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Seriously, what more could go wrong for Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 Lowe’s team at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn? It is one of only five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tracks where Johnson never has celebrated one of his 64 victories. Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International are the others.

To say that Michigan has been the No. 48 team’s most frustrating track would be an understatement. While victory obviously has eluded Johnson numerous times throughout his career, including the five tracks on which he has yet to win, it’s the way it has eluded him at Michigan that is the point of consternation.

Pit road issues? Check. Tire issues? Check. Running out of gas? Check and check again. And, typically, those issues have come during the closing laps of the race while leading or closing in on the lead.

Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 is the perfect time to break the cycle. With Johnson locked into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, another win would go a long way in adding bonus points and cementing him as the top seed. With four races left until the Chase officially starts, his four wins this season currently make him the top seed. Matt Kenseth also has four wins, but Johnson wins the tiebreaker with a next-best finish of second to Kenseth’s next-best finish of fifth.

And while Johnson’s recent Michigan finishes may not show it, his on-track performance suggests he could win Sunday. Seriously.

You don’t have a victory at Michigan but you have been knocking on the door. What is it going to take to get to victory lane?

“I have done everything but win there. I have thought many times that day was the day and stuff happens. When we win there – I know we are going to win there – when we do, it’s going to be a very enjoyable victory lane and I hope it comes soon.”

The track will be presenting a manufacturers trophy for this race. This will be the first time it will be presented. What would it mean to you to get that for Chevrolet?

“It would be great. That track unfortunately has been dominated by another make so we are trying to even up that tally. We have great dominance at a lot of facilities, which I’m very proud of as a Chevy driver. I feel like I could have helped that stat quite a bit over the years, but have come up short.  A win and a celebration with my Chevy family in Victory Lane would be awesome.”

Race Statistics

  • Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn is one of five tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit where Johnson has failed to win – Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the others.
  • Four top-five finishes (17.4 percent) and nine top-10s (39.1 percent) in 23 starts.
  • No poles.
  • Average start of 9.1 and average finish of 15.8.
  • Two DNFs (did not finish, August 2004 and 2012).
  • Sprint Cup’s fourth-best driver rating (104.1 average of a possible 150 points).
  • Sprint Cup’s best in fastest laps run (357).

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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