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Nascar Champion Jimmie Johnson speaks with Barren County Special Olympics athletes

This opportunity was presented to the athletes after their fully sponsored trip to a race in Daytona was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 7:53 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - In his last year as a full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, there are a million things that Jimmie Johnson could spend his time doing. But today before his race at Kansas Speedway, Johnson took the time to get on Zoom and speak with over thirty athletes from the Barren County Special Olympics.

This opportunity was presented to the athletes after their fully sponsored trip to a race in Daytona was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ally Financial, one of the sponsors of the initial trip, reached out to the folks in Barren County and wanted to give the athletes a NASCAR experience and set up the Zoom call with Johnson.

The seven-time champion took questions from the athletes for roughly fifteen minutes. Questions ranged from “have you ever received a speeding ticket?” To “what is the fastest you have ever driven in a racecar?” Director James Cheely says that this was a special moment for his athletes.

“Its a man that has been at the top of his profession,” said Cheely. “He has won as many times as anyone that has won that championship. Yet he is giving his time to us. You can look at the faces and see smiles. I think you can see the gleam in their eye from just the opportunity to say hello. A young girl that reached out, Christine and said we love you. That’s a genuine feeling from her heart of we appreciate you taking time for us.”

Cheely says that a number of sponsors have extended invitations to the Special Olympics athletes to come to their racetrack once fans are allowed.

“It’s pretty special to know that there are great companies out there, that quite honestly I don’t know anyone in them. They just know that Special Olympics does what it says it is going to do. So yeah we are going to a racetrack. Whether it will be Kentucky, Talledega, or Charlotte. Jeff, I don’t know where it’s going to be I just know we are going.”

Copyright 2020 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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