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NASCAR champ Johnson awards education grants
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson has announced education grants worth nearly $700,000 to 13 schools in three states as part of his charitable foundation.

Johnson surprised students at a Charlotte language academy on Thursday with a $46,000 donation for a playground and basketball court. Two other schools in North Carolina, three in Oklahoma and 10 in California will get money. Johnson is a California native who lives in the Charlotte area. His wife is from Oklahoma.

The Jimmie Johnson Foundation has partnered with Lowe's, his primary sponsor, to fund school projects over the past two years. The money will got to programs ranging from science and technology needs to arts, literacy initiatives, athletic facilities and school improvements.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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