Sunday’s third-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway marked the best result for Jimmie Johnson since July 7, 2019, at Daytona International Speedway. It was crew chief Cliff Daniels’ best finish to date since taking over the helm of the No. 48 Ally team in July 2019.
SO FAR, SO GOOD: In nine races this season, Johnson has the seventh-best running position (12.7) in the NASCAR Cup Series. A fast team always helps a fast driver, and the No. 48 Ally pit crew has clocked in with the seventh-best time for four-tire pit stops in 2020 with 14.2-second average.
DRIVERS, START YOUR ENGINES: Before the green flag drops Sunday, Johnson will have the chance to say “the most famous words in motor sports.” The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and five-time Atlanta winner will give the command for drivers to start their engines from the cockpit of his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE to commemorate his final full-time season.
HOT-LANTA PERFORMANCE: Johnson has the third-best average finish of all active drivers at Atlanta of 12.0 over his 28 starts. The El Cajon, California, native is the proud owner of five wins there, most recently including back-to-back victories in 2015 and 2016.
1.5-MILE WIN PERCENTAGE: Johnson has the most all-time wins on 1.5-mile racetracks with 28, which is 11 more than former Hendrick Motorsports teammate and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon. Johnson has won 14.7% of his 190 career starts on 1.5-mile tracks, which is the second-best percentage of all time. He trails only Fred Lorenzen, who won eight times in 38 starts (21.1%) on 1.5 milers.
BEST SHOES EVER: To support teammate Chase Elliott’s “DESI9N TO DRIVE” initiative, Johnson will don unique racing shoes this Sunday designed by 5-year-old Evelyn O’Dell. She created Johnson’s shoes with one thing in mind – her sister, Ellie. The design features a predominantly green and orange scheme with five hearts, representing Ellie’s five heart surgeries, and two butterflies – one for each sister. Evelyn’s hope is that her sister will be able to dream big and be happy. The shoes will be signed by Johnson and put on the auction block starting June 5 at the NASCAR Foundation online auction site with proceeds benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s summer camp program. In addition, the Chase Elliott Foundation will match the proceeds from “DESI9N TO DRIVE” and make a separate donation to the hospital’s COVID-19 fund that helps provide support, supplies and equipment for its most fragile patients and frontline workers.
NOT DONE YET: The next time Johnson crosses the finish line first, he will have scored his 84th points-paying Cup Series win to tie Hall of Famers Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for fourth all time. Johnson currently is 10 wins behind former teammate Gordon, who is third on the list with 93 victories. Johnson has the most wins of all active drivers with 83.
GOING HOME: Jackman Kyle Tudor, who hails from Augusta, Georgia, calls Atlanta Motor Speedway his home track. Tudor played football at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, as a linebacker and has been on the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet team for four seasons.
Jimmie Johnson on his final race at Atlanta as a full-time NASCAR driver:
“I don’t know what to feel or think – I guess I would say this: If I had the chance to come back and race again on this track, I would take it. This is a fun, fun racetrack with so much character. Sadly, I know at some point they are going to have to pave it, which in my opinion will just change everything. I just love racing there. From what I understand historically, the ‘old’ Atlanta was the best track ever. The shape of the oval, the progressive banking, and then they made the D-oval.”