Hendrick Motorsports

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Johnson gears up for postponed Martinsville race

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 28, 2010) – Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, isn’t worried about how the change to the spoiler will affect his performance on Monday at Martinsville Speedway.

Rain showers on Sunday prompted NASCAR officials to postpone the 500-mile Sprint Cup event to Monday. The race is scheduled to begin at noon ET on FOX.

“We might not be the first team to find the magic the spoiler wants, but we’re usually pretty good at finding stuff in a hurry, and then the fact that it’s a new element to the car brings a few months worth of opportunity,” Johnson said. “We saw that with the wing coming along, and truthfully the competition that was really, really equal before the wing has now gone away. In the short-term, I think there will be some opportunities and I think our team should be able to find some things to take advantage of.”

The No. 48 team looked for those advantages during the weekend practices at Martinsville and hopes the findings carry over onto race day at the paper-clip oval where Johnson has dominated in the past. In 16 Sprint Cup Series starts at the .526-mile speedway, Johnson has tallied six wins (including three straight in October 2006, April 2007 and October 2007), 12 top-five finishes, 15 top-10s and completed 99.3 percent of the laps he has attempted (7,957 laps of 8,011 total). The only time he has failed to complete the entire event happened during his first start at the Virginia racetrack.

Johnson, who will line up third for Monday’s rescheduled race, has developed his approach to Martinsville throughout his career. His hard work has paid off, and he’s averaged a finish there of 5.1 – which matches his personal best also achieved at Phoenix International Raceway.

“You can’t tiptoe around the racetrack,” Johnson said. “There are certain areas where you really have to attack to turn a fast lap and they don’t come natural for the majority of the drivers.

“There is a certain rhythm that the track requires for you to run a fast lap time. And on top of that, a fast lap time is maybe a tenth of a second better than a slow one. So there are really, really small adjustments that you have to make.”