Atlanta II: Jimmie Johnson preview

Johnson has been strong at Atlanta, but has not seen strong finishes HAMPTON, G.A. (Oct. 22, 2003) -- Winston Cup driver Jimmie Johnson speaks fondly of Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) when questioned about the 1.5-mile track. It is a track that...

Johnson has been strong at Atlanta, but has not seen strong finishes

HAMPTON, G.A. (Oct. 22, 2003) -- Winston Cup driver Jimmie Johnson speaks fondly of Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) when questioned about the 1.5-mile track. It is a track that typically fits into his strength -- fast and one that rewards taking risks with a loose race car.

While Johnson has one top-five finish in four races at AMS, he also has three finishes outside the top-20, including a DNF in the spring race earlier this season.

Team Lowe's is confident that it can bounce back from it's performance this spring, answer the challenges that AMS poses and bring home another top-10 finish this weekend.

Quotes from Jimmie Johnson

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE TIGHTS POINTS BATTLE? "It makes for exciting racing for the fans. I think that you're going to see the teams battling in the top-10 perform well over the last few races. These teams have worked so hard to get into this position; I just don't see any of us throwing that away. I see it coming down to what we saw last week -- guys not gaining much ground because everyone finished in the top-10. If you want to improve your position, you need to have a stretch of races where you finish in the top-five to have a chance of gaining positions in the standings."

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE UPCOMING TRACKS FOR TEAM LOWE'S? "We need to take one race at a time and concentrate on getting the most out of each race. We can't afford to get ahead of ourselves and make costly mistakes. This team has worked really hard to focus each week and concentrate on the final push. In the final weeks of last season we had all sorts of stuff happen to us -- the No. 6 hit us in Talladega before the race started; I battled a very tough setup at Atlanta and finished 22nd, spinning out twice; we stripped a hub and lost a lot of points in Rockingham; and in Phoenix, we had a tire problem late in the race that cost us a top-10 finish. To me, we still have a lot to prove on those tracks, as those results aren't indicative of our capabilities. The key will be staying within our means and remaining focused on the job at hand each week. I feel confident that we can continue the push we started in Kansas, finish strong and hopefully finish the season in the top three in points."

WHAT MAKES ATLANTA SO UNIQUE? "In qualifying trim, it's the fastest place we go to, so right there it adds a certain dimension to it. And then there's the race itself. The asphalt has some years on it. The way the banking works around the race track really promotes three-wide racing. We're always hoping for two-wide, and then we end up with three and sometimes four-wide. The fact that we have other options on the race track for lines and can move around and not be stuck behind someone in an aero disadvantage makes it unique."

IS ATLANTA TOO FAST? "Those speeds are only in qualifying. Each time we go there, it seems to be a hot topic. It's always been fast. When I was racing in a Busch car there in 2000, before the engine changes, we'd run wide-open all the way around the track. The speed difference between 190 mph and 180 mph, like the difference between the Lowe's and Atlanta tracks, is not enough to notice."

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson