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For the first time during the 2012 season, Jimmie Johnson will start a race as the new points leader in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Michigan International Speedway is one of five tracks Jimmie has yet to claim the coveted checkered flag at. He has had some trouble in the past at the 2-mile oval, from running out of fuel to just plain bad luck. With the momentum and boost of confidence from Johnson’s position at the top of the points standings coming into this weekend’s race, Team 48 hopes to lead Johnson to a victory lap.

What are your thoughts going into Michigan?

 “We had a really strong car there (at the June race) and I’m excited to go back. Late in the race, I was running down the leaders and I blistered a right-rear tire. But, I understand that a great tire test took place at the track recently and they didn’t see any issues. So I feel like things are fixed and I’m looking forward to going back because I know we’re going to be strong. The way we’ve been running on the ovals, and also with our performance at Michigan in June, even though we blistered a tire, I really feel like I can win there and make that list one shorter for the tracks we haven’t won on. I really feel this is our best chance ever.”

 Talk about being the points leader.

“I’m excited to be leading the points. Whoever the team is, I really believe they get some much-needed experience with the pressure of the points lead late in the season. It’s just different than leading at any other point in time. I look forward to the pressure on my team and myself. Every little thing we can do to get prepared for the Chase is helpful. This is another step in that direction. I’m excited about that.”

 Race Facts

  • No wins. No poles.
  • Four top-five finishes (19 percent) and nine top-10s (42.9 percent) in 21 starts.
  • Average start of 9.0 and average finish of 14.7.
  • Completed 4,014 of 4,138 laps (97 percent) and led 542.

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1
#2
Brad Keselowski
3000
2
#22
Joey Logano
0
3
#4
Kevin Harvick
0
4
#48
Jimmie Johnson
0
Dover
Started: 8th
Finished: 3rd
Kansas
Sunday, October 5th
2:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
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