|Jimmie Johnson won last season at Fontana; he's 10/1 to win Sunday.|
"To say California is a special place to me is an understatement. As a driver you never forget your first Cup Series win. The wins that have followed have been so great, too. I'm so fortunate. Last year's win in the Lowe's/Superman car was epic, and it's just always nice to come 'home.'"
Johnson on racing at Fontana:
"California just suits my driving style. The worn-out surface plays into our wheelhouse, and it's just fast. It should be another great race and I always look forward to this one."
Johnson on the key to success at Fontana:
“Auto Club Speedway is such a tricky track. Of course, you want to have the long-run speed. We do have those long green-flag runs and the lane moves all over, so you want that versatility in your car. But, I think every team’s goal is about finding the right balance to preserve the tires and to try to have more long-run speed than the short run.”
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS, will visit the Auto Club Speedway media center at 8:45 a.m. local time on Friday, March 24.
PHOENIX RECAP: Sunday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway, Jimmie Johnson notched his first top-10 finish of the 2017 season, his 20th career top-10 at the one-mile oval. Johnson is now 16th in the point standings heading into the fifth race of the season.
FONTANA STATS: According to NASCAR loop data since 2005, Johnson has the series-best driver rating in Fontana, California, with a score of 119.7. 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. Johnson also has a series-best finishing position of 6.1 in that time span.
ONE YEAR AGO: Johnson, a native of El Cajon, California, piloted the No. 48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS to his sixth NASCAR Cup Series race win at Auto Club Speedway – three more than any other driver – when he claimed the checkered flag in the 20th annual race at the track on March 20, 2016.
WALK OF FAME INDUCTION: For the sixth time, Johnson will be inducted into Auto Club Speedway’s Walk of Fame. The ceremony will take place on Friday, March 24, at 9:20 a.m. local time outside the track in the Fan Zone at Gate B. Ticket holders are able to watch the Walk of Fame induction as Johnson will place his feet in cement commemorating his win last season.
CALIFORNIA LOVE: In only his 13th Cup Series start, Johnson won his first career Cup race on April 28, 2002, in his home state of California. The rookie from El Cajon started fourth, led 62 laps and cruised to his first victory NASCAR’s most elite series. Fifteen years and 80 wins later, Johnson is still piloting the Lowe’s Chevrolet with Chad Knaus as his crew chief, and he is now seventh on the all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list.
HELMET OF HOPE: Voting continues for the 2017 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign until April 14. The campaign 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 and 10 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.