Watkins Glen: Jimmie Johnson preview

Back to the long and winding road of Watkins Glen Johnson looking forward to returning to 'The Glen' WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 6, 2003) - Watkins Glen might be one of the most under-appreciated tracks on Team Lowe's schedule this season. Last...

Back to the long and winding road of Watkins Glen
Johnson looking forward to returning to 'The Glen'

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 6, 2003) - Watkins Glen might be one of the most under-appreciated tracks on Team Lowe's schedule this season. Last year, in just his second Winston Cup road course event, driver Jimmie Johnson qualified a very respectable 12th for the main event. Unfortunately, engine problems with the Lowe's Chevy forced the team to replace engines and start at the rear of the field.

Johnson has a knack for charging up through the field, and last season's race at The Glen was no exception. Mere laps into the race, Johnson was running in the middle of the pack on a track tough to pass on. But just when it looked as though Johnson was going to make a charge into the top-10, Team Lowe's lost a tire on a pit stop, forcing Johnson back down pit road for a stop-and-go penalty which put him at the tail end of the field once again.

Team Lowe's did not get discouraged. Instead, they buckled down as Johnson continued his solid performance and recorded a 16th-place finish.

Jimmie Johnson quotes

WAS THE IROC RACE AT INDIANAPOLIS A SPECIAL WIN FOR YOU?

"Yes, it was. To be able to win at the Brickyard is very special; it was also special to win my first IROC race. That was a very cool moment. We had a great Lowe's Chevy for Sunday's race, but things just didn't work out for us as we got caught up in an accident toward the end. But all in all, it was a good weekend for us - especially winning the IROC race."

ARE THERE ANY CHANGES YOU'D LIKE TO SEE IN THE CARS FOR THE '04 SEASON?

"I think we're pretty equal. I think the bodies, templates and other things that have been going on with NASCAR has leveled the playing field. With the common templates, there really aren't too many areas that you can work in to find an advantage anymore. So I think it's fairly equal."

DO YOU THINK THE CURRENT NASCAR POINT SYSTEM COULD USE AN OVERHAUL?

"I think that having a bigger point separation from the race winner on down in the top portion of the point structure would be good. I don't think it's right that if you finish second and lead the most laps that you can earn as many points as the race winner does. As a whole, I think our point system works relatively well. Fine-tuning the top tier would be my only suggestion."

LOOKING AHEAD TO WATKINS GLEN, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN TAKE FROM YOUR EXPERIENCES AT INFINEON OR ARE THEY TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT ROAD COURSES?

"They are totally different road courses. But every time I run on a road course, I learn more. Watkins Glen should be a better race for me because I raced two years there in a Busch car. I've tested that track quite a few times and have a lot more experience there than I do at Infineon Raceway. So I'm looking forward to it. I think the Lowe's Monte Carlo will be strong."

Jimmie Johnson Fast Facts * Johnson ranks fourth in the Winston Cup Series championship standings, 496 points behind leader Matt Kenseth and 178 points out of third place. * Johnson has two wins (Lowe's Motor Speedway and New Hampshire International Speedway), four top-five (Daytona - 3rd, Lowe's Motor Speedway - 1st, Chicagoland - 3rd and New Hampshire - 1st) and eight top-10 finishes (Daytona - 3rd, Rockingham - 8th, Bristol - 8th, Texas - 8th, Martinsville - 9th, Lowe's Motor Speedway - 1st, Chicagoland - 3rd and New Hampshire - 1st). * Johnson has led nine out of the 21 races this season (Daytona 500, Las Vegas, Talladega, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Dover, Pocono, Pepsi 400, Chicagoland and New Hampshire). * Johnson has been in the top-10 in NASCAR Winston Cup points for 54 consecutive weeks, the longest current streak in Winston Cup. * Johnson won his first pole position of 2003 at Pocono Raceway. * Johnson is only the seventh driver in history to win a race starting from 35th or worse. * Johnson has five career Winston Cup victories. * Johnson has five career Winston Cup poles. * 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 Watkins Glen * In Winston Cup, Johnson has only raced once at Watkins Glen, when he started 12th and finished 16th.

No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Fast Facts * Team Lowe's Racing will bring car 4863. * This is the same Lowe's Chevy that Johnson drove to a 35th-place finish at Sears Point (broken rear gear) and to a 16th-place finish at Watkins Glen last season. Johnson finished 17th with this Chevy earlier this year at Infineon Raceway.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson