|Jimmie Johnson is 6/1 to win at Pocono.|
“Pocono is such a unique place. We’re always stuck in an engineering kind of mindset of is it better to be faster on the straightaways or through the corners or how you set the car’s ride heights, the drag or downforce you might put in the car due to the ride heights. And I know from crew chief Chad Knaus’ standpoint, it’s a track he’s always enjoyed because he has options and you can set the car up differently. From a driver’s standpoint, it’s frustrating because a small loss of time through the center of the corner after you have almost a mile-long front straightaway, you can look at a stopwatch and be five, six, or seven-tenths off and think, 'Wow, we’re really out of it.' But, honestly, it was just a small little thing that happened in the center of Turn 3 that compounded down the front. So, it is a very challenging track. It’s unique unto itself. And there are some awesome roads to go cycling on, so I’ll have fun.”
Johnson on tying Cale Yarborough
“I remember as a child, sitting on that old, dirty couch in El Cajon, California, with my parents. We didn't want to turn the A/C on because it cost too much, so we were sweating it out in 100-degree heat pulling for that No. 28 of Cale Yarborough. To tie him is just mind-blowing. I was very fortunate to have a similar experience when I tied him with the three consecutive championships and he surprised me at the awards banquet and presented me with my championship ring. But to tie him at 83 wins, I swear to you, I only dreamed of winning a race, and to have 83 and to tie him is just absolutely mind-blowing. We’ve done it all with Lowe’s on our car and it’s just something I never could have dreamed of.”
MONSTER MILESTONES: Jimmie Johnson’s win at Dover last weekend was one for the record books -- literally. It was Hendrick Motorsports’ 248th NASCAR Cup Series win, the 771st win for manufacturer Chevrolet and Johnson’s track-record 11th win at Dover, linking him with the likes of Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip as one of the only three drivers to win 11 or more races at a single track. The win was the 83rd of Johnson’s Cup career, tying him with childhood hero Cale Yarborough in all-time wins.
COMPARING TO CALE: There are some interesting parallels between the careers of Johnson and Yarborough. Johnson reached his 83rd win at the age of 41 years old in his 556th start – Yarborough reached his 83rd and final win in his 518th start at the age of 46. Yarborough was the first driver in NASCAR history to win three consecutive titles, and Johnson was the first to win five. Over his storied career that spanned 560 starts, Yarborough amassed 83 wins, 69 poles, 255 top-five finishes and 319 top-10s. Johnson is currently at career start 556 and still going strong with 83 wins, 35 poles, 221 top-five finishes and 335 top-10s.
THIRD-HIGHEST DRIVER RATING AT POCONO: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Johnson has the third-best driver rating at Pocono with a score of 104.8 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.
LAST TRIP TO VICTORY LANE: Johnson’s last win at the “Tricky Triangle” was on June 9, 2013, when Johnson dominated, starting first and leading 128 of 200 laps en route to his third win at the 2.5-mile track. In recent outings, Johnson has a pair of sixth-place finishes and two finishes outside the top-35 due to incidents.
HOMETOWN CONNECTION: Shock specialist Mike Ellershaw hails from Levittown, Pennsylvania, a town roughly two hours south of Pocono Raceway.