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Sport Jimmie Johnson arrives at Bristol convinced team moving in right direction

02:26  14 april  2018
02:26  14 april  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

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

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Jimmie Johnson is optimistic about the speed Hendrick Motorsports has found after a third-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hear Denny Hamlin's thoughts on his Michigan starting position and why things are starting to trend right for the No. 11 team .

Jimmie Johnson grabbed a rare victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol , Tenn., on Monday, giving him consecutive wins for the 11th time. It was just the second career win in Thunder Valley for Johnson , who considers that track one of his most vexing. His Hendrick Motorsports team hit on

a close up of a man wearing a hat and sunglasses: Jimmie Johnson© (Getty Images) Jimmie Johnson

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Jimmie Johnson showed up for his news conference Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway dressed nicely in a Lowe's emblazoned polo shirt and Lowe's' cap. The defending champion of Sunday's Food City 500 (2 p.m. ET, Fox, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) greeted reporters, laughed a little and fully confronted the elephant in the room.

He is on the longest winless streak of his seven-time NASCAR Cup championship career – 30 races – and yet simultaneously remains a race trophy away from tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip with 84 career victories.

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Jimmie Johnson scored his second consecutive victory, taking the lead with less than 25 laps to go — Key takeaways from Monday's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Jimmie Johnson , right , and crew chief Chad Knaus kiss the bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Jimmie Johnson , right , celebrates with team owner Rick Hendrick after winning the Advance Auto Parts Jimmie Johnson gets a hug from team owner Rick Hendrick after winning his record-tying seventh Sprint Runners arrive at the athletes village prior to the start of the 123rd Boston Marathon.

"It's definitely the story," the always affable Johnson said. "We have high expectations for ourselves, first and foremost, and we think that we should be in the position to win races every year and compete for race wins each weekend, so I think within that there's a lot of fair questions being asked.

FOOD CITY 500 QUALIFYING: Johnson to start mid-pack

"But I think there is overreaction by fans and media on that upper percentile of it, especially all the kind and wonderful people on social media and the things they have to say," Johnson added, tongue in cheek.

Johnson doesn't have to confirm the notion on Twitter; he knows he's due to win. In many ways, the fact he hasn't won in 30 races — a fraction of a single season — says much more about his overall success than any recent frustrations.

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Jimmie Johnson , right , celebrates with team owner Rick Hendrick after winning the Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race at Daytona International Jimmie Johnson celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2017 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, his second win of the season.

Jimmie Johnson arrives at Bristol convinced team moving in right direction . Lowe's had the naming rights to Charlotte Motor Speedway from 1998-2009 and they previously sponsored the No

All three of NASCAR's Cup Series manufacturers have posted wins this season, but Chevrolet hasn't since Austin Dillon's thrilling last lap-victory in the season-opening Daytona 500.

Much of the season has been a duel between three-time race winner Kevin Harvick in a Ford and three-time runner-up Kyle Busch, who drove his Toyota into victory lane last week for the first time in 2018.

The expectations for Johnson and his Chevy brethren remain unchanged. Johnson said he has seen improvement each week, and while the winless streak gets attention because of the precedent he has set, he remains optimistic and calculated.

"We are improving," he said. "We're making it better each and every week.

"And," he said smiling, "I've used this phrase many times before, but we're just stacking pennies when we need to start stacking some quarters.

"The effort is there. We are such a united team and working as close together as ever. I know in time we'll get there. I want to be there right now and we certainly hope this weekend, we can turn the corner. But I think we're seeing some good steps and some good strides."

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NASCAR's seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson now has 82 victories after his Monday win at Bristol Motor Speedway, but isn't sure he can reach No “I know that everybody wants to see that Bristol of old and ring around the bottom and us beating and banging and moving cars,” Bowyer said.

BRISTOL , Tenn. — Jimmie Johnson has won for the first time at Bristol Motor Speedway by driving from sixth to first in just three laps. He plowed through the field on a restart with 10 laps to go Sunday, giving him his third victory this season and the 50th of his career.

On top of the adjustments the entire Chevrolet family is making this season — in particular, learning the new Camaro, which debuted in the Cup ranks this season — Johnson's smaller, Hendrick Motorsports family is dealing with a new situation of its own.

Two of the four full-time Hendrick Cup drivers are new to their positions in 2018 — William Byron, who drives the No. 24 Chevy, and Alex Bowman, who drives the No. 88 Chevy. Two of his three teammates — 20-year-old Byron and 22-year-old Chase Elliott — are about half Johnson's age (42). Bowman is only 25.

Last year Johnson posted what turned into a popular and hilarious video on social media showing him driving the other three around like a parent with his kids.

While Johnson concedes the team vibe is different with three up-and-comers vs. the veteran slate that has characterized the championship team for so long, he insists the situation is still positive. With seven championships and 83 Cup victories, Johnson would be the respected elder statesman on any Cup team. At Hendrick, he is revered, appreciated and well-liked.

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Defending Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick’s streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes to start the 2015 season came to an end Sunday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet was involved in a Lap 311 wreck that began when Jimmie Johnson

"I certainly miss the camaraderie and friendships and history I've had with the other veteran teammates," Johnson said. "You also learn set-up styles. When Jeff Gordon thought his car was perfect, I knew I needed two or three changes to get my car to where I loved it. Same thing with Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and Kasey (Kahne) and so on.

"That part I'm developing and trying to get my arms around and it's going well, but I've just been really amazed with the sense of feel that my three teammates have with their race cars and (how they) can describe that.

"I do miss my friends and do miss aspects of the work process like I mentioned, but these guys are doing a great job."

Johnson arrived in Bristol ranked 20th in the points standings and still looking to lead his first lap of 2018. An accident in the Daytona 500 and an accident Sunday in Texas have bookended a year of hard work and hard lessons.

But Johnson arrived at Bristol this week ready as always to put in the work necessary to hoist the hardware. Perhaps the fittest driver in the sport, he did a 100-mile bike ride on Thursday as part of his physical preparation.

"It's small increments from good to great,'' Johnson reminded the media in the room Friday, "and right now, we've just been in that 'good' category. We need to be 'great.' We want to be great.''

Or, perhaps more accurately for Johnson, even great-er.

Holly Cain writes for the NASCAR Wire Service.

Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief used ‘Dodgeball’ movie to share hilarious race strategy .
Plus, all the names drivers called each other from the race audio.As is often the case at the .533-mile Tennessee track, there were tons of wrecks and contact with even the cars that finished the race looking pretty bad.

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