Wednesday, May 18, 2016

NASCAR Champion Johnson Gets Animated For Nickelodeon's "Blaze And The Monster Machines"

From cars to cartoons, Jimmie Johnson's next dash at the track comes in animated form!

The six-time NASCAR champion lends his voice in a series of race car-themed episodes on Nickelodeon's hit CG-animated preschool series Blaze and the Monster Machines!

Johnson voices Dash, a car that is friendly, fast and the ultimate racing buddy for titular character Blaze.

No spoilers here if Johnson dominated the Monsters the same way he's mastered Dover International Speedway's Monster Mile.

"My interest comes in capturing young fans' interest," Johnson told The Associated Press.

Johnson fell in love with racing as a kid by going to the track with his dad. He appreciated the fact that most NASCAR tracks now offer some sort of kid-friendly ticket deals to get them out with their families on Sundays, but realized there must be other ways to reach the next generation of fans.

Johnson, Danica Patrick, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne all voice characters in the six-episode block of race episodes. The first special, "Race Car Superstar," premieres at 1:30 p.m. ET/PT on Monday 30th May 2016, followed by "Race to Eagle Rock" at 1:30 p.m. ET/PT on Thursday 2nd June 2016 on Nickelodeon USA. The remaining four race car episodes will air this Fall. Patrick voices Rally; Elliott is Mark Set-Go; and Kahne is Fender.

Johnson's two young daughters, Genevieve (5) and Lydia (2), are fans of Blaze, a show that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. While his family often joins Johnson in victory lane, the celebrations might not top the cool factor of having dad pop up as a cartoon character!

"There's a lot of shock value with that one," he said, laughing.

Johnson showed his delighted daughters photos of what his character will look like in Blaze.

Johnson has dabbled in acting - he's had guest spots in TV shows such as Vegas and Breaking In - but had the most fun with voiceover work, including on Nickelodeon's Bubble Guppies last year, in which he voiced a Lobster.

"You read the lines and think you can just add some inflection in your voice and you've done your job," he said. "But you kind of go so over the top. It's almost embarrassing. As soon as you embarrass yourself, they say, 'Perfect, more of that!'"

Johnson also cameoed as an airline pilot in the new video for the song "Ain't No Man" by The Avett Brothers.

The video features Scott Avett as he makes his way through the Asheville Regional Airport on his way to join his brother and the rest of the band on the road. Avett boards the plane and the video cuts to a quick appearance from a smiling Johnson who gives a thumbs-up as the pilot.

"I love their lyrics, I love the way their music makes me think," Johnson said. "And seeing them live is like no other experience."

Johnson might be most comfortable talking cars, though. He was set to host "Race Hub" Wednesday night on FS1.

Original source: Associated Press via Washington Times and The Daily Mail Online.
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