Bristol: Jimmie Johnson preview

Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS driver Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Team Lowe's Racing crew are looking to move up into the top-10 in points this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson, who is currently 13th in the Sprint Cup Series drivers'...

Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS driver Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Team Lowe's Racing crew are looking to move up into the top-10 in points this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson, who is currently 13th in the Sprint Cup Series drivers' points standings, has six top-10 finishes in Cup events at the half-mile track.

JIMMIE JOHNSON:

IT'S BEEN SAID THAT YOUR TEAM CAN'T FIND THE MAGIC THIS YEAR. HOW FAR FROM MAGIC ARE THE REASONS FOR YOUR TEAM'S DOMINANCE AND RESILIENCY IN THE PAST FEW YEARS?

"We've looked back through the notes and our concerns for the bigger tracks. Coming into this season we didn't spend any time testing on any of the big tracks. We've been on track. We've been learning. We've been making improvements if you look at Vegas and Atlanta. We still have a very loose race car but we made up a lot of ground. We finished on the lead lap in 13th. It wasn't the day that we wanted, but we're definitely going down the right road. We're excited to get on the short tracks. Bristol isn't my best short track; we all know that. But when we get to Martinsville and Richmond and some of the other tracks where we've been strong with the COT, we hope to be right back where we were. We're just learning the 1.5-mile stuff. My teammates have shown well. I ran well at California. But even with those runs, we weren't the best car. And that's what we're trying to find as a company, and what we're trying to find in the No. 48 car is how we can be the best car.

"The No. 99 (Carl Edwards) has shown the strength, I think, is the best car week in and week out. The No. 18 (Kyle Busch) ran awfully good last week and has been strong in the past, but I think we need to give the award to the No. 99 right now as being the strongest car. We've got a little bit of learning to do. So it's just part of the game. It's so tough when you're riding a wave and winning all the races and doing well, you know you're just an adjustment or two away from not having that magic. And we've made those comments in the past. And where we are right now, we know we're not that far off from being back in that position. It's just finding the right things. We're just working hard at it and I'm sure we'll be where we want to. If we keep our goals in perspective and look at the Chase and making the Chase, we'll get stuff together and be a threat toward the middle part of the season."

LOOKING AHEAD TO BRISTOL, THIS IS THE FIRST TRACK WHERE THE COT RETURNS FOR THE SECOND YEAR. IS IT GOING TO BE HELPFUL THAT YOU HAVE NOTES FROM TWO RACES THERE EVEN THOUGH THE SURFACES WERE DIFFERENT?

"It should. I think a lot of guys struggled with the new surface. There were a couple of teams that hit on it and dominated the weekend. We're excited to get back into it and see what's going to happen. Bristol is not my best track, so I'm going in with mixed emotions (laughs) and hopeful that we have the right set-up and can figure that place out and have a good day."

Chassis

* Team Lowe's Racing will use chassis No. 48433 as its primary car in Sunday's 500-lap event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Johnson drove this chassis to a 22nd-place finish in August, 2007, at Bristol. The backup car, chassis No. 48424, was driven to wins in both Sprint Cup races at Richmond International Raceway last year.

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Kyle Busch