Richmond: Jimmie Johnson preview

Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for Saturday's tenth race of the 2007 season and the fourth race for the Impala SS "Car of Tomorrow." Johnson owns three and ...

Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Richmond International Raceway this weekend for Saturday's tenth race of the 2007 season and the fourth race for the Impala SS "Car of Tomorrow." Johnson owns three and his Hendrick Motorsports team owns six victories in the first nine races. Johnson is fourth in points trailing leader Jeff Gordon by 231 points. Gordon earned his 77th career victory and moved into sixth on the all-time victory list. This weekend begins a string of Nextel Cup events in May that all end at night.

DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:

RICHMOND: "I think you'll see another good race. The track itself seemed to allow a second groove last time we raced there and in the test session there were a lot of guys up high already. So we're hopeful we'll have good side-by-side racing. I think the Richmond test got us ready for the Phoenix race and now going back to Phoenix I think the competition will be closer and I do think Hendrick has done a good job of getting off to a really fast start. But if you look around, I think Gibbs has been awfully tough, the No. 17 showed a lot of strength at Phoenix so I think all the big teams certainly are figuring this thing out. Guys who run well at Richmond I think you'll see back up front again."

DO YOU ENJOY NIGHT RACING? "I do, I didn't even know that, though. Night races are fun. I think that for myself, the hotter the track is, the slicker it is, the better I perform and the better our team does. The night races seem a little bit more forgiving so that's the only side of it where I go 'well, I wish it was a day race.' Still, I think it puts on a good show for the fans and the cars look better at night too."

JEFF GORDON: "It's been awesome working with Jeff from the year I started. To be a part of that and to have that person to fall back on to help me with what I need to do in the car and the setups was a huge help for me getting started. To Jeff's standards, he hasn't had the years that we're used to seeing or that he's wanted but they've still been amazing years. This year it's the Jeff that we all know and expect to see and he's doing an amazing job. It's really shocked me, working with him, to see the feel he has for this car and the way that he can find speed in it with his driving techniques. And also the way he's able to feel exactly what he needs and relay that to (crew chief) Steve (Letarte) and have Stevie fix it.

"So I really think the Impala SS in particular is something that fits his style. Maybe it's more like the 1990s car that he was so used to racing and driving and having a lot of success with. At the same time the current car, he's been up front and fighting for wins too. So you can't ever count him out. The guy is awesome and it's a pleasure working with him."

NOTES

Chassis

* Johnson will drive chassis 48424 at Richmond while chassis 48219 will serve as a backup. Neither has raced.

Richmond International Raceway

* In ten starts, Johnson has completed 3,568 of 3,993 laps. He owns an average starting spot of 14.7 and average finish of 21.2. He has led 128 laps at Richmond.

2007 Season

* Johnson is the only driver with three victories.

* Chevrolet has won eight of the season's nine races.

* Hendrick Motorsports has won six of the season's nine races.

* Johnson has led 380 laps in 2007.

Career

* Johnson has won at least three races a season since he posted his first victory in 2002. He is the only driver in the modern era to win at least three races in each of his first six full-time seasons.

* Johnson's victory at Martinsville on April 1 was the 26th of his Nextel Cup career. This win ties him with Fred Lorenzen for 22nd place on the list for most victories since 1949.

* Johnson's owns nine poles in his career. He has won a pole in each of his first five seasons -- the longest streak among active drivers.

History

* In 192 starts, Johnson has posted 72 top-5 finishes and 116 top-10 finishes. He has a top-10 finish at every track on the NASCAR Nextel Cup series circuit. Kansas is the only track where he has not posted a top-five finish. Johnson has led 4,575 laps and driven 55,333 laps in his Nextel Cup career covering over 73,907 miles. He has finished on the lead lap 147times.

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Fred Lorenzen
Teams Hendrick Motorsports