Daytona II: Jimmie Johnson preview

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night's 400-mile race. The 2006 Nextel Cup Champion finished fifth in Sunday's race at New Hampshire and is third in the...

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night's 400-mile race. The 2006 Nextel Cup Champion finished fifth in Sunday's race at New Hampshire and is third in the 2007 points race trailing Jeff Gordon by 381 points.

Johnson will be busy when Nextel Cup practice begins Thursday on the 2.5-mile oval. He will also drive the No. 91 Lowe's Pontiac for Riley-Matthews Motorsports in Thursday night's 2:45 hour Grand Am Rolex Series race on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course. Thursday marks Johnson's second appearance in the Rolex Series in 2007. He and teammates Marc Goossens and Jim Matthews started third and finished 36th in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in February. Speed will televise the race live at 8 p.m. on Thursday.

DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:

Daytona Speedway in July versus Daytona Speedway in February: "When you're down there in the spring, the air is crisper and the ground temperature is a little bit cooler, which all makes sense with the changing of the seasons. But that race track really changes when you go back there in mid-summer because it's very humid and the air is very heavy. You need to build a lot of downforce into the car because the car is going 190-some miles per hour into the turns. But the air being as heavy as it is in the evening there makes the cars have a lot more front down force and the cars get a lot freer. So you have to build in some more rear down force. The track temperature is a lot hotter than what it is in February, so the track loses a lot of grip, so the car gets skating and sort of slides a little bit more. So there are some pretty big changes to the race track."

Rolex Race: "At the 24 Hours of Daytona we ran up front and ran really strong. But we had a problem that unfortunately put us behind and then finally put us out of the race. Hopefully this race is different. "But this time I'll just be running with Marc Goossens. It'll just be two drivers, Marc and myself. I have the honor of qualifying the car and starting the race, and I'm really excited about those two things. Marc will get in and drive to the finish. Hopefully we can get a win for them -- or at least run up front."

Why Rolex Racing? "One of my goals is to improve my road racing skills. Competing in an endurance race like this with a road racing expert like Marc will help me to continue to learn and improve. I've had so much fun running with these awesome road course veterans and getting out there and really racing with these guys. I did a lot of testing to get ready for the 24 Hours of Daytona. But unfortunately, I was supposed to test down in Florida last week, but it rained and the test was cancelled. I've been trying to get seat time, but with the NASCAR Cup schedule, weather issues, and the scheduling that Riley has had to get the car prepared, I haven't been able to test for this race. But that's okay; I'm excited and ready to go!"

NOTES

Chassis

* Johnson will drive chassis 383 at Daytona on Saturday. This chassis finished second at Talladega in April and won there in April of 2006. Chassis 267 will serve as the backup. This chassis won the Bud Shootout in 2005. See chassis history below.

Daytona International Speedway

* In 11 starts, Johnson has completed 1,887 of 1,917 laps. He owns an average starting spot of 9.7 and average finish of 12.2. He has led 54 laps. He won the pole for the Daytona 500 in 2002 and won the Daytona 500 in 2006. He owns top ten finishes in seven of the eleven races.

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am , Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Marc Goossens , Jimmie Johnson , Jim Matthews