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Bristol: Jimmie Johnson preview

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Bristol: Jimmie Johnson preview
Mar 21, 2003, 5:04 AM

TEAM LOWE'S HEADS TO "THE WORLD'S FASTEST HALF-MILE" Johnson hoping Bristol will be the site of his third top-10 of the season Jimmie Johnson on Bristol Motor Speedway "It's a place where you either have a really good day or a really bad day. We ...

TEAM LOWE'S HEADS TO "THE WORLD'S FASTEST HALF-MILE"
Johnson hoping Bristol will be the site of his third top-10 of the season

Jimmie Johnson on Bristol Motor Speedway

"It's a place where you either have a really good day or a really bad day. We hope to go there with the Lowe's Monte Carlo and have a really good day. The race track is obviously exciting and doesn't need any introduction. Everybody knows about it. Everybody knows what a crazy race track it is. It's a very hard race track to get around and be competitive. Times are so close in qualifying and the cars are so equal, that if you're five-hundredths off, you're in the way. And if you're five-hundredths faster than anybody, you're the car to beat. So it's a very weird race track and a hard race track."

Johnson on handling the unpredictability of Bristol

"It's a challenge to control it all. When you're making 15-second laps and you've got guys beating on your bumper and a lot of chaos going on, you have to make a conscious effort to stay in control and keep your mindset where it needs to be. It's a challenge. It's tough. It gets the best of everyone. You'll see things come out of people that you never expected. That's what everyone loves to see. That's what makes it Bristol and that's why the grandstands are sold out."

Johnson on last weekend's accident

"I just made a mistake coming off of Turn 4. I was kind of mad at myself for not racing the racetrack there. That's one of the most important lessons - I've crashed there before racing too hard - and it happened to me again. It's one of the tracks where you cannot pay attention to who you're around. I got caught up in racing too hard too early. I just lost some traction off of Turn 4 and ran out of race track and pinched the No. 40 (Sterling Marlin) into the wall and crashed him and myself. It was just a racing mistake on my part."

Chad Knaus on Bristol

"It is one of my least favorite tracks. If I was a fan, I'd love to watch racing there. You have 43 race cars jam-packed on a half-mile. You're right on top of the action and virtually guaranteed to see some bent sheet metal and very often see tempers flare from drivers and crew chiefs. From my standpoint, great event for the fans, very hard event on the drivers and teams.

"When you go to Bristol, you can count on one thing. You will not be bringing back your race car in the same condition as it started the weekend. Bristol is just a weekend full of stress and anxiety. There is never a moment to just slow down and gather your thoughts. The guys work their tails off all week to prepare the race car for there. When they get to the track they're excited and everyone feeds off that excitement. Then the madness starts."

Jimmie Johnson Fast Facts
* Currently ranks eighth in the Winston Cup Series Championship points, 159 points out of first

* Johnson has been in the top-10 in points for 38 consecutive weeks, dating back to Atlanta of 2002

* Has two top-10 finishes on the season - (Daytona - 3rd and Rockingham - 8th)

No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Fast Facts
* Team Lowe's Racing will bring car 4850

* This is the same Lowe's Chevy that Johnson drove in both of last season's Bristol Races. In addition, Johnson drove this Chevy to Victory Lane twice last season in Dover.

-hm/lowe's-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus