“FIVE TIME” IN THE GREAT CLIPS NO. 5 - Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and last week’s Daytona 500 winner, Jimmie Johnson, takes the reins of the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), marking his sixth race in a JR Motorsports Chevrolet and first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start since 2011. In his five previous starts for the organization, Johnson earned one top-five and two top-10 finishes.
TAXSLAYER ON BOARD WITH SMITH - JR Motorsports cornerstone partner, TaxSlayer.com, moves to Regan Smith’s No. 7 Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at PIR. After a fourth-place finish with Dale Earnhardt Jr. last week at Daytona, Smith carries the TaxSlayer.com colors in his third start for JRM and fifth NNS start at PIR.
JOHNSON’S MOST RECENT RACE FOR JRM - Johnson’s last turn in JRM’s No. 5 Chevrolet was a memorable one, coming at Watkins Glen International in 2011. After being relegated to 20th following a pair of early pit road penalties, Johnson wheeled his way to third in time for a green-white-checkered restart. He made quick work of the second position with a three-wide pass in turn one, but ran out of laps to muster a charge at the top spot.
PHOENIX INTEL - Although limited in NNS experience at PIR, Johnson’s Sprint Cup statistics at the one-mile facility are quite impressive. In 19 starts, he has notched four wins, 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. With one pole to his credit, Johnson has an average finish of 6.7, and remarkably has led 931 laps.
YOU WOULD NEVER GUESS - Johnson has 62 career Sprint Cup victories (eighth all-time behind Dale Earnhardt’s 76) but has only one Nationwide Series win. That lone victory came at Chicagoland Speedway on July 14, 2001, in the No. 92 Chevrolet for Stanley Herzog.
DIRTY MO RADIO UNVEILED - Dirty Mo Radio, an online home for radio-style podcasts centrally themed around NASCAR’s 10-time most popular driver, embarks on its second week broadcasting The Dale Jr. Download. A weekly podcast that recaps Earnhardt Jr.’s previous race with behind-the-scenes insight from team members, media and family, The Dale Jr. Download is hosted by popular North Carolina radio personality Taylor Zarzour. It airs every Monday throughout the NASCAR season. Dirty Mo Radio will be based at Earnhardt Jr.’s official site, www.DaleJr.com, but its podcasts will also be available free-ofcharge on common podcasting outlets such as iTunes.
REGAN SMITH ON PHOENIX: “It’s going to be a lot of fun going to Phoenix with our TaxSlayer.com Chevy. I think these next four or five weeks are important weeks for our season, and for working towards our championship goals. I feel 100 percent confident with how fast our race cars are going to be in Phoenix. We had a real fast car in Daytona. I know the things we learned in testing, and what we are working on, and I’m excited about them. The way I look at it, Phoenix is kind of the start to the season. Daytona is its own animal, so when you get to Phoenix you start to see who the contenders are.
“It’s awesome to have Jimmie as a teammate this weekend. He’s always there to help out, and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do on the track.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON ON PHOENIX: “I think that I should run well. My goal is to get more experience on the track. It will be fun, for starters. I always have fun when I get to drive for Junior. I get to see my old friend, Greg Ives, and some other familiar faces on the team. “I’m excited to work with Regan. He has been really good in those Nationwide cars. Hopefully I can polish my skills and get my second win in the Nationwide Series.”