This weekend Lowe's Monte Carlo driver Jimmie Johnson and Team 48 enjoy their final off weekend of the season. Then the team travels to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400 and the final five races before the 2006 "Chase for the Championship" begins.
This weekend Lowe's Monte Carlo driver Jimmie Johnson and Team 48 enjoy their final off weekend of the season. Then the team travels to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400 and the final five races before the 2006 "Chase for the Championship" begins. Johnson leads the points race by 97 points over Matt Kenseth.
DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:
ON OFF WEEKEND: "Man, there is nothing on my mind right now except the off weekend that is coming up, taking a little vacation. We just have such a grind week to week. Our test (at Indianapolis) was fair, I think when we go back, we will be better. "
ON FEELING OF WALKING INTO INDY: "Just the nature of things that go through your mind besides Gasoline Alley. When you walk out pit road, and see the cars come by and see the yard of bricks. They are both cool things but I can't say that it is any different than the first time I drove in to Daytona. They are both huge races, in the world I lived in then, Indy was the big race. In the world I am in now, Daytona is the big thing so they are both huge events."
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL NASCAR ABOUT POSSIBLE CHANGES TO THE CHASE? "I would say, and my opinion is going to be much different than the promoters, in my opinion, it should be anyone within 400 points, not a minimum number of race cars, just anyone who is within 400 points makes it in the Chase. Then increase the points in the Chase when the Chase starts. I think it is just ridiculous that you race for 26 races, you come and have a five point margin. I think there should be a bigger points spread between each position."
WITH THE INDIANAPOLIS TEST BEING CUT SHORT BY RAIN, DID THAT IMPAIR YOUR PROGRESS? "Well, we would have loved to have more time. We can always use more time. But we were really just looking for a few good laps on the track to collect some data. With all four (Hendrick) cars there, we certainly did that. We got good data on a variety of different set-ups and information to dig through and work up what we think we're all going to need to go back with."
HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE DO YOU HAVE GOING BACK TO INDIANAPOLIS? "I've raced okay there and I do have confidence going back to that track. The results don't really show it, but I definitely feel like we're making stuff better and we should be able to go there and have a top 10 day."
* Team Lowe's Racing will take chassis No. 48359 to Indianapolis. This chassis finished sixth at Pocono on Sunday. Chassis No. 48297 will serve as backup. It raced at California Speedway in May.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
* Johnson has completed 552 of 641 laps in his four starts at Indianapolis. He has an average starting position of 24.2 and an average finishing position of 25.2. He has not led a lap.
* Johnson is the only driver with 16 top-10 finishes this season.
* Johnson has been among the top 10 in points for 89 consecutive races, since March 2004.
* Johnson's victory at Talladega was the 21st of his Nextel Cup career. This win tied him with Benny Parsons, Bobby Labonte, and Jack Smith for 27th on the list for most victories since 1949. Only five active drivers have more victories.
* Johnson's pole at Martinsville was the ninth of his career.
* In 167 starts, Johnson has posted 61 top-5 finishes and 102 top-10 finishes. He has a top-10 finish at every track on the NASCAR Nextel Cup series circuit. Indianapolis and Kansas are the only two tracks where he has not posted a top-five finish. Johnson has led 3,671 laps and driven 47,788 laps in his Nextel Cup career covering over 64,213.2 miles. He has finished on the lead lap 129 times.
Previous Indianapolis Race
* Johnson overcame a poor starting spot, a turn three spin, a pit road problem and still seemed ready to post a top-10 finish Sunday in the closing laps of the 2005 Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But a hard crash in the fourth turn wall with 16 laps remaining brought Johnson's day to a frustrating and fiery end with a 38th-place finish.