Homestead: Jimmie Johnson preview

This weekend Lowe's Monte Carlo driver Jimmie Johnson and Team 48 travel to Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race. This race marks the tenth and final race of the 2006 "Chase for the Championship" races. Johnson leads the ...

This weekend Lowe's Monte Carlo driver Jimmie Johnson and Team 48 travel to Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup race. This race marks the tenth and final race of the 2006 "Chase for the Championship" races. Johnson leads the point's race by 63 points over Matt Kenseth.

If Kenseth leads the most laps and wins the race, Johnson clinches his first NASCAR championship if he finishes 12th or better. In five races he has climbed from eighth to first and gained 219 points on the leader by posting five consecutive top-two finishes. No driver since Jeff Gordon in 1996 has posted six consecutive top-two finishes.


WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP AT HOMESTEAD? "We'll find out. I have no idea. I seriously don't have any clue what to expect. I don't have any strategy other than go down and finish ahead of (everyone.) It's just simple. That's all we've done so far through these last few months and just go down there and do the same thing we've been doing."

PLANS THIS WEEK: "My mind hasn't had a chance to play games on me yet. I'll go to the golf course (Monday) and have some fun and relax and stay busy Tuesday and Wednesday and just try to let the week hurry by."

COMEBACK STRATEGY: "I never conceded and I just said, let's go all out, we have nothing to lose, let's just try to finish up by winning races, just like the 20 has been doing, it's about winning races and that's been our philosophy last couple of months."

COMING SO CLOSE ON PREVIOUS CHAMPIONSHIPS: "You know, at the time it was really hard to swallow, and I'm not sure if time helps things go by. At the same time, my personality, I think I tried to learn from what went on. I look at that year, and I don't feel like we left anything on the table. Last year, at one point in the race, we were the champion. I don't have any negative feelings from any of the years that we've been close but didn't deliver. I think (Tony Stewart) was just rock steady last year and out performed us and we had some bad luck at Homestead. I still think he had a good enough night where he would have been the champion. We're just learning from those experiences, becoming a stronger, better race team and I couldn't be more proud of the race team and everything they are doing."

Homestead-Miami Speedway

* Johnson has completed 1,196 of 1,339 laps in his five starts at Homestead. He has an average starting position of 25.4 and an average finish of 15.6.


* Johnson is one of three drivers to participate in all three "Chase" battles. He finished second in the 2004 "Chase" and fifth last year. This will be Johnson's fifth consecutive season finishing in the top ten in points.

* Johnson owns seven "Chase" victories, the most of any driver, and led 911 laps but suffered five finishes outside the top 30 in his 29 career "Chase" races.

* Johnson is one of four drivers to lead the "Chase" in 2006.

* Johnson has led 484 laps in the "Chase" in 2006.

* He is the only "Chase" driver with five top-five finishes in 2006.

* Johnson has led in seven of the nine "Chase" races -- the most of any driver.

* Johnson has earned 45 lap-leader bonus points -- the most of any driver in the "Chase."


* Johnson was the point leader after all but four races in the 26-race regular season.

* Johnson's five victories is tied with Tony Stewart and second only to Kasey Kahne's six victories. Johnson owns 23 top ten finishes this season -- the most of any driver.

* Johnson's six second-place finishes in 2006 moves him into a tie for sixth all time for the number of second-place finishes in a season.


* Johnson has been among the top 10 in points for 104 consecutive races, since March 2004 which is the longest current streak. Johnson is fifth on the consecutive races in the modern era's point's top 10 list. Dale Earnhardt's 174 races tops the list.

* 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 five full-time seasons.

* Johnson's victory at Martinsville was the 23rd of his Nextel Cup career. The win tied him with Ricky Rudd for 25th on the list for most victories since 1949. Only five active drivers have more victories.

* Johnson's pole at Martinsville in April was the ninth of his career. He has won a pole in each of the last five seasons.

* In 182 starts, Johnson has posted 66 top-5 finishes and 109 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 4,193 laps and driven 52,282 laps in his Nextel Cup career covering over 69,926 miles. He has finished on the lead lap 140 times. He has a career average start of 12.2 and an average finish of 12.2.

2005 Homestead Race

* Johnson entered the race trailing Tony Stewart by 52 points but a cut right rear tire on lap 127 sent Johnson's No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo spinning into the wall dropping him from second to fifth-place in the "Chase for the Championship."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne