Atlanta II: Jimmie Johnson preview

Grabbing his sixth win of the season at Martinsville Speedway, Jimmie Johnson has extended his lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to 149 points heading into this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Piloting the No. 48...

Grabbing his sixth win of the season at Martinsville Speedway, Jimmie Johnson has extended his lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup to 149 points heading into this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Piloting the No. 48 Kobalt Tools Impala SS, Johnson is looking to add a fourth win to his resume at the 1.5-mile track. The back-to-back Sprint Cup Series champion has won two of the last three races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and has collected more points there that any other driver over the last 10 races.

JIMMIE JOHNSON:

GIVE US A PREVIEW OF ATLANTA: "I think it's going to be an exciting race. Atlanta is one of the more technical and difficult tracks to sort out with this Car of Tomorrow. There are a lot of swells in the track and it makes the car come on and off the bump stops, which is not a good thing. It makes the car feel inconsistent. So I think the end result is going to be a lot of cars slipping and sliding and a good show for the fans. I'm excited about it and we're going to be in good shape."

IS IT A MORALE BOOST TO TAKE A HEALTHY POINT LEAD TO A TRACK THAT YOU FAVOR OVER SOME OTHER TRACKS? "Yeah, truthfully, a healthy points lead anywhere in the Chase is good. You just don't know what's going to happen. We were able to go to Martinsville and deliver like history has shown. But you can't count on that stuff. That's why they run the race. It's 500 miles at Atlanta. So much can happen. So we're excited. Our track record shows that we've done well and we feel like we're going to do well, but we've still got to get out there and do the job. That's the tough part."

IS THERE A REAL DIFFERENCE OF MINDSET WHEN THE TOP 10 ARE CHASING YOU (vs. YOU CHASING A DIFFERENT LEADER)? "I've always felt it's been much more difficult to defend. And I don't know; I guess I kind of have an idea of what's changed this year, but I feel like we're more confident as a team and we're doing a better job, and it's all due to experience and dealing with pressure situations. We can defend better today than we've ever been able to in our career. We've been able to grow in that position and in that role as the years have gone by. We're certainly doing a good job of that now. And we still have four (races) to go and a lot can happen. We've watched the Truck race take a 100-point swing last weekend and I know that reality could be there for us. And we just need to stay focused and committed to what we do as a team and how we execute and take it from there."

RACE NOTES

Atlanta Motor Speedway

* Johnson has made 14 starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his Cup Series career, collecting three wins, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes.

* Johnson has collected more points at Atlanta Motor Speedway than any other driver over the past 10 races and has won two of the last three events there, including last fall's Kobalt Tools 500.

* The Team Lowe's Racing driver has completed 99.5% (4456 of 4477) of competition laps and has led 346.

* He has an average start and finish of 8.6 and 9.6.

* Chassis No. 504, which Johnson has driven five times this season, will be the primary for Sunday's race. Johnson has won three races from the pole in that chassis this season: Indianapolis, California and Kansas. The other two results were sixth-place finishes.

* Johnson's backup chassis, No. 502, was last driven to a third-place finish at Pocono Raceway in Aug.

-credit: hm

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson