Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jimmie Johnson still searching for first Michigan win

One place Johnson has celebrated at is Michigan
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (June 11, 2013) – With Quicken Loans serving as the title sponsor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this weekend at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Jimmie Johnson may want to get a loan on some good luck.

The request isn’t without reason. Johnson and Team Lowe’s Racing have experienced some frustrating finishes at the 2-mile oval. Michigan has been a thorn in the side of Johnson and the No. 48 over the years. It is one of only five tracks on the circuit where Johnson never has celebrated one of his 63 victories. Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International are the others.

In this race last year, Johnson nearly ran out of gas but managed to pull off a fifth-place finish. But that was followed by a DNF (did not finish) in August. In June 2011, the No. 48 machine broke loose on lap eight. While Johnson saved the car from hitting the wall, a part broke, forcing Johnson to enter pit road for lengthy repairs. He never was able to recover due to long green-flag runs in the race.

While Johnson earned a respectable sixth place in June 2010, August wasn’t as kind. Overcoming early pit road issues, Johnson was in contention but took on four tires on the final stop while most of the field stayed out or took fuel, relegating him to a 12th-place finish.

In 2009, fuel was the issue. Johnson dominated the June race by leading 146 of 200 laps, but ran out of gas after taking the white flag and finished 22nd. He led 133 laps in the August race but again ran out of fuel during the final two laps and finished 33rd.

He may have a little more confidence this weekend, coming off a dominating win last Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, stretching his lead in the driver standings to 51 points over second-place Carl Edwards. But it’s not surprising that Johnson wouldn’t mind a little loan on some good luck at Michigan.

Johnson’s Michigan and Season Quick Stats:
· Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn is one of five tracks (out of 23) on which the series competes that Johnson has not recorded a victory. Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the others.
· No poles.
· Four top-five finishes (18.2 percent) and nine top-10s (40.9 percent) in 22 starts.
· Two DNFs – did not finish (August 2012 and 2004).
· Average start of 8.8 and average finish of 15.2.
· Completed 4,209 of 4,339 laps (97.0 percent) and led 565.
· Sprint Cup’s fourth-best driver rating (104.2 average of a possible 150 points).
· Sprint Cup’s second-best average green-flag speed (176.274 mph).
· Sprint Cup’s best in fastest laps run (318).
· In 14 Sprint Cup races run this season, Johnson has seven top-five finishes.

Driver, Team and Sponsor Notes
· Johnson will drive the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS at Michigan International Speedway.


What are you thought’s about racing at Michigan this weekend?

“The Michigan track surface has had summer and winter on it, and we’ll see how much grip is just in the surface. I would assume we’ll go as fast as we did (last year) if not faster; and with the flatter track, I think the Gen-6 car will outperform the Gen-5. The question really comes down to how much grip is still in the asphalt. I would assume it’s going to be high. On fresh repaves, the grip is always at its highest. I’m not exactly sure how that will play out, but I’m happy that a summer and a winter have been on the track. It will make the racing wider for us, and that’s what we’re all hoping for. We’ve had weird things happen at Michigan, but one of these times it (a win) will happen for us; and I hope it’s this year.”

Are you doing anything special for Father’s Day?
“They’ll have the ‘Father’s Day Olympics’ again, so I’ll be out there with (daughter) Evie. MRO (Motor Reaching Outreach) puts it on, and we’ll be out there for that. Last year, she really didn’t understand the relay races and what was going on, but this year she’ll be much more involved, and it’ll be fun!”

- True Speed Communication for Team Lowe’s Racing

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