Monday, November 18, 2013

Johnson To Anchor ESPN SportsCenter Tuesday

Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will become the first athlete to guest host ESPN SportsCenter, joining anchors John Anderson and Lindsay Czarniak for the 6 p.m. ET show on Tuesday.

Johnson, who wrapped up his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title in 12 full seasons Sunday, has appeared on SportsCenter numerous times during his racing career, both in-studio and via satellite. But each time, he did so as a newsmaker. He also appeared in a memorable “This Is SportsCenter” commercial in which he used a pickaxe to remove speed bumps in the ESPN parking lot.  
But this time, the driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will perform all the duties of a SportsCenter host, including presenting news and highlights and conducting interviews from around the world of sports. He will spend the day Tuesday preparing for his guest-hosting responsibilities.  
“I don’t know if SportsCenter knows what they are getting themselves into,” Johnson joked. “It’s probably a good thing I’m there pretty much all day preparing. I’ve met most of the anchors and I am really looking forward to becoming the first athlete to ever guest host SportsCenter.”
Actors Billy Crystal and Ken Jeong are the only other celebrity guest hosts in SportsCenter’s 34-year history. Crystal was the first in 2012 and Jeong hosted earlier this month on Nov. 1.
“We’re always looking for opportunities to change it up and give SportsCenter viewers a different take on the day’s news, have some fun and do some memorable television,” said Jack Obringer, SportsCenter senior coordinating producer. “And having a six-time champion like Jimmie Johnson on your set is pretty cool.”
In addition to his SportsCenter guest-hosting duties, Johnson will also appear on Late Show with David Letterman Monday night and LIVE with Kelly and Michael Tuesday morning to talk about his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title.


  1. Anonymous2:01 PM

    If I'm a VP of Marketing for XYZ Widget Co. and I want to spend money reaching my demographic, the NASCAR fan, and I want the most impressions per dollar, frankly with the domination of one team in the past decade, it makes it difficult to justify spending the resources I have when they aren't enough to get on the side of the winning car and yet he's the car that gets the most impressions because of the 6 championships.

    Domination isn't good for the sport, no matter how many old school journalists think it is the fact remains TEAM sports are team sports, the faces change so it's easier to root for the TEAM as a winner. One man winning constantly is not good for the sport. It doesn't help when out of those 10 championships, one of the prime contenders has been left out. Doesn't matter what you or I think, it simply doesn't look good from the outside. I am positive that manufacturer notices too. If they left, NASCAR is history.

    Just a few thoughts on another season gone by.

    1. OK, Anonymous, you've identified the issue, as you see it. Now what would you like to DO about it? Should we write new rules designed to help someone beat Jimmie? I understand how attractive it is to complain, but how about offering up something constructive, as well?

    2. Anonymous1:20 PM

      Of course, any opinion or observation is complaining from your viewpoint. It amazes me how you think squelching criticism of the sport will improve it .As a fan and businessman, I look for progressive improvements in the sport both from the owners (NASCAR) and from its sponsors. One day the sponsors who drive the sport are going to say, it's time to move forward instead of celebrating mediocrity. The inability of any team to either rekindle old sponsor relationships or garner new ones is a bad sign, and one of these days you and NASCAR will pull you heads out of the sand and see what's happening. I would not be surprised in Toyota does a Dodge in the next couple of years. The return on investment isn't worth it. Their demographic doesn't give a whit about NASCAR. And the people NASCAR NEEDS to become fans agree with Travis Pastrana, it just isn't exciting enough to attract their attention.

      Just as you feel that "we" aren't fans if we don't root for the sport unconditionally, "we" as fans have another option, walking away, as "we" have in droves over the past decade.

      Have a great offseason

  2. Hey Dave,

    Here is a idea and we can make it fair for all teams and drivers as well.

    Handicap the reigning champion. He is guaranteed a starting spot in the field and that is where he gets to start, dead last. If the champ can win the cup from 43 starting spot in all the points races then he truly deserves the cup and to be named the greatest in the sport. This would be harder to wins multiple championships back to back but if 1 driver could do it his talent and ability should never be questioned.

    Anyone that complains about a driver that can accomplish that feat is just a complainer at that point.

    Of course we all know this will never happen. While it is kind of ridiculous it is a possible solution if NASCAR continues to maintain the chase format and run the same type of tracks when the chase starts.

    A better way might be to run tracks we run on 1 time a year in the chase or run tracks Cup does not normally run. A true championship team and driver should be able to adapt to that format.

    Congrats To the #48, JJ, Chad, Mr. H, and JG (yes he picked JJ and is part owner of the car) for the 6 pack.

    Better luck next year to the others that fought hard for it.

    1. You're right, it's ridiculous. If the Red Sox win the World Series, they are not penalized for it the following year. The rules have to be the same for everyone, it seems to me. I'd be all in favor of shuffling the Chase deck -- adding new tracks and moving others out -- but I doubt Jimmie and Chad would suffer as a result.

    2. You have to admit the shear ridiculousness of handicapping the reigning champ makes shuffling the tracks look attractive to most people of semi-rational thought!

      It got you to read it and reply though.....

      I agree with you on JJ and Chad though it would not slow them down much but should quiet the complainers.

      They complain about HMS 4 cars but forget the cap was created because of Jack running 5. Didn't he say he would run 43 if he had to, if that was what it took to win a championship?

      My point is the same as yours they never focus on what needs to change only that the same people win all the time or they cheat or they are NASCAR's favorite.

      And all this from a guy that does nothing but complain about NASCAR!