Johnson Rolls to Dover
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on May 31, 2014 | 1:20 P.M. EST
Johnson topped the final practice session on Saturday. (Photo: Getty Images)
DOVER, Del. - Jimmie Johnson carries the momentum of last week’s Charlotte win into this weekend’s quest for career win number nine at Dover International Speedway.
Johnson ended a 12-race winless drought in the Coca-Cola 600. With a win finally in the bank and his track record at Dover, it’s not a surprise Johnson couldn’t wait to get to the “Monster Mile.”
"Just looking to expand on a great performance last weekend,” said Johnson. “We are coming to my favorite race track and by the stats probably our best track as well. Excited to be here, look forward to getting on the racetrack and seeing how this new rules package works here.
“Over the years we have been able to adapt to a variety of generations of car and hopefully we can adapt quickly to what is needed here and what the set-up needs to be to get around the ‘Monster’ once again.”
Johnson’s Sprint Cup Series career has been filled with record-setting performances and impressive feats, including six series championships. After setting the career Charlotte win mark last week with his seventh victory and holding the victory record at Dover, Johnson cherishes the impact he’s made in the sport.
"No, no, they definitely have a ton of meaning,” he said. “When I look at the people that I’m tying or have the opportunity to beat for those great titles, it’s the heroes of our sport and the guys that are put in the Hall of Fame. When you look at their stats and what they’ve done for our sport, household names, it is no small feat to tie or have the opportunity to beat these guys for races won at any track."
Johnson has started the season string but by his standards many were questioning the lack of wins until his Charlotte victory. Needless to say, Johnson found that consternation amusing.
"I think a lot of joking about the long winless streak being over. That’s been the common theme among friends and social media and about,” he laughed. “So, I’m just having fun with it and trying to remind myself that it’s a backhanded compliment, I guess, that we have done so well as a team and been fortunate to win a lot and win often, that we put ourselves in this corner.
“So, I’m glad I don’t have to answer those questions any longer and we’re looking forward to winning again soon and especially later in the year, winning often."
His next shot comes in the FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks, where he’ll start fourth.
Johnson’s Charlotte win coupled with Dover’s past success certainly has Johnson looking forward to Sunday’s race.
“We expect a lot out of ourselves,” said Johnson. “We feel like wins have gotten away from us this year that we weren’t happy about and we also feel that there are tracks that we went to where we just had poor performances. So, the win is great, but we kind of hold ourselves to that standard and we’re coming to one of our best tracks and the expectations are very high for this weekend."
Motor Racing Network will air live coverage of the Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks from Dover International Speedway at 12 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com. Tony Stewart is the defending winner. The MRN broadcast will be anchored by Joe Moore and Jeff Striegle.