever boring, though.

Certainly not as the unknown Xfinity Series driver in 2000 who slammed headfirst into a foam wall at Watkins Glen, climbed from the wreckage and raised his arms in triumph from the roof of his car. Or the time he tried to prove he could surf on top of a moving golf cart, only to fall and break his wrist weeks after winning his first championship. Horseplay at The Palms Casino with crew chief Chad Knaus after title No. 4 left both scrambling on the floor searching for a misplaced championship ring.

Now 44, Johnson has made friends with celebrities from practically every industry – musicians, actors, athletes, artists – and is legendary for a work hard, play hard mantra. His love of tequila is well-known, and the bottles celebrating him Thursday were a nod to the seven Patron toasts he did with his team during every championship celebration.

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