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Time After Time

If you’re lost, you can look and you will find me, time after time.” Cyndi Lauper, who recorded the pop song “Time After Time” in 1984, may not be looking for Jimmie Johnson. But perhaps the best advice for anyone trying to find Johnson at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway after Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is to head to victory lane.

That’s because Johnson is third on the all-time win list at Martinsville. His win at the paper-clip shaped track last April made him the all-time winner among active drivers with eight victories, breaking a tie he had held with Rusty Wallace and Jeff Gordon. Only Richard Petty, with 15, and Darrell Waltrip, with 11, have more. Johnson also holds the series’ best driver rating at the track and has finished outside the top-10 only three times in 23 races. And two of those three finishes were 12th- and 11th-place runs.

Johnson will be going for his third consecutive win at the half-mile oval this weekend. And after taking over the lead in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by four points from Matt Kenseth last Sunday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, he may take some solace in the fact he is headed to a track where he has managed to find victory lane “Time After Time.”

Below is what Johnson had to say heading into Martinsville:

Are you looking forward to going to Martinsville?

“Martinsville has been good to us in the past. We’ve got to go there and race. There is going to be a lot of strong competition. We will make sure we get buttoned up and ready to go for this weekend’s race and go up there to that paperclip and see what we can do.” 

Having survived Talladega, what’s your outlook for the remaining four races?

“You know, I feel that the races looking forward, now, are up to where the competitors go earn it. You don’t have this luck issue that can take place at (restrictor) plate tracks. So, I am happy to have the points lead. We went through a lot of work to get there.  We were just getting one point at a time (at Talladega) and we got a few more than normal and were able to get the lead. We just go racing from here and that is the thing I am most excited for. Great racetracks, great racecars, and it’s just going to be a dogfight to the end.”

Martinsville Race Statistics:

  • Eight wins (October 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012, April 2007, 2009 and 2013) in 23 starts. The total is a career best and ties Johnson’s total at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
  • Five of Johnson’s Martinsville victories occurred during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
  • Three poles (April 2006 and 2013, October 2012).
  • 16 top-five finishes (69.6 percent) and 20 top-10s (87.0 percent) in 23 starts.
  • In 23 races, has finished outside the top-10 only three times (35th in April 2002, 11th in April 2011, 12th in April 2012).
  • Average start is 11.4 and average finish is 5.3.
  • Sprint Cup’s best average running position of 5.9.
  • Sprint Cup’s best driver rating (123.8 average of a possible 150 points).

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New Hampshire
Started: 6th
Finished: 5th
Dover
Sunday, September 28th
2:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
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