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Very Fine House

Our house is a very, very, very fine house.” Graham Nash wasn’t referring to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway when he wrote the song “Our House.” But Jimmie Johnson would agree that the track, which is quickly becoming like home, is a very fine one, indeed.

Johnson won a record fourth Sprint All-Star Race Saturday evening. The victory in the non-points-paying event made him the all-time winningest driver in the event, breaking a tie with the legendary Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. A win in this weekend’s 600-mile event would be his seventh overall at the track, making him its all-time winningest driver and breaking a tie at six wins apiece with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.

Johnson has three wins in the Memorial Day-weekend race, including his last win in the 600-mile event in 2005. The only time he has swept the All-Star Race and 600 was in 2003. While he owns the best driver rating among current drivers and has the best average running position, Johnson hasn’t scored a top-10 finish in the Memorial Day-weekend event since 2007. 

A recent repave at Charlotte may have slowed Johnson’s dominance, a fact the five-time champion acknowledges. “We knew, literally, what time in the afternoon, what adjustment needed to be made to the car, and it was like clockwork, didn’t matter the year, just every single time. It’s not that way anymore.”  

Saturday’s win was certainly a step in the right direction and, while Johnson may not have “two cats in the yard,” he would most surely agree that Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway is a “very, very, very fine house,” one he may own by the time he gets finished wheeling his No. 48 Lowe’s “Patriotic” Chevrolet SS 600 miles Sunday evening. Here are some of his thoughts:

Do you think your triathlon training will be an advantage for a long endurance race like the 600?

“Oh yeah, it all helps for sure from the physical side. I think the mental side of not feeling good and being uncomfortable for long periods of time is good. Then, nutrition and hydration – I feel like I’m a lot smarter now with nutrition and hydration than I was. My body is programmed to live in that environment and deal with those things. The 600 should be pretty good for me, fitness-wise.”

What are your thoughts on how the Chevrolet SS is going to perform for 600 miles in the longest race of the year?

“I think it’s proven to be a fun car to drive, a reliable car. I think some of the components on the car, like pieces of the body, are a little fragile, at times. So, on a short track, I’m most concerned that just casual contact will really create a problem. We won’t have that in the 600. I don’t know why I’m really bringing it up, other than the car is so durable. On short tracks, I have a little bit more concern about the Gen-6 car and being able to hurt it easier than you would expect to. On a bigger track like this, I don’t see any problems. The car has been very durable, very fun to drive and fast.”   

Can you talk about it being the biggest day in motorsports with the running of the 600 and the Indianapolis 500?

“I think it’s a race fan’s ultimate day. I know there is always competition amongst NASCAR and IndyCar as to whose show is better, but just as a pure fan you’ve got six, seven hours of just racing that you get to watch. That is awesome. I always looked forward to Memorial Day weekend and Memorial Day watching both races.”   

You are going to be running a special patriotic paint scheme for the second weekend in a row at Charlotte. What does that mean to you?

“I’m just the fortunate, lucky guy who gets to talk about what Lowe’s is doing. They want to pay tribute to the men and women who serve our country. I am so thankful they do. My grandparents served, my father served, so it’s part of the life I knew and grew up in, that environment. Happy to carry the colors on our car and hopefully take them to victory lane.”

TAGS: Race News

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Jeff Gordon
Denny Hamlin
Ryan Newman
Jimmie Johnson
Started: 8th
Finished: 1st
November 15th, 2015
2:30 p.m. ET on NBC
Kobalt Hot Pass