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Lowe's extends with Johnson team
Lowe's Companies Inc. will continue its successful relationship with Hendrick Motorsports after signing a three-year agreement that secures primary sponsorship of the #48 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Driving the #48 Lowe's Chevys will be current points leader and three-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who has signed a five-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports that will keep him with the organization through 2015. Johnson and Lowe's previously were signed through the 2010 season. The new pacts build upon a partnership launched in 2001 when Johnson was selected by Hendrick Motorsports to drive for the new Lowe's-sponsored #48 team. After nearly eight full seasons, the driver-sponsor relationship has become one of the most successful in NASCAR.

"Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports are a key part of our marketing efforts and outreach to our more than 225,000 employees," said Robert A. Niblock, Lowe's chairman and CEO. "We believe this is the best combination in racing, and we're proud to have Jimmie carry the Lowe's name in NASCAR." Since his first full-time Sprint Cup season in 2002, Johnson has earned a series-leading 47 victories and only twice has finished outside the top two in championship points. Of the 16 NASCAR drivers who have recorded 40 or more wins, just three -- Herb Thomas, David Pearson and Richard Petty -- have higher career winning percentages.

"Lowe's commitment to the 48 team and Hendrick Motorsports is tremendous and has been a source of pride for me personally," said Johnson, 34, who never has had a primary sponsor other than Lowe's in Sprint Cup competition. "We've built a championship team together, and I'm proud the 48 will carry the Lowe's colors for many more years."
Through 35 of 36 races in 2009, the #48 Lowe's team led by crew chief Chad Knaus has posted 15 top-five finishes, 23 top-10s and a series-high seven wins. Johnson leads the championship standings with a 108-point margin over teammate Mark Martin going into Sunday's season finale at Homestead.

"Lowe's took a chance on us back in 2001, and it's not a stretch to say this whole thing would never have been possible without them," said Rick Hendrick, who co-owns the #48 team with driver Jeff Gordon. "When you have a partner put that much faith in you, it's incredibly rewarding to see them be successful. They're a company with values and practices that we admire and learn from in our own business, and we feel very fortunate to continue this amazing ride together. Jimmie is charting new territory in our sport, and that's due to a combination of natural talent and unsurpassed work ethic. How he's committed himself is just incredible, and it shows in everything that he does -- not just on the racetrack. There's no question that he's one of the great champions in all of sports, and he's not done yet." Hendrick Motorsports

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