Thursday, February 8, 2018

Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and Lowe's begin 17th season together

Jimmie Johnson is 15/1 to win his third Daytona 500.
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Hometown: El Cajon, California
Age: 42
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina

Jimmie Johnson his outlook for the new Camaro ZL1:

“My outlook is very positive. When you look what we did with the previous generation car, we had five seasons with no upgrades and still stayed awfully competitive. We’re going to be in much better shape this season from a competition standpoint. We also have a new paint scheme on my Lowe’s Chevy, which is a lot different than what we’re used to. I’m recharged and very excited.”

Johnson on having a new car chief:

“Ron Malec will be missed, but he still touches our cars back at the shop. Jesse (Saunders) is more than capable of the job, I have a ton of confidence in his experience and ability, so the decision was a good one. He has been on our team since 2014 and worked under (No. 48 team crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and Ron that entire time, so he has had a good mentor and I know he will be great.”

NEW SEASON, NEW LOOK: Longtime Hendrick Motorsports partner Lowe’s Home Improvement will highlight Lowe’s for Pros on Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in 2018. For the majority of the 17-year partnership, Johnson’s Chevy has been Lowe’s blue and white. New for 2018, the No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet not only has a new body style with the Camaro ZL1, but sports a brand new black and dark gray paint scheme. Lowe’s has been the only primary sponsor of the No. 48 team since its inception, winning a record-tying seven NASCAR Cup Series championships with Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR THE CAMARO: The No. 48 team has been burning the midnight oil on the Hendrick Motorsports campus in Concord, North Carolina, over the offseason to prepare a new fleet of Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 race cars. The last time manufacturer Chevrolet debuted a new race car in the Daytona 500, it was Johnson who took it to Victory Lane. The seven-time Cup Series champion has won the Daytona 500 on two occasions – Feb. 6, 2006, and Feb. 24, 2013, the latter being the first race for the Chevrolet SS.

TWO-TIME DAYTONA CHAMP: With two victories, Johnson is the only multi-time Daytona 500 winner expected to compete in this year’s event. The last time there was just one multi-time winner in the Daytona 500 field was 1993 (Bill Elliott).

LONE CLASH WIN: Johnson has one win in The Clash exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway, which came in 2005 when the race format was reserved for Cup Series pole position winners who qualified from the previous season.

STARTING UP FRONT: As a rookie in the NASCAR Cup Series back in 2002, Johnson found success right out of the gate. He scored the pole position in his very first attempt at the Daytona 500 with a qualifying lap of 185.831 mph. His second pole for “The Great American Race” came in 2008. Johnson has also earned three second-place starts for the race – in 2005, 2010 and 2015.

DUEL PERFORMANCE: Johnson has two wins in the Duel Daytona 500 qualifying races, which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 15. He went to Victory Lane in 2010 after edging Kevin Harvick by only 0.006 seconds. Johnson also won a Duel in 2015, which went into overtime and ended under a green-white-checkered flag finish. Last year in the season-opening qualifier race, Johnson made contact with the wall with 14 laps to go and was forced to a backup car for the Daytona 500.

SEVENTEEN YEARS STRONG: Johnson, Knaus, and sponsor Lowe’s will celebrate their 17th full season together in 2018. Lowe’s joined forces with Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 48 team in 2001 and has been Johnson’s full-season primary sponsor since his 2002 rookie year, including all seven NASCAR Cup Series championships.

BIKE BUILD FOR KIDS: Johnson, Knaus and members of the No. 48 pit crew flew to Las Vegas on Feb. 7 to help Lowe’s store managers at the company's National Sales Meeting build 1,000 bikes for kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.

WHAT’S IN A NUMBER: Johnson is on the verge of his 84th points-paying NASCAR Cup Series win. He secured his 83rd in June 2017 to tie NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time wins list. An 84th win would tie Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth all-time. Johnson is currently 10 wins behind former teammate Jeff Gordon, who has 93 victories and is third on the list. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers and crew chief Knaus has the most wins of all active crew chiefs with 81.

NEW CAR CHIEF: With longtime No. 48 team car chief Ron Malec coming off the road, crew chief Knaus has pegged Jesse Saunders, 32, a native of New Glarus, Wisconsin, to fill the key position. Saunders joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2014 as the No. 48 team's “underneath” mechanic and brings years of both on- and off-track experience of racing go-karts and Late Models in the upper Midwest.

JOHNSON TO INTRO 46-TIME CHAMPS AT WESTMINSTER: Over the years, one group has dominated the esteemed Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, so it's only fitting that it receives a champion's welcome. Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champ Johnson recently lent his voice to an animated introduction of the Terrier class, winners of the annual event's Best in Show a record 46 times. “Westminster Week” and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will air on various FOX properties from Feb. 11-13.

OFFSEASON NOTES OF INTEREST: Johnson was recently named one of the San Diego Hall of Champions' Professional Stars of the Year. He is a native of El Cajon, California, just outside San Diego. In December, Johnson and his 7-year-old daughter Genevieve participated in the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s Ajax Cup ski race event. It was Johnson’s third time competing in the Ajax Cup. Johnson also coached former teammate and close friend Dale Earnhardt Jr., who learned how to ski that same weekend.

TEAM CHEVY STAGE: Johnson will make a public appearance at the Team Chevy stage on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 10:30 a.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

2018 Season

  • TBD


  • 579 starts
  • 83 wins
  • 35 pole positions
  • 222 top-five finishes
  • 341 top-10 finishes
  • 18,663 laps led

Track Career 

  • 32 starts
  • 3 wins
  • 2 pole positions
  • 11 top-five finishes
  • 14 top-10 finishes
  • 289 laps led

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