When you win five NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, it's pretty obvious that you don't have many weaknesses. However, Jimmie Johnson's sweep of both Daytona races this season proves that even a five time champion can improve.
Superspeedways have not been one of Johnson's strong points over the years. His total domination in Saturday night's Coke Zero400 completed the Daytona sweep for the first time since Bobby Allison did it 31 years ago.
"To do anything that Bobby has done is really, really special," said Johnson after finding out that he had duplicated Allison's accomplishment.
Johnson let 94 of the 161 lap event under the stars Saturday night and was in total control of the competition all evening.
"I had a great horse to ride," said Johnson of his favorite car which he named White Lightning in Victory Lane. "It's tough to dominate at a plate tracks. Especially with how tight the rules are. I think I showed strength early, and a lot of guys were willing to work with me and help me through situations."
Johnson worked the draft to perfection
moving from one lane to the other in an attempt to keep his challengers behind
"I don't know if I really made a bad move tonight, so I'm pretty proud of that," continued Johnson on his driving style.
The new Gen6 race car seems to be the key to Johnson's turnaround on the Superspeedway tracks.
"I think this Gen-6 car and the style of drafting required to be successful in this car fits my style a lot more," said Johnson on his new found success. "The Gen-5 and the tandem racing, although we did win at Talladega, we just didn't make it to the end of a lot of races for whatever reason."
Although Johnson believes that the car change was important, it is not the most important element of his continued success on the race track. Both he and crew chief, Chad Knaus, agree that it's something else.
"I think the biggest thing that you have to realize is in any type of industry or sports, whatever it may be, you can't be afraid to change," said Knaus on his team's ability to stay a step ahead of the competition each week.
With four wins in 2013, Johnson is certainly proving that his team has not lost any steps in his quest for a sixth Cup Series title. However, as successful as he has been, Johnson knows that once you enter the Chase, anything can happen.
"The Chase is so different," said Johnson on his post season expectations. "It's still a little early and we're obviously trying to get every point we can to carry into the Chase with bonus points.
Regardless of whether he is thinking about a sixth title or not, the competition is focusing on how they are going to keep them from it. Johnson's domination Saturday night didn't do anything to diminish those feeling.
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