Jimmie Johnson was all smiles and "aw shucks" on the eve of collecting an unprecedented fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship trophy. He was at the hotel to meet with a small group of reporters and to unveil the true benchmark of an athlete's success.
Forget the historic five NASCAR titles, Johnson now has a video game named after him: "Jimmie Johnson's Anything With an Engine."
The game doesn't go on sale until 2011, but the concept launch this week meant the vivid collision between two of America's favorite pastimes, video gaming and NASCAR. And it was interesting to observe the hip, young gaming reporters, dressed in black adorned with lots of zippers and skull designs and colorful tattoos, sizing up the NASCAR All-American good guy's entry into their eclectic world.
"So how does it feel to be a legend?'' asked Jon Carnage, a former professional wrestler who is now a reporter from the video game blog Destructoid. He clearly caught the humble Johnson off guard.
"It's still strange to me that I hear that,'' Johnson replied.
Perhaps he should get used to it.