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Preview: Daytona 500

NEVER STOP IMPROVING: The 2014 Cup season marks the 13th in which Lowe’s will partner with Johnson, Knaus and the No. 48 team. Lowe’s, which joined forces with the No. 48 team in 2002, is currently the longest running primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series and has helped Johnson achieve six championships, 66 wins and 32 poles.

AT DAYTONA: In 24 Sprint Cup starts at Daytona, Johnson has earned three wins, eight top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and two pole positions. Johnson most recently won both the 2013 Daytona 500 and the ensuing July race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway to become the fifth driver all-time to complete the sweep. He became the first driver to give Hendrick Motorsports its first regular-season sweep at Daytona.

DAYTONA LOOP DATA: Johnson’s average running position of 13.947 ranks third-best during the last 18 events at Daytona, per NASCAR’s loop data statistics. During that timeframe, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS has the sixth-best driver rating with a score of 88.4.

CHASSIS CHOICE: For the Daytona 500, Knaus has selected Chassis No. 48-764. Johnson raced this car twice at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in 2013 and drove it to win the 400-mile event at Daytona last July. The backup car is Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-853, which is a brand new Chevy SS. 

WINNING RETURN: Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-771, the car Johnson steered to Victory Lane in the 2013 Daytona 500, will be on display on the track’s frontstretch next Sunday, Feb. 23 prior to NASCAR’s season-opening event. Johnson lined up ninth in this car and led 17 laps en route to his second career Daytona 500 win in February 2013. Since then, the car has been on display at Daytona International Speedway. After Sunday’s race, the car will return to Concord, N.C., where it will be featured in the Hendrick Motorsports Museum & Team Store.

QUOTES:

JIMMIE JOHNSON, DRIVER, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS (ON THE DAYTONA 500.): “The 56th running of the Daytona 500 is going to be awesome. I’m excited to head back to Daytona -- there is no other sensation greater than driving through the tunnel in Turn 4 and realizing how big of an event Daytona is. It’s such a great way to start the season. We had a great test, so I’m excited to get the season started. To say I’ve been able to win this race twice is also humbling.”

JOHNSON ON HIS DRIVE FOR A SEVENTH CUP CHAMPIONSHIP: “The number seven means being a part of the greatest drivers (NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr.) who have ever been in a race car. That honor is only held by two men, who are to me held way up there above the rest. There will only be one King in the sport. I feel very honored and humbled to have a shot at it. Only time will tell.”

CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS (ON HIS DAYTONA SPEEDWEEKS OUTLOOK.): “Heading into speed weeks, we are racing No. 48-753 which is a car that Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. raced in the Sprint Unlimited in 2013. Since we lost our Daytona 500 car last year, we built No. 48-764 for Talladega in the spring. We raced it there, and it was fast. We took it to Daytona in July and had an extremely good race there and took it back to Talladega in the fall and again it ran well. We tested it in January in Daytona and were happy enough with it to bring it back. It’s not the best qualifying car, but it has good speed and it will be good in the race.”

Daytona 500: 1 p.m. ET, Sunday, February 23 on FOX/ FOX Deportes/ MRN/ SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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1
#24
Jeff Gordon
4044
2
#31
Ryan Newman
-3
3
#22
Joey Logano
-4
12
#48
Jimmie Johnson
-1858
Martinsville
Started: 7th
Finished: 32nd
Texas
Sunday, November 2nd
3:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
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