Richmond: Jimmie Johnson preview

Johnson looks to continue self-improvement at Richmond. Team Lowe's hopes pole and top-15 finish in the fall is just the beginning. RICHMOND, Va. (April 29, 2003) - Team Lowe's Racing makes its first visit of the season to Richmond International...

Johnson looks to continue self-improvement at Richmond.
Team Lowe's hopes pole and top-15 finish in the fall is just the beginning.

RICHMOND, Va. (April 29, 2003) - Team Lowe's Racing makes its first visit of the season to Richmond International Speedway, site of its fourth Bud Pole award of 2002, in hopes of ridding itself of the late race run of bad luck that has plagued the team three times this season. In last week's event at California Speedway, another late race incident negated a strong effort by driver Jimmie Johnson, leaving the team with a 16th place finish and a hunger to return to Richmond to produce a better result.

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Richmond

"I'm really looking forward to coming back to Richmond this weekend. I did not have that much success there in the Busch Series, so when we went there last year, I didn't know what to expect. We competed for the win in the spring before a late race accident and we set on the pole in the fall and ran up front for much of the evening. I'm hoping that we can continue to build on our success there and contend for the pole and a top 10 finish."

Johnson on Richmond's lights

"They're good. I've never noticed anything different or wrong with the lights there. Night racing is a lot better visually for us, period. The surface your racing on is lit up so it's the only thing your eyes really have to look at. So it seems like your vision is a lot better at any night race."

Johnson on Bobby Labonte's opinion that the first 10 races are a good indication on how things will play out this season

"I think it's fair to say that. There's obviously a lot of racing left and a lot of things can happen. But I think we all have a feeling of who's going to be there week in and week out. We've been to short tracks and speedways and it seems that the top 10 or 15 guys seem to rise to the front at all those tracks. I think it'll be another interesting year in the points battle. I think seven or eight cars are going to be able to hang there all year and compete for the championship."

Johnson on Team Lowe's competitiveness this season

"We started off the season high in points but we've been having some weird things happen to us when we're running strong at the end of the day. Other people have had trouble as well, but we've been able to stay in there. Hopefully we'll be able to clean up our game at the end of the day and finish where we worked for all day and actually be in there competing for the championship. Right now, we're just kind of hanging on with all the troubles we've been having. Being consistent always brings in the points. We've been consistently in the top 10 and top 15, but hopefully we can raise that to top five's pretty soon."

Johnson on Chad Knaus' handle on the new Monte Carlo

"The more time Chad has to work on these cars, the smarter he gets. He's got an incredible mind. He has all the tools to figure stuff out at Hendrick Motorsports. It's just a matter of time before he figures things out."

Johnson on if there is anything Team Lowe's has done to make him more comfortable with his set-ups

"Yes, we've definitely learned some of the tricks. There are a few things that we do differently on the '03 car than we did on the '02 car. So we're definitely learning what it wants set-up wise and even aero-wise. It is a little different - not huge - but a little different."

-hm/lowe's-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus
Teams Hendrick Motorsports