Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Dover International Speedway this weekend for the second of the ten 2007 "Chase for the Nextel Cup" races. Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon lead the 12 "Chase" drivers. The 2006 champion...
Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series travel to Dover International Speedway this weekend for the second of the ten 2007 "Chase for the Nextel Cup" races. Johnson and teammate Jeff Gordon lead the 12 "Chase" drivers. The 2006 champion will drive the Chevrolet Impala SS "Car of Tomorrow" at Dover where he owns three career victories in 11 races.
DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:
DOVER: "The corners are below the level of the straightaway so you're launching off into the corner and then trying to get the car to slow down and turn and then driving back up onto the straightaway and it's really an entertaining track, a fun track to drive on but you're on the ragged edge and that's why it's such a dangerous track and have so many issues. And then the track is a self cleaning track as I've heard mentioned and if you get in trouble and you lose it, you're going to hit something and it's a place that is very challenging and the risk reward thing, you've got to risk every lap and there's a chance you're going to bust your butt so the reward is very small for a lot of guys. It's one of my favorite tracks. I really, really enjoy running there."
HOW DOES YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JEFF GORDON CHANGE GOING INTO THE CHASE VERSUS THE FIRST 26 RACES? IS IT EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF A LITTLE BIT MORE? "Yeah and I would assume as we get closer to the end of the Chase that it may be more that in that light but we've been through this before, we've competed against each other in championships and through it all, year after year, week after week, we recognize how if we work together it helps both of us and that's still the bottom line.
"When we get on the track there's still enough going on with each driver's style, each crew chief's style, that when you get out on the track you can race your own independent race and not worry about things and I would expect us to continue with the open notebook policy that we've always had and try to ensure HMS with a championship. That goes along with Kyle Busch. I have to give him a lot of credit for staying committed to the racing, being open, sharing what his driver techniques are, what changes they're making on the car and really helping the whole organization so hopefully between the three of us and Casey Mears helping out we can keep driving technology forward and help the company win another championship and let us not close the books and let us settle it on the track is really the way we're hoping to do it."
HAS THE SIGNING OF DALE EARNHARDT, JR. BEEN A DISTRACTION? "No. There's been a lot going on there's no doubt about it and we still have a lot to finish up and button up with Dale Jr. coming to Hendrick Motorsports but that's really stayed in the offices of Hendrick. I'd say Doug Duchardt, Marshall Carlson, Rick Hendrick, there's a group of guys there that have really been digging through that and our marketing staff as well at Hendrick Motorsports and it's stayed in the offices. It really hasn't made its way into the teams."
* Johnson will drive chassis 433 at Dover this weekend. This chassis finished 15th at Dover and 22nd at Bristol in August. Chassis 419 will serve as the backup and has not raced.
2007 CHASE FOR THE NEXTEL CUP
* Johnson and Matt Kenseth are the only two drivers to participate in all four "Chase" battles.
* Johnson is aiming to post his sixth consecutive season finishing in the top ten in points.
* Johnson owns seven "Chase" victories, the most of any driver.
* Johnson has led 913 laps but suffered five finishes outside the top 30 in his 31 career "Chase" races.
* Johnson has won at least three races a season since he posted his first victory in 2002. He is the only driver in the modern era to win at least three races in each of his first six full-time seasons.
* Johnson's victory at Richmond on Sept. 8 was the 29th of his Nextel Cup career. This win moves him to 21st on the list for most victories since 1949.
* Johnson's owns 10 poles in his career. He has won a pole in each of his first six seasons.
* In 211 starts, Johnson has posted 80 top-5 finishes and 127 top-10 finishes. He has a top-10 finish at every track on the NASCAR Nextel Cup series circuit. Kansas is the only track where he has not posted a top-five finish. Johnson has led 5,161 laps and driven 59,988 laps in his Nextel Cup career covering over 80,274 miles. He has finished on the lead lap 159 times. He owns a career average start of 12.1 and an average finish of 12.2.