Sears Point: Jimmie Johnson preview

Team Lowe's ready for first road course of the season Johnson looking forward to rematch with Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif. (June 17, 2003) - For many NASCAR drivers, simply uttering the word "Infineon" makes them cringe with horror. For ...

Team Lowe's ready for first road course of the season
Johnson looking forward to rematch with Infineon Raceway

SONOMA, Calif. (June 17, 2003) - For many NASCAR drivers, simply uttering the word "Infineon" makes them cringe with horror. For Team Lowe's Racing and driver Jimmie Johnson, the word brings a smile to their faces and the thought of using Johnson's off-road upbringing to get an advantage over the rest of the field.

Last season at Infineon, Johnson qualified 15th in just his first Winston Cup race there and only his third time ever at the Sonoma road course. Johnson participated in driving school at the then Sears Point Raceway when he was 15 for his first taste of the track and again just last season when Team Lowe's tested prior to the California speedway event.

Johnson left Infineon with mixed emotions following last year's event. Late in the race, Johnson and fellow rookie Ryan Newman were showcasing their skills and working themselves into the top 10 when a rear gear failure on Johnson's Lowe's Chevy forced him behind the wall for just his second DNF of his young Winston Cup career. Johnson was not the only Hendrick driver to miss the race action last season, as teammate Jeff Gordon also spent time in the garage after his Dupont Chevy suffered from the same rear gear problem.

While Johnson has not forgotten about last season's premature ending, his test session a couple of weeks ago at Virginia International Raceway fueled his love for road courses and his excitement to return to the wine country of Sonoma.

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Infineon Raceway "I can't wait to get back there. It is one of the few tracks that we race on where I have very little experience and that makes me really eager to get out there to learn as much as I can. Last season we had a great test at Sears Point and in the race we had a solid run going, but a rear end gear cost us a good finish and cost me some additional seat time on the track.

"Fortunately, we took a brand new Lowe's Chevy to VIR a couple of weeks ago and had a really good test session there. While VIR isn't exactly the same as Infineon, it's similar because it has some of the same elevation changes and hard turns."

"Chad and the guys did a great job with the new race car and I'm excited to see what it can do out in California. It will be nice to return to my home state and hopefully see some friends and family."

Johnson on his chances of success at Infineon "I can honestly say that Infineon and Watkins Glen are the only two tracks that we compete on that when I walk into the garage area, I'm hoping for a top 10 and not a win. I know that sounds funny, but experience plays such a big role in road courses and on a lot of these tracks. Thankfully I know that I have the skills and the equipment to win on the road courses and with time, I think Team Lowe's will be a team to contend with year in and year out at road courses."

Jimmie Johnson Fast Facts

Johnson ranks seventh in the Winston Cup Series championship standings, 422 points behind the leader and just 80 points out of the top five.

Johnson has one win (Lowe's Motor Speedway), two top-five finishes (Daytona - 3rd and Lowe's Motor Speedway - 1st) and six top-10 finishes (Daytona - 3rd, Rockingham - 8th, Bristol - 8th, Texas - 8th, Martinsville - 9th and Lowe's Motor Speedway - 1st).

Johnson has led in six out of the 15 races this season (Daytona, Las Vegas, Talladega, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Dover and Pocono) * Johnson has been in the top 10 in NASCAR Winston Cup points for 48 consecutive weeks, the longest current streak in Winston Cup.

Johnson won his first pole position of 2003 at Pocono Raceway.

Johnson has four career Winston Cup victories, tying him for 63rd on the all-time win list.

Johnson won The Winston all-star event at Lowe's Motor Speedway, taking home the largest purse in its 19-year history, $1 million.

Jimmie Johnson at Infineon Raceway

In the Winston Cup Series, Johnson has competed in just one race where he started 15th and finished 35th following a rear gear failure.

No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Fast Facts

Team Lowe's Racing will bring car 4878

This is a brand new Lowe's Chevy that Johnson tested at VIR a few weeks ago.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson