Johnson Eyeing 1st Career Chicagoland Victory On Sunday

Jimmie Johnson has almost won everything a driver can win. He’s won seven Cup Series championships, tied most all time. Among his 83 career wins in NASCAR’s premiere series are four Brickyard 400 crowns, four Coca-Cola 600 victories, two Daytona 500 triumphs and two Southern 500 trips to victory lane. To go along with that are four wins in the All-Star race and two in the Clash.

He’s won at Dover 11 times, Martinsville nine times, Charlotte eight and Texas seven times respectively. Among the only few things missing is, the Chicagoland Speedway.

FORT WORTH, TX – MARCH 29: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on March 29, 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

There are only three tracks that Johnson has yet to win at on the Cup Series schedule. One of which is this weekend in the Camping World 400. Another is in a couple weeks for the Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky Speedway. The third is in August at Watkins Glen.

Other than winning an eighth Cup Series title, winning on every track on the schedule is high on his priority list.

He’s 0-for-17 at Chicagoland. It’s not like he hasn’t been close a number of times though. In his first five tries, he finished – 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 3rd and 6th respectively. Furthermore, in his first 12 starts on the 1.5-mile Joliet area race track, Johnson had a top 10 in 10 of them including seven of which in the top five. But, over the course of his last five starts, he’s gotten his No. 48 Chevrolet into the top 10 just once. That was an eighth place run two years ago.

Now, he’s looking at finishing strong again. The problem is, he brings a 75 race winless streak into the weekend. That’s the longest of his storied career. He only has three top five finishes in his last 59 starts. After having double digit top five finishes in literally every year of his career, he’s only had four in 2017, two in 2018 and just one in 2019.

This is a rough patch of his career. Can he make up for it with a win on Sunday?

He is in a predicament though. Johnson, needs a win but he also needs stage points. If you give up stage points to position yourself for the win and you don’t actually win, you could be in a huge hole.

Right now, Johnson is one point behind the playoff cutoff line. That means if the playoffs would start today, he wouldn’t be in. So, with what’s on the line this weekend, does he go for the win or play it safe with a race at Daytona looming next week?

With how well his car was on Saturday, he may want to win. Johnson, was fifth and sixth respectively on single lap runs and eighth and second on the 10 lap average charts. He even qualified fourth for Sunday’s race too.

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