Daytona II: Jimmie Johnson preview

Team Lowe's Racing is poised for a strong second half. Johnson and crew hope to see similar results in their second visit to Daytona. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2002) -- Team Lowe's Racing and rookie driver Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48...

Team Lowe's Racing is poised for a strong second half.
Johnson and crew hope to see similar results in their second visit to Daytona.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 2, 2002) -- Team Lowe's Racing and rookie driver Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolet, are hoping to see a replay of the beginning of SpeedWeeks in early February at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) in Daytona Beach, Fla. In its 2002 debut, Team Lowe's was able to capture the pole for the season starting Daytona 500, becoming only the third rookie in history to accomplish the feat.

This will be Johnson's third race ever, second in a Winston Cup race car, at DIS. Team Lowe's Racing has proven that it has what it takes to qualify well on the Superspeedways. This season, it has won the last two poles on the fast tracks (Daytona and Talladega).

Chad Knaus, crew chief of the Lowe's Monte Carlo, has made a name for himself as one of the top Superspeedway guys in the NASCAR garage. Knaus' race cars have won the last three Superspeedway poles (Fall Talladega 2001, Spring Daytona 2002 and Spring Talladega 2002). Knaus has won the last three consecutive poles at Talladega, twice in 2001 with Stacey Compton and earlier this season with Johnson. In addition, he won the pole with Johnson earlier this season and took the outside pole at the Daytona 500 and third in the Pepsi 400 with Compton in 2001.

With his 35th-place finish in Sonoma, Johnson remained in the top-five overall in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship standing (fourth), just 86 points behind leader Sterling Marlin. Johnson remains the leader in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition, 23 points over second place.

Jimmie Johnson Fast Facts

* Ranks fourth in the Winston Cup Series Championship standings

* Leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition by 27 points (242-219)

* Has won two NASCAR Winston Cup races this season (California and Dover)

* Has the second most Winston Cup race wins (two) this season

* Has two wins, four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 16 races

* Has been the highest finishing rookie nine times

* The 10 top-10 finishes are tied for second most in the Winston Cup Series (Las Vegas - 6th, Atlanta - 3rd, Darlington - 6th, Bristol - 7th, Texas - 6th, Talladega - 7th, California - 1st, Lowe's Motor Speedway - 7th, Dover - 1st and Pocono - 3rd)

* Has three Bud Pole positions this season, the most in NASCAR Winston Cup -- Daytona, Talladega and Lowe's Motor Speedway

* Only the third rookie in history to win the Daytona 500 pole

* Only the second rookie in history to win a pole at Talladega Superspeedway

* Holds the NWC qualifying record at Lowe's Motor Speedway

* Has led six Winston Cup Series races this season (Las Vegas, Talladega, California, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Dover and Michigan)

* Only one of four drivers this season to win both a pole and a race (Ward Burton, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart)

* Won his first Winston Cup race of his career at California Speedway, his home racetrack

* Won the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001

Jimmie Johnson at Daytona International Speedway

* In the Winston Cup Series, Johnson has only raced once
* Daytona 500 - Spring 2002: started 1st and finished 15th

* In the Busch Grand National Series, Johnson only raced once
* NAPA Auto Parts 300 - Spring 2001: started 34th and finished 5th

No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Fast Facts

* Team Lowe's Racing will bring car 4856

* This is the same Lowe's Monte Carlo that took the poles at Daytona and Talladega this season. Johnson went on to finish 15th at Daytona and 7th at Talladega.

Jimmie Johnson on his Daytona 500 experience

"I was extremely proud to be on the pole at the Daytona 500 in February. It was a crazy experience, taking the pole in my rookie season in one of the highest profile races in motorsports. Being my first Winston Cup race there, I probably didn't get to enjoy it as much as I should have with all of the nervousness that comes with being a rookie on the pole."

Jimmie Johnson on the Pepsi 400

"We've finished 15th in the 500 and seventh in Talladega, so we're hoping that we can improve on those results. Really in Superspeedway racing, you just hope you're not in the big one and once you miss that, you just hope that you're in a good position and hopefully things will unfold in your favor.

"Heading into the Pepsi 400, we made an effort to improve the Lowe's Monte Carlo's race trim. Coming into the Daytona 500, we didn't have provisionals to lean back on, so as a result, we focused on qualifying well and making the race. Now that we have a little experience, we've focused on setting up the racecar to handle better, which hopefully will lead to a strong result. Our goals haven't changed all season. We want to finish on the lead lap and in the top-15."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Sterling Marlin , Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus