Jimmie Johnson Likes Talladega Superspeedway Chances

Soft-spoken 5-time Champion Makes Statement to Other Drivers with Daytona Performance

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TALLADEGA, AL – When Jimmie Johnson talks about his five championships and 64 career triumphs in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he is generally soft spoken. His success, however, in the No. 48 Chevrolet sends a direct message to fellow competitors. For the Oct. 20 Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, that memo was delivered this past Saturday night.

After his Daytona win in Saturday’s Coke Zero 400, drivers better beware and do their homework for the return trip to Talladega if they plan to slow down the driver who is vastly becoming one of the best at drafting. Did he make a statement to the other drivers during the post-race press conference? You be the judge.

“Based on tonight’s performance, we’ll have a great race car going to Talladega,” said Johnson of the 2.66-mile one-of-a-kind track, which will host the sixth race of the 10-event NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the Championship. “There’s only one plate race in the final 10. We’re buttoned up and in a position to win a sixth championship.

“I think this Gen 6 car and the style of drafting required to be successful in this car fits my style a lot more. I don’t know if it is something in the air in the draft that works better for me, or just being in the rhythm and racing so hard every lap that it makes a difference. We have had a chance to win every plate race this year, and we have two (both Daytona races) of the three, but at Talladega (in the May Aaron’s 499) going into the white flag lap I felt like we were in a great position and came home with a top-five (finish). (It’s) been a very, very strong year on plate tracks for us.”

Indeed it has been a successful year for Johnson and his team on restrictor plate tracks. His past success at Talladega also includes a couple trips into Victory Lane (2006, 2011). The rest of the field, however, won’t roll over when the series comes back to ‘Dega.

“Yeah, I guess,” said Tony Stewart, who finished second Saturday, after being asked whether he thought it was impressive that Johnson swept both Daytona races (and was successful at Talladega earlier in the year). “All 43 guys have a shot at winning the race. (It’s) a 195 mph chess match. I guess it’s impressive,” added Stewart, who claimed the 2008 Camping World RV Sales 500 at Talladega’s 2.66-mile layout.

Talladega Superspeedway Notes:.

  • Johnson’s Daytona sweep was the first since Bobby Allison did it in 1982. Allison, of the famous “Alabama Gang,” would finish 10th later in the year at Talladega behind winner Darrell Waltrip in the Camping World RV Sales 500. Ironically, Waltrip swept both races at Talladega that season.
  • David Ragan, who won at Talladega earlier this season in the Aaron’s 499, wound up 22nd at Daytona. The last driver to sweep both races at Talladega was Jeff Gordon in 2007. 
  • Defending Camping World RV Sales 500 champion Matt Kenseth wound up a disappointing 33rd in Daytona after being caught up in an accident.
  • Clint Bowyer, who has two wins in the last three Camping World RV Sales 500 races at Talladega, finished fourth at Daytona. He is currently second in the points standings behind Johnson.
  • Speaking of top-two in the title chase, Johnson’s margin of victory over Bowyer at Talladega in the 2011 Aaron’s 499 was 0.002 seconds, a Sprint Cup Series record.
  • Michael Waltrip, who was fourth in the Aaron’s 499 in May, backed it up with a solid fifth at Daytona in the Coke Zero 400.

TSS PR Dept. Notes:

  • TSS Public Relations staff is currently accepting credential requests for the Camping World RV Sales 500 Weekend October 18-20.  Please contact Price Mason (pmason@talladegasuperspeedway.com) with any requests or questions.

Talladega Superspeedway Schedule:

Oct. 19 – fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, SPEED/FOX Sports

Oct. 20 – Camping World RV Sales 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, ESPN

The most competitive racing in NASCAR combined with a mix of southern hospitality returns to Talladega Superspeedway October 18-20, 2013 for the Camping World RV Sales 500 Weekend.  For tickets and information visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.

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