Sunday's Dixie Vodka 400 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway will feature two legends with the name of Jimmie Johnson, albeit with different spellings. One will get behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro while the other serves as the grand marshal. The 2020 NFL Hall of Fame inductee in Jimmy Johnson will give the time-honored call for the drivers to start their engines.
Johnson, who coached the Dallas Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories, has serious ties to Miami and South Florida. He coached both the University of Miami Hurricanes and the Miami Dolphins during his Hall of Fame career. This includes an undefeated season in 1987 when the Hurricanes went 12-0 and won the National Championship. Johnson led the college team to a 52-9 overall record. In addition to his coaching career, Johnson also owns a restaurant, Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill, in Key Largo, Florida.
JUST ANNOUNCED: South Florida coaching legend Jimmy Johnson will be the Grand Marshal for Sunday's #DixieVodka400!June 11, 2020
"As someone who lives in South Florida, I'm excited to be a part of one of the biggest events in the area," Johnson said, per the Homestead-Miami website. "I've given many locker room speeches and seen many spectacular sports moments, but I can't wait to add the distinction of reciting the most famous words in all of the motorsports." Johnson took part in a little pre-race practice when he tweeted out the famous words along with the announcement.
Following the trend set by other grand marshals such as AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, Johnson will not attend the Dixie Vodka 400. He will provide the call virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several military members will attend the race on Sunday as NASCAR gradually welcomes more people at events, but racing's governing body is still taking a cautious approach due to health and safety concerns.
"Having a celebrity such as Jimmy Johnson participate in the Dixie Vodka 400 is what hosting a NASCAR race is all about," added Homestead-Miami Speedway President Al Garcia. "We are honored that Homestead-Miami Speedway has a chance to play a key part in the return of professional sports in South Florida, as we commemorate our 25th anniversary. With Coach Johnson giving the command on this special day, it clearly speaks to the rich sports tradition that exists in Miami."