CONCORD, N.C. – Sunday, Jimmie Johnson will make his 17th career 600-mile race start at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
A four-time winner of the event, the driver has mastered the grueling race before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a challenge each time for the seven-time champion.
“I can’t say it’s gotten any easier through my career here,” Johnson said. “We might finish a little quicker some years due to speed, but G-forces are higher, so I just think it all kind of levels out. I’m thinking back to the days when they didn’t have power steering, that might have been a little bit different.”
Johnson’s four victories have come over 16 starts, meaning he has won an impressive 25 percent of his entries in the NASCAR Cup Series’ longest event.
Starting last season, stage racing added another wrinkle to the already difficult event.
“When I first started, obviously no stages to consider or worry about, so that was way different and you just raced differently,” Johnson said. “The whole environment was different on the track.”
Now, with teams fighting for at every stage break, track position is at even more of a premium.
But Johnson prides himself on his preparation and he’s ready to tackle all 600-miles this Sunday.
“It is a very long and difficult race that I spend a lot of time physically preparing for, making sure that I’m right,” he said. “I treat it a lot like a triathlon with electrolytes and carbs and just the strategy in how to stay fueled and alert through the course of the race. It’s definitely a big day in the office.”