Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson received his latest championship ring, along with a check for $5.778 million, while the top-10 drivers in the final point standings were honored at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Johnson's champion's bonus pushed his prize winnings for the year up to $13,393,186.
"I don't take any of these championships lightly. I cherish every one of them," Johnson said. "I am so proud to be a racecar driver and a driver in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. I am just extremely, extremely proud to be the champion."
Johnson said NASCAR's Champion's Week in Las Vegas had been more relaxing for him this year, despite a full agenda of activities.
“Vegas breeds fun,” Johnson said. “It [the awards ceremony] used to be a lot more stressful. I don't even have a speech written. I've just been having fun with my guys and family. It feels good to relax a bit. I've enjoyed the week.”
Crew chief Chad Knaus, who now stands alone in second among championship crew chiefs with five, echoed his driver's sentiments.
“We've definitely smiled more this week than during any other Champion's Week,” Knaus said. “There is a lot less pressure. I used to feel so much anxiety for the speech and everything that went along with the week. Now I'm used to it.”
Car owner Rick Hendrick, who won his record-breaking 10th series owner championship, admitted the latest history-making title is still hard to fathom.
“The championships are all special, but this year is just hard to believe,” said Hendrick, who also extended his NASCAR national series owner championships record to 13. “It's just starting to set in. You never know if you'll be back, so you enjoy it while you can.”
The evening featured entertainment by country music stars Rascal Flatts, comedic host Frank Caliendo, country singer Martina McBride, singer Colbie Caillat and a performance from the Las Vegas show “Viva ELVIS by Cirque du Soleil.”
A Sam Bass custom designed Gibson Les Paul guitar was signed by members of Rascal Flatts and a number of drivers, and will be auctioned to support the NASCAR Foundation at www.NASCARFoundation.com.