Five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, Jimmie Johnson, received a new type of thrill Wednesday, becoming the focus of a high school pep rally.

Byron Nelson High School greeted Johnson with the spirit and fashion of Texas football, complete with dance team, cheerleaders, band, "blue man" and mascot. Students chanted his name as he broke through a banner to begin the event. Johnson addressed students about the hard work he has put into becoming one of NASCAR's most recognized drivers. 

“The thing that led me through it all and led me to my career path was a passion and desire to follow my dreams,” Johnson said. “There is something in there that is leading you down a certain road for what your career is going to be and the type of person you are going to be in your life. Follow that. It’s easy to win, it’s easy to come out on top, but the moments I learned the most were the tough moments. In those moments, stop and look around a little bit and learn from it and I promise you’ll be proud of who you’ve become.”

In a show of mutual respect, Johnson and Head Football Coach Brian Polk exchanged helmets. Polk presenting a Byron Nelson Football helmet to the driver, appropriately brandishing the number 48. While Johnson awarded the team a signed racing helmet embalzoned with the Byron Nelson High mascot and number 48. 

Johnson later announced that he had purchased tickets for all the students to attend the Nov. 6 AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. 

Johnson remains focused on capturing his sixth consecutive Sprint Cup championship and understands this may be his most difficult challenge yet. However, his new fans may provide just enough support to cheer the driver to victory.