Smith and Johnson get together
Regan Smith and Billy Johnson get together during the Johnsonville Sausage 200 Presented by Menards at Road America.
Post-Race Reactions: Papis slaps Johnson
Following the Johnsonville Sausage 200 presented by Menards at Road America Max Papis has a few words with Billy Johnson .
Auto Club Speedway by the numbers
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Full weekend schedule Jimmie Johnson was driving a Superman car and wearing a cape the last time he saw Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series' stop there in 2016. It's appropriate since he almost owns the place. Johnson has six wins at Auto Club, spanning a decade and a half. He also has five runner-up finishes, an impressive average finishing place of 6.5 and has led 980 laps around the 2-mile circuit in Fontana, California. Roger Penske has a stake in the place as well, having been one of the architects, alongside Les "Coach" Richter. The track officially opened June 22, 1997, and it's celebrating its 20th anniversary as NASCAR returns to Fontana this weekend for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series racing. Penske got his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at the track on April 29, 2001 with Rusty Wallace piloting the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford. Brad Keselowski put Team Penske back in Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway in 2015. Penske's open wheel drivers also have had success at the track. Penske built a fast race track, leading to some stout stats in the speedway's lore: -- A 188.511 mph qualifying speed record set by Denny Hamlin in 2016 -- A 155.012 mph race speed record set by Jeff Gordon in 1997 Digging into the numbers a bit more: -- Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, the most of any team -- Ford has 11 wins at the track, and Chevrolet has 13. Kyle Busch has taken home two Auto Club 400 trophies for Toyota in back-to-back races in 2013-14. -- Farthest back in the field a winning driver started: 31st, Matt Kenseth, spring of 2006 -- Pole-sitting winners: Only one, Johnson in 2008 -- The closest margin of victory was 0.144 seconds, as Kevin Harvick edged Johnson in 2011
Luza strikes it rich at Las Vegas
RELATED: See the complete iRacing schedule At the onset of the 2017 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series, many of the series’ tenured drivers looked to NASCAR Pro Series Champion, Ryan Luza, as the biggest threat to dethrone 3-time and reigning champion, Ray Alfalla. After a lackluster start at Daytona, some cast doubt on the abilities of the young gun; however, after his dominant win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Round Two of the season, series rookies and veterans alike should take notice. Matt Bussa, driver of the #34 WinView Games Toyota Camry, started the race at the helm. A regular in the NASCAR iRacing Series, Bussa looked to capitalize on his superb starting position. However, he would have to wait for a few laps to show his hand as the 167-lap event was slowed before the completion of its opening lap, as Mitchell Hunt spun at the exit of Turn 2, collecting Byron Daley, Michael Johnson , and Nicholas Johnston. Hunt and Daley immediately retired after sustaining irreparable damage, while Johnson and Johnston mustered on for the remainder of the evening. Bussa led the field back to green on lap six, with Alfalla, Luza, and Marcus Richardson in tow. The #34 machine led the opening twenty-eight laps, before succumbing to an insurmountable challenge by Luza’s eventual race winning #1 Racerboost Ford Fusion. Luza held station at the top spot for the remainder of the race, only losing the lead during several green flag pit stop cycles. With the race slowed by just one additional caution period, efficiency whilst entering/exit pit road was key. Over the course of the event, cars began searching for new grooves, as grip was at a premium. Competitors ran from the top of the racing surface to the track’s white line. Front runners mimicked each other’s lines, thus trading fast laps back and forth. As one competitor found a faster groove, the rest followed and vice versa. Amid the constant search for the fastest way around LVMS, former series champion Kenny Humpe found trouble off of Turn 2, slapping the outside retaining wall. He suffered damage that would ultimately take him out of contention for a top dozen finishing position. Facing issues at the opposite end of the track, Taylor Hurst made contact with series rookie Christian Challiner, which resulted in Hurst’s #78 Chevy side-swiping the SAFER barrier. The sim racers completed their final pit stop sequence with about 35 laps remaining. Luza cycled around with a two second lead, and built on that until the race’s completion. Michael Conti, who started 30th on the evening, made a charge to second-place following the last round of pit stops only to fall victim to a pit miscue that shorted him three laps of fuel. The 2014 series champion made a stop with three to go, which resulted in a 34th place finish by the #5 Chevrolet. On a happier note, Cody Byus, 2016 championship runner-up, PJ Stergios, Alfalla, and Logan Clampitt rounded out the top five behind Luza at night’s end. With two races in the books, it remains to be seen whether Luza showed his true form with his win in Vegas . . . or his tenth place finish at Daytona. Meanwhile, although he has so far been shut-out of victory lane, with two top five finishes to his credit Alfalla is itching to notch his first W of the season. So too are former champions Humpe and Conti and a host more. Who will rise to the top in Round Three? We’ll find out in two weeks’ time when the series rolls into its second stop of its version of the West Coast Swing -Auto Club Speedway. Tune into www.iracing.com/live at 8:45 p.m. eastern time on April 4 to catch the action live!
Johnson's passion for fitness inspires Hendrick teammates
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Las Vegas LAS VEGAS – If you were to break out the bicycle in the infield of any given race track on a Saturday morning or afternoon, you'd likely have some elite company. Matt Kenseth has embarked on both long and short cycling excursions. Kasey Kahne could show up, or Trevor Bayne. But perhaps one of the most familiar faces and leaders among the cycling groups at the track is reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson . A seasoned athlete in a variety of athletic pursuits from cycling to running to snowboarding in his new home of Aspen, Colorado, Johnson has accomplished some feats that only experienced athletes could achieve: He and Kenseth completed a 130-mile ride for charity in March 2016 from Asheville, North Carolina, to Charlotte, North Carolina. He celebrated his 40th birthday in 2015 with a 101.2-mile bike ride, and joined Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kahne for Johnson's first of many triathlons. That first one was in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2012, just one day after competing in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The driver of the No. 48 Kobalt Chevrolet supplements his regular weekday training with these group cycling or individual running sessions during downtime at the track. "It's easy to sleep in in the motor home or sit on the couch between qualifying and practice and eat," Johnson told NASCAR.com on Friday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the site of Sunday's Kobalt 400. "There's a four-hour window there; you could be out on the bike, go for a run, burn some calories instead of ingesting them." But the group rides at the track accomplish more than just an elevated heart rate -- even with a group of competitive NASCAR drivers riding. "It seems that during the week we're serious about those disciplines, kind of putting in your gym time, your speed work -- the weekend rides are much more (easygoing)," Johnson said. "So, we'll sit side-by-side, chat, talk, talk about life. It's much more of a social thing than really a hardcore ride. "Granted, we do race in Pocono, we do race in upstate New York. There are some areas, what I'm getting at, where there's some serious climbing. And the competitive spirit kind of kicks in and guys kind of try to bury each other and race up mountains." It was the social aspect of physical fitness that became Johnson's main case for his Hendrick Motorsports teammates to commit to a company-mandated workout on a regular basis. "For me, the social component is what has made this last so long for me," Johnson said. "I think we all start a crash diet, we all say we're going to the gym and you're lucky to make three or four months because it's kind of monotonous and not a lot of fun. There's not a social element to it. "So, I pushed hard to set some minimum requirements for our Hendrick drivers and then trying to get us together. Weekend rides, there are some great social media apps that keep you connected with what your friends are doing. You can follow them, they can follow you. The one we like to use is Strava and it's amazing if you can just have a little spin on it and make it a social thing, your interest goes up tremendously. You have accountability and before you know it, you're putting in quite a few hours a week and you're pretty fit." Johnson's teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. discussed the new workout plan at length on his Dirty Mo Radio podcast Monday. The drivers have set hours for cardio and strength exercises each week that they must complete and log into the Strava app. The drivers also have access to Hendrick Motorsports' top-notch facilities, trainers and nutritionists used by the pit crews, as well as Johnson's own personal triathlon trainer Jamey Yon, to help aid their health journeys. RELATED: Junior talks about his first cycling trip Earnhardt took his first cycling trip with Johnson last weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, pulling out the bike that "Seven-Time" gifted him about a year ago. The trip began with the humorous struggle of getting Earnhardt comfortable with the spandex cycling attire. "I told Jimmie, I said, 'Look, I'm going to meet you outside the track,' " Earnhardt said on the podcast. "Ain't no way in hell I'm going to let anybody see me ride through the infield wearing this bike gear, spandex stuff." Johnson smiled at the experience. "I couldn't believe my eyes, to be honest," Johnson said of his reaction to Junior agreeing to a cycling trip. "He was a little worried about the attire, but I promised him you really feel weird standing around other people in street clothes when you're in the attire. When you're in a group of guys, proper attire really makes a big difference. "So, he cleared that hurdle, which I wasn't sure we could get on Ride 1, and through the course of the ride, his comfort grew tremendously. The speed came up and his bike handling skills and stuff came right around. So, he's excited to ride this weekend and looking forward to getting him on a bike again." Hardest part of cycling? Being brave/crazy/stupid enough 2 wear spandex The hills R the 2nd hardest part. Me & our awesome pilot Jeff. pic.twitter.com/qzemyzgKlr — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) March 11, 2017 Johnson's passion for physical fitness is evident, his love for outdoor activities strong. He uses activities as a way to socialize, train and escape from the stresses of his high-speed career. "It's been really good for me physically, but more mentally on a lot of levels," Johnson said. "I can have an afternoon to clear my mind, I find that all I think about is the race car and I get my thoughts in order and really handle the race car situation to the best of my ability." But as Johnson's interests in the field vary and grow, his passion also has transcended as a way to help others: In 2016, Johnson lent his personal trainer Yon to No. 41 crew chief and longtime friend Tony Gibson and offered to help him get on track physically. RELATED: Crew chief's health boost from Johnson "He's like, 'Look, I've been thinking about you for the last three weeks,' and he said I want to get you healthy," Gibson said prior to the start of the 2016 season. "He said, 'We've known each other since I got into