Talladega: Jimmie Johnson preview

Jimmie Johnson and the Team Lowe's Racing crew enjoyed a well-deserved off weekend before heading to Talladega Superspeedway for the second restrictor-plate race of the season. In 12 previous starts at Talladega, Johnson has collected one win ...

Jimmie Johnson and the Team Lowe's Racing crew enjoyed a well-deserved off weekend before heading to Talladega Superspeedway for the second restrictor-plate race of the season.

In 12 previous starts at Talladega, Johnson has collected one win (May 2006), four top fives and five top-10 finishes.

JIMMIE JOHNSON:

WHAT'S ON TAP FOR TALLADEGA SINCE WE DID SEE THESE CARS IN THE FALL RACE THERE? "I think Talladega is going to be an exciting race. Being in the points, we held back and really tried to stay out of harms way (in the fall). I think it led to a not-so-exciting race at Talladega. I remember some criticism for it. I would expect this race to be completely out of control and wild. The points are always important, but with the Chase format, I think you will see a much more competitive race. A lot more guys taking risks and getting in the middle of things and racing four-wide. I am predicting a great race in Talladega."

IN THE 7 YEARS YOU'VE BEEN RACING, HAS THERE BEEN A BIG CHANGE ON HOW DRIVERS SET UP FOR THE LAST FIVE OR 10 LAPS OF THE RACE AT TALLADEGA? CAN YOU RACE BETTER THERE NOW IN THE LAST FEW LAPS THAN YOU COULD PREVIOUSLY? "Yeah, I think so. I think that the Car of Tomorrow and the new pavement that we have down give more opportunities to different cars and drivers in the closing laps. The track is racier now because of the whole package. With the Car of Tomorrow, there is enough room now where it's not like Daytona where you need to handle as much. So with the big hole that this car punches in the air, you can take advantage of that."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE BOOST YOUR WIN HAS GIVEN TO THE TEAM? "I think our second place finish in Texas did as much for us mentally and emotionally as the victory did in Phoenix. I felt like we were going to be on par with our short track stuff and Martinsville showed that. The win certainly was great medicine for the team. We have been worried about our intermediate track stuff and having a successful race in Texas and being competitive validated all the testing that we did and gave us a shot in the arm. Really the last two races have done a lot for the 48 team and a lot for all of Hendrick Motorsports. We have a lot of testing ahead of us and we are playing a little bit of catch up on the mile and a half tracks, but I think our short track stuff, our road course stuff and speedway stuff is going to be just where we need it and we are going to be as everyone would expect on those tracks."

* Team Lowe's Racing will use a brand new chassis, No. 482, as its primary in the April 27 event. Johnson drove the backup car, chassis No. 457, to a runner-up finish at Talladega last October.

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports