Texas Motor Speedway

Pit stops: Halloween brings up fond, scary memories

Jimmie Johnson sauntered into the media center at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday wearing a red vest and a name tag. No, nobody needed a refresher on who was taking a seat at the press conference table.

Johnson, who will be driving the No. 48 car Sunday in the AAA Texas 500, was dressed as a Lowe’s staffer for Halloween. It wasn’t just Johnson; his crew chief, Chad Knaus, and his team were also wearing vests.

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Halloween hijinks was not Johnson’s only aim.

“The red race car and wearing the vest and all the red this weekend, in general, is really to honor the 260,000-plus employees at Lowe’s that put on the vest every day and go to work and make all the magic happen in the stores,” Johnson said.

Johnson wasn’t sure what department he’d be most at home at in Lowe’s.

“Hand me a broom or something,” he said. “I think I would be in the way in most situations.”

Johnson credited his mom for helping to create memorable Halloween costumes when he was a kid.

Elliott Sadler wasn’t as lucky, but he took the blame.

“I was scared to death to wear any Halloween outfits,” Sadler said. “I was very shy as a kid. I think the most embarrassing outfit I had to wear, I was a black-eyed pea. It was my fault because I was like, ‘I don’t want a costume, I don’t want a costume, we don’t need a costume.’

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“Then like 10 minutes before trick-or-treating, I found out all my friends were going trick-or-treating. So my mom took a shirt, put a “P” on it and put some eye makeup on my eye and I was a black-eyed pea. That was probably the worst makeshift Halloween costume that I’ve ever been around.”

While Johnson gave mom proper credit for Halloween, she didn’t escape unscathed.

“I can give my mom a hard time for dressing me up going to school every day,” Johnson said. “I had these short little corduroy shorts and my knee-high socks with the stripe on them. I just saw some pictures recently and I’m like, ‘Really? That was in style? How?’ I don’t get it. California thing, I guess.”

Finnegan attending Sunday

Former TCU ace Brandon Finnegan, fresh off the World Series with the Kansas City Royals, will attend the AAA Texas 500 as a guest of NASCAR and TMS.

God is his co-pilot

NASCAR driver Michael McDowell, who is sponsored by Christian companies such as Thrivent Financial and K-LOVE, will share his story of faith from 3-5 p.m. Saturday at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Roanoke. McDowell’s team is owned by Texas natives Bob and Sharon Leavine.

After The Lap returns

NASCAR After The Lap will return to Las Vegas for a sixth consecutive year. All 16 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders will be in attendance at the Pearl Palms Concert Theater inside the Palms Casino Hotel at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4.

Air Force Band to perform anthem

Sunday’s national anthem will be performed by the U.S. Air Force Band of the Southwest.

Quotable

“It was amazing to see the amount of books that they read. I can’t imagine reading that many in my life.” — Matt Crafton, a truck series driver who visited Roanoke Elementary on Thursday as part of Texas Motor Speedway’s Speed to Read program.

“It’s hard to say all, but the majority wants to see wrecks, they want to see arguments, they want to see pushing and shoving after the race, bump and runs. The physical side, the raw emotion is what the majority are after. Again, I’m careful to not say all. ... But when a few drivers make a fool out of themselves on the racetrack, there always seems to be a good spike in ratings.” — Jimmie Johnson, on what fans want to see.

This story was originally published October 31, 2014 10:36 PM.

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