Jimmie Johnson heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend with a 141-point lead over second-place Carl Edwards in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In order to clinch his third back-to-back Sprint Cup Series championship, a feat ...
Jimmie Johnson heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend with a 141-point lead over second-place Carl Edwards in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
In order to clinch his third back-to-back Sprint Cup Series championship, a feat accomplished in NASCAR's 60-year history only by Cale Yarborough, Johnson must finish no worse that 36th in Sunday's season-finale. If Team Lowe's Racing earns the title, crew chief Chad Knaus will be the first crew chief to take the honors three years straight.
Homestead is one of only six tracks on which Johnson hasn't won a race. In seven starts at the 1.5-mile venue, Johnson has collected two top-five and five top-10 finishes.
GOING INTO MIAMI-HOMESTEAD, READY TO TIE HISTORY WITH THREE CONSECUTIVE WINS, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? "I'm excited. The No. 99 (Edwards) put up a great fight in Phoenix and has shown true championship character throughout the whole year. Those guys really make us work hard for it and I know as long as something doesn't go crazy for us down in Homestead, we're going to be able to join Cale and I can't wait to start celebrating.
"I just can't believe it. When I started way back when, I didn't think all of this would come together and that I would have a chance to drive at Hendrick Motorsports with a sponsor like Lowe's. It is pretty cool."
YOU HAVE TO FINISH 36TH or better this weekend to clinch the championship. as a racer it's hard to go into defense, but are you in a position where you can still go out there and try to race for the victory? "I really think where we are in points is going to allow me to go to Homestead and take a little pressure off my brain this week. We can just go down and relax and get in the car and set it up, just do what we know how to do. We'll shoot for the pole on Friday with no pressure. And same thing in race practice; just get the car driving good and comfortable and make sure it has speed in it.
"I'm really excited about Homestead, and there's no need to do anything stupid. But at the same time, how cool would it be to win out? I still think we can do that. I'd love to do that. And that's what our goals are. If we get in the race and I've got to drive at 110 percent to go for the win, there's no need to. But if we can go out there and win the race like we did (in Phoenix), let's do it."
* Johnson has made seven starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway in his Sprint Cup Series career.
* The 1.5-mile oval is one of only six tracks on which the Series competes that Johnson hasn't won. He has collected two top-five and five top-10 finishes.
* The back-to-back champion has completed 92.4% (1731 of 1874) of competition laps during those races and has led 37.
* He has an average start and finish of 20.4 and 13.4.
* Johnson will pilot chassis No. 504 in Sunday's race. He has collected three wins in that chassis this season and last drove it to a 15th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 2.
* Johnson's backup chassis, No. 502, was last driven to a third-place finish at Pocono Raceway in Aug.