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Sport Jimmie Johnson, mired in winless streak, can be optimistic at Texas, Bristol

18:34  03 april  2018
18:34  03 april  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

NASCAR notebook: Johnson 'not losing sleep' over winless streak

  NASCAR notebook: Johnson 'not losing sleep' over winless streak MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Jimmie Johnson hasn't won a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race since he triumphed at Dover on June 4 of last year. That constitutes a winless streak of 28 races, the longest drought of Johnson's career.But the seven-time series champion scoffed at the notion that his prolonged absence from Victory Lane represents a decline in his prowess on the track."I don't think that way," said the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in advance of Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway (2 p.m. ET on FS1).

Jimmie Johnson is ready to change the conversation around him for the rest of 2018 NASCAR Cup Series season. The next two races, at Texas and Bristol , will give him great opportunities to do just Jimmie Johnson is experiencing that right now, especially in the midst of a 29-race winless streak .

Jimmie Johnson is experiencing that right now, especially in the midst of a 29-race winless streak . Such a mark would seem luxurious and enviable to the vast Like a win at Texas Motor Speedway in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 this weekend, or maybe a victory next week at Bristol Motor Speedway.

a close up of a person wearing a helmet: Jimmie Johnson© (Getty Images) Jimmie Johnson

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — When you're a seven-time NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series champion, an 83-race winner and perpetually on the verge of hoisting that unprecedented eighth championship trophy, people are watching, dissecting and diagnosing your every move.

Jimmie Johnson is experiencing that right now, especially in the midst of a 29-race winless streak. Such a mark would seem luxurious and enviable to the vast majority of his competition, but it's the longest drought of his first-ballot Hall of Fame career, and Johnson could not be more ready to talk about something else.

Bump & Run: Who will follow Clint Bowyer in ending long drought?

  Bump & Run: Who will follow Clint Bowyer in ending long drought? Will Clint Bowyer be the first of a few drivers to snap lengthy winless streaks this season?Nate Ryan:Aric Almirola (125-race winless streak) needs to follow through quickly on his early season speed to stamp this as a breakthrough season.

Jimmie Johnson is especially experiencing that right now thanks to a 29-race winless streak . A mark that would seem luxurious and enviable to the vast majority of his competition, but it's the longest of his first-ballot NASCAR Hall of Fame career and Johnson couldn't be Johnson isn't just good at Texas .

Jimmie Johnson carries high hopes into the next two weekends of NASCAR racing, aiming to snap a career-long drought at Texas or Bristol . Jimmie Johnson is especially experiencing that right now thanks to a 29-race winless streak . A mark like that would seem luxurious and enviable to the vast

Like a win at Texas Motor Speedway in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 this weekend, or maybe a victory next week at Bristol Motor Speedway. That would do it.

NASCAR: Full Cup Series schedule

Johnson is the defending winner of both races. That gives his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team a source of optimism in hitching horsepower to opportunity at these tracks.

And at Texas, Johnson isn't just good. He's the best.

With a record seven Cup wins, 15 top-five and 21 top-10 finishes in 29 starts on the mile-and-a-half Fort Worth high banks, Johnson has the ability to change the conversation around him. He's the all-time leader in laps led (1,041) and has a rare top-10 career average in both finish (8.8) and starting position (9.4).

In recognition of Johnson's outstanding resume at the track and the fact that he is the defending winner, Texas Motor Speedway is giving away Jimmie Johnson bobble head dolls to 30,000 among the anticipated sold-out crowd. That's an additional 30,000 "nods" of support for a driver and team working its way out of a rut.

Roundtable: Can Jimmie Johnson end his winless streak at Texas?

  Roundtable: Can Jimmie Johnson end his winless streak at Texas? After an off-weekend following Clint Bowyer's triumph at Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR returns this weekend for another intermediate track in Texas Motor Speedway. Jimmie Johnson won this race last spring and has also won five of the last ten Cup races held at Texas Motor Speedway. Do you think he can break his winless slump of 29 races this weekend?Jim: Anything is possible, I suppose, but I haven't seen anything from Hendrick Motorsports or the No. 48 team so far to indicate they are on the cusp of a victory at an intermediate track.

SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports' Mike Hembree previews the upcoming O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 race. USA TODAY Sports.

Jimmie Johnson is the all-time leader in laps led at Chicagoland Speedway. Yet he's winless in 17 But there’s multiple reasons being winless at Chicago probably rubs Johnson the wrong way and why ending The streak began at Texas Motor Speedway in March, where he started from the pole, led

And should it take another week for Johnson and his team to rally, they would look to Bristol, which proved to be a motivating cause in 2017 for the opposite reasons.

Bristol is one of the rare venues at which Johnson has not dominated. His win in the spring race last year was only his second at the famous half-mile bullring; his first since the spring of 2010, the year he won an unprecedented fifth consecutive Cup title. He has finished 11th or better in six of the last seven Bristol races, and he has a pair of runner-up finishes in the spring 500-lapper, the latest in 2015.

MORE: Johnson, Hendrick begin search for new sponsor as Lowe's leaves

Johnson is ranked 17th in the current Cup standings, continuing a steady climb since a wreck early in the Daytona 500 put him in a points deficit to start the season. Although he has not yet led a lap this season, he has four top-15 finishes in the last four races, with a season-best ninth at California's Auto Club Speedway.

The absence from victory lane is not lost on Johnson, who has celebrated there more than any other driver he's competing with this season. Last week, he offered up a relevant quote from Babe Ruth via social media.

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up," Johnson wrote, crediting the baseball great.

Added Johnson: "I couldn't agree more and can't wait to get back to the track."

That's one of the reasons he and his team know how to win. From the earliest days of Johnson trying to make a name for himself on NASCAR's biggest stage, perseverance has always been a part of his mindset.

Busch beats out Larson to win rain-delayed race at Bristol .
Kyle Busch has won the rain-delayed Cup Series race on a cold, dark day at Bristol Motor Speedway. Busch passed Kyle Larson with five laps remaining to win his second straight Cup Series race.It is Busch's 45th career Cup win and marks the fifth time in his career that he has won back-to-back races; he won last week at Texas.It also Busch's seventh victory at Bristol.Larson finished second while Jimmie Johnson finished third to claim his first top-five finish of the season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fourth and Alex Bowman finished fifth.

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