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Jimmie Johnson and Team 48 travel west this week, as they hit the road for Phoenix International Raceway. Johnson is off to a strong start, sitting 5th in points, but would love to go ahead and get a win, which has never been more important than now with the new Chase rules.
The good news for 48 fans is Jimmie Johnson has solid history at Phoenix, with 4 wins, 2 poles, 14 top-fives, and a NASCAR-leading driver rating of 116.7 over the past 9 races at Phoenix. This week's chassis is the same one used in November, where Johnson won the pole and finished third.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, DRIVER, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS (ON RACING AT PHOENIX.): “With all the rule changes we have had this year, Phoenix is going to be an interesting race. I think everyone will be in the same boat, and it’s going to be somewhat of a crapshoot. We have had some good luck and some bad luck there, so we will always be hoping for the best.”
JOHNSON (ON THE NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT.): “The new qualifying format will be interesting. It’s a good change for the sport, and we will see how we do. It’s going to change a little how we prepare the day, and Chad (Knaus) will most likely have a good strategy for us to follow. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works.”
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS (ON RACING AT PHOENIX.): “It’s going to be a unique weekend at Phoenix for sure. With all the changes - there may end up being a lot of mad people (LAUGHS). I’m really proud of how this team started off the year in Daytona (Fla.). We had a solid effort and this weekend in Phoenix, we will see how things start to shake out as far as all the new rules and changes in the series.”
Fun Facts for Phoenix:
According to NASCAR’s pre-race loop data, which covers the last nine races at Phoenix, Johnson leads nearly every category. He notably has the best average finish (6.1), average running position (6.9) and most laps led (848) during that timeframe.