Jimmie Johnson off weekend notes 2007-02-27

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will test the Chevrolet Impala Car of Tomorrow this week at Bristol Motor Speedway. After the test the teams will enjoy an off weekend before traveling to the newly configured...

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will test the Chevrolet Impala Car of Tomorrow this week at Bristol Motor Speedway. After the test the teams will enjoy an off weekend before traveling to the newly configured Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the March 11 race. Johnson won the 2005 and 2006 races in Las Vegas, but the track has undergone a multimillion dollar face lift that saw the banking increased from 12 to 20 degrees on the 1.5-mile track. Johnson and other drivers tested on the track earlier this month. Johnson has won the last two races at Las Vegas.

DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:

OFF-WEEKEND: "Hopefully we get the Bristol test in where we can have the weekend off. If so, I'm going to the mountains with Chandra and some friends."

START OF SEASON: "To me, it seems like the same players from the closing races of last season are still strong with the current car. With the Car of Tomorrow, I think we are all learning at the same time who has got what. We feel pretty strong about the development on our Car of Tomorrow but we will find out. It is great to get off to a good start, especially here with Vegas coming up and Atlanta not too far away. Nice to know our downforce stuff is where it needs to be."

NEW TRACK SURFACE AT LAS VEGAS: "The speed inside the car doesn't seem high. I think we're going to put on a good race. The new banking is going to allow us to have more grooves. I'm disappointed to know that we're going to have some tire issues and that's why we're going back with a smaller fuel cell. The track has some bumps going through the straightaway. Then as you get into turn one -- because you're on the brakes trying to slow the car down along with the force of the banking -- the wave turns into some severe bumps. The car gets off the ground. So it's real tough to get the front tires on the ground so that they can grip and secondly to get the car to work directly through those bumps as well as be comfortable and carry speed. I think it's a good thing in a weird way because we'll start searching for a second lane and that allows teams to really work on the setup of the cars to make the performance of the car come around."

-credit: hm

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson