My No. 1 media center memory was of Jimmie Johnson at Dover. As I mentioned in the previous slide, I was on a mission to do a series of stories on Jeff Gordon at Dover.
Gordon's teammate and now four-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson actually won the race and came into the media center with Chad Knaus, his winning crew chief, for their victory interviews. Both were interviewed extensively at the front of the room, while I continued to work in the back of the media center on my Gordon story.
As Johnson was headed out with his giant bottle of champagne, he stopped beside me and one other person who was also furiously typing away on his computer. Johnson cleared his throat, but both of us remained preoccupied with our own stories, thoroughly engrossed in our own work.
Johnson continued to stand next to me and then said, "Hi guys." Both of us kept working away and said quick hello's back to Johnson.
But the champion and race winner just wanted a bit more acknowledgment, or so it seemed, and he said, "You know, I won the race." Realizing that Johnson really did want to at least be recognized for his accomplishment, I finally looked up from my work, as did the other writer, to congratulate the race winner. After getting our attention and our accolades, Johnson finally seemed satisfied and off he went to continue his celebration.
But it really drove home to me the vulnerability of one of NASCAR's elite drivers and that we all just need to be acknowledged and recognized for our victories, even if your name is Jimmie Johnson.
That most "human" moment, seeing Johnson as a real person who wanted recognition just like all of us do, was truly my most treasured memory from the media center.