|Johnson won the All-Star race and Coca-Cola 600 back-to-back in 2003|
Johnson won a record fourth Sprint All-Star Race Saturday evening. The victory in the non-points-paying event made him the all-time winningest driver in the event, breaking a tie with the legendary Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. A win in this weekend’s 600-mile event would be his seventh overall at the track, making him its all-time winningest driver and breaking a tie at six wins apiece with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.
Johnson has three wins in the Memorial Day-weekend race, including his last win in the 600-mile event in 2005. The only time he has swept the All-Star Race and 600 was in 2003. While he owns the best driver rating among current drivers and has the best average running position, Johnson hasn’t scored a top-10 finish in the Memorial Day-weekend event since 2007.
A recent repave at Charlotte may have slowed Johnson’s dominance, a fact the five-time champion acknowledges. “We knew, literally, what time in the afternoon, what adjustment needed to be made to the car, and it was like clockwork, didn’t matter the year, just every single time. It’s not that way anymore.”
Saturday’s win was certainly a step in the right direction and, while Johnson may not have “two cats in the yard,” he would most surely agree that Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway is a “very, very, very fine house,” one he may own by the time he gets finished wheeling his No. 48 Lowe’s “Patriotic” Chevrolet SS 600 miles Sunday evening.
Johnson’s 600-Miler Quick Stats:
· Six wins (May 2003, 2004 season sweep, October 2005 and 2009) in 23 starts.
· Three poles (May 2002 and 2004, October 2009).
· 11 top-five finishes (47.8 percent) and 15 top-10s (65.2 percent) in 23 starts.
· Average start of 7.3. Average finish of 11.4.
· Four DNFs (did not finish) – October 2001, May 2008, May and October 2011.
· 7,865 of 8,118 laps completed (96.9 percent) and 1,439 laps led.
· Sprint Cup’s best driver rating (111.7 average of a possible 150 points).
· Sprint Cup’s best average running position – 7.9.
Sprint Cup’s best in fastest laps run (544).
· Sprint Cup’s best in most laps in the top-15 with 4,932 (86.4 percent).
· Sprint Cup’s best green-flag speed of 176.653 mph.
· Sprint Cup’s second-best in quality passes with 825.
Driver, Team and Sponsor Notes
Lowe’s to Donate $1 Million To Help Communities Affected by Tornados
* Lowe’s announced it will donate $1 million to support disaster relief and rebuilding efforts in communities affected by the recent tornados in Oklahoma, Texas and across the Midwest. Lowe’s is working with its national nonprofit partners to provide both immediate and long-term support to local communities.
* As part of the $1 million pledge, Lowe’s will donate $500,000 to the American Red Cross and will match the earnings of five-time Sprint Cup champion Johnson from Sunday’s NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway with an additional donation to the Red Cross. Lowe’s will use the remainder of its $1 million commitment to fund local projects in areas of greatest need as identified by its national nonprofit partners.
* Johnson will drive the No. 48 Lowe’s “Patriotic” Chevrolet SS in Sunday’s 600-mile race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The car will be painted red, white and blue and ringed in stars.
* Lowe’s and its No. 48 team have a long history of supporting the military and honoring the nation over the years. In 2001,Johnson’s first Sprint Cup race came at Charlotte in the Lowe’s Chevrolet, which was specially painted to honor the country. In 2009, crew chief Chad Knaus helped create a patriotic-themed car that carried the names of more than 12,000 Lowe’s employees who are military veterans or reservists.
* This year’s campaign began April 12 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and culminates at Charlotte. Johnson has drawn two charities each week for a total of 13 charities. At the kickoff announcement, Make-A-Wish Iowa was selected.
* The Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program, which began in 2008, allows fans, consumers and media members across the country to nominate their favorite charity to receive a $10,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party, and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet. Nominations are currently being accepted at www.HelmetOfHope.org.
* To date, the program has contributed more than $430,000 to 61 different charities.
JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:,
Do you think your triathlon training will be an advantage for a long endurance race like the 600?
“Oh yeah, it all helps for sure from the physical side. I think the mental side of not feeling good and being uncomfortable for long periods of time is good. Then, nutrition and hydration – I feel like I’m a lot smarter now with nutrition and hydration than I was. My body is programmed to live in that environment and deal with those things. The 600 should be pretty good for me, fitness-wise.”
What are your thoughts on how the Chevrolet SS is going to perform for 600 miles in the longest race of the year?
“I think it’s proven to be a fun car to drive, a reliable car. I think some of the components on the car, like pieces of the body, are a little fragile, at times. So, on a short track, I’m most concerned that just casual contact will really create a problem. We won’t have that in the 600. I don’t know why I’m really bringing it up, other than the car is so durable. On short tracks, I have a little bit more concern about the Gen-6 car and being able to hurt it easier than you would expect to. On a bigger track like this, I don’t see any problems. The car has been very durable, very fun to drive and fast.”
Can you talk about it being the biggest day in motorsports with the running of the 600 and the Indianapolis 500?
“I think it’s a race fan’s ultimate day. I know there is always competition amongst NASCAR and IndyCar as to whose show is better, but just as a pure fan you’ve got six, seven hours of just racing that you get to watch. That is awesome. I always looked forward to Memorial Day weekend and Memorial Day watching both races.”
You are going to be running a special patriotic paint scheme for the second weekend in a row at Charlotte. What does that mean to you?
“I’m just the fortunate, lucky guy who gets to talk about what Lowe’s is doing. They want to pay tribute to the men and women who serve our country. I am so thankful they do. My grandparents served, my father served, so it’s part of the life I knew and grew up in, that environment. Happy to carry the colors on our car and hopefully take them to victory lane.”
- True Speed Communication for Team Lowe’s Racing