Virginia Is for Short-Track Lovers
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 25, 2011) – The ubiquitous state tourism slogan for Virginia could also apply to the short track located in Richmond (Va.) that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits twice a year. Few, including Jimmie Johnson, would disagree that Richmond International Raceway produces some exciting races. Fans seem to love the short confines of .75-mile D-shaped oval, and the race, which is run under the lights, adds to the excitement.
For the drivers and teams, short-track racing often means a high attrition rate. Johnson, however, has managed to stay out of major trouble in most of the 20 Richmond races in which he has competed. His only DNF (did not finish) occurred in May 2005.
He won the pole in September 2002 and 2007. Of his three victories, two occurred in the final race before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship (September 2007 and 2008). He would go on to win the championship in each of those years. His other victory was in May 2007.
Johnson’s short-track record includes 62 starts, 10 wins, 25 top-five finishes and 37 top-10s. He has finished on the lead lap 43 times. Of 28,242 laps available, he has led 2,940.
Johnson still is looking for his first victory of the season and the historic 200th for Hendrick Motorsports. In eight races run this season, he has finished outside the top-10 only twice. He finished in the top-three in his last two outings. Johnson wouldn’t mind showing his love for Virginia by spraying Gatorade in victory lane at the conclusion of Saturday night’s Richmond 400.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, Driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports: www.twitter.com/jimmiejohnson, www.twitter.com/lowesracing and www.twitter.com/teamhendrick
We are back short-track racing at Richmond. How much do you enjoy short-track racing? Can you compare Richmond to Martinsville, a short track where you have been successful?
“They are so different. I love short tracks, first of all, and think we need more. Although Richmond has been a challenging track for me over the years, it’s a place I love to watch a race at. Hopefully, I’ve got the right stuff working. I can go there and be successful. Short tracks, I think, really draw the fans and create the excitement we need in the sport. Although the tracks drive totally differently, they are still both a lot of fun.”
Do you enjoy Saturday-night racing under the lights or do you prefer racing on Sunday afternoon?
“As a fan, I love the night race. As a driver, we are in a rhythm of day racing. It’s so tough to save your energy, even grab a nap so that you are ready for the night. That aspect is hard, but I love racing under the lights. Once I’m in the moment, it’s great, but it’s a long day waiting for the race to start.”