Fontana: Jimmie Johnson preview

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson returns to his home state of California this weekend as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races at California Speedway on Sunday. Johnson earned the first of his 23 Nextel Cup victories at the Fontana track in ...

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson returns to his home state of California this weekend as the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races at California Speedway on Sunday. Johnson earned the first of his 23 Nextel Cup victories at the Fontana track in 2001. The 2006 Series Champion finished 39th at the Daytona 500 on Sunday.

DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:

HOW DIFFERENT DOES IT FEEL TO COME OFF THE DAYTONA 500 THIS YEAR COMPARED TO WINNING IT IN '06? "Well, you certainly carry momentum from race to race and that's a part of it. With the Daytona 500 being a restrictor plate race and then the bulk of the season being based on downforce tracks, there is a little loss of momentum. The No. 29 (Kevin Harvick) team is definitely going to be on a high coming into Fontana as will be the No. 01 (Mark Martin), but outside of that, the season -- in some people's minds -- starts this weekend. So out attitude will certainly adjust after the race at California Speedway."

THERE IS SO MUCH HYPE WITH THE DAYTONA 500, DO YOU HAVE TO BE MORE LEVEL-HEADED AND NOT GET CAUGHT UP IN IT EITHER WAY, GOOD OR BAD? "I think everybody has their own style in the way they approach things. As the years go by, I find myself much more relaxed in setting the pace that I think I can keep all year long and not burning myself out or over-worry about the start of the season or about that particular event. So I think experience certainly helps relax the driver and the team."

IS THERE MORE PRESSURE NOT TO GET IN A HOLE AT THIS POINT IN THE SEASON? "No, it's racing. That's what we deal with. Unfortunately we had a wreck in our first race of the season and this coming race there will be a handful more guys that end up being caught up in a wreck and go that way into Vegas and on and on and on. So it's just how racing goes and it's one of 37."

Notes

* In eight starts at California Speedway, Johnson has completed all 2,005 laps. He owns one victory and four top-five finishes. His average starting spot is 11.4 and average finish is 8.0. He has never finished worse than 16th.

-credit: hm

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin