|Jimmie Johnson hasn't won at Phoenix since 2009; he's 7/1 to win this week.|
“I guess the changes that have taken place. For the longest time it was an old surface and tricky and we hit on it and won a bunch. The reconfiguration or resurface job threw a huge curveball at us. Now it is changing again. I don’t think the track is going to change much, obviously where the start-finish line is going to relocate, but it’s going to look and feel completely different and where the start-finish line is moving it could have a much different ending to a race than what we are used to seeing.”
Johnson on applying notes from the spring race to the fall event:
“There is a lot of time in between. The cars do advance so much. It is probably one of the toughest tracks to have stuff apply, but the one consistent thing is how hard that surface is there and how difficult it is to create grip on it. There are some common trends in driver remarks and setup to try to stick to that racetrack.”
PHOENIX STATS: According to NASCAR loop data since 2005, Jimmie Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Phoenix with a score of 111.2. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.
ICYMI: JIMMIE JOHNSON DAY IN ARIZONA: Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Johnson visited the Phoenix area on Feb. 16 in an effort to promote this weekend’s event. Johnson met Arizona governor Doug Ducey and took him for a spin around the state capitol in downtown Phoenix in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS, ending the ride with a burnout. Ducey gave a proclamation for Feb. 16 to be "Jimmie Johnson Day" across the state of Arizona. Click here to read the article.
SPEEDY JOHNSON: The four-time winner at Phoenix also holds the track record for qualifying speed. On Nov. 13, 2015, Johnson clocked a time of 25.147 seconds or 146.308 mph around the one-mile track. He is credited with 35 career pole positions, three of which have come at Phoenix.
MOST TOP-FIVE FINISHES: Johnson has earned more top-five finishes than any other driver at Phoenix with 15. His 19 top-10s are third-best all time, chasing former teammate Jeff Gordon, who has 24 at the one-mile track.
ROLL BAR APPEARANCE: The seven-time champion will visit Phoenix International Raceway’s “Roll Bar” Club at 9:45 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session with fans on Sunday, March 19. For more information, visitwww.phoenixraceway.com.
HELMET OF HOPE: Voting continues for the 2017 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign, which will award $125,000 to five non-profit organizations in May. The program, which began in 2008, allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate their favorite education-focused charities, including parent-teacher associations, to receive a $25,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet. Nominations will be accepted at www.helmetofhope.org through Friday, April 14. Ten semifinalists will be selected from the nominations. The public vote to choose the final five grant recipients will take place from May 5 to 12. Johnson will wear the Helmet of Hope during the NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 13.