Johnson will pilot chassis No. 540 in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. He last drove that car to a 25th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September. Before that, he took it to Victory Lane in New Hampshire in June. Back up chassis...
Johnson will pilot chassis No. 540 in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. He last drove that car to a 25th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September. Before that, he took it to Victory Lane in New Hampshire in June.
Back up chassis No. 520 has collected four wins in five starts -- the most recent coming at Martinsville Speedway in March 2009.
WE TALK TO DRIVERS ABOUT THEIR SHORT TRACK BACKGROUNDS. YOU HAVE AN OFF-ROAD BACKGROUND YET YOU ARE AMONG THE ONES TO BEAT AT MARTINSVILLE. TALK ABOUT THAT. "It took a while to get there. And when I came into the sport, I had two years in ASA and thought that the short tracks would fit well for me and it was quite the opposite. It took a long time to understand the big car, the radial tire, the extra power, and how to maneuver around on a short track. But the track at Martinsville, especially when the rubber is laid down, reminds me of some of my off-road stuff where we would have barrels or tractor tires stacked up as the turn-marker, but it was that tight of a radius. And when the rubber lays down, especially the right-side rubber on corner exit at Martinsville, you have to change your line to not run through the rubber at the wrong spot. "And that rhythm really helps all dirt drivers. It doesn't matter if it's Tony (Stewart) in a Sprint Car or Dirt Late Model, or Kasey Kahne for that matter. I think certain guys have an eye for where the slick spots are on the track and how to change their lines and I think all of our dirt backgrounds really help that."
GOING TO MARTINSVILLE WHO DO YOU NOT WANT TO SEE SITTING NEXT TO YOU ON A RESTART? YOUR BOSS SEEMS TO THINK THAT THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS ARE WHAT IS GOING TO EVENTUALLY FIGURE OUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP. "Yeah and we had a really exciting finish there in the spring with the double-file restart. First and foremost, you would have to assume the front-row outside driver--the old theory of eight wheels are better than four is going to come into play--and whoever the inside car is going to lean on him pretty heavily. There we can turn people around pretty easily. It could. I've heard Jeff [Gordon] make those comments on how double-file restarts could affect things. I naturally think that he's speaking more to the mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks because the cars are really out of control in low-air situations. You have more control over your car at Martinsville than at any of the other tracks on a double-file restart. We'll see. Who I wouldn't want next to me--man I guess whoever would be second in points. We're going to be gouging for every single point at that part of the race and the way the points are stacked up, the top-five are all guys that are really good at Martinsville. It could be exciting."