Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Randomness of plate racing makes Jimmie Johnson a contender at Daytona

Jimmie Johnson is 25/1 to win Saturday at Daytona.
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Daytona:
“Heading back to Daytona in the summer is usually really toasty. We got a big taste of that last weekend in Chicago. The biggest difference between the 500 Speedweeks is that there is less grip and track position seems to be more important. From a car build standpoint, we have a different approach – but it’s still plate racing and anything can happen, at any time.”

PLATE WINS: Jimmie Johnson is currently second on the list of active drivers for most restrictor-plate wins with five, behind only Brad Keselowski's six. He has won three times at Daytona International Speedway and twice at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson’s most recent win at Daytona came in 2013, when he won both the Daytona 500 and the 400-mile race in July before going on to win his sixth NASCAR Cup Series championship in the same season.

PLATES AND TEAMMATES: On three occasions at Daytona, Johnson has been involved in a Hendrick Motorsports one-two finishing effort. In July 2015, Johnson finished just behind former teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. In February 2013, Earnhardt was in Johnson’s rear-view mirror as the driver of the No. 48 Chevy cruised to his second win in the "Great American Race." Johnson finished in the runner-up position in July 2004 as NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon won the 400-mile event.

RECENT HISTORY: In this race a year ago, Johnson started and finished 12th, leading four laps during the 163-lap event. He suffered misfortune earlier this season as he was taken out of the Daytona 500 in a multiple-car incident in the last lap of the first stage, ending his day on Lap 59.

TEAM CHEVY STAGE: Johnson will make an appearance at the Team Chevy stage on Saturday, July 7, at 4:15 p.m. local time for a question-and-answer session.

SEEKING 84: Johnson's next trip to Victory Lane will be 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 Knaus has the most wins of all active crew chiefs with 81.

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