Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Jimmie Johnson, finally at one of his best tracks, is confident Sunday's 500 will be him versus Jeff Gordon

   Tony Stewart (R) seems to be having so much fun as an owner-driver on NASCAR's Sprint Cup tour, maybe he should persuade buddy Kevin Harvick (L) to join him. Harvick says he wouldn't mind expanding KHI into a Cup operation, but he'd have to hire another driver, because he likes his ride with Richard Childress (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Jimmie Johnson is always the man wearing the bull's eye at Martinsville.
   But Friday's rainout of qualifying puts teammate Jeff Gordon in the driver's seat for Sunday's Martinsville Goody's 500…because Gordon comes into the weekend at Clay Campbell's flat half-mile leading the Sprint Cup points, and that gives Gordon the best pit – on one of NASCAR's tightest pit roads.
   "There are only three good pit stalls here, really only one," Gordon said with a grin at his good fortune.
   So Johnson, back in row five, will not only have to chase Gordon down but then have to deal with pit road…where it's so easy to lose everything you've gained out on the track.
    Still, Johnson comes in here comfortable that he's a good runner here and that he ran exceptionally well last weekend at Bristol.
    Is this a turnaround weekend for the Rick Hendrick guys? They're winless so far this year.
   "Last weekend we did a very good job of executing, and not making big mistakes to take us out of a top-three or top-five finish," Johnson says. "That last stop, the car rocked on the jack, and that affected the left-rear tire change, and it hurt us. I'm not sure we could have won, but we would have had a very good chance at it, if we'd gotten out of the pits like we'd hoped.
    "We've had fast cars, and it was nice last weekend to talk not only about having a fast car but to deliver, and show what we have.
   "So I'm fired up about this weekend (he won here last fall in a dominating performance)."
   But Johnson knows well his toughest competition will likely be Gordon.
  Maybe Sunday's 500 will feature some beating and banging between these two teammates, as they've done here in the past.
   "The track allows you to beat and bang a little bit more, and he certainly showed me it was okay to beat and bang with your teammate," Johnson said with a laugh.
   "So if he's in front of me, I'm not going to feel bad about roughing him up."
   On a more somber note, Johnson's business agent, the renowned Alan Miller, is awaiting a verdict in Florida in a federal tax case.
   "I've been in touch with Alan, asking him how things are going," Johnson says.
   "We've still been working as we typically do, working on new projects, and a new motor home we're ready to buy….and all the purchase agreements.
    "So our relationship is still maintained."
   And the tax case?
   "He's given me some overviews that he feels very good about how things are going," Johnson says.
   "He's just waiting for everything to come together.
    "But his general impression has been positive about the way things have gone in Miami so far."

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com