|Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knauss,|
during practice today at Charlotte
Check out these numbers for Johnson in the 600: Six wins in 21 starts (May 2003, 2004 and 2005 season sweep, October 2009). Three poles (May 2002 and 2004, October 2009). · 10 top-five finishes (47.6 percent) and 14 top-10s (66.7 percent). · Average finish of 11.9. · Sprint Cup’s best average running position (8.4). · Four DNFs (Did Not Finish), October 2001, May 2008, May and October 2011. · 7,132 of 7,384 laps completed (96.6 percent) and 1,386 laps led. · Sprint Cup’s best driver rating (111.0 average out of a possible 150 points). · Sprint Cup’s best with 451 fastest laps run. · Sprint Cup’s best with average green-flag speed of 176.429 mph. · Sprint Cup’s best with 4,201 laps in the top-15 (84.5 percent). · Sprint Cup’s best with 714 quality passes. Pretty impressive stuff, never mind the fact that Johnson coming off two wins.
“It is a very long race on a tough track." JJ said. "It’s not only from the driver’s perspective, but the teams go through a lot to get prepared for that race. Staying alert and focused, properly hydrated all the things that the driver has to go through so do the guys that go over the wall. They change a lot of tires during that race. It’s a very tough event on everyone but I think everybody enjoys it. I know my guys do. I know I do. I love that challenge. I love it especially when you are going to victory lane. I hope to do that again"
Johnson was also asked about whether or not his team planned on taking the same winning car from the All-Star race to the 600. "Not with the way things are today. The cars go to the tech center and they don’t get back in time to turn them around in a couple of days. I think we have an equally good car for the 600. I said it the other night, but track position at the end of the 600 is going to be key, I think. You are going to have start thinking about strategy and a couple of pit stops or so from the end, making the right calls is going to be important- whether you take fuel, tires or no tires. It’s going to get interesting. We learned a lot the other night thought that I think we will be able to apply this weekend.” Johnson said.
Johnson was asked today how much teams take with them from the All-Star race. “You can take a lot. You run a good practice session at a very similar time during the day. We made a qualifying runs, granted we had a pit stop and an extra lap but everybody pays close attention to that first lap out. Our qualifying set-up for this weekend is built off of that. Then the race going into night trying to pay attention to the track and where it is going from our stand point the way we finished the race was pretty fast, we would be foolish to start any different. For us it is kind of predictable why and what we would do. We have been here other times where we have been off and maybe used the All-Star as a testing ground and then come back here with new ideas or old proven equipment or hey the new stuff worked let’s try it. Last weekend is very important. It’s not often that we get to go test and the All-Star in a sense is a test bed for a lot of reasons for a lot of teams.” Johnson said
Johnson and the #48 roll off third for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. NASCAR's green flag drops Sunday at 6pm. For you couch potatoes, your race schedule starts at 8am EST, with the Grand Prix of Monaco. 78 laps around the streets of Monaco is roughly 161 miles. Then settle in for the Indianapolis 500 at just a few ticks after noon EST. Follow up with NASCAR's marathon 600, and you've got 1261 miles of racing Sunday. That's a long day of auto racing for motorsports fans.
Photo Credit: Jamey Price/Getty Images for NASCAR