LAS VEGAS – For Sunday’s KOBALT Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson’s mentality simple -- go out there and lay it all on the line.
That concept has served the five-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion well here. In four of his last six trips to the 1.5-mile desert oval, Johnson has reached Victory Lane. Most recently, Johnson won in February 2010, after leading 18 laps and beating Kevin Harvick to the finish line by 1.874 seconds. Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet, also has earned four top-five finishes and five top-10s and led 320 laps in nine Cup starts at the Speedway.
This will be the fifth race held on the Speedway’s reconfigured track since it was repaved in 2006. After the track was remodeled, the banking in the turns was increased to 20 degrees at its steepest point, eight degrees higher than the original track.
“Vegas, the last few times has had so much grip between the re-surfacing they did a few years back and the progressive banking and new tires that we take to the track,” Johnson said. “So when I think of Vegas I think of pulling (my belts) tight and taking a deep breath, especially in qualifying. And in the race you’re not tiptoeing around there either. In the race you’re laying it on pretty hard.”
Johnson is going into Sunday’s race ranked 13th in the Cup points standing after finishing third at Phoenix International Raceway last week. With an average finish of 10 at Las Vegas, Johnson is gearing up for another strong finish there in Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 48-623.
The KOBALT Tools 400 will be televised Sunday on FOX, and pre-race coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET. The race will begin at 3 p.m.