Women in Wheels: How Amy Walsh manages PR for seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson

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In this edition of 'Women in Wheels' get to know Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson's PR expert Amy Walsh.

- I grew up in Pennsylvania, right around Pocono, and my father actually was a race fan of Richard Petty. My dad and I would go to Pocono for both races during the summer. It was something for my dad and I to do together, and we had a lot of good times going to the track.

I went to Penn State. After I graduated, I wrote a crazy eye-catching cover letter. Probably wouldn't have done that today, but it worked. And my first day on the job actually was driving to Daytona.

- You work with a driver who has a very intense schedule, I can imagine, Jimmy Johnson, seven-time champion in our sport. What's it been like working with Jimmie?

- Working with Jimmy is honestly probably the best thing that's really ever happened to me. I try to give him time during the week with his family and his friends and to be able to ride his bike. And I also do that on the weekends to make sure that his schedule has time to do the stuff that is important to him as well, and that kind of helps clear his head from the competition side.

- But you've been with him when he's won championships in the Cup Series. What is that like?

- When we won the championship in 2016, the way that day went, it was the most emotional, like, roller coaster of a day that you could even imagine.

ANNOUNCER: The 48 team, once again, in inspection. They had gone through multiple times this morning and rolled out onto the grid but have been pushed back to inspection.

- Nobody knew what was going on. Nobody knew if we were even going to be able to start the race or not. I just tried to get him into the truck and kind of shield him. And then pretty much the way the race played out that day, we were a fourth-place car until the last 20 laps or so.

ANNOUNCER: For the ages.

JIMMIE JOHNSON (ON RADIO): Oh, my god. No way! No way! Yeah! Yeah!

- I had to look back at it like three or four times and be like, that actually really happened. The sheer fact of how historical that win actually was, so much goes into it. It's such a great pay-off.

- You're just as invested in him and the team as anyone else is that's a part of it.

- I have to take my emotions out of it, because if I'm emotional about anything that goes on, I'm not going to be objective when I need to be. If something happens and a driver is hurt, their family is kind of relying on you to be the strong person and make sure that you're controlling the message.

I mean, there's been two times where Jimmie has needed medical attention after a race. And you have to know your surroundings. You have to know where the care center is. You have to know how you're going to call somebody if you need it.

- Through your work in PR, you've met Beau Smith, a very special fan to you.

- This little guy hopped out of his wheelchair, and you know, he was in Jimmie Johnson head-to-toe, and he hugged Jimmie. Jimmie sent me a text and said, can you please find the kid that hugged me? And I can't stop thinking about it. Brought him to the racetrack and gave him a crew shirt and said, you're a crew member for life. And we meant it. We finally were able to have him be a part of a win.

Meeting a kid like Beau puts it in perspective. The happiness that he has when he's with us keeps him going a little bit.

- You talked a lot about your dad, and your, you know, ties with him with racing. What is his reaction to what you're doing now?

- I think he loves it. I mean, he's really proud of what I've been able to do. When I see people at the race track, and you know, when they see Jimmie like I saw those drivers, I think I try to make it a point to let them know, like, he is just as normal and nice as he can be and I mean, he doesn't have to try hard to be a great guy. He is a great guy. But when people are able to see that, then they feel like, at least we're doing something that makes a difference.