This weekend Lowe's Monte Carlo driver Jimmie Johnson and Team 48 travel to Dover Downs International Speedway for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race. The Dover race marks Johnson's 175th career start and the second of ten 2006 "Chase for the ...
This weekend Lowe's Monte Carlo driver Jimmie Johnson and Team 48 travel to Dover Downs International Speedway for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race. The Dover race marks Johnson's 175th career start and the second of ten 2006 "Chase for the Championship" races. He has won three times at Dover including this race in 2005. Johnson finished 39th -- his worst result of the season - at New Hampshire last weekend and is ninth in the "Chase" 139 points behind Kevin Harvick.
DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:
MINDSET GOING TO DOVER: "Well, we just need to get to work and go racing. We've got a great race team. We've been able to score a lot of points all year long. We definitely got off to a start that we didn't want. That's racing. Stuff happens. We had a problem with a sparkplug wire that got us in that position where we got in the crash. Just a part failure. A couple guys have had this problem this year. We're doing everything we can to correct that and make sure that nothing like that pops up out of our control and hurts us in the future. You know, we just got to go racing. There are still nine races left in this deal. We're very excited, very pumped up. The guys have great spirits. I have great spirits. Just time to get to work."
CAN YOU GET ON A ROLE LIKE YOU DID IN 2004 WHEN YOU WON FOUR OF THE FINAL SIX RACES? "If you look at the situation we're in, we're 139 points down. We were 247 down in '04, six races remaining, only lost by eight points. My guys have done the math. We need to outscore the 29 by 15.4 points from this point on to end up in the points lead. The way I look at it, yeah, it's been a bad race. Something out of our control got us. This team is capable of so much. If we show up, give a hundred percent, do our job, I truly, in my heart, feel like we'll be back in the middle of this thing. I can't forecast the future. I don't know what's going to happen. All I can do is control my team and what we do in the next nine races. I still think we're in a position to score points and get ourselves back in this points battle."
ARE THERE ANY RACES IN THESE REMAINING NINE THAT YOU CIRCLED AS SAYING 'THIS ONE WE'RE REALLY GOING TO MAKE A MOVE' "Well, it's not that we're going to make a move. We don't have that luxury to sit around and be cautious. It's go time. We need to score points, a lot of points, every race. The highlights and tracks that I look at and feel good about, one would be Dover. Talladega, we have a great restrictor plate program. I think that's a strong race for us. Lowe's Motor Speedway's a great race for us. I think in the whole scheme of things, in the Chase, there are a lot of good tracks for the 48 team. Martinsville is a great place for me. I feel like there's a lot of good chances for me to score points."
Johnson has completed all 3,425 of 2,615 laps in his nine starts at Dover. He has an average starting position of 12.1 and an average finish of 11.2. He has led 553 laps in six of his nine races. Johnson has three victories at Dover including his first two races at the "Monster Mile" in 2002. Johnson and Ryan Newman are tied for third among active drivers with three victories at Dover. Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin each own four.
Rick Hendrick leads all car owners with ten victories at Dover among. Five drivers from Hendrick Motorsports have visited Victory Lane at Dover.
Johnson is one of three drivers to participate in all three "Chase" battles. He finished second in the 2004 "Chase" and fifth last year. This will be Johnson's fifth consecutive season finishing in the top ten in points.
Johnson owns six "Chase" victories -- the most of any driver -- and led 434 laps but suffered five finishes outside the top 30 in his 21 career "Chase" races.
Johnson was the point leader after all but four races in the 26-race regular season.
Johnson's Lowe's Monte Carlo has been running at the end of all 27 races in 2006. He owns four victories -- second only to Kasey Kahne's five wins - and 18 top-ten finishes -- the most of any driver.
Johnson has been among the top 10 in points for 96 consecutive races, since March 2004 which is the longest current streak. Johnson is fifth on the consecutive races in the modern era's point's top 10 list. Dale Earnhardt's 174 races tops the list.