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Race Preview: Watkins Glen


POCONO RECAP:  After qualifying 17th and hitting the wall early in the event at Pocono, Jimmie Johnson battled his way back through the field to the fourth position. On Lap 111, Johnson had a tire issue causing him to hit the wall. The No. 48 Lowe’s crew was not able to repair the damage and the team recorded a 39th-place finish, dropping Johnson to sixth in the point standings.
SEASON-TO-DATE: After 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season, Johnson owns the sixth-highest driver rating with a score of 99.9. The driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS has led the most laps with 1,008.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHAD: Crew chief Chad Knaus celebrated his 43rd birthday on Aug. 5.

JOHNSON AT WATKINS GLEN: In 12 starts at Watkins Glen, Johnson has recorded four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He has an average start of 7.2 and average finish of 12.8. Johnson has led 11 laps and has one pole position at the road course.

DRIVER RATING AT WATKINS GLEN: Johnson has the sixth-highest driver rating at Watkins Glen with an average of 100.6 in the last nine races. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Knaus has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-875 for this weekend’s event. This chassis is the same Chevy SS with which Johnson finished seventh at Sonoma. The backup car is Chassis No. 48-801, which last saw on-track action at Watkins Glen last season, where Johnson finished eighth.

#TEAMJJF WELLNESS CHALLENGE:  The third event in the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Wellness Challenge series will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 19, in Waxhaw, North Carolina. For more information or to sign up for the Lake Norman Excursion, visit http://jjfwellnesschallenge.racesonline.com/. Johnson and his wife Chandra launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in February 2006 with the mission of assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. Since its inception, the foundation has committed more than $6.7 million to various charities. For additional information on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, visit www.JimmieJohnsonFoundation.org.
HENDRICK AT WATKINS GLEN: In 28 races (96 starts) at Watkins Glen, Hendrick Motorsports has six wins, 18 top-five finishes and 34 top-10s. Jeff Gordon ranks second on the all-time win list at WGI with four victories. He earned Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent victory at the road course when he won the 2001 event. With 233 laps led, Gordon is the all-time leader in that category at the serpentine track.

30TH ANNIVERSARY: In 2014, Hendrick Motorsports is celebrating its 30th anniversary in NASCAR. The organization began in 1984 with five employees and 5,000 square feet of work space. It has grown to approximately 600 employees with a 430,000-square-foot facility that sits on 140 acres. Driver Geoff Bodine won the Martinsville Speedway spring race on April 29, 1984, marking Hendrick Motorsports’ first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.


JIMMIE JOHNSON, DRIVER OF THE NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS (ON WATKINS GLEN): “Watkins Glen is one of the four tracks I’ve not won a race at in my career. It’s a great race, lots of strategy plays out, and it would be nice to check that one off the list this year. I like going there, the area is beautiful and we usually enjoy a good group bike ride on Saturday after the garage closes. After last weekend at Pocono, we need a good, solid finish.”

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Jeff Gordon
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson
Started: 8th
Finished: 1st
November 15th, 2015
2:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Kobalt Hot Pass