Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, thus far the only driver to clinch a spot in the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, appeared on Friday’s edition of The Dan Patrick Show, also broadcast on NBCSN.
Racing has long fought the stigma that it isn’t entirely safe, but so many motorsports championships have taken strides to improve safety and particularly so over the last dozen years. Some of the largest safety improvements in racing since the turn of the century include the creation of the HANS Device (Head And Neck Support), development of the SAFER barriers first at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and now at most oval tracks nationwide, and NASCAR’s own Car of Tomorrow and new-for-2013 Generation 6 car.
NASCAR Sprint Cup has not witnessed a driver fatality since Dale Earnhardt at the 2001 Daytona 500. Johnson took time to address some of the safety improvements and said in his mind, NASCAR is currently safer than the NFL, as it undergoes a transformation of its product to combat its own safety concerns.
On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.
And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.
Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.
The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.
“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.
“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.
“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”
A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.