Lowe's gives Johnson two-year extension

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Jimmie Johnson’s second Daytona 500 victory came with another big prize – a two-year contract extension from primary sponsor Lowe’s.

Lowe’s Companies Inc. said Wednesday it has re-upped with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2015 NASCAR season, making the announcement to 1,700 store managers at its national sales meeting. The extension is concurrent with Johnson’s contract, which also runs through 2015 with Hendrick.

Lowe’s and Hendrick first teamed in 2001 when Johnson was hired to drive for the new No. 48 team. Now in its 12th season, it’s the most successful team over the past decade in NASCAR.

“It has been a great ride with Jimmie since he started in the Cup Series 12 years ago,” said Tom Lamb, Lowe’s chief marketing officer. “We are proud to sponsor one of the most elite teams and drivers in racing and have a five-time champion carry the Lowe’s brand each week.”

Johnson joined Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon as just the second driver to have the same primary sponsor for each of their first 400 Cup starts.

WELL WISHES: Tony Stewart spent two hours visiting injured fans at Halifax Health Medical Center before Sun­day’s Daytona 500.

Stewart met with six fans who were hit by flying debris at the finish of Saturday’s Nationwide race. He presented all with signed hats.

Stewart won the race after driving through a 13-car crash. Part of that accident included Kyle Larson’s car getting airborne and punching a hole in the catchfence. The entire front wheel assemblies landed in the stands, as well as his race engine.

Fourteen fans were sent to hospitals and six were still at Halifax on Sunday morning. Stewart arrived at 8 a.m. and spent two hours with them. He arrived at the track three hours before the race.

PIT STOPS: James Finch’s No. 51 Chevrolet will be driven by AJ Allmendinger this Sunday at Phoenix Inter­national Raceway.

Johnson will make a rare Nationwide Series start on Saturday. He will drive the No. 5 Chevrolet. It will be his second Nationwide start in the past five years.


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