VEGAS RECAP: Jimmie Johnson scored his third straight top-10 result of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season when he crossed the finish line sixth last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson has an average finish of 5.7 to start the season and ranks third in the driver standings.
AT BRISTOL: In 24 Cup starts at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Johnson has one win, seven top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. He has led 789 laps at the short track.
LOOP DATA: Johnson has the Cup Series’ fifth-best average running position (13.163) during the last 18 races at Bristol, according to NASCAR’s loop data statistics. During that same timeframe, Johnson has led 761 laps around the half-mile track and scored an average finish of 16.3.
DRIVER RATING: Johnson ranks seventh in the driver rating category at Bristol with a score of 91.4. 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 CHOICES: Crew chief Chad Knaus has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-728 for Bristol. This chassis has 7,200 miles on it as Johnson drove it five times last season to an average finish of 8.2. Johnson notably drove this chassis to win at Pocono Raceway in June 2013 and record top-five results at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (second), Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (fourth) and Texas Motor Speedway (sixth in April 2013). The backup car for Bristol is Chassis No. 48-784 which Johnson last raced in June at Michigan International Speedway.
HENDRICK AT BRISTOL: In 60 Cup events (191 starts) at Bristol, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, 48 top-five finishes, 87 top-10s and 11 pole positions. Jeff Gordon is tied for first among active drivers with five wins at the track, while Kasey Kahne most recently won this race for the organization in March 2013.
SHORT TRACK POWER: Among active drivers at tracks less than one mile in length, Hendrick Motorsports ranks atop the competition in wins and laps led; Gordon is first in both categories with 16 victories and 8,084 laps led. Johnson ranks second in both categories with 12 wins and 3,656 laps led.
HENDRICK IN 2014: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates collectively are averaging a 7.5 finish in the first three Sprint Cup contests. The Hendrick Motorsports quartet most recently finished inside the top nine at Las Vegas: Earnhardt (second), Johnson (sixth), Kahne (eighth) and Gordon (ninth).
JIMMIE JOHNSON, DRIVER, NO. 48 KOBALT CHEVROLET SS (ON BRISTOL.): “We had a rough race last time at Bristol and got caught up in a wreck. Bristol is going to be interesting for sure. Everyone is still trying to dial in their cars with the new rule packages. We’ve had a decent start to the year – as well as our teammates on the No. 88 – I’m really proud of the entire shop. It hasn’t been easy this year – we’ve been working really hard on these cars.”
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 KOBALT CHEVROLET SS (ON BRISTOL.): “Bristol isn’t one of my favorite tracks on the circuit – it’s a tough track and so many things can happen. But we are taking one of the best cars we can take there by far. Chassis No. 728 is an older Chevrolet but it’s a good car for us that’s had good runs in the past so I’m looking forward to unloading there and actually turning some laps.”