this and you've been a great friend to me.' He said, 'I'm worried about you. I'm worried about your health and I want to see you get healthy.' So I'm like, 'OK.' The next step was we got together and he's like, 'I'll take care of everything, I'll handle everything. We'll use my trainer. You just have to do it.' "So I said, 'You know, if he's willing to go to the length of that and put that much effort into it, then I'm a fool if I don't.' So I took him up on it and I've been losing weight ever since." But while Johnson enjoys helping others achieve their physical goals and has many fitness goals after he's done driving ("there's quite a few endurance races that I want to do from triathlons to mountain bike races," he says), he doesn't necessarily envision a career in personal training after he's hung up his fire suit. "I love helping people -- that's in my DNA," Johnson said. "Fitness has been a hobby of mine, a passion of mine for a while now and I've been able to influence many. But I just enjoy being there for others and tell my story -- maybe I can be there for them." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
In Knaus he trusts: Johnson relies on crew chief to find Atlanta magic
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Atlanta HAMPTON, Ga. – For Jimmie Johnson , it's all about trust. Trust in his immense talent, trust in the other competitors he races against on a weekly basis and trust in his crew chief and team to give him a car that is capable of getting to Victory Lane. It's not exactly a work in progress for the 41-year-old Johnson . Last year's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship was his seventh, a plateau reached by only two others in the history of NASCAR – Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. His 80 career victories are seventh on the all-time list, and tops among current competitors. Those marks didn't come without trust in himself and his team, led by crew chief Chad Knaus. Sunday, Johnson will be going after career win No. 81 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). The worn-out, abrasive and fast 1.54-mile track has been the site of five wins for the driver of the No 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -- including the last two in Atlanta. As impressive as his win total here might seem, it's not even top five for Johnson , who has won more often at Dover (10), Martinsville (9), Charlotte (8), Auto Club (6) and Texas (6). (Auto Club and Atlanta are once-around-the-circuit stops nowadays, so multiple wins might be a bit more notable at those two stops.) During Friday's opening practice at AMS, Johnson's best lap was very unlike a five-time winner at the track. He was 21st-fastest among the 39 drivers. "We are eternally optimistic and always think that we have a shot at the pole," Johnson said during his media availability. But he did admit that his opening practice runs didn't inspire optimism and conceded that a pole might be stretch. "But as a driver and with Chad Knaus as your crew chief, you've got to let that stuff roll off your shoulders and climb in the car and pull them tight and think you can hit it," he said. "That is one thing that I have learned through experience. … Sure, you might be off in a session, but you let your team make adjustments and work on things. And then call on your teammates and the other notes that you can learn from.” Stuff happens, he noted, citing his 35th career pole won last year at New Hampshire. "We were nowhere near the pole in practice," he said, "and ended up getting the pole. It can happen. The odds are low, but I'm going to get in there hoping that I nail the perfect lap." While he did advance out of the first round of qualifying, Johnson was unable to crack the top 12 and earn a shot at the pole. As a result, he will start 18th in Sunday's race. "To be honest, this is a lot better than we qualified the last two years and we won the races the last two years," Johnson said. His 2015 win came from the 37th-starting position and he qualified 19th last year. "Of course, we want to qualify well here, those stage points are important but not necessarily in the cards for us in the first stage, it looks like," he said. "And now we'll go to work and do what we need to do to get ready for the race." Hendrick drivers have won the last three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Atlanta – teammate Kasey Kahne won here in 2014 – and the organization has won here 14 times overall. "It's been a great track for me, really, when I look back over my career," Johnson said, "and when I think of Hendrick-related race cars and success from (Jerry) Nadeau running well here; Jeff (Gordon) has obviously always been amazing here; (Kasey) Kahne; it has been a good track for (Dale Earnhardt) Junior over the years. It is a good track for all of us." So a slow Friday isn't necessarily a sign of a troublesome weekend. "I can say the last two races we have won here we didn't really get our stuff situated until late in the going and (were) able to come out on top," he said. "Just because you might have a slow Friday or a slow start to the race I don't think you can count anybody out. "We have a lot of chances to work on the car and can make stuff happen here, which is really neat." &amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;
@nascarcasm: How Jimmie Johnson develops his hashtags
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove One of the many misconceptions about social media, aside from the one that we care that you can’t believe your kid is in first grade already, is that hashtags are simple to come up with. They aren’t. They’re their own little language, like Sanskrit, Latin, or whatever it is Ward Burton just said. There’s a lot to consider -- character count, which letter is best replaced seamlessly with a car number, etc. Such was the case with Jimmie Johnson , when he posted this tweet. It was a look into the creative process that led to his 2017 hashtag, #Chasing8. / A little behind-the-scenes of Seven Time's creative process - found Jimmie's notes that show the path to #chasing8 - @LyleOwerko pic.twitter.com/LdoRJKwt2T — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) February 26, 2017 We have it on good authority that this document was doctored, so as to leave out all the possibilities that were thrown out. Below is the ACTUAL document, with feedback.
Gordon, No. 10 team lead Rolex 24 third segment
RELATED: Full Rolex 24 schedule, TV channels DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DPi-V.R, which has run inside the top three throughout the 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona, held the lead after three Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup segments. The No. 10 Cadillac – which is being co-driven by Jordan and Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli and retired NASCAR star Jeff Gordon – had a total of 13 Patrón Endurance Cup points at the 18-hour mark to take a one-point lead over the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, the team that has won all three previous Patrón Endurance Cups in the Prototype class. Patrón Endurance Cup points in the Rolex 24 are awarded at six-hour intervals with five points for the leader at the end of the segment, four points for second place, three points for third and two points for every car running from fourth place on. Angelelli led Marc Goossens in the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Multimatic/Riley LM P2 after 18 hours, with Filipe Albuquerque in third aboard the No. 5 Cadillac. The No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR shared by Patrick Pilet, Dirk Werner and Frederic Makowiecki led the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Patrón Endurance Cup points at 18 hours. The No. 911 team had a total of 14 points, including the maximum five for leading at the 18-hour mark with Makowiecki at the wheel. The No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Dirk Mueller, Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais was second in both the Patrón Endurance Cup standings (with 11 points) and the GTLM running order in the race. The No. 86 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 shared by Jeff Segal, Ozz Negri, Tom Dyer and Ryan Hunter-Reay parlayed the 12- and 18-hour GT Daytona (GTD) race lead into the Patrón Endurance Cup lead as well. The No. 86 team leads with 12 points, with the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 team second with nine points. Segal was leading the race after 18 hours in the new Acura. In Prototype Challenge, the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 team of James French, Patricio O’Ward, Kyle Masson and Nick Boulle had a perfect score of 15 points toward the Patrón Endurance Cup as the class leader in all three segments. O’Ward, a 17-year-old from Mexico, was at the wheel at 18 hours. View full results via Al Kamel Systems at Results.IMSA.com . NOTEBOOK Cold and rainy conditions led to a lengthy full-course caution period during the third quarter of the race. The race was run behind the safety car from the 14:48 mark until restarting at 16:25. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driven by Eric Curran, Dane Cameron, Seb Morris and Mike Conway was among the Prototype class front runners through 12 hours, but endured a lengthy stay in the garage shortly thereafter. The car has battled transmission, bearing and electrical issues at different points in the race. The No. 68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT team of Stefan Mucke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson was a top-three runner until 16-and-a-half hours, when it plummeted down the GTLM running order. The team battled visibility issues and also encountered multiple penalties which dropped the No. 68 off the lead lap. The No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 shared by Cooper MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette, Thomas Jaeger and Shane van Gisbergen was a strong performer in a stacked GTD class through halfway. Just shy of the 14-hour mark, however, MacNeil was involved in an incident in Turn 3 that sent the car to the garage. The Rolex 24 At Daytona is currently airing live on FS2. Television coverage will switch to FS1 at 1 p.m. through the race finish. &lt;/p&gt;
Experience serves Johnson -Knaus relationship well
Jimmie Johnson talks about the trust he has in crew chief Chad Knaus to make adjustments that help the No. 48 team make gains over a weekend
Se7en: Johnson's record-tying 7th Championship
Relive Jimmie Johnson's record-tying seventh Sprint Cup Series Championship as he ties NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
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