TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW for Ford Championship Weekend 2008. Set for Nov. 14-16 on Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval, the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series all will crown champions under the lights. To secure individual or group tickets for NASCAR’s championship finale, call (866) 409-RACE or visit
"South Beach, here we come," Johnson told reporters after his 2007 Sprint Cup Championship victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he'd promised to "watch the sun come up and smile...."
One win doesn't launch a trend, but Jimmie Johnson's (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) victory last Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway might be considered a salvo.
The reigning, two-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion heads into this week's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on a mini-surge — one that might boost his seeding status for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
That, in turn, could boost Johnson's quest for a third consecutive series title in Miami on Nov. 16. Even after Johnson's win last year at Homestead-Miami, he was already thinking about his third.
"We're just really hitting our stride," Johnson told reporters during the 2007 Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I think that we have a lot of good years ahead of us and we'll be fighting for more championships and certainly winning more races as the years go by, and hopefully be a three-time champion in the near future."
Now with two victories in 2008, Johnson is fourth in the series standings and in a three-way tie in the Chase bonus points battle. And if last year's numbers repeat, he'll improve both those statistics.
In the 2007 Race to the Chase - the 10-race stretch preceding the Chase - Johnson won two events and posted an average finish of 12.5.
Drivers get 10 bonus points for each win in the first 26 races, and Chase seeding is done according to bonus-point totals. Which means a total of 60 bonus points remain until the '08 Chase - or six events, beginning this weekend in Pocono.
Standings leader Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Toyota) holds the top spot with seven wins - 70 bonus points - but in Johnson's last two races, he finished as runner-up to Busch at Chicagoland Speedway before winning at Indy.
He's also won at three of the remaining six tracks in the Race to the Chase and swept Pocono in 2004.
Team owner Rick Hendrick was along for the ride when Gordon ruled the sport, and said it's clear this is Johnson's time now.
"Jimmie's just getting better and better, phenomenal," Hendrick said after the Johnson's title win in 2007. "He's as determined as anybody
I've ever seen sit down in a racecar. I don't see anything that's going to slow Jimmie down. I hope that we can keep it together. We can do some phenomenal things in the future."
"He is having a run that in the Modern Era is maybe unmatched," NASCAR chairman Brian France said in Miami before the 2007 race. "He is just at a different level, and I think it's hats off to him."
"South Beach, here we come," Johnson told reporters after his 2007 victory, where he'd promised to "watch the sun come up and smile."
TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW for Ford Championship Weekend 2008. Set for Nov. 14-16 on Homestead-Miami Speedway's 1.5-mile oval, the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series all will crown champions under the lights. To secure individual or group tickets for NASCAR’s championship finale, call (866) 409-RACE or visit www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.
[story courtesy of NASCARMedia.com; photo courtesy of Getty Images]