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This weekend, Jimmie Johnson will be racing the No. 48 Lowe's Dover White Chevrolet under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway. It will be his fifth special paint scheme of the year, and the third that featured special classic Chevrolet paint color combinations. Johnson raced the same scheme in June at Kentucky.
Being the last of Johnson's special paint schemes for the year, we couldn't help but notice that there seems to have been a little extra "umph" in the No. 48 car when he was racing in different colors. Could it be that the special schemes are more than just a different color car on the track that fans enjoy? We decided to run the numbers.
The Mountain Green paint scheme was run at Kansas in April to celebrate Earth Day. Jimmie Johnson drove it to a 3rd place finish on that day. Next up, he raced a special patriotic paint scheme in Charlotte, where he won the All-Star race and finished 11th over Memorial Day weekend. The next weekend, he drove his special Madagascar 3 paint scheme, in which he qualified 2nd at Dover and went on to win the race. He then drove the Dover White car in Kentucky, where he won his only pole of the year and went on to finish 6th. Finally, he raced the Cortez Silver car in Watkins Glen earlier this month and earned a 3rd place finish (and the 3rd starting spot).
So, it's clear that Johnson has some strong finishes in his special paint schemes, but were these results that much different from the rest of the season, where he has excelled from week to week?
In Johnson's 6 races featuring a special paint scheme (including the All Star race), his average finish was 4.17. In the 17 other races, Johnson averaged a 12.8 finish. Even if you take out the superspeedways and Michigan (each of his DNFs), his average finish was 6th.
What about qualifying? When qualifying in a car that did not have a special paint scheme, Johnson averaged a 10.9 starting position. Of the races with a special paint scheme (excluding the All-Star race, since the qualifying format differed and there was a smaller field), Johnson averaged a 4.8 starting position.
So, to summarize...
Is this a coincidence? We will let you be the judge on that, but let us know what you think below in the comments!