Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 5/23/12

Charlotte Motor Speedway was- at one point- jokingly referred to as “Jimmie’s house.” While Jimmie Johnson never used the moniker himself, others found justification for the reference. During a stretch in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career there was no denying that Johnson certainly owned the 1.5-mile oval. Beginning with a win at the 2003 All-Star Race, Johnson won six of nine consecutive races. (He didn’t win the Oct. 2003 race and 2004 and 2005 All-Star Races.)

It appears another streak could be starting as Johnson and his No. 48 Lowe’s team has rattled off some impressive wins over the past two weeks. Starting with the historic 200th win for Hendrick Motorsport at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 12, the team has been on a tear, winning the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge the following Thursday and culminating with a record tying third win (Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jeff Gordon) in the Sprint All-Star Race this past Saturday. Johnson’s win in the first segment and his dominance of the final 10-lap segment, may be a sign for what could be another strong showing at this weekend’s 600-mile race, the sport’s longest of the season.

This is welcome news to the 48 team who had their worst career showing at the track in 2011. Both races Johnson ended the night early due to an accident in May and an engine issue in Oct. But it would seem that these cracks in the foundation may be patched up and if the past few weeks are any indication, Johnson may once again be in residence at Charlotte this Memorial Day weekend.

 

You normally run a patriotic paint scheme. What is the background of that, and what does it mean to you?

 

 

 

“I really have to give Lowe’s the credit for it. Of course I would want to, but it’s really their paint job that goes on the car. They have the final say. They have done some amazing paint jobs over the years, really saying ‘Thanks.’ I am just fortunate to have a cool sponsor that wants to say thank you to all the men and women who have served.”

 

 

 

What does it mean to win a race like the 600? What does it take in terms of endurance?

 

“It is a very long race on a tough track.  It’s not only from the driver’s perspective, but the teams go through a lot to get prepared for that race.  Staying alert and focused, properly hydrated all the things that the driver has to go through so do the guys that go over the wall.  They change a lot of tires during that race.  It’s a very tough event on everyone but I think everybody enjoys it.  I know my guys do.  I know I do.  I love that challenge.  I love it especially when you are going to victory lane.  I hope to do that again.”

 

 

What does winning a race like that mean to you?

 

“Just that weekend with all the racing that takes place world-wide that weekend.  It’s Memorial Day, there is a very special part in me because both of my Grandfathers’ served.  That means something.  We are in all of our backyards.  Hendrick Motorsports is literally a mile-and-a-half, two miles away.  I start stacking up a lot of cool reasons to win that race and I hope to do it.”

 

 

Did you bring the same car back that you raced in the All-Star Race?

 

“No. Not with the way things are today. The cars go to the tech center and they don’t get back in time to turn them around in a couple of days. I think we have an equally good car for the 600. I said it the other night, but track position at the end of the 600 is going to be key, I think. You are going to have start thinking about strategy and a couple of pit stops or so from the end, making the right calls is going to be important- whether you take fuel, tires or no tires. It’s going to get interesting. We learned a lot the other night thought that I think we will be able to apply this weekend.”

 

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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