Richmond: Jimmie Johnson preview

* Johnson last piloted primary chassis No. 540 to a third-place result at Phoenix International Raceway in April. * Backup chassis No. 520 has been driven five times, four of which resulted in victories (Richmond 9/08, Martinsville 10/08,...

* Johnson last piloted primary chassis No. 540 to a third-place result at Phoenix International Raceway in April.

* Backup chassis No. 520 has been driven five times, four of which resulted in victories (Richmond 9/08, Martinsville 10/08, Phoenix 11/08, Phoenix 3/09). 

JIMMIE JOHNSON:

DO YOU THINK THESE DIFFERENT RACE TRACKS COMING UP WILL HELP STABILIZE THE TOP-12 DRIVERS IN POINTS?: "I'm a little shocked to see some of the big gaps right now. I think here over the next month or so, things will stabilize. There's some guys that are further down then we'd expect to see with some bad luck and all that. I think you'll have some guys moving up and maybe some guys falling out of the top-12, but I think it's going to be pretty stable for the most part from here on into the Chase. I don't know if the spoiler is really going to pose that big of an issue as time goes on and really mix things up all that much. Speak to another point, I know in 2008, it took us quite some time to hit our stride. Fortunately, we were decent in the points and we were running consistent, but we weren't really championship material, but over the course of the year we were able to get ourselves in position and just in time when the Chase started. I don't think you can have a clear cut favorite for the championship yet, there's still a lot of time between now and when the Chase starts and a lot of time for the good cars to slow down and the slow cars to speed up."

CAN YOU PICK UP YOUR PROGRAM EVEN MORE OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?: "I think so. I look at Martinsville and think that we missed an opportunity there. Granted, we learned some things for later in the year and for the overall cause of the 48 and for Hendrick Motorsports, it's going to be beneficial. We had one kind of get away from us at Phoenix, I should have listened to Chad (Knaus, crew chief) and taken two tires. I think we had the 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the 39 (Ryan Newman) beat, we had been faster than them all night long and we would have started up there in the front row and probably had a shot at winning. I look at a couple that have gotten away there, but still can't complain all that much. I feel that there are good tracks coming up for us, I feel like we've been able to raise the bottom line at a lot of race tracks, which we need. Tracks where we've struggled, as big as Indy and we've won twice there now. Won at Bristol. We're really picking up that bottom line. There's more race wins out there for us and if we can work through some new ideas with the cars and make sure that we have the right technology at the end of the year then I think we'll be in great shape."

-source: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports