Race 2 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup takes place this Sunday at Dover International Speedway, a track on which Jimmie Johnson has found much success during his seven-year stint in the Cup Series. Johnson, whose runner-up finish at New...
Race 2 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup takes place this Sunday at Dover International Speedway, a track on which Jimmie Johnson has found much success during his seven-year stint in the Cup Series.
Johnson, whose runner-up finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last week moved him into a tie for the lead in the Championship chase, has three wins at Dover's one-mile oval and has eight top-10 finishes in 13 starts. Johnson is tied in points with Carl Edwards, but listed in second position because Edwards has six regular season wins while Johnson has four.
With nine races to go in Johnson's quest for his third Cup Series title, the back-to-back champion is looking to grab sole possession of the number one spot with a solid finish at Dover.
ON DEFENDING HIS TITLE: "I certainly feel good about things. The last three or four months we've been making a lot of progress. At Brickyard we were able to show that when we get it right, we can go out and race for these wins and in some cases, do it in a dominating fashion. So the million-dollar question is can we do it during this final 10 (stretch) and over a long enough period of time during this final 10 to be the champions.
"I feel good about where we're at. I'm excited about what we've learned as a company and as the No. 48 car and the strength we have as the No. 48 team and the confidence we all have in one another. So I really feel that we have all the stuff there to be competitive and we just have to get racing and see where we fit in and where luck falls into place and how things play out."
IS THERE ANYTHING FUN ABOUT BEING IN THE CHASE? OR IS THE STRESS-LEVEL SO HIGH THAT'S ITS NOT FUN? "Before and during the '06 championship battle, I didn't have any fun. There was no fun to be had. A victory was good, but it was short-lived. Tuesday morning or Wednesday morning or whenever it was when you're flipping things around in your mind to get ready for the next race, that pressure would set it. And it's like, here we go again. And it was because I wanted that championship so badly and we'd been so close and things didn't work out.
"Last year, I had some fun through it. And this year I hope to expand on that and have more fun. I'm doing what I love, racing against the best drivers in the world. I'm confident in what I can do in the car. I'm confident in my team. I need to have some fun with this. I operate better and my team operates better when we're enjoying ourselves and having some fun. I'm looking forward to it. We'll see. Unfortunately we live and die by what takes place on Saturday afternoons. As of right now I think everybody is in a good mood and we'll just see how it goes from here."
* Johnson has made 13 Cup Series starts at Dover International Speedway, posting three wins, four top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
* The Team Lowe's Racing driver has completed 96.5% (5020 of 5204) of competition laps at the one-mile track and has led 556.
* Johnson has an average start and finish of 12.2 and 11.5.
* Chassis No. 480 will be the primary for Sunday's event. Johnson drove it to a fourth-place finish in May's All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
* Johnson drove backup chassis No. 433 at both Dover events last season, collecting 14th and 15th-place finishes.