The Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar, races down to North Carolina to spend the day at the iconic Charlotte Motor Speedway in an all-new episode of Rock & Roll Road Trip—airing Sunday, June 9 at 8pE. While there, he checks out team owner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rick Hendrick’s epic collection of cars and guitars, takes the speedway stage by storm, and sits down with seven time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson to discuss the racecar rockstar’s incredible career. Filmed at Hendrick Motorsports, Johnson plays a speed round of “This Or That,” opens up about the pressure of performing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, talks getting into car fights with other drivers, and more.
Though he’s been competing on the NASCAR circuit for almost two decades, amassing seven NASCAR Cup Series championships in the process—putting him alongside Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty—the two-time Daytona 500 winner reveals that he can still feel a bit of fear when he’s competing. “Everything’s pretty good until it’s not,” Johnson says. “As soon as you slip a tire, that’s when you panic. Hopefully, you have enough distance in time to catch it. If not, a lot of times you just pull your arms in. You know you’re gonna hit something hard.”
A native of El Cajon, California, Johnson now calls Charlotte home. On the pressure to be great in front of his friends, family and employees, Johnson says, “No doubt it is tough. Where we’re sitting here… we’re a mile from the track. We have 650-some employees that work around here, and they will all be at the track… So, it is a lot of pressure.”
Racing at high speeds and in high temperatures, with each driver constantly jockeying for position, it’s not uncommon for rivalries to quickly develop on and off the track. Johnson sheds some light on the more human side of the sport saying, “I think we all have the potential to be the crazy guy on the track, so you usually end up in a rift with someone at different periods of time. And then it’s just like a magnet for weeks and weeks, where you keep having troubles with each other.” While physical altercations are rare, these feuds can result in what Johnson calls “car fights.” “In the car, we’re all way braver and use each other up,” Johnson explains. “My crew jokes all the time that we’re not brave enough to get out and have a real fight, but we’ll have a car fight and create all this work for them. So, there’s plenty of car fights that go on, but very few punches delivered.”
Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar airs every Sunday at 8pE/5pP—only on AXS TV.