RICHMOND, Va. – Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team are riding the momentum from their recent Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway victory into Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Richmond International Raceway. The 300-mile race under the lights will air Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
Historically, Johnson has wavered between finishing first or deep in the field during his last 18 Cup appearances at the short track. But that has changed in the last three races, when the team has finished consistently in the top 11. Johnson hopes to continue the trend and improve his performance on the Virginia short track after a 10th-place finish in this race last spring.
“It seems like we are up and down at Richmond,” Johnson said. “We’ve obviously won there but we didn’t have a great finish last year in the spring, but then we were able to pull out a good run to start the Chase (for the NASCAR Sprint Cup) in a good spot. Track position is always important there so the first few stops of the night really make a difference. Getting those adjustments right early on is important. We’re obviously happy where we are in points right now. We just need to continue our momentum from Talladega.”
Johnson, who is ranked second in the driver standings, has reached Victory Lane three times at the .75-mile oval and is tied for first in that category with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. Overall, Johnson has earned five top-five finishes, six top-10s and led a total of 376 laps at Richmond.
For Johnson’s 19th appearance at Richmond, crew chief Chad Knaus has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-590, which crossed the finish line third at Phoenix International Raceway in February. Knaus, like Johnson, is hoping to continue the momentum from the team’s Talladega win as they head to Richmond to race under the lights.
“It is one of those races tracks that has either been hot or cold for us,” Knaus said. “We either run really, really well or not so good. We’re going there very optimistic, obviously coming there off the win at Talladega.”