By Steve Pouliot - 25 April 2012:
Five time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson currently sits seventh in points, as NASCAR races Saturday night at the Virginia short track Richmond International Raceway. The .75 mile track has not really treated Johnson well, notching three wins with one DNF and an average finish of only 17.2. Johnson, like the rest of us, is a fan of the exciting side by side, local short track style racing. That fact is surprising, considering if you throw out the 07-08 seasons, Johnson as struggled.
“As a fan, I love the night race. As a driver, we are in a rhythm of day racing. It’s so tough to save your energy, even grab a nap so that you are ready for the night. That aspect is hard, but I love racing under the lights. Once I’m in the moment, it’s great, but it’s a long day waiting for the race to start.” Johnson stated.
Johnson continued, "I love short tracks, first of all, and think we need more. Although Richmond has been a challenging track for me over the years, it’s a place I love to watch a race at. Hopefully, I’ve got the right stuff working. I can go there and be successful. Short tracks, I think, really draw the fans and create the excitement we need in the sport. Although the tracks drive totally differently, they are still both a lot of fun.”
Johnson likely will not have enough to beat the JGR teammates of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. He hasn't really been a factor since winning three out of four in 07-08. He's only led 45 laps since then, the majority of which were last fall, when he led 38 laps. A top five finish will just about guarantee a "man this team/car was great tonight"
type of interview post race. Photo Credit: Steve Pouliot Images for fanviewpoint.com