Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Johnson Excited About Going To California; Hopes To Improve From Vegas Race

Johnson has a 5.3 career average finish with four wins at Fontana
Auto Club Speedway
• Johnson has made 16 Sprint Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway, where he has earned five wins, 11 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes.
• Johnson, who is the defending race winner, has completed 100% (3955 of 3955) of competition laps at the two-mile track and has led 846.
• He has an average start and finish of 8.6 and 5.3.

Johnson will pilot brand new chassis No. 650 in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series event.
• Backup chassis No. 623 crossed the finish line 16th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this year.

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY TO YOU AND WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO THIS WEEKEND?: “To go back to the track that I won my first event at – we’re coming up on our 10th season or in the middle of our 10th season and it’s just a special time to go back. If I really think about 10 years ago – where I started and my mindset going into that race, it’s just a crazy trip down memory lane just to see where we’re at and what’s all taken place in these 10 seasons. I’m very happy to be going back to southern California with one race there now. I love winning at that track – it’s been very good to me and I only have one chance to strike and get a victory. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that this weekend.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN MISSING FROM YOUR INTERMEDIATE PACKAGE AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY?: “It’s hard to say that it’s just one thing. We realized in the middle of the Chase last year that our mile-and-a-half stuff is competitive and will run top-five or top-10, but it wasn’t what we were used to in the past and mile-and-a-halves have really been our bread and butter. We couldn’t really change course then because we had a championship to focus on. Over the off season we’ve worked hard on a lot of areas and Vegas was the first mile-and-a-half track for us and we were experimenting and trying to learn stuff. Mid-race we got the car comfortable and a lot of track position. Raced my way up into the top-10 and then we had some mistakes late and it cost us a good finish. I know we finished 16th, but I feel like we really were fifth to seventh in Vegas if we could have avoided those late-race mistakes. With all of that in mind, going to California, I feel much better than I did going into Vegas. I knew in Vegas it was kind of a test session of sorts. We’re getting smarter. Hopefully, this weekend we have everything just right, but it might take two or three more attempts on the mile-and-a-half tracks just to get everything where we need it.”

Career Wins
• Johnson has 53 wins in his Sprint Cup Series career, his most recent coming at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 26, 2010.
• The El Cajon, Calif.-native is currently 10th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list, one victory behind Lee Petty.
• He is second in total wins among active drivers, behind Jeff Gordon (82).
• Johnson needed only 296 starts to hit the 50 mark. Only three drivers have reached 50 victories quicker – Gordon (232), Darrell Waltrip (278) and David Pearson (293).
• Johnson has won at least three Cup races a season since he posted his first victory in 2002. He is the only driver in the modern era to win at least three races in each of his first eight full-time seasons.
• Johnson has won Sprint Cup Series races at all but four (Michigan, Chicago, Watkins Glen, Homestead) of the 22 tracks on which the series competes.
• Johnson’s 10 wins in 2007 was the highest number recorded in a single season since Jeff Gordon posted 13 victories in 1998.
• The four-consecutive wins scored by the No. 48 team in the 2007 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ties a modern-era NASCAR record.

Career Poles
• Johnson has collected 25 poles in his Sprint Cup career.
• The championship driver has earned at least one pole a year since his first full-time season in 2002.
• He had a career-high six poles in 2008.
• Johnson’s most recent pole position was at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 24, 2010.

Career Starts
• Johnson has finished in the top five in the Sprint Cup Series point standings each year since his first full season in 2002.
• Johnson is the only driver to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup every year since the format was adopted in 2004.
• In 331 Sprint Cup Series starts, Johnson has posted 136 top-five and 205 top-10 finishes.
• He has a top-five finish at every track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit.
• Johnson has led a total of 11,179 laps (of 95,496) in his Sprint Cup career, covering over 127,708 miles.
• He has finished on the lead lap 256 times

- GMR Live Marketing for Team Lowe’s Racing, Press Release

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