With a win at Richmond International Raceway last weekend, Jimmie Johnson secured a third-place seed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which begins this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He is 40 points behind leader Kyle Busch and 10...
With a win at Richmond International Raceway last weekend, Jimmie Johnson secured a third-place seed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which begins this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He is 40 points behind leader Kyle Busch and 10 behind Carl Edwards.
This year marks the fifth consecutive season Johnson has qualified for the Chase, making him and Matt Kenseth the only two drivers who have been in the field each year since its inception.
Johnson is now officially competing for his third consecutive Sprint Cup Series Championship. The only other driver in NASCAR's history to accomplish that feat is Cale Yarborough.
Even though you're 40 points behind the leader in the seeding, you've got the momentum with two wins in a row. Does that make you the pre Chase favorite, and do you feel like the pre Chase favorite as it stands right now?
"I'm trying to show up at next week's race scared, worried about 11 other guys, and worry about doing my part. And the thing is I have confidence in what my abilities are and what my team is capable of and the packages we have put together in the last five or six months - short track, big track, all of it.
"So you know, there's a lot of cars... you just never know what's going to happen. So I want to show up next week worried about all 11 of them and just do my job."
You alluded in victory lane that you can make history and get three championships; what do you think about that and what would that mean to you?
"I do think about it, but Homestead is so far away and it's been so far away. We've had a lot of work to do as a race team to catch these guys. So now it's becoming more of a reality. Still, the less I can think about it, the better I'm going to be. The less I can think about all of the stuff that's coming up in the next ten races, the better I'm going to be, and just fall back into the confidence that I have in my race team and my abilities and the confidence that we are bringing to the track and give 100%.
"With the way the pack is running, especially the 99 and the 18, you can't show up and run at 80 percent and just hope that a Top 10 is going to get the job done. You have to show up and bring your A Game each week. I feel confident that we are there now and that we can run with these guys."
Chassis No. 461 will be the primary for Sunday's event. Johnson drove it to victory lane twice last fall, at Martinsville and Phoenix. * Johnson piloted the backup chassis, No. 424, to a ninth-place finish at Loudon in June.