Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson preview

* Johnson has made 16 Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway where he has earned six wins, including five of the last seven events at the half-mile venue. * He has also collected 11 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. His only finish...

* Johnson has made 16 Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway where he has earned six wins, including five of the last seven events at the half-mile venue.

* He has also collected 11 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. His only finish below 10th was his first visit to the track in 2002 (finished 35).

* Of the 17 tracks on which Johnson has visited Victory Lane, he has the most wins (6) at Martinsville Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

* Johnson has completed 99.3% (7957 of 8011) of competition laps at the track and has led 1551.

* He has an average start and finish of 12.0 and 5.1.

* Brand new chassis No. 590 will be the primary for Sunday's event.

* Johnson last drove backup chassis No. 520 to a 36th-place result at Richmond International Raceway last May. Prior to that event, Johnson had driven the car four times, winning each event (2008 fall races at Richmond, Martinsville and Phoenix, and 2009 spring race at Martinsville).

LOOKING TOWARD MARTINSVILLE, SOME DRIVERS LOVE IT AND SOME HATE IT. DO YOU LOVE IT OR HATE IT AND WHY? "I love it. It took me a year to really understand the track. And actually it took Tony Stewart lapping me to help me understand what I was doing wrong and to figure the racetrack out. I think it's a great opportunity for myself in the spring to get a win. And then in the fall it's been a really good track for us points-wise in The Chase. So I'm really excited going back. Denny (Hamlin) has been awfully strong there I know the 24 (Jeff Gordon) will be. And a few other guys have been sorting things out there. I think it's just such a unique racetrack. Real quirky and difficult to get the car to handle correctly with the weird braking zone, how tight the radius of the corner is, and then you need to be able to put all this horse power down up off the turns. And it's just really tough to figure it out from a chassis standpoint and from a driver standpoint. I mean you can really make the car mad there if you do some things wrong. It's been a great place for me and I really enjoy racing there."

WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES IT SO FRUSTRATING FOR SOME DRIVERS? "You can't just ride around and expect to go fast. So you have to attack the racetrack but learning where to attack the track is the hard part. It just doesn't come with conventional thinking the way that you run fast on that racetrack; it just doesn't show up through that way of thought. So again it took Tony Stewart lapping me and driving away from me to say, 'Well he's going much faster than I am, maybe I should drive like that for a while.' And then I figured things out and got my rhythm at that racetrack."

ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW SPOILER? "I think we're as ready as anyone. But until we get out there and really have someone to chase and some lap times and can get in traffic and figure out what's going on, I think we're all on equal ground and hoping we have what we need. But nobody has a clear advantage at this point so it's going to be different. The wing was put on the car to help with downforce for the cars behind. It was less sensitive to the pitch and attitude of the car and made the car more friendly. So with that stuff in mind, I'm assuming the car is going to be a bit more of a handful in certain situations. And we need to put the car in those situations to understand how to get that balance right."

-source: jjPR

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson