“The Voice” coach and country music superstar Blake Shelton recently took the time to share an emotional Instagram post about a touching gift he received from his good friend, racecar driver Jimmie Johnson.
Check out the photos below:
Johnson & Shelton Created a Helmet to Honor Shelton’s Late Father & Brother
In May 2022, Shelton and Johnson collaborated on a helmet for Johnson to wear during his first time driving in the Indianapolis 500. At the time, Johnson wrote on Instagram, “For a helmet as meaningful as the one I’ll run in my first #Indy500, I made a phone call to my long-time friend @BlakeShelton for some design help.”
In the accompanying video, Johnson and Shelton got together in Los Angeles to design the new helmet called the “Helmet of Heroes,” to honor those who have served in the military. They first talked aboute how long they’ve been friends, which started when they were both just starting out in their respective careers in the early 2000s.
“I was the new guy in country music and you were the new guy in NASCAR,” said Shelton, as they reminisced about meeting in Nashville.
So, the two good friends got together to design Johnson’s helmet for the Indy 500 — where this year Shelton was asked to be the grand marshal.
“Getting ready for this year’s Indy 500, it’s a childhood dream of mine. The American Legion, the stage that we have, I felt a calling in a sense to raise more awareness on Memorial Day weekend,” explained Johnson, with Shelton adding, “We both have family members who are veterans.”
Johnson’s team, Carvana racing, partnered with the American Legion this year to design a new livery for Johnson and they donated $10,000 to the legion when people signed up for the new email newsletter.
“What an honor, especially with the American Legion involved,” said Shelton of being asked to design the helmet, adding, “There’s so much that this helmet represents … it’s a big deal for me.”
When they designed the helmet with designer Troy Lee, they took scans of Shelton’s father Dick Shelton and brother Richie Shelton, both of whom served in the military, and put them on one side of the helmet. On the other side are Johnson’s grandfathers.
The two friends told People in a May 2022 interview about their family members’ connections to the military.
“Both my grandfathers served. My mother’s father was a safety captain on an aircraft carrier in the Korean War. And then my dad’s father was in a tank in World War II. I also have a brother-in-law that served as well. So it’s been what I was born and raised around,” said Johnson.
“My dad was, just after the Korean War, in the honor guard and he served in Korea. Then my brother was in the Army,” said Shelton.
Blake Called It The Gift That Tops Them All
Johnson recently gifted Shelton the helmet featuring his father and brother and Shelton was quite emotional sharing that with his fans on Instagram.
“I have been blessed in my lifetime to have received some incredible gifts and awards and things that will always mean a lot to me. But on a personal level this just might top them all. Thank you @jimmiejohnson. It is a an honor and a privilege to call you my friend,” wrote Shelton on Instagram.
In the comments, Johnson replied, “Thanks my friend, the honor and privilege was all mine.”
Shelton’s father Dick passed away in January 2012 and his brother Richie died in 1990 at the age of 24. Dick died after a bout of pneumonia, according to People. At the time, Shelton canceled several tour dates and wrote on his website, “I appreciate your understanding during this difficult time and thank you for all your prayers. Your support means the world to me. I love you guys.”
Shelton’s older brother Richie and Richie’s girlfriend were involved in a car accident in 1990 that killed both of them and her 3-year-old son. In a 2018 interview with Cowboys & Indians, Shelton said that the loss of his brother is something from which he’ll never fully recover.
“Look, you’re never gonna get over it. For me, my brother was my big brother. I mean, I wanted to be him. I wanted to look like him, dress like him, listen to what he listened to, and be into the things he was into. So when he was killed in a car accident, it was literally like the world went silent. There was a void in my world all of a sudden, and I’m still not over it. I’m just used to it,” said Shelton.
“The Voice” returns in the fall of 2022 for its 22nd season on NBC.