All-Star: Jimmie Johnson preview

Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Lowe's Motor Speedway for Saturday's NASCAR Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge and the 600-mile race on May 27 where his No. 48 Monte Carlo will carry a "Power of Pride" paint...

Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Lowe's Motor Speedway for Saturday's NASCAR Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge and the 600-mile race on May 27 where his No. 48 Monte Carlo will carry a "Power of Pride" paint scheme both weekends.

Johnson is dominant at LMS owning All-Star victories in 2003 and 2006 plus five victories in points races including eight consecutive finishes in the top three. He has led a quarter of the laps he has raced at LMS.

Johnson will have a special interest in Saturday night's pre-race show. His crew chief Chad Knaus will race a Thunder Roadster painted like the Lowe's Nextel Cup car on the LMS quarter-mile track in the Kobalt Tools Crew Chief race. SPEED will air the 30-minute race live as part of its All-Star coverage.

DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON:

ON WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT THE ALL-STAR CHALLENGE: "I don't know, maybe the million bucks on the line. We all enter it and say it's not a points race and I certainly think that makes everybody a little bit more aggressive but when the purse is that large you also take on the mindset of a points race because you want win. I think it gets really intense. It's a place where we can try new setups and I think sometimes cars aren't driving like they typically would so guys more are on the raged edge in some areas. It's just the combination of everything."

DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THE 600 WITH AS MUCH CONFIDENCE AS YOU ALWAYS HAVE? "I do especially after the test we just had. We had a really strong two-day test session and I feel that we addressed some things that hurt us last year in those two races where we ran second. We've found some speed there so I'm really excited for the next couple races."

WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS HURT YOU THE LAST COUPLE OF RACES THERE? "I'd say we didn't have a good balance from the start of the run to the end of the run. The track gets so tight and the way that that tire works with the track and the demands on the car, at the end of 10 laps the car has massive understeer in it but you're starting off wrecking loose. So you've got to balance that out and we've found some things that really helped us not lose too much time at the start of the run because the car was loose and then as the car built tight we didn't get too tight and were able to maintain some higher speeds."

CAR OF TOMORROW: "We lost probably 30 to 40 percent of the handling of the car going from the current car to the new car and not looking at time sheet to find out where you're ranked but just going off of fuel alone and you feel terrible, you feel slow. I've been guilty of this a few times where I go out on the track and the car and I'm like 'This thing is terrible' and all I know is what I felt last year at that track and what I felt for the last six years and then I come in and look at the board and I'm third on the board and running competitive times and it's like 'Really? I'm good after that?' So that's probably the hardest thing to deal with."

ROLE IN THE CREW CHIEF RACE: "They have me involved somehow and I can't wait to get on the radio and yell at him (Knaus) about corner entry because he's always on butt about it (and saying) 'Don't overdrive the entry, you're using the brakes to much.' Hopefully I can be on the radio and start screaming at him. Really I hope he doesn't do all that well because then it means my job's at stake. I think there's a pretty good rivalry right now between the crew chiefs involved. I just have a suspicion that it's going to turn into a bumper car match out there once it's all said and done. The racing's not going to be all clean."

CREW CHIEF CHAD KNAUS:

ON CREW CHIEF RACE: "I'm looking forward to it. All of us probably started out as racers and I guess that mentality never leaves you even when you spend your life working on cars. This will be fun, but with this group of guys I'm pretty sure it's going to be ultra competitive. I'm thinking it won't go caution free. I know Jimmie has told you all about he's going to be on the radio and in my ear. If he gets too vocal we might have to have some radio trouble."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus