Johnson Eyeing First Bristol Win

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Jimmie Johnson turned in a fourth-place qualifying run and will try to use his upfront starting spot to spring him to a first career Sprint Cup win at Bristol Motor Speedway in Sunday's Food City 500.

Johnson brings a 15.9 average finish in 16 career Cup Series starts at Bristol into the weekend and is determined to improve on that mark in Sunday's race.

"I am very proud of the effort today," Johnson said after Friday's session. "We came with a plan, we made the car better, we followed our plan and have a good qualifying effort. Very pleased, can't thank Chad (Knaus, crew chief) and these guys."

Despite winning four straight championships and dominating on virtually every track on the Sprint Cup schedule, Johnson hasn't been able to figure out the .533-mile Tennessee short track.

But with a pair of top ten finishes a year ago, Johnson is pleased with that recent improvement.

"It has been frustrating for all of us to try and learn this race track," he said. "But with great support from Kobalt Tools and Lowe's and my great teammates for Chad and I getting there. Man, our deal is working together finally here and we hope to show that on Sunday."

Johnson isn't sure what the exact reason for his career struggles at Bristol.

"There's just a certain rhythm here that has not fit my style," Johnson said. "And I have been in the same cars as Jeff (Gordon); identical set-ups. We've been here back when we could test. He's driven my car and went a lot faster.

"I've done everything and the rhythm of this race track hasn't fit my style. I have continued to work on it. The last two races here I've felt very competitive."

Sunday's race will be the last for the much-maligned Sprint Cup car rear wing with the new spoiler making its debut at Martinsville next week. Johnson isn't sure how the change will impact competition.

"I think we're as ready as anyone," Johnson said. "But until we get out there and really have someone to chase and some lap times and can get in traffic and figure out what's going on, I think we're all on equal ground and hoping we have what we need. But nobody has a clear advantage at this point so it's going to be different."

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