Charlotte: Jimmie Johnson preview

Despite not having a win at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) last season, Jimmie Johnson is still a favorite heading into this weekend's Coca-Cola 600, the longest event of the season. Over the last 10 races at the 1.5-mile track, Johnson has ...

Despite not having a win at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) last season, Jimmie Johnson is still a favorite heading into this weekend's Coca-Cola 600, the longest event of the season.

Over the last 10 races at the 1.5-mile track, Johnson has accumulated 1715 points, more than any other driver. Second on the list is Bobby Labonte with 1373. In addition to his five wins at LMS, Johnson has started from the pole twice and brought home two victories in the track's All-Star event.

The Sprint Cup champion will also be making his season-debut in the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in Saturday's Nationwide Series race. To date, Johnson has made 87 Nationwide Series starts, bringing home one win at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001.

MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE: In honor of Memorial Day, Johnson's No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet will feature a special "Salute the Troops" logo on its deck lid during Sunday's Sprint Cup event.

JIMMIE JOHNSON:

YOUR THOUGHTS IN GENERAL OF COMING BACK TO A TRACK WHERE PEOPLE SAY 'THIS IS YOUR HOUSE'. "It has been very good to us for a few years. Last year, we had the speed and I think we finished second. I ran well in both races, but we didn't have that dominating fashion that we did before. I am glad that people still say that. It means a lot to Hendrick to run well here. Also the No. 48 here at Lowe's Motor Speedway. We want it, we are going to show up and hopefully have that. But the tricks that used to work here for me, aren't here anymore. They have resurfaced the track a few times, it is just not the same Charlotte that we had such a good feel for. But, I still think we are going to be in the hunt."

ON PREPARING FOR A LONG RACE LIKE THE 600, IS THERE A DIFFERENT MIND SET? "I don't really treat it much different than any long race. I've had some bad luck at the start of some of those events, thankfully it's been a 600-mile race. I think I passed Bobby Labonte coming to the checkered one time. If it was a 500-mile race that would have never happened because we had some difficulties. The long races really suit the 48 team. I think the challenges from day to night help us. We usually do a good job staying on top of that. I think that our team is well prepared, I'm well prepared physically and that all shows up in a 600-mile event too. It's really one of our strongest races on the calendar year in and year out."

ON SATURDAY'S NATIONWIDE SERIES EVENT: "I'm looking forward to working with Chad (Walters) and that group again. We had a top 10 finish at this race last May so hopefully we'll be able to do the same this time around. This will be my first race in a car for JR Motorsports, so it'll be fun to go out and see what we can do at LMS."

RACE NOTES -- SPRINT CUP:

Chassis
* A brand new chassis, No. 502, will be the primary for Team Lowe's Racing in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. The backup will be chassis No. 480, which Johnson drove to a 13th-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March.

Lowe's Motor Speedway
Johnson has made 13 Cup starts at Lowe's Motor Speedway, tallying five wins, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. He has completed 96.9% of competition laps and has an average start and finish of 8.7 and 6.8.

RACE NOTES -- NATIONWIDE:

Chassis
* Johnson will be piloting brand new chassis No. 495, the newest in the JR Motorsports fleet, in Saturday's Nationwide Series event. The backup chassis, No. 403, was driven to a 22nd-place finish by Casey Mears at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Nov. 2007.

Lowe's Motor Speedway
Johnson has made 11 Nationwide Series starts at LMS, collecting one top-five and three top-10 finishes. He's completed 80.5% of competition laps and has an average start and finish of 18.3 and 22.3.

-credit: hm

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson
Teams JR Motorsports