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Friday, June 14, 2013

Jimmie Johnson may be a 5-time champ, but he's still waiting on first Michigan win

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Jimmie Johnson probably should have won a race at Michigan International Speedway by now.

He was leading at the very end in 2009 when he ran out of gas, had an engine blow late in a race, and has led many, many laps here over the years, appearing on his way to victory a few times.

But it doesn't seem to work out for him.

This weekend, a hot-streak-riding Johnson hopes that his luck changes.
“I’ve been ready for a long time. We’ve been so close here. But, when it happens, it will make it all that sweeter for us. The exciting thing is we’ve been plenty fast here over the years. But getting to the final lap and seeing that checkered flag has been a little more difficult than I could imagine,” Johnson said.

Johnson has been pretty dominant this year in the Cup series, commanding a large points lead and winnng three races so far (and seriously contending for wins in many more). He's without a doubt the favorite to win his sixth Cup title at this point in time.

But he's not thinking that way, though.
“It’s still so early to think ‘championship’. And I know it might sound crazy, but I still just thinking ‘Chase’. A lot can go wrong. You can hit a streak of bad races. I feel like our wins right now will lock us in there; but my mind is still on running well now and getting ready for the Chase, honestly."

Johnson said he's surprised he is so far ahead of his competitors in the standings.
“I really didn’t (expect it). And I look at Charlotte and Dover as misses to even have 20 or 30 more points. I really am shocked that we are so far out ahead of everybody. And I know that the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth) has had some bad luck and a couple of other guys have, too. But we’ve had a little bad luck as well. So, I just wish we were in the Chase. I just wish this was the end of the Chase right now (laughs) and we had this big points lead. But, we’ll have to wait until a little later in the year to get started on that.”

Austin Dillon going for history on Saturday in Nationwide qualifyingIf Austin Dillon can win the pole on Saturday for the Nationwide race, he will make history, as it would be his fourth straight pole. This has never happened in the Nationwide series, and he's off to a good start -- Dillon led Friday practice for the Nationwide cars, meaning history has a good chance of being made Saturday.


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