Daytona Test: Jimmie Johnson leads second test day

"Front row Lowe's" continues trend at Daytona test DAYTONA BEACH, (January 8, 2002) - Jimmie Johnson, the new driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolet Monte Carlo, proved that yesterday's performance at the Daytona test...

"Front row Lowe's" continues trend at Daytona test

DAYTONA BEACH, (January 8, 2002) - Jimmie Johnson, the new driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolet Monte Carlo, proved that yesterday's performance at the Daytona test was no fluke.

Johnson stayed at the front of the pack all day on Tuesday, but picked up speed as he and his new team learned their way around Daytona International Speedway. The Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate ran 49.151/183.109 mph in the morning session and sped up to 48.962/183.816 mph in the afternoon session. He topped Bill Elliott's 2001 pole winning speed of 183.565 mph. He was again the fastest team from Hendrick Motorsports, although Jeff Gordon and Terry Labonte were among the top 10 quickest.

"This has been an awesome two days of testing for us," said Johnson. "It's a great shot in the arm for the whole team. This is the first time a lot of these guys have worked together. Chad (Knaus) came on board just a month ago and he's been a huge help with our speedway program and everything in general. The chemistry is looking really strong. Everyone is gelling well. We're all very proud to have Lowe's on board, too."

New crew chief Chad Knaus, who is returning to his roots at Hendrick Motorsports, agreed with his young driver.

"Things are going really well right now," Knaus said. "We're pretty pleased with the performance on the track. The communication is coming together and Jimmie and I are really trying to spend as much time together as we can. His house, my house, we go to dinner together - whatever it takes to learn each other's vocabulary. Not only does Jimmie have to learn Winston Cup cars, but I have to learn Jimmie and he has to learn me. We have to put it all together to make it happen. That's what we're trying to focus on right now."

In the final day of testing at Daytona International Speedway, the Lowe's team will focus on drafting, something new to Jimmie Johnson. "When it comes to drafting, the one thing Jeff [Gordon] has taught me about racing at Daytona is patience," said Johnson. "He can't seem to stress that enough. He's taught me that it's important to remain calm and patient during a race like Daytona and make use of the friends you have out there. You can't do it all by yourself like some of the other tracks. I've raced some of these guys last year in Busch and in the three Cup races I ran, so I'm hoping that they understand the kind of driver I am and that I'm not coming out there to drive on top of them or spin them out. It's all about patience and friends...that, and a little luck."

-hm-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeff Gordon , Terry Labonte , Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus
Teams Hendrick Motorsports