|Jimmie Johnson is 10/1 to win championship.|
"I feel like we have been talking about our summer slump a lot lately, but I am confident going into these next 10 races that the ‘slump’ is over. No one steps up to the challenge better than my No. 48 Lowe’s team. I’m looking forward to Chicago, we had a great test there and I’ve always wanted to give (No. 48 team crew chief) Chad (Knaus) a win at his home track.”
TESTED AT CHICAGO: Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team spent two days testing at Chicagoland Speedway in August to help Hendrick Motorsports prepare for the playoff-opening event.
CHICAGO DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Johnson has the second-best driver rating at Chicagoland with a score of 90.3 since 2005. 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 and is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. JOHNSON: El Cajon, California, native Johnson will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Sunday, Sept. 17.
WINLESS IN THE WINDY CITY: Even though Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team have led 695 laps at Chicago and own seven top-five finishes, the 1.5-mile track remains one of the three venues on the current NASCAR Cup schedule where Johnson has yet to score a win. The others are Kentucky and Watkins Glen.
BRISTOL BOUND: On Thursday, Sept. 14, Johnson will head to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, for NASCAR playoff media and to help promote the sport over the next 10 weeks en route to the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series championship.
PLAYOFF-BOUND: With Johnson’s three wins this season, he is currently seeded fifth in the NASCAR playoffs grid with 17 playoff points. He is the only driver who has made the NASCAR Cup Series' postseason playoff system every year of its existence.
KNAUS FROM NEARBY ROCKFORD: No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, approximately 106 miles north of Chicagoland Speedway. Knaus made a name for himself racing Late Model Stock cars at Rockford Speedway with his father, John. Knaus graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Rockford.
STEERING WHEEL FOR A CAUSE: September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Johnson honored fellow competitor Martin Truex Jr. and his longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex -- who is an ovarian cancer survivor -- with a teal-and-gold-colored steering wheel last weekend at Richmond. The second annual “Drive for Teal & Gold” campaign is designed to raise awareness of and funds for ovarian (teal ribbon) and childhood (gold ribbon) cancers. At the end of September, the autographed wheel will be available via online auction by the NASCAR Foundation to benefit the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.