CONCORD, N.C. – Once again, Jimmie Johnson is preparing for a deep run in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs as he chases what would be a record-setting eighth championship.
He’s already found success during the regular season – with three wins this year, 2017 became the 16th consecutive season in which Johnson has found Victory Lane at least twice.
And his playoff berth meant Johnson remains the only driver to have made NASCAR’s postseason in every year of its existence.
“It’s tough to operate at a high level each and every year,” Johnson said. “To have the championships is an amazing feat, but then to qualify for each of the playoffs, to win a race every year I’ve been in the sport, there are some landmark moments in there that I’m really proud of.”
Despite a tough summer stretch on the track, Johnson closed the regular season with a top-10 finish at Richmond Raceway.
Now that the playoffs have arrived, he’s looking for bigger and better things in the final 10 races of the year.
“My 10 best tracks are coming up, so, I’m excited about that,” he said. “Last year, we were able to win in each of the three segments and get ourselves to Homestead, so hopefully we can go out there and do that again and be one of the final four.”
The playoffs are divided into three segments of three races apiece, followed by the final race for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Johnson said he looks at each of the three-race rounds as “mini championships.”
“If you don't stay alive, you don't transfer,” he explained.
With that in mind, he’s looking to mimic last year’s performance and leave no doubt that he will advance by finding Victory Lane in each round.
“Looking at what it might take to make it to Homestead and be in the final four, if we can win another race or two and get some more playoff points, I think we could really help our situation,” he said.
“Winning is everything, and you just have to keep winning.”
The first chance comes this Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway. The race is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBCSN.