Saturday, February 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Johnson hoping to end slump before Chase

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson prepares to practice for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. Johnson, who won at Michigan is June, will need to reverse an unimpressive stretch of results lately if he's going to repeat at MIS in this weekend's Sprint Cup race. (AP Photo/Dave Frechette)

By
From page B3 | August 17, 2014 |

BROOKLYN, Mich. — The finishes seem implausible, especially because they’ve come in succession — 42nd place at Daytona, 42nd at New Hampshire, a brief improvement to 14th at the Brickyard, followed by a dip to 39th at Pocono and 28th at Watkins Glen.

This is Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR’s six-time Sprint Cup champion?

“It has been a very challenging year,” Johnson said. “We started off without the speed that we wanted. We got the speed back and then the luck left. So, we choose to look at it as we’re getting all this out of the way so we can have 10 great races.”

With three victories on the season, Johnson is safely in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but lately the No. 48 car has had its share of problems. The latest setback came Friday when Johnson finished 30th in qualifying at Michigan International Speedway, complaining afterward about a vibrating car.

Johnson won at MIS earlier this season — his third victory in four races at the time — but based on his recent form, a repeat isn’t looking especially likely in Sunday’s Cup race.

Johnson finished in the top 10 two more times after winning at Michigan in June. Then his run of misfortune began. He was one of several top contenders taken out by a couple huge accidents at Daytona, then tire issues did him in at New Hampshire. He fell a lap down at Pocono after his rear right tire smacked the wall. He rebounded to run fifth, then a second blown tire forced him to the garage.

More of the same last weekend at Watkins Glen: With only a few laps to go, Johnson was bumped and his No. 48 spun around.

“We’re not trying to make excuses or asking for sympathy from anybody,” Johnson said. “But we can’t ignore the results and fortunately we’re in the Chase era, and we’re sitting in a great position.”

There are four more races until the Chase, so Johnson has a little while to reverse this trend. Although it’s been a humbling stretch for him, he should still be considered a threat for the title at the end of the season.

“It’s nice to have momentum entering the Chase. If it doesn’t happen, we’ve won championships that way, too,” Johnson said. “So, we’re taking it as it comes.”

Here are five things to watch in Sunday’s race at MIS:

STEWART’S REPLACEMENT: Tony Stewart is skipping a second straight Sprint Cup race after his car struck and killed a driver at a dirt-track race in New York last weekend. Jeff Burton is driving the No. 14 Chevrolet in Stewart’s place and qualified 27th.

Burton has been making the transition to the broadcast booth. This will be his third Cup start of the year.

CHASE IMPLICATIONS: Michigan’s August race is usually when pressure has begun to mount for drivers who haven’t secured a spot in the Chase. If the season ended now, the 16 Chase spots would go to the 12 drivers who have won races, along with the top remaining drivers in the points standings — currently Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson and Clint Bowyer. Any first-time winner in the next few weeks has a chance to shake things up.

NEW RULE: Expect drivers to be particularly cautious after any crashes this weekend in the aftermath of Kevin Ward Jr.’s death last weekend. Ward’s car went spinning, and he got out during a caution period, walked down the track and was hit by Stewart.

NASCAR on Friday barred its drivers from approaching the track or moving cars after accidents.

“Regardless of rule changes or anything like that, I think that everything that went on last weekend I believe is a turning point internally for all the drivers,” Carl Edwards said. “I think people will be more careful.”

ANOTHER BREAKTHROUGH?: Johnson won at Michigan for the first time in 25 Cup races back in June. The top remaining driver who hasn’t won at MIS? That may be Brad Keselowski, who is from Michigan but whose high finish there was a second-place showing in 2012.

POLE WINNER: Jeff Gordon has two wins at MIS, but the most recent came in 2001. He’ll expect to contend this weekend, though, after winning the pole Friday at a track-record 206.558 mph.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Hop to it: Vacaville ready for rabbit invasion

    By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    True grit: Travis Teacher of the Year refuses to accept failure

    By Bill Hicks | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Firefighters garner praise, Scout earns Eagle rank

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Exercise machine toppled on him, man says

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
     
    Officials discuss regional program to adapt to rising tides

    By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Vasculitis is inflammation of blood vessels

    By Scott Anderson | From Page: B8

     
    Fairfield police log: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

     
    Suisun City police log: Feb. 26, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

    .

    US / World

    Man shoots wife, himself at Northern Calif. retirement home

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    Commuter with measles also dined at Bay Area restaurant

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

    Orange County case challenges legality of tiered water rates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Hundreds of illicit oil wastewater pits found in Kern County

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Thieves crash car through electronics store in San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Some California farmers to go without federal water

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    US appeals court: Marathon bombing trial can stay in Boston

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Congress OKs 1-week bill to keep Homeland Security open

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    US rescinds rule requiring judges to move to Guantanamo

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    US, Liberia start 1st formal test of ZMapp Ebola virus drug

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Gunman kills 7, commits suicide, in house-to-house rampage

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Woman knocked out by eggs

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

    Mexico official: Police capture top capo ‘La Tuta’ Gomez

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Well-educated ‘Jihadi John’ no surprise to experts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

    Unmasking of ‘Jihadi John’ as a London lad shocks Britain

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Opinion

    How GOP can resolve immigration mess

    By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A8

     
    Unlikely winners of Greece’s surrender on euro

    By Mark Gilbert | From Page: A8

    A remedy for veterans’ care

    By Bill Frist And Jim Marshall | From Page: A8

     
    Editorial Cartoon: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    .

    Living

    Today in History: Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Feb. 28, 2015

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

     
    Poem about heaven helps dog owners when beloved pet dies

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

    Coca-Cola bottle as art? Atlanta’s High Museum takes a look

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Entertainment

    Leonard Nimoy, famous as Mr. Spock on ‘Star Trek,’ dies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

     
    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

    .

    Sports

    SCC women’s basketball out of playoffs after 74-47 loss

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Vaca advances three wrestlers into semis at Masters

    By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

     
    Spurs snap 4-game skid, beat short-handed Kings 107-96

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Thompson scores 25 points, Warriors rout Raptors 113-89

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Casey McGehee’s move to Giants a homecoming of sorts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Bulls expect Derrick Rose back this season from knee surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Testimony: Several Hernandez texts are missing from phone

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Approaching ‘last call’ for NHL GMs to tweak rosters

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    PGA Tour to move Match Play to Texas

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    MLS Commissioner Garber: Hopeful season will start on time

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Travis Kvapil’s NASCAR car stolen from hotel before race

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    McIlroy to miss cut at Honda Classic; Reed leads

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    NHL fines Sharks’ Couture $5,000 for tripping from behind

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Browns agree to terms with quarterback Josh McCown

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Kyle Busch released from hospital following foot surgery

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    This date in sports history for Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Business

    Gas prices soar in California as supply shrinks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Tribes from around US gather to discuss legal marijuana

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Uber says database containing driver info was breached

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Signed contracts to buy US homes rise to 18-month high

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Fiat Chrysler recalls 467K SUVs for possible stalling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    US consumer sentiment slips in February on icy weather

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    Southwest nearly done inspecting planes that were grounded

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    5 reasons US economy is stronger than Q4 GDP suggests

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

    .

    Obituaries

    Gabriel T. Traub

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    Maria Kraszewski

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Home Seller 2/28/2015

    Right at Home: Decor made of bicycle parts

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2Comments are off for this post | Gallery

    Real estate transactions for Feb. 28, 2015

    By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR3

    Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.80 percent

    By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3