Johnson fined $10,000 for covering bottle of NASCAR sponsor

Tuesday, August 3rd 2004, 11:16 am
By: News On 6

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ NAS-CAR points leader Jimmie Johnson 10-thousand dollars today for covering a large bottle of a sports drink made by a series sponsor in an effort to protect his separate sponsorship deal with a rival company.

When Johnson climbed from his car after winning Sunday's race at Pocono Raceway, he placed a sign in front of the PowerAde bottle that NAS-CAR officials had put on top of his car.

PowerAde is made by Coca-Cola and is an official sponsor of NAS-CAR. Johnson has a sponsorship deal with Pepsi.

Like several other Pepsi or Gatorade-sponsored drivers, Johnson has been knocking the bottle off his car when he gets to Victory Lane. Two weeks ago, NAS-CAR president Mike Helton told drivers they could no longer do that.

Johnson tried to circumvent the edict by taking a sign that said Lowe's _ the primary sponsor of his car _ and placing it in front of the bottle.

He says he is just trying to defend his options as a driver.