Wouldn’t Mind Being a Cowboy Again at Texas
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (April 10, 2011) – While Mrs. Chandra Johnson, a University of Oklahoma graduate, may not like the idea of her husband Jimmie admitting he wants to be a cowboy (the athletic team name of rival Oklahoma State University) this weekend, she may forgive her husband this request since being a cowboy at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth means a trip to victory lane.
The track is famous for its victory lane celebrations, complete with six shooters and a custom-made cowboy hat for the winning driver, and it always presents a post-race scene worthy of the speedway’s Texas-sized reputation. But the husband of Mrs. Johnson has visited victory lane there just once, in November 2007.
Mr. Johnson’s not-so-Texas-sized victory lane resumé at the Fort Worth track doesn’t necessarily highlight how well he has run there. Johnson’s record shows much better results in the April races, in which he has finished outside of the top-10 only twice, including the years 2002 to 2004, when track hosted only one race. His performances in the November races from 2005 to 2011, while competing for the championship in each of those seasons, have been memorable.
In addition to Johnson’s victory in 2007, the No. 48 team’s fast work after a lap-three crash during the November 2009 race was instrumental in keeping Johnson in the hunt for his record-setting fourth consecutive championship. The crew got Johnson back out on track in an hour and eight minutes after his No. 48 Lowe’s machine looked like it was ready for the scrap heap. In a scene that showed how teamwork can produce a positive outcome, Johnson’s crew got him back out on track after repairing the front and rear suspension, as well as the drive shaft.
He would return to the track more than 100 lap down but was able to pick up six valuable spots in the remaining laps. While the outcome didn’t end with the No. 48 team wearing cowboy hats, they were rewarded for their hard work two weeks later at Homestead-Miami Speedway with championship hats.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, Driver of the No. 48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports: www.twitter.com/jimmiejohnson, www.twitter.com/lowesracing and www.twitter.com/teamhendrick
What is challenging about Texas Motor Speedway?
“As it ages, the bumps get bigger, the surface has less grip, which builds in a lot of challenges within it. The thing that comes to mind for me is the long green-flag runs we have there. Any small problems you would have with the balance of the car are magnified and add up. It’s hard to ever catch the leader because there is just so much green-flag running. You need to have your stuff right there because of the green-flag runs.”
Talk about your off weekend. Did you do anything fun?
“Yeah, I went to the beach. Got some family and friends and went to the beach. I wish I could’ve gotten a tan, but I just fried and came back red as could be.”
Talk about the trophy at Texas Motor Speedway:
“I think it’s neat how some tracks really go out of their way to create cool trophies. Texas has done that the last six years and it’s very fitting. I have a really corny, dorky photo of me with a cowboy hat on and six shooters that I am very proud of. I hope to have that experience again.”