Jimmie Johnson is set to make what could be his second to last start at one of his most successful tracks on Wednesday night – Martinsville Speedway.
Behind Dover International Speedway, Martinsville is Johnson’s second-best track on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule in a number of statistical categories including wins (9) and laps led (2,862).
"Outside of the first two trips I came here I have been able to hit on things and make work," Johnson said. "I’ve told this story many times but it literally took me being lapped by Tony Stewart to figure out how to drive this place. Once that happened things took off and went far better for me."
Six of Johnson’s Martinsville wins came in a streak of 17 consecutive top 10s that started in the fall race of his rookie season in 2002.
Among his nine Grandfather clocks, the trophy given to Martinsville winners, Johnson has one in his office and seven in a warehouse on display. The ninth one for winning the 2016 fall race, Johnson gave to NASCAR Hall of Famer and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. founder and Executive Chairman Bruton Smith.
"I asked him if he ever had a clock or had a driver give him one and he said no," Johnson said. "I said let me be the first. It would be an honor to give you that trophy. Once the trophy was built and put together we were able to take it to his house and put in his foyer in his home and just have a cool moment."
Johnson, who is in his final season as a full-time driver, will start 21st in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 after the random draw. The furthest Johnson has won at Martinsville is from the 20th position in the 2006 spring race when he battled Jeff Gordon for the victory.
Motor Racing Network will have live coverage of Wednesday’s Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 starting at 6 p.m. ET.