|Jimmie Johnson is 15/1 to win at Watkins Glen.|
“Watkins Glen hasn’t been too kind to the No. 48 team or me in particular in years past, but I look at this track every year as a personal challenge. The past two weeks haven’t been kind to us either, but our qualifying has improved and we are finding speed.”
WATKINS GLEN FAN FEST: Jimmie Johnson will appear Friday, Aug. 4, at the Watkins Glen International Fan Fest taking place inside the track. Johnson will be on stage for a question-and-answer session at 6:45 p.m. local time. See www.theglen.com for more details.
JOHNSON RIDES RAGBRAI: Prior to heading to Pocono, Johnson and friends made a trip to Iowa to participate in an annual bike ride across the state called RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI, an acronym for “Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa," is a non-competitive, recreational bicycle ride that travels from west to east across the state of Iowa. It is the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world. Johnson and longtime pal Lance Armstrong rode more than 100 miles over the two days they attended. Click here for the story.
JOHNSON IN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SPECIAL EDITION: In the July 24 edition of Sports Illustrated, Johnson is featured among some elite athletes including MMA fighter Daniel Cormier, soccer star Didier Drogba, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran and former WNBA champion DeLisha Milton-Jones in a story focused on athletes either nearing or just past their 40th birthdays. Centered around New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s ability to stay on top of his game as he nears the age of 40, writer Greg Bishop looks into what it takes to succeed past that magic age. Click here for the full story.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHAD: No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus will celebrate his 46th birthday on Saturday, Aug. 5, while at The Glen. Knaus, who hails from Rockford, Illinois, became a crew chief at age 14, helping his father John compete at Rockford Speedway and other tracks across the Midwest.
48 CREW WINS MECHANIX WEAR SECOND QUARTER: The No. 48 pit crew was voted the Second Quarter Most Valuable Pit Crew by Mechanix Wear. The “Most Valuable Pit Crew” award is voted on by the crew chiefs in the NASCAR Cup Series garage. The team was awarded a check for $5,000 and an opportunity to be recognized as the Most Valuable Pit Crew at the end of the playoffs. The team won the award along with the No. 48 team’s seventh Cup championship in 2016. Members include: tire changers Kevin Novak and Calvin Teague; tire carriers R.J. Barnette and Ryan Patton; gasman Brandon Harder and jackman Kyle Tudor. Pit coaches are Chris Kreig and Jon Carvin.
MORE MALEC: No. 48 team car chief Ron Malec, this year’s recipient of the Brian Lunniss Mechanix Wear Lifetime Achievement award, will be featured in an article written by longtime motor sports journalist Al Pearce in the Aug. 7 edition of AutoWeek magazine. Malec was also featured this past weekend on NASCAR on FOX’s “RaceDay” show where Malec, Johnson and Knaus sat down with host Kaitlyn Vincie to talk about Malec’s career. Click here to see the interview.
WINLESS AT WATKINS: Watkins Glen remains one of the three tracks on the current NASCAR Cup Series circuit that is not represented in the No. 48 team’s trophy collection. Although Johnson has four top-five finishes in 15 starts, the team hasn’t finished better than third at the New York road course. In addition to Watkins Glen, Kentucky Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway are the only other tracks where Johnson has yet to win.
DRIVER RATING AT THE GLEN: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Johnson has the fourth-best driver rating at Watkins Glen with an average score of 95.2 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.
CALLING ALL KIDS TO CHICAGO: Johnson is hosting a special ticket package for families at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 17. Johnson, Chicagoland and NASA have teamed up for the third consecutive year for a special ticket package that features a youth question-and-answer session. The pricing is $23 for kids 12 and under and $48 for adults. Log on to www.ChicagolandSpeedway.com for more info.