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Jimmie Johnson is zero-for-three in this season’s trio of restrictor plate races at Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway. Three races equal three accidents and finishes of 42nd, 35th and 36th – and work to be done on Sunday.
Johnson has a pair of Talladega victories, the most recent in the track’s 2011 spring event. But his ’Dega Driver Rating (81.5) is his worst of any track on the schedule.
Denny Hamlin looks to extend a modest Talladega Chase race streak. Hamlin finished eighth in last year’s event and ninth in 2010, his near-miss championship season. His overall performance at the 2.66-mile track has been good – Driver Rating of 87.0, eighth best – but Hamlin’s average finish in 13 races is 18.2. He was among 17 leaders of May’s Aaron’s 499 but finished 23rd.