Jimmie Johnson just made the round of eight by the skin of his teeth, but the key there is that he’s one of the eight drivers and in this round he visits some of his most successful tracks. Martinsville is the first stop for the No. 48 team. The paperclip shaped track nestled in the hills of southern Virginia is a track that has seen the No. 48 team in victory lane a total of nine times over his 17 year career. Johnson is tied with Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, and Jeff Gordon with victories in the fall race at Martinsville (six). On Sunday, Johnson can step up to a new podium with his seventh victory in this race. He’d also stand alone with 10 victories at Martinsville.
On top of stepping up to his own podium, Johnson could also tally Hendrick Motorsports sixth straight victory in the fall race at Martinsville and become the first back-to-back winner in this race since Denny Hamlin (2009 & 2010). Should Johnson win, he will punch his ticket to Homestead and inch closer to a record tying eighth championship. In four out of seven championship campaigns, Johnson has paid a visit to Martinsville victory lane.
“Of course I would love to be at eight,” Johnson said in the team release. “I feel that I have a lot of good years of racing left in me. I know what I’m capable of and this team is and the more simple I keep the process I think the better it’s going to be for me.”