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.