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“I couldn’t believe how many people spotted me,”    “Once you get up front, it’s a whole different ballgame
            Johnson said. “It was loud, especially the closer we   than when you’re in traffic. You need the car to turn a
            got to town. Once somebody would recognize me, the   specific way when you are back there, so really having
            crowd would get going and I could kind of egg them on   a good race strategy and staying up front are important
            and get everybody pretty loud. It was a lot of fun.”  for a good finish.”

            Johnson has likewise enjoyed a lot of good times inside   Regardless of where Johnson finishes on Sunday,
            the walls of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where    New Hampshire Motor Speedway has prepared a much-
            during one short stretch early in his career, he was   deserved special tribute to the future NASCAR Hall
            downright dominant. After finishing 15th and ninth,   of Famer.
            respectively, in his first two trips to his Loudon oval,
            Johnson turned it up a notch by sweeping the two    “Jimmie Johnson is one of the best athletes in the world
            NASCAR Cup Series races held at NHMS in 2003. Seven   and one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR
            years later, he returned to victory lane here, but he   history,” said NHMS executive vice president and general
            hasn’t been back since.                             manager David McGrath. “He is a three-time winner
                                                                at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and a seven-
            “This is a scrappy track; one that is tough to win on,”   time champion whose legacy will continue for years
            Johnson said. “Over the years, we have struggled, but   to come. Here in New England, his impact included
            it’s been good to me as well.”                      winning races, spending time with fans and running
                                                                the Boston Marathon. We can’t wait to celebrate his
            Regardless of his lengthy dry spell, Johnson has almost   accomplishments.”
            always managed to be a factor at NHMS, recording
            a total of 22 top-10 finishes over 34 previous starts   Johnson can hardly wait to take one more shot at a
            here. Perhaps just as impressive, the veteran driver has   New Hampshire victory – even