2010 Starts: 31 Wins: 6 Top 5: 14 Top 10: 18
Current Driver Point Standing: 1st
Finish in Charlotte: 3rd October 2009 Finish at Martinsville: 2nd
Johnson has made 17 Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway, where he has earned six wins, 12 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.
Johnson has completed 99.4% (8465 of 8519) of competition laps at the .526-mile venue and has led 1551.
He has an average start and finish of 11.5 and 5.4.
Johnson will pilot chassis No. 540 in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race. He last drove that car to a 25th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September. Before that, he took it to Victory Lane in New Hampshire in June.
Back up chassis No. 520 has collected four wins in five starts – the most recent coming at Martinsville Speedway in March 2009.
WE TALK TO DRIVERS ABOUT THEIR SHORT TRACK BACKGROUNDS. YOU HAVE AN OFF-ROAD BACKGROUND YET YOU ARE AMONG THE ONES TO BEAT AT MARTINSVILLE. TALK ABOUT THAT. “It took a while to get there. And when I came into the sport, I had two years in ASA and thought that the short tracks would fit well for me and it was quite the opposite. It took a long time to understand the big car, the radial tire, the extra power, and how to maneuver around on a short track. But the track at Martinsville, especially when the rubber is laid down, reminds me of some of my off-road stuff where we would have barrels or tractor tires stacked up as the turn-marker, but it was that tight of a radius. And when the rubber lays down, especially the right-side rubber on corner exit at Martinsville, you have to change your line to not run through the rubber at the wrong spot. “And that rhythm really helps all dirt drivers. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tony (Stewart) in a Sprint Car or Dirt Late Model, or Kasey Kahne for that matter. I think certain guys have an eye for where the slick spots are on the track and how to change their lines and I think all of our dirt backgrounds really help that.”
GOING TO MARTINSVILLE WHO DO YOU NOT WANT TO SEE SITTING NEXT TO YOU ON A RESTART? YOUR BOSS SEEMS TO THINK THAT THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS ARE WHAT IS GOING TO EVENTUALLY FIGURE OUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP. “Yeah and we had a really exciting finish there in the spring with the double-file restart. First and foremost, you would have to assume the front-row outside driver—the old theory of eight wheels are better than four is going to come into play—and whoever the inside car is going to lean on him pretty heavily. There we can turn people around pretty easily. It could. I’ve heard Jeff [Gordon] make those comments on how double-file restarts could affect things. I naturally think that he’s speaking more to the mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks because the cars are really out of control in low-air situations. You have more control over your car at Martinsville than at any of the other tracks on a double-file restart. We’ll see. Who I wouldn’t want next to me—man I guess whoever would be second in points. We’re going to be gouging for every single point at that part of the race and the way the points are stacked up, the top-five are all guys that are really good at Martinsville. It could be exciting.”
SPRINT CUP SERIES CAREER NOTES
Johnson has 53 wins in his Sprint Cup Series career, his most recent coming at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 26, 2010.
The El Cajon, Calif.-native is currently 10th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list, one victory behind Lee Petty.
He is second in total wins among active drivers, behind Jeff Gordon (82).
Johnson needed only 296 starts to hit the 50 mark. Only three drivers have reached 50 victories quicker – Gordon (232), Darrell Waltrip (278) and David Pearson (293).
Johnson has won at least three Cup races a season since he posted his first victory in 2002. He is the only driver in the modern era to win at least three races in each of his first eight full-time seasons.
Johnson has won Sprint Cup Series races at all but four (Michigan, Chicago, Watkins Glen, Homestead) of the 22 tracks on which the series competes.
Johnson was the first driver to win three of the first five races in The Chase.
Johnson’s 10 wins in 2007 was the highest number recorded in a single season since Jeff Gordon posted 13 victories in 1998.
The four-consecutive wins scored by the No. 48 team in the 2007 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ties a modern-era NASCAR record.
Johnson has collected 25 poles in his Sprint Cup career.
The championship driver has earned at least one pole a year since his first full-time season in 2002.
He had a career-high six poles in 2008.
Johnson’s most recent pole position was at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 24, 2010.
In 31 2010 starts, Johnson has collected six wins, 14 top five and 18 top-10 finishes.
Johnson has finished in the top five in the Sprint Cup Series point standings each year since his first full season in 2002.
Johnson is the only driver to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup every year since the format was adopted in 2004.
In 322 Sprint Cup Series starts, Johnson has posted 131 top-five and 198 top-10 finishes.
He has a top-five finish at every track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit.
Johnson has led a total of 10,992 laps (of 92,627) in his Sprint Cup career, covering over 124,280 miles.
He has finished on the lead lap 248 times.