Pocono II: Jimmie Johnson preview

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Pocono Raceway this weekend for Sunday's 500-mile race on the Pennsylvania track. The 2006 champion hopes to break his string of bad luck that includes accidents ...

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Pocono Raceway this weekend for Sunday's 500-mile race on the Pennsylvania track. The 2006 champion hopes to break his string of bad luck that includes accidents ending his races at Chicagoland and Indianapolis. Johnson is ninth in the season points' race but still in the prime position to repeat as Nextel Cup champion.

There are six races before the top twelve drivers will participate in the 10-race "Chase for the Championship." Under its new rules in 2007, all "Chase" participants' driver points are reset to 5,000 then drivers are rewarded 10 additional points for each victory. That means if the "Chase" were to start today, Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon would be tied for the lead with 5,040 points because each owns four victories -- two more than any other driver.

DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:

IS POCONO A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN GET BACK ON TRACK? "I think so. The next few races are good tracks for us; Pocono being one of them. It just seems like when you get the monkey on your back it's hard to get him off. From great places like Chicago when we were fighting for a win and having an issue and losing steam, we hope that Pocono can turn that around. We really need to start finishing in the top 10 to make sure we transfer into the Chase."

INTENSITY LEVEL BEFORE AND DURING THE CHASE: "When the Chase starts up, every point and position makes a difference. You really end up living from lap to lap versus the longer view of thinking we have until the end of summer to really position ourselves to make the Chase. So it's just much more intense and living by the moment experience when you're inside the Chase."

ON RESETTING THE POINTS: "It certainly looks like I'll be a big beneficiary of it (resetting the points) and with the way that it is, I'll take that forgiveness the way the point system is structured right now and try to capitalize on it. But when you look at Jeff's (Gordon) point situation and how strong he has been, deep down inside there is still a part of me that says, 'Man, the guy's had a great year and deserves to be the champion and have it re-racked with everybody on top of him again probably isn't fair.' But it's the way it is. The Chase does a lot of positive things for our sport. I'm in a position where I could capitalize on a tough summer. So you deal with the situation, as it exists. Just falling back on the way racing has always been and the way we've all raced through the season and had every point add up to equal a champion, if Jeff doesn't win the championship I'm sure he'll have a lot of heartburn over it. And I think us racers, deep down inside, might not think that it's exactly right. But it's different racing today than it was years back."

NOTES

Chassis

* Johnson will drive chassis 359 at Pocono with chassis 297 serving as the backup. See chassis history below.

Pocono Raceway

* In 11 starts, Johnson has completed all 2,076 of 2,085 laps at Pocono. He owns an average starting spot of 8.5 and average finish of 11.2. He has won twice there and has led 275 laps.

-credit: hm

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