Talladega: Jimmie Johnson preview

Talladega Superspeedway * Johnson has made 14 Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega Superspeedway, earning one win, four top-five and six top-10 finishes. * The Team Lowe's Racing driver has completed 95.5% (2528 of 2646) of competition laps...

Talladega Superspeedway

* Johnson has made 14 Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega Superspeedway, earning one win, four top-five and six top-10 finishes.

* The Team Lowe's Racing driver has completed 95.5% (2528 of 2646) of competition laps and has led 190.

* He has an average start and finish of 9.1 and 16.9.

Chassis

* Chassis number 474 will be the primary for Sunday's event. It is the same car Johnson drove to a ninth-place finish at Talladega in October 2008.

* Johnson piloted backup chassis No. 482 at Daytona in February. He started seventh and finished 31st.

JIMMIE JOHNSON:

What are your thoughts heading into Talladega? "The spring one is typically a lot of fun. I assume it's going to be the same type of Talladega. The pole sitter will more than likely be one of the go-or-go home cars and at this race I think you'll see more action than you will in the fall race. I would expect a pretty full field of cars racing for the win from the start of the race on. When I think of Talladega the way it plays such a part in the 'Chase,' its hard for me to not cringe when I hear the word Talladega and get nervous about things. I have to remind myself that this isn't in the 'Chase' and I can go out and race hard. I'm looking forward to it -- should be a pretty casual, easy weekend. I'm looking forward to getting back to some more hardcore race fans."

Was there a point when you started to understand restrictor plate racing? "Looking back over my Cup career and even Nationwide career, I think there was a window in 2005 or even 2006 when I could actually call myself a good plate racer and since then I have just been a fair plate racer and I don't know what has changed or what has gone on, but I'm always working on things and hopefully I can find that rhythm that's needed. In some ways I think I just need to be more protective and play more defense than I currently do. Working with people in my mind and the way the flow of things work on a majority of our race tracks -- I think it probably cost me track position and cost me a shot at a win late in a race. I'm going to go down there and make some adjustments to that this weekend."

Do you plan to hang back and then go to the front at the end of the restrictor plate races? "The last two 'Chase' races at Talladega we tried that and in the '07 championship battle it went as planned. We battled back and there were two big wrecks and then when it was time to go racing there weren't a lot of cars left and we had a straight race car and got a good finish. Last year I was right in the eye of the storm and got as lucky as a man could get sliding through all of those pile-ups and almost got collected. In 2007 we played it and the circumstances played out perfectly for us. Last year not so much, but we got lucky. When we go back for the 'Chase' race I would assume that we will probably play a similar role. I don't know with the spring race what our agenda is going to be. I would love to go up there and just race away. There's really not a lot to lose at this point in the year. Just get up in there and have some fun and get better at plate racing itself."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson