Jimmie Johnson to Jack Bauer: Watch '24/7 Race to Daytona' NOW!

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IJanuary 23, 2010

Previously on 24 ...

Well, it might not be another episode of Jack Bauer battling the terrorists and saving the world for democracy and peace, but NASCAR's four-time champion is debuting his own "day in the life of" adventure, 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona on HBO Sports.

The four-part series is HBO Sport's first foray into featuring an all-access, behind-the-scenes day in the life of a NASCAR driver.  And HBO chose the best, featuring the sport's record-setting driver Jimmie Johnson as he, his team, and his family prepare for NASCAR's biggest race, the Daytona 500.

In Johnson's 24/7 series, the NASCAR champion shares the most personal and never-before-seen moments as he prepares to kick off of the 2010 season. The final episode of the series will be actually shown two days after the Daytona 500, detailing all the excitement of that particular race day.

“This is something we’ve really never allowed with our race team before, an all-access look into how we operate," Johnson said. "We’ve had some people that have followed us around on a limited basis, but no one has ever had the access like HBO will have.

"Personally, I’m really looking forward to it," Johnson continued.  "This is a great chance for the fans to really see me and the race team and what makes us tick, especially away from the track.”

Johnson made the announcement about his new reality show and partnership with HBO Sports by holding a meet-and-greet with 200 fans selected from a contest sponsored by his fan club. 

Johnson's fans, much like the fans of Jack Bauer in 24 , were just as excited about having a look into a life in the day of their super hero.

"Fans will be most surprised about the access they will have into Jimmie's life," wife Chandra Johnson noted about the new series.  "They will really see the inner workings of his team and what he does day-to-day."

Just as Jack Bauer has his main backup Chloe, Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus will also be featured prominently in the 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona series.

"It's easy to sit back and think that all we do is go around in circles," Knaus said.  "But there's a lot of effort that goes into what it is that we do."

Knaus, who has been with Johnson for eight years, four of which have netted NASCAR Cup championships, is excited to share his enthusiasm for his job with the race fans.  "It's just awesome," Knaus said.  "I love my job.  I do."

"Jimmie and I have been together for so long," Knaus continued, "that I can hear it in his voice what he is feeling in the car." 

Knaus likens his relationship to Johnson and his team as that of head coach and quarterback, with the pit crew as the offense and the team back at the shop as the defensive lines.  To that end, Johnson's entire No. 48 Lowes Chevy Hendrick Motorsports team will also be front and center in the new HBO Sports series.

While 24 takes place at CTU, Johnson's 24/7 will feature one of the meccas of motorsports, Daytona International Speedway.  The series will also focus on arguably one of the most important races of the NASCAR season, the Daytona 500.

Johnson won the race in 2006 and credits that win with jump-starting his career. 

"Everything that my world is about started here on the beach in Daytona," Johnson said.  "It's the only race that when you win it, you end up with a title that follows you wherever you go."

Johnson's wife and soon-to-be first-time mom, echoed his sentiments.  "The Daytona 500 is I think the biggest race in the U.S.," Chandra Johnson said.  "It's so prestigious and it's such an honor to win."

But the series will also detail the reactions of a spouse as she watches her husband race around the steep banks of Daytona, just inches from the other cars, and moments away from that one wreck, referred to as "the big one."

"It's probably one of the most entertaining races but at the same time, it's a dangerous race track," Chandra Johnson continued.  "They're going so fast and they drive so close together and they're using the draft.  It can be nerve-wracking for sure."

The first episode of Johnson's HBO series is scheduled to premiere on Tuesday, Jan. 26th at 10:00 PM ET on HBO.  The remaining episodes will air on subsequent Tuesdays, February 2nd, 9th, and 16th, in prime time. 

All four episodes will have multiple replay dates on HBO.  The series will also be available on HBO On Demand.

Johnson is hoping the final episode, airing after the Daytona 500, will show the team celebrating and him kissing wife Chandra in Victory Lane.

"Hopefully we're going to take everybody viewing to Victory Lane as well and show them what that's like," Johnson said.  "I look forward to winning again."

So, in the immortal words of 24 hero Jack Bauer, watch 24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona and do it, NOW!