So what does the world’s best driver steer during the off-season?
It’s a ’67 Chevrolet Camaro—I think. Or a 1968. There’s a debate. Some true Camaro guys see it and say, "No, you’ve got it wrong. It’s a 1968." Others disagree. I don’t have a clue.
You do know where the engine came from, though.
Yeah, it’s got a story. In 2004 we had a team plane go down and lost 10 friends and family members. One of them was Randy Dorton, who ran our engine department. The shop built an engine in memory of him and auctioned it off. I won, and built the car around it.
How much power does it put out?
It’s a stock-car engine, capable of turning 10,000 rpm. It does 850-plus horsepower.
How long did it take to put together?
Um, four times longer than it should, as anyone working on a custom car knows. It’s like wine. You just gotta let a half-done project sit and age.
Ever been pulled over?
No, I’ve been pretty fortunate on that front. But were there moments when I should have been? Without a doubt. Driving from Southern California to Vegas for races, there’s a long stretch of desert. I like to have fun out there.
Is it true that you get carsick?
I’ve had that problem since I was a kid. Any winding roads, the teacups at the fair, roller coasters…At a certain point I turn white and get sick to my stomach. New York City cabs are really the worst things in the world for me. But If I’m behind the wheel, I’m fine.
Of all the places you’ve done burnouts, where was your favorite?
I did a burnout on Rodeo Drive in Beverly HIlls once. Weeks later I drove down the street and saw my mark was still there. Proud moment!
24/7 Jimmie Johnson: Race to Daytona premieres on HBO on January 26.