4 car diary - Rolex 24, Johnson in the hunt

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4 car diary - Rolex 24, Johnson in the hunt

Jimmie Johnson Acquits Well By Bill King On both his sets of fresh tires, Jimmie Johnson had The Boss Snowplow No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford in the 1:49s for about three laps before the sticker edge wore off the Hoosiers. He...

Jimmie Johnson Acquits Well
By Bill King

On both his sets of fresh tires, Jimmie Johnson had The Boss Snowplow No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford in the 1:49s for about three laps before the sticker edge wore off the Hoosiers. He then was able to settle into a nice 1:50-1:52 rhythm.

#4 Howard - Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford: Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Jimmie Johnson.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
At the end of Johnson's opening shift, the three Howard-Boss cars were running in the top four: Tony Stewart, first in the No. 20; Johnson, third in the No. 4; and Dario Franchitti, fourth in the 2 car. When Stewart and Franchitti pitted along with Mears in the No. 03, Johnson took the lead for three laps before pitting and handing off to Butch Leitzinger. The team leader liked how the race had been going but cautioned, "We're only a quarter of the way into this thing right now, so there's nothing to get excited about yet."

The driver change was accomplished rather smoothly but the team had to pop the on-board jacks back down having dropped the car on an air hose, the running over of which would have accrued a penalty. Thus a 57.124sec pit stop with Leitzinger returning to the fray in fourth.

Johnson, who had requested an aero change to improve the forward bite during his first stint, said he made adjustments to compensate: "I just started to change my line a little bit. The track's getting a little slick right now as the rubber's going down and the oils and all that. So I just played with my line and found a way to make it work.

"You're kind of stuck once the race starts, mechanically, so we just need a little more mechanical grip," Johnson continued. "The aero balance was great. The car is really fast through the high-speed stuff. We make up a lot of time there. We're just giving up a little bit in the infield.

"I'm probably being a little conservative with the lappers [ed: the slower cars]," Johnson admitted. "I need to get a little more aggressive. I get stuck behind a car through the busstop or in a section where I should have out-braked them getting into the turn. That's hurt me more than anything.

"But there at the end, I ran a low 49 [ed: 1:49]," he said. "It's just a matter of catching the traffic at the right time."

Editor's note:
Please view all the diary entries by Bill King on the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford at http://www.motorsport.com/news/series.asp?S=GRANDAM

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Series GRANDAM , NASCAR-CUP