Sprint Cup - Johnson/Pocono Race Preview


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

HUNTERSVILLE, June 7, 2012: Unlike the rap band Run-DMC, you don’t have to “rock a rhyme, that’s right on time” to get around Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the track they call the “The Tricky Triangle” and site of Sunday’s Pocono 400. Johnson and crew certainly know a trick or two about how to navigate the unusually shaped 2.5-mile tri-oval, though. In 20 races, Johnson has two wins, eight top-five finishes and 14 top-10s and owns the second-highest driver rating among current competitors (107 out of a possible 150 points).

Records won’t matter this time, however, as the track underwent a new repaving procedure. Along with the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, Johnson and his No. 48 Lowe’s crew will have part of Wednesday and Thursday to see if the track still lives up to its tricky reputation as testing gets underway prior to traditional race weekend activities.

The No. 48 crew currently is riding a hair-raising tide of momentum with wins in two of the last three points-paying events. Throw in the team’s win in the non-points-paying Sprint All-Star Race and it’s apparent why some 48 fans may be wigging out. Of course, that still could be from visions of Johnson in the rainbow-colored wig from victory lane Sunday at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Johnson even has a shot at adding to that win total, albeit in a different type of racecar Wednesday night. Johnson will participate in his fifth Prelude To The Dream, a 40-lap all-star feature event run on the half-mile dirt oval at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Johnson won the Prelude in 2010, his first win on a dirt surface since his off-road days. More laughs may be had, this time without the wig, as Johnson’s team owner is someone who is known for his sense of humor, Clint Bowyer. The two will be team up for what is sure to be a dirty, yet fun, event.

But all eyes will quickly return to the newly repaved asphalt track in the Pocono Mountains on Sunday, where some competitors may be saying, “it’s tricky,” while Johnson hopes to be “right on time” for victory lane.

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