Monday, February 25, 2013
Jimmie Johnson joins Harlem Shake craze
By Bill Speros
Jimmie Johnson will be taking the long way to Phoenix this week, visiting New York and ESPN in Bristol, Conn., for media appearances, and making a stop at the national Lowe's sales meeting in Las Vegas around a few stops at home in North Carolina.
But his departure to Charlotte, N.C., was delayed a few hours on Monday with a stop at the Daytona 500 champions breakfast, where his No. 48 Chevy SS earned the customary winner's spot in the main hall inside the Daytona USA attraction.
The car, complete with its damaged front end and confetti-covered body, will be on public display for the next year.
From jimmiejohnson via Instagram.
Part of postrace buzz at Daytona International Speedway late Sunday and early Monday centered on reports posted via Twitter that Johnson and his crew had joined the "Harlem Shake" craze and shot a video in the infield atop and around their trailer.
Johnson discussed the video at Monday's breakfast.
"No broken wrists, I survived. We'll see if it's worthy to put out there but clearly there's been some discussion about it so we might be forced to put it out before long," he said. “It was really impromptu. All of sudden there’s a transporter, music, a camera guy. OK, the music was in my head. We even had some surprise guests with Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche in the mix. Baseball players take it to a whole other level."
Meanwhile, car owner Rick Hendrick said he knew nothing about the video shoot and crew chief Chad Knaus added, "We have to examine that footage before it gets too far out."
Johnson's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Gordon, put up his own version of the "Harlem Shake" with his shop crew two weeks ago. That clip has more than 228,000 views on the "Funny or Die" site and 4.4 million views on the Pepsi YouTube page.
While Johnson scored a solid victory in Sunday's race, he failed to gain the checkered flag on social media, with Danica Patrick leading the pack on Twitter and Facebook in the days before the 500 and throughout race day.
According to Facebook, Patrick was the most talked about Sprint Cup driver on the site in the week before the Daytona 500, with Gordon being second and defending champion Matt Kenseth third. Johnson was eighth. Those numbers did not include information following Saturday's crash in the Nationwide Series race.
Twitter analytics provided by Topsy noted that the highpoint of the Daytona 500 came when Patrick became the first woman to ever lead a lap in the Daytona 500 under green-flag conditions.
Race fans wanted to spread the word. Significant mentions of "Daytona" reached 29,085 per minute with 9,726 Tweets per minute mentioning "Danica Patrick" at that time. She started the race from the pole and finished eighth.
Patrick had taken the lead under caution about an hour earlier, after a wreck on Lap 90, and that historic moment tallied more than 23,000 TPM mentioning "Daytona." Those numbers topped mentions of "Daytona" at the end of the race, which clocked in at 20,669 TPM, according to Topsy.
Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) has more than 748,000 followers on Twitter and has gained more than 22,000 followers since Saturday without posting a single Tweet, according to Twitter Counter. Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) has more than 381,000 Twitter followers and picked up about 1,500 followers with his win.
Scoring his second Daytona 500 victory was not Johnson's Twitter peak Sunday. He generated 6,054 TPM after taking the lead under caution with eight laps to go. By the time the race ended, Johnson was clocking in at more than 4,600 TPM, to just more than 4,200 for Patrick.
Patrick's presence ahead of the pack at the start of the race didn't hurt the ratings on Fox, either:
Last year's race was postponed a day due to rain and was red-flagged for two hours following Juan Pablo Montoya's crash into a jet dryer truck.
Bill Speros is an ESPN.COM contributor. He can be reached on Twitter @billsperos or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.