Nov 3, 2013, 11:16 PM EST
After he won last fall at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson led the Sprint Cup championship by seven points over Brad Keselowski. One year later, Johnson finds himself in largely the same situation.
After thrashing the competition in today’s AAA Texas 500, he’s leading the championship once again by seven points going into next Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. But Johnson hopes that this year won’t end like last year did.
Last fall at PIR, his right front tire blew out and caused him to crash with 77 laps to go. Johnson had to spend time in the garage for repairs and finished 32nd that day, and the incident opened the door for Keselowski to take the championship lead with a sixth-place finish.
The Penske Racing pilot would then go on to clinch the 2012 title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Of course, with Keselowski being unable to qualify for the Chase, there’s a new obstacle standing between Johnson and a sixth Cup championship this year: Matt Kenseth, who finished fourth today to keep pace.
Johnson said that he feels better this year about going to PIR than he did last year, but noted that his gut feelings about winning a championship hasn’t always come true.
“It’s so weird, because I’ve been in position before where I’ve had these amazing sensations and feelings that a championship was going to happen, and we were able to do it for those five years in a row,” he said. “There were other years where I had those feelings, and it didn’t happen.
“I think 2004, we had everything going our way it seemed like, and it didn’t happen. Last year was another good example of us taking control late in the Chase, and then that ended with two bad races.”
With that in mind, Johnson plans to keep doing what he’s been doing even though the game with Kenseth is now basically mano-a-mano.
“I guess the lesson in all of that is I’m not counting on anything, and I have to go to Phoenix and race – same [for] Homestead,” he said.
“…I’m not going to get too excited about things during the course of the week. I’m going to work real hard and train my butt off. Stay in this little world that I’ve been living in for the last five or six months, but more so, the last eight weeks, and show up ready to go these next two weeks.”
Dec 5, 2013, 5:54 PM EST
It was a trying Formula One season altogether for Williams, but their young driver Valtteri Bottas still managed to have some nice moments in his rookie F1 campaign, including his first points-paying finish at the United States Grand Prix. Bottas appears to have a good future ahead of him in F1 and will return to…
Dec 5, 2013, 4:09 PM EST
Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke a tie with Bill Elliott by earning his 11th consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Most Popular Driver award during today’s NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon in Las Vegas. Earnhardt, who finished fifth in the 2013 Sprint Cup Series championship, has won the award every year since the 2003 season. The…
Dec 5, 2013, 2:39 PM EST
NASCAR CEO Brian France mentioned lots of accomplishments for his organization during the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season this morning in Las Vegas, but noted that it’s also preparing diligently for the year to come. In a wide-ranging session with reporters, France talked about the ongoing testing for the Gen-6 cars that debuted this past…
Dec 5, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Multiple changes have been announced this morning by NASCAR regarding drivers’ eligibility for being elected into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Going forward, drivers that have competed for at least 10 seasons and have turned 55 years old on or before Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year are eligible. Additionally, drivers…
Dec 5, 2013, 1:15 PM EST
We wish a happy 27th birthday today to IndyCar’s lone full-time confirmed Canadian for 2014, James Hinchcliffe, driver of the No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda for Andretti Autosport. As Hinchcliffe ticks another year off this year, we figure it would be a good time to look back and see how he’s grown in…
Dec 5, 2013, 12:30 PM EST
Virgin Racing has signed up with the new FIA Formula E Championship as the series’ ninth team. Alex Tai will operate the squad as team principal and the effort has the full support and backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson. Virgin has spent some of its large sum in motorsports before, as a partner…
Dec 5, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
There’s no rest for the weary in the Formula One world when it comes down to chassis design for their 2014 cars, to comply with the new regulations. Dell, a partner with the Caterham F1 Team, released this brief video where the team’s performance director, John Iley, discusses just how much these regulation changes are…
Dec 5, 2013, 11:45 AM EST
Jimmie Johnson, like the rest of the NASCAR fraternity, is in Las Vegas this week for Champion’s Week. Johnson has six Sprint Cup championships, and 66 career wins. And in the above picture he posted to his Instagram page, Johnson is trying to win the Internet. He’s doing his best imitation of the crew from…
Dec 5, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Finishing third in the…
Dec 5, 2013, 10:45 AM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Next up, the championship…
Dec 5, 2013, 10:00 AM EST
After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, my colleague Tony DiZinno and I are now going to start taking a look back on how each of the 13 Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders fared this past year. Let’s get started with…
Dec 5, 2013, 9:00 AM EST
Over the last month and a half since the 2013 IndyCar Series season wrapped at Auto Club Speedway, we’ve had a plethora of posts here on MotorSportsTalk looking back at the 19 races, drivers, teams and story lines. However, we would expect that you probably have missed one here or there. Well never fear, because…
Dec 4, 2013, 9:22 PM EST
Only a little more than a week ago, Josh Wise announced he was leaving Front Row Motorsports’ third car. On Wednesday, it was confirmed he’ll stay in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with another fledgling operation, Phil Parsons Racing. The team announced Wise’s signing and a switch from Ford to Chevrolet for the black No. 98…
Dec 4, 2013, 7:09 PM EST
Today’s test session at Sebring International Raceway began a new era of sorts for Chip Ganassi Racing, which tested together with Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan (pictured, No. 8) and new engine supplier Chevrolet for the first time on-track. Team managing director Mike Hull is optimistic about what both can bring to the team after…
Dec 4, 2013, 4:25 PM EST
Today, the NBC Sports Group announced Rick Allen, known by many NASCAR fans as the TV voice of the Camping World Truck Series, has signed a multi-year agreement to become the new lead announcer for NBC’s upcoming Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series coverage that begins in 2015. “I’ve had the good fortune to work with…
Dec 4, 2013, 4:04 PM EST
The all-electric FIA Formula E championship has announced a 10-race schedule for its inaugural 2014-2015 season that will start September 13, 2014 in Beijing. As expected, two North American races are part of the docket. For Round 6, F-E will look to win the hearts of Los Angeles race fans on Valentine’s Day, February 14,…
Dec 4, 2013, 3:00 PM EST
This morning’s release of the final 2014 F1 schedule revealed that the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas had moved up one week to Nov. 2, 2014. But on that very weekend, a few hours up the road in Fort Worth, all three NASCAR national series will be competing…
Dec 4, 2013, 2:15 PM EST
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles may have given us an glimpse into IndyCar’s near-future yesterday at the 2013 Motorsports Marketing Forum in Las Vegas. SportsBusiness Daily’s Josh Carpenter reports several interesting tidbits from Miles during his interview at the Forum, including the revelation of potential new international markets such as the Middle East, South…
Dec 4, 2013, 1:30 PM EST
Two days ago, Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan had some fun seeing his face on the Borg-Warner Trophy for the first time. But today, he and his new teammates at Chip Ganassi Racing are putting in work. Kanaan (pictured), reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, and American driver Charlie Kimball are testing at Sebring International…
Dec 4, 2013, 1:00 PM EST
My MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and I looked at the 28 IndyCar drivers who raced in seven starts or more this year in detail. The remaining drivers in spots 28-39 all had their moments in their four starts or less (29th, Ana Beatriz, was covered in a separate post after running in seven races). My…
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