Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson preview

Team 48 Martinsville Speedway Preview Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series visit Martinsville Speedway this weekend for the second race of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS (Car of Tomorrow.) Johnson finished 16th in...

Team 48 Martinsville Speedway Preview

Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series visit Martinsville Speedway this weekend for the second race of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS (Car of Tomorrow.) Johnson finished 16th in the car's debut at Bristol on Sunday. Johnson is third in the season point's race 75 behind leader Jeff Gordon. Johnson own three consecutive top-three finishes at Martinsville including a victory in the October race last year. His first race at Martinsville in the spring of 2002 is the only race Johnson hasn't registered a top ten finish on the flat half-mile track.

DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:

ON THE OPENING OF JIMMIE JOHNSON'S VICTORY LANES: "We're really excited about Martinsville. I'm always excited to race there. But we have a little extra excitement this time. The first event, the first project for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation is coming together and we can see the rewards of all the great donations and hard work we've put into this. The bowling alley that we built at Victory Junction Gang Camp, called Victory Lanes, is open! We're going to go up to the Camp on Thursday and spend some time with the campers and bowl some games and have some fun. I'm really excited to have this come together and we're looking forward to it."

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BUILD A BOWLING ALLEY FOR VICTORY JUNCTION GANG CAMP? ARE YOU A BOWLER? "Well, I wanted to get involved with the camp. I grew up racing against Adam Petty and think what the Petty family has done with the camp is an amazing thing. Channy and I asked the Kyle and Pattie (Petty) what the camp needed and they really wanted a bowling alley. So it was more of a need that the camp had. I do enjoy bowling and had fun bowling when I was a kid, so I can see why it would be such a great fit for the camp."

DO YOU THINK THE NEW RACE CAR WILL BE TOUGHER TO DRIVE AT MARTINSVILLE THAN AT BRISTOL BECAUSE OF THE BANKING?

"I'm hopeful that because we don't have an abrupt transition into the corner, that we can make the cars turn better since we're not heating the packers. I'm hopeful it's going to be a better race for us. We'll have to find out. We have heavy braking so maybe we'll be on the packers in the heavy zone where the car won't want to turn. But as soon as we start coming off the brake and turning the corner, I'm hopeful the car will rotate for us."

JUST TO BE CLEAR, WHAT ARE PACKERS? "It's something you'll start hearing a lot more of. NASCAR is allowing us to use a bump stop now with this new car. We need to limit the travel of the vehicle so that it doesn't grind the splitter off; and there are shims basically, that we put in and limit the shock travel. So really, on the shaft of the shock, you just pop these 'packers', they call them, in, and it just limits the travel of the shock, and then keeps the car off the ground."

WITH NINE CONSECUTIVE TOP-10'S AT MARTINSVILLE, WHAT THINGS ABOUT THE NEW CAR CAN STILL HELP YOU OR HURT YOU TO HAVE SUCCESS THERE? "It's been a great track for us and we had a great set-up with the old car. With the new car going back the set-up is completely different. There is nothing we can take back to that track and have it apply. I have a rhythm and a line that I use that will hopefully work in this car, but I won't know until I get out there. But I think that certain rhythm of that track is very important. So there is more driver input that I can take there more than anything."

NOTES

Chassis

* Johnson will drive chassis 407 at Martinsville this weekend. Chassis 419 will serve as the backup. Neither has raced. Johnson drove chassis 413 at Bristol.

Martinsville Speedway

* In 10 starts at Martinsville Speedway, Johnson has completed 4,946 of 5,000 laps. He owns an average starting spot of 13.3 and average finish of 7.2. He visited victory lane in the fall races in 2004 and 2006 and has top ten finishes in every race except in the spring race his rookie year in 2002. He has led 611 laps at Martinsville.

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Adam Petty , Jimmie Johnson