Pocono II: In the loop

Johnson Searching For Answers Hamlin A Pocono Whiz Kid DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 1, 2007) -- Jimmie Johnson has become known for the summer swoon. A string of bad luck and bad finishes have regularly plagued his career during the dog days.

Johnson Searching For Answers
Hamlin A Pocono Whiz Kid

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 1, 2007) -- Jimmie Johnson has become known for the summer swoon. A string of bad luck and bad finishes have regularly plagued his career during the dog days. Usually, though, the slump usually doesn't come until August.

For instance:
*Last season, from August 13 at Watkins Glen until October 8 at Talladega, Johnson notched just one top 10 (a 10th-place finish at Bristol).

*In 2005, from August 7 at Indianapolis until Sept. 10 at Richmond, Johnson had an average finish of 21.7.

*In 2004, he had August finishes of 36th (Indy), 40th (Watkins Glen) and 40th (Michigan).

The trend has started early this year, and with finishes of 37th at Chicago and 39th at Indy, Johnson finds himself ninth in the points.

Johnson has never been this low in the points after race 20:

Jimmie Johnson Points Standing After Race 20
2002: 3rd
2003: 4th
2004: 1st
2005: 1st
2006: 1st
2007: 9th

There is good news for Johnson -- the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Johnson has finished outside of the top 15 there only once in 11 races -- this past June he finished 42nd because of a cut front left tire. Prior to this year's Pocono race, Johnson had finished in the top 10 in five of six Pocono races. He swept the 2004 Pocono races, leading a combined 250 out of 400 laps.

Since 2005, Johnson ranks in the top 15 in a number of Loop Data statistics -- in spite of the 42nd place June finish.

Below are Johnson's numbers, along with his rank among drivers competing Sunday.

Jimmie Johnson at Pocono (2005-2007)
Driver Rating: 90.8 (11th)
Average Running Position: 13.6 (10th)
Fastest Laps Run: 13 (13th)
Laps in the Top 15: 597 (9th)
Quality Passes*: 148 (10th)

* -- Quality Passes are passes of cars in the top 15 under green flag conditions.

In 2004, Johnson was the man to beat at Pocono. But lately, Denny Hamlin has mastered the tricky Pocono layout like no other. He swept there last season, and led a race-high 49 laps in a sixth-place finish this past June. In the three races Hamlin has run at Pocono, the sophomore sensation has dominated statistically:

Pocono Driver Rating (Last 3 Races)
Driver DR
1. Denny Hamlin 137.5
2. Tony Stewart 112.0
3. Kurt Busch 109.8
4. Jeff Burton 106.0
5. Jeff Gordon 101.4

Pocono Average Finish (Last 3 Races)
Driver Avg. Fin.
1. Denny Hamlin 2.7
2. Tony Stewart 5.0
3. Kurt Busch 6.7
4. Matt Kenseth 9.3
5. Kevin Harvick 9.7

Pocono Fastest Laps Run (Last 3 Races)
Driver FLR
1. Denny Hamlin 164
2. Tony Stewart 32
3. Jeff Burton 25
4. Brian Vickers 24
5. Kurt Busch 23

Pocono Average Running Pos. (Last 3 Races)
Driver ARP
1. Denny Hamlin 4.9
2. Jeff Burton 7.7
3. Kurt Busch 8.1
4. Tony Stewart 8.8
5. Jeff Gordon 9.7

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Brian Vickers , Denny Hamlin