Sunday, Sep 24

Jimmie Johnson The Chase Is On for a 48 Six Pack

It’s here. The 2013 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship and the quest for a sixth title – or “Six Pack,” as the No. 48 Lowe’s team has named its goal for the season.

It’s a quest Jimmie Johnson and the team are ready for after a month marred by their worst streak of finishes in history – 40th, 36th, 28th and 40th. The goal this weekend is a win at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., one of five tracks on which Johnson has yet to win. Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the others.

Crew chief Chad Knaus cut his racing teeth up the road in Rockford, Ill., where he served as crew chief for his father John as they traveled the Midwest short-track circuit. In 1986, the father-son duo won the Rockford Speedway Late Model championship.

Now paired with another championship-winning driver, Knaus and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson are focused on crossing the 1.5-mile track located just southwest of Chicago off the list of tracks where they’ve never won a Sprint Cup race. Johnson did win a Nationwide Series race at the Chicagoland in 2001 while running for Herzog Motorsports.

Knaus and Johnson will do what they can to change their luck in the sport’s premiere series at the track where they’ve finished outside the top-10 just twice in 11 starts – July 2007 and 2010. They have six top-five finishes in all and, after last year’s pole run and runner-up finish, there’s reason to be optimistic that the string of winless finishes will come to end at Chicagoland.

The team starts the Chase as the second seed for the fifth time in the 10 years the format has been used to decide the champion. And while it’s certainly better than third or fourth, the easiest path to collect what the No. 48 Lowe’s team covets is to be first after the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Let the Chase begin for the No. 48 team’s coveted “Six Pack.”



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