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Johnson Says Seventh Championship Still In Sight

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 19 2016
Six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson not giving up on No. 7 this year. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

Six-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson not giving up on No. 7 this year. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Andrew Coppley)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Jimmie Johnson admitted Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway that it hasn’t been a great year for his Hendrick Motorsports team, but due to the Chase format it could still produce another championship.

sprint-logo-08“A lot can happen before the season is up,” Johnson said during preparations for Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. “Not only the team, but all of Hendrick Motorsports has been working really hard to get back to where we want to be. Fortunately, there is time and fortunately, there is the Chase format.”

Johnson began the season in strong fashion, winning two of the first five races and six top-10 finishes in the opening 10 events. Five of those six were top-five-finishes. However, in the season’s 10th race at Talladega in May Johnson’s team began stumbling. In the last 13 races, Johnson has produced only two top-five finishes, one at Charlotte in May and the other at Indianapolis in July, and no additional top 10s. He has, however, posted four finishes of 30th or worst. He placed last at Watkins Glen and had two 35th-place finishes, one at Pocono in June and the other at Daytona in July.

“It’s been a tough summer,” Johnson commented. “(If we weren’t already in the Chase), I think we wouldn’t have taken as many risks trying different setups and doing different things that have gone on.”


Trevor Bayne said Friday one thing he hadn’t counted on when he participated in an Ironman competition in Ireland during the off Sprint Cup weekend was jellyfish. There was even talk by organizers of canceling the event’s swim due to the number of jellyfish that were present.

“We’re going out into this harbor to swim in Ireland and they had this report that the beaches are closed for lion’s mane jellyfish, which are the largest and fifth-most venomous jellyfish in the world,” Bayne said. “I was pretty thankful we were going to have wetsuits on, but there are a lot of factors you don’t really think about when you’re going to do another form of racing. I didn’t get stung by a jellyfish. I got out of the water alive and pretty fast.”

Bayne said the day he competed in the event was “probably the most fit I’ve probably ever been in my life.”


After Chris Buescher scored his first career victory at Pocono on Aug. 1, he enjoyed his off-weekend by visiting his family in Texas. He didn’t, however, spend it resting.

“I think I did more work out there than I do at my own place,” Buescher said. “I went out in the garage and helped Dad, washed all of my sisters’ cars, and, basically, they put me to work, but it was a good time. It was nice to change the pace up a little bit.”


The Dillon brothers 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise funds for the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma is scheduled for Aug. 31 at the LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Celebrity team captains for the 16-team, double-elimination tournament include country music singers Tyler Farr, Chris Lane and Colt Ford, “America’s Got Talent” magician Carl Michael, and NASCAR drivers Denny Hamlin and Brendan Gaughan.

“I’ve got different college basketball players coming to play so there will be some dunks,” Austin Dillon said. “Joey Logano is now a coach. He said he would rather not play, but he feels like he could coach.”


Chase Elliott has partnered with Charlotte Motor Speedway to form Chase University, a special $24 ticket package to the Bank of America 500 for college students. Included in the package are food and beverages, tailgating games and concerts.

The 20-year-old Elliott will join the students at a party prior to the race.

“I have a lot of buddies who are in college right now and I see kind of that lifestyle and what they enjoy and how much fun they have,” Elliott said. “I thought it might be kind of something cool if we could incorporate that into what I do on the weekends.”

Students with a valid college ID may enroll in Chase University online or by calling (800) 455-3267.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 19 2016
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