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Johnson eyes fourth victory at Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (Feb. 26, 2010) – This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson will attempt to continue his winning ways out West by combining his knowledge of the racetrack with his momentum from his first points win of the 2010 season.

Johnson, who won last weekend at Auto Club Speedway, enters Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Las Vegas with an average finish of 11.1 – best among his Hendrick Motorsports teammates. In eight Cup starts at LVMS, Johnson has three wins, three top-five finishes and four top-10s. Johnson has led 302 laps and completed 99.9 percent of the competition laps that he has attempted at the speedway.

Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, went to Victory Lane at Las Vegas in 2005, 2006 and 2007.  Last year, he led a race-high 92 laps, but crossed the finish line 24th after being involved in a late-race incident. This time around, Johnson hopes the track’s grip has improved.

“With the paving job they did a couple of years ago, the track is a lot faster than it’s been in the past,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure what the asphalt has done over the offseason and how much speed it’s lost, but that track went from being a slippery track that you had to manage your time and manage your lap time around the track to a place that you (don’t) have to manage (all of that anymore). So it’s a really fun racetrack to drive. I hope it’s still that way where you have to attack and drive every lap like a qualifying lap.”

As for strategy at the racetrack, Johnson will leave that to crew chief Chad Knaus and the No. 48 team.

“Strategy-wise, Chad and the engineers do a lot to understand trends and cautions, you know, the way races play out,” the four-time defending Sprint Cup champion said. “I leave a lot of that to them.

“I just really focus on doing my job, make sure I’m well-rested, well-hydrated, energy is up, in shape and do a very good job of explaining what I feel in the car. Without having data acquisitions on the car, I’m responsible for telling them what’s going on, good and bad. I just really have to work on my communication skills and then being sensitive enough to understand what the car’s doing.”

The race is scheduled to begin Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on FOX.

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