Loudon: Jimmie Johnson preview

Johnson looks to last season's experience for better performance LOUDON, N.H. (July 14, 2003) - When you speak to Team Lowe's Racing driver Jimmie Johnson about New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS), he will tell you it is on the top of...

Johnson looks to last season's experience for better performance

LOUDON, N.H. (July 14, 2003) - When you speak to Team Lowe's Racing driver Jimmie Johnson about New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS), he will tell you it is on the top of his list - his list of tracks that have been a thorn in his side.

Last season, NHIS offered Johnson and his Team Lowe's teammates some of its toughest challenges. In Johnson's Winston Cup debut at NHIS last season, he was able to qualify in the top 15, but struggled at times to find the right combination to break into the top 10.

When Team Lowe's returned to NHIS in the fall, crew chief Chad Knaus and Johnson adapted to a new setup, and Johnson was able to recover from the 19th starting position to finish in the top 10 of a rain shortened event. The question remains - does Team Lowe's and Johnson have the magic for New Hampshire's mile this time around?

Johnson on New Hampshire International Speedway

"I'm certainly glad that Jeff (Gordon) tested there a couple of weeks ago because of the changes they've made at the track. Jeff commented that the new turns will offer some different challenges, but overall, the racetrack will be fine. I'm hoping that the changes will help me out because of my lack of experience there. At most of the tracks we run on, the veteran drivers are at an advantage because of their experience. If we utilize the knowledge that the No. 24 team got out of its test, I expect us to be in good shape on Sunday."

Johnson on the track surface at NHIS

"It can't be any worse than what we've had in the past with the track coming apart and other issues we've had. We've found ourselves racing on the apron just to have a racing groove and opportunities to pass. As hard as it was to race down there, I think we still had some good short track racing - even though we were using the apron and hooking the grass in turns three and four. But based on Jeff's (Gordon) experiences from his test earlier this season, it should be in good shape."

Chad Knaus on racing at NHIS

"New Hampshire is going to be tough. With the changes that they've made to that track, I don't really know what to expect. The No. 24 was there testing a couple of weeks ago, so that will help us not walk into the weekend blind, but you just don't know what you have to deal with until you get your driver out there in your race car. I would also say that New Hampshire wasn't one of our strongest tracks last season. The first race we struggled a little bit to get a feel for it. The second time around we qualified worse than the first, but we raced a lot better and were able to crack the top 10. Hopefully we can build off of that so Jimmie can continue to learn the best way around the track. Our goal is to be competitive and finish in the top 10."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus