Friday, March 30, 2012

Race Car Of The Day: March 30, 2012

Today's car of the day is Racing Champions' 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR stock car (Jimmie Johnson).

From 1972 until the cars end of production, the Monte Carlo was a solid success in NASCAR racing. The big (1973–1977) bodied cars were the dominant body style through the years until 1980, when NASCAR mandated the move to the smaller (110-inch-wheelbase) cars being built by Detroit. The 1981 and 82 stock (referred to as the "flat-nose") Monte Carlo was raced by very few teams and as such only won three races in those years. Starting in 1983 with the addition of the SS nose, the Monte Carlo SS became the dominant body style in NASCAR through the rest of the decade when the car went out of production. The car came back to racing in 1995 when Chevy brought the car back into production and it sparked a mild bit of controversy as NASCAR allowed the car to have wider rear fenders, and as such deviated from factory sheetmetal, that up until that time the race spec cars had to use. The car brought Chevy repeated NASCAR Manufacturers Cup awards until it again was discontinued from production, and was replaced by the Impala for racing.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Chevrolet Monte Carlo & Jimmie Johnson

This is one of the many cars I received as a Christmas RAOK from James (thank you!).  It's the only Jimmie Johnson car in my collection as I stopped collecting NASCAR before he started racing in the Cup series.

Jimmie Kenneth Johnson (born September 17, 1975) is an American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car driver. He currently drives the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.
Johnson was born in El Cajon, California, and began racing motorcycles at the age of five. After graduating from Granite Hills High School he competed in off-road series. He raced in Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group (MTEG), Short-course Off-road Drivers Association (SODA) and SCORE International, winning rookie of the year in each series. In 1998, Johnson and his team began stock car racing. He moved to the national American Speed Association (ASA) series for late model touring cars, and won another rookie of the year title. In 2000, he switched to the NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series).

He moved to Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series in 2002. After finishing fifth in the points in his first full season, he was second in 2003 and 2004 and fifth in 2005. Johnson won his first Cup series championship in 2006 and with further wins in 2007, 2008, 2009 and in 2010 became the only driver in NASCAR history to win five consecutive championships. During the 2011 season, Johnson finished sixth in points. Between 2002 and 2011, Johnson has recorded 55 wins, 228 top-tens, and 25 pole positions.
Johnson became the first racing driver to become Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year (U.S.) in 2009, and has won Driver of the Year four times, most recently in 2010.

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