Michigan II: Jimmie Johnson preview

TEAM LOWE'S RETURNS TO THE IRISH HILLS OF MICHIGAN Johnson looks to better his effort from earlier this season BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 14, 2003) - Team Lowe's Racing hopes its return to Michigan International Speedway (MIS) will bring better ...

TEAM LOWE'S RETURNS TO THE IRISH HILLS OF MICHIGAN

Johnson looks to better his effort from earlier this season

BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 14, 2003) - Team Lowe's Racing hopes its return to Michigan International Speedway (MIS) will bring better results than its trip earlier this season when it posted a 16th-place finish, one lap down from the leaders.

Over the years, Team Lowe's driver Jimmie Johnson has become quite fond of MIS, posting two top-10 finishes during his Busch career and leading 25 laps in his Winston Cup debut. But just when it looked as if Team Lowe's was ready to break through on the historic track, along comes the spring race of 2003 and an uncharacteristic performance by what is uniformly regarded as one of NASCAR's most consistent teams.

Following a solid performance last weekend at Watkins Glen, Team Lowe's arrives for this weekend's GFS Marketplace 400 with the confidence they need to be more competitive during the final race at Michigan this season.

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Michigan International Speedway

"Michigan is a great racetrack. Despite what the record books show, Team Lowe's is really strong on it and we're confident that we'll be strong again this weekend. In last season's spring race at MIS, we lead some laps and were in great position to finish in the top-five, if it wasn't for a late race caution that allowed the field to catch up to us. Chad and I elected not to pit and everyone behind us pitted and got fresh tires. When the race went green with just under 10 laps remaining, guys just made some crazy moves that left us in a bad position. I made contact with a couple of race cars on the restart and that took all my momentum away. As a result, we fell to 14th-place and left MIS frustrated, but eager to get back there and have a good run."

Jimmie Johnson on his performance in the first Michigan race earlier this season

"At the beginning of the race and during restarts, we had a really strong race car. We just couldn't get the right set-up during the long runs. I started out strong and then became tight. Next run I would start out tight and become loose. We would make the proper changes, but it just seemed like the conditions of the race car would go from one extreme to the other and we couldn't find the sweet spot. Sometimes you have weekends like that and you just need to pull together as a team and get all of the points you can out of the race. We didn't force anything, remained patient and posted a 16th-place. Were we happy with it? No. Did we learn from it? Yes. So when we unload this weekend, Team Lowe's will be competitive and more importantly, a better team."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson