Watkins Glen: Jimmie Johnson preview

Johnson looks to capture lightning in a bottle at "Thunder Road" Rookie plans for constructive run at Watkins Glen International. WATKINS GLEN, NY (August 6, 2002) - Rookie sensation Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement...

Johnson looks to capture lightning in a bottle at "Thunder Road"
Rookie plans for constructive run at Watkins Glen International.

WATKINS GLEN, NY (August 6, 2002) - Rookie sensation Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Chevrolet, is looking forward to this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup race, the Sirius Satellite Radio at The Glen, at Watkins Glen International. This will be Johnson's first competitive race at renowned "Thunder Road." Team Lowe's Racing and Johnson are confident that his experience from off-road and stadium truck racing will be a huge asset this weekend.

With its 9th-place finish last Sunday, Johnson climbed to second overall in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship standing, 93 points behind leader Sterling Marlin. Johnson remains the leader in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition.

Jimmie Johnson on racing at Watkins Glen

"I like tracks like Watkins Glen. Road courses are much closer to the kind of tracks that I grew up racing on. Passing is one of the most important things to concern yourself with at a track like Watkins Glen. You can sometimes spend seven to ten laps just setting someone up for a pass, whereas at other tracks you can make two or three moves within one lap. I don't have a lot of seat time in a Cup car there, so I imagine I'll struggle a bit getting passes done. But if I can hang in there and force a few people to make mistakes, it could be a good run for Team Lowe's Racing.

"To be successful this weekend I have to be patient. It is important to qualify well on Friday because track position on a road course like Watkins Glen is key...more so than at other tracks. If we establish good track position, then it's a matter of getting into a rhythm and setting a good pace. It is easy to beat up your brakes there, so again, remaining patient, along with establishing good track position, are key. If we can do both of those things and make the proper adjustments along the way, then we should post another strong finish."

Johnson on his recent test session at Watkins Glen

"We just burned fuel and tires on the first day, primarily to get me some quality seat time. On the second day, we focused more fine-tuning our race package and running different set-ups based on Jeff's (Gordon) notes from previous races. We also conducted some qualifying runs late in the day that gave us an idea of where the best braking zones and shift points are on the track. We ran strong both days, so I look for a good qualifying effort from the Lowe's Monte Carlo come Friday."

Jimmie Johnson Fast Facts

* Ranks second in the Winston Cup Series championship standings, 93 points out of first

* Leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year competition by 7 points

* Has won two NASCAR Winston Cup races this season (California and Dover)

* Is tied for the fastest modern day driver to reach two wins

* Has two wins, five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 21 races

* Has been the highest finishing rookie 11 times this season

* The 13 top-10 finishes are the most in the Winston Cup Series (Las Vegas - 6th, Atlanta - 3rd, Darlington - 6th, Bristol - 7th, Texas - 6th, Talladega - 7th, California - 1st, Lowe's Motor Speedway - 7th, Dover - 1st, Pocono - 3rd, Daytona (Pepsi 400) - 8th, Chicagoland - 4th and Indianapolis - 9th)

* Has three Bud Pole positions this season, second most in NASCAR Winston Cup (Daytona, Talladega and Lowe's Motor Speedway)

* Only the third rookie in history to win the Daytona 500 pole

* Only the second rookie in history to win a pole at Talladega Superspeedway

* Holds the NWC qualifying record at Lowe's Motor Speedway

* Has led eight Winston Cup Series races this season (Las Vegas, Talladega, California, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Dover, Michigan, Chicago and Pocono)

* Won his first Winston Cup race of his career at California Speedway, his home racetrack

* Won the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series event at Chicagoland Speedway in 2001

Jimmie Johnson at Watkins Glen
* This will be Johnson's first race at Watkins Glen

No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Fast Facts
* Team Lowe's Racing will bring car 4863

* This is the same Lowe's Monte Carlo that Johnson drove at Infineon Raceway earlier this season


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Sterling Marlin , Jimmie Johnson