HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2013) – The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the Granite State this weekend. New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon has proven to be a tough place at times for Jimmie Johnson. He has three wins, his most recent one coming at the mile oval in July 2010. But prior to that, a 2003 sweep was the last time he visited victory lane there.

Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Fortunately, Johnson’s last four races at the “Magic Mile” have ended in top-10 runs. At last year’s September race, he missed a shot at the win, earning a runner-up finish. It’s a position he hopes to improve on by one spot during Sunday’s Sylvania 300 after points leader Matt Kenseth won last weekend’s opening Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Johnson was bumped to third in points after his fifth-place finish at Chicagoland, a position he has never occupied entering the second race of the Chase.

The Lowe’s team tested last month at New Hampshire and all indications point to a productive weekend. With Johnson celebrating his 38th birthday Tuesday, it’s time for him to rock it in the Granite State. And there’d be no better gift than celebrating at the New Hampshire track with his fifth win of the season and what would be his 23rd in the history of the Chase.

Johnson’s New Hampshire Quick Stats:

· Three wins (July 2010, July and September 2003)

· No poles.

· Eight top-five finishes (34.8 percent) and 16 top-10s (69.6 percent) in 23 starts.

· Average start of 12.5 and average finish of 9.4.

· Completed 6,709 of 6,777 laps (99.0 percent) and led 321.

· No DNFs (did not finish).

· Sprint Cup’s third-best driver rating (105.1 average of a possible 150 points).

· Sprint Cup’s best in fastest laps run (409).

· Sprint Cup’s second-best in quality passes (565).

2013 Season Notes of Interest:

· Currently third in points, 11 points out of first in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

· Four wins (February and July Daytona, April Martinsville, June Dover).

· Two poles (Martinsville, August Pocono).

· 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.

· Sprint-Cup’s second-best in laps led (15 races for 1,179 laps).

Driver, Team and Sponsor Notes

· Johnson will drive the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS at Loudon.

JIMMIE JOHNSON, Driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports:

What can we expect at New Hampshire?

“We had a great racecar there earlier this year and we’ve tested there, so I’m optimistic going back. The way the race unfolds, it’s definitely a different game when you get into the top-10. Restarts were important and the lane you were in made a difference on how you could pass.”

How do you think the change to the restart rules went the other night at Chicago?

“I think the change is good. I think we need to work on closing up some of the gaps between cars, but I applaud NASCAR for making a change. Something needed to be done.”

True Speed Communication