When asked if he relishes being the “underdog,” Jimmie Johnson said he’d rather be on top dominating.
Speaking to the media on Chase Media Day at the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago, the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet responded to the question of liking the idea of being overlooked to prove everybody wrong.
“No,” Johnson said plainly. “Hell, I’d rather be dominating and be on top and be the top pick. I don’t like where we’re at. We’re working hard. There’s a lot of optimism and a lot of great things happening. We just need to deliver consistently and execute at the track.
The 2016 season for the six-time Sprint Cup Series champion is on pace to be his worst career season to date in terms of statistics. After 26 races, he’s amassed only two wins, seven top fives and 10 top-10 finishes. He’s on track to finish with the fewest top 10s in a season of his career, his 266 laps led have been the fewest of any season in his career, his finishing average for the season is teetering on being the lowest in his career and he finished a race in last place for the first time in his career this season with a 40th place finish at Watkins Glen International.
It’s also been three years since his sixth championship, he’s yet to win the title in the elimination format of the Chase, has yet to advance past the second round, didn’t advance out of the first round last year and hasn’t won more than a single race in the Chase since 2013.
Despite the stat of not making it past round 2 during the time of year that’s historically been his playground, Johnson isn’t worried.
“Well, it’s only two years,” he said. “Everybody makes a big deal out of I haven’t won a championship in a while. I guess it’s 10 years since my first championship, so there’s only four years I’ve missed. I don’t think that’s too bad of a stat.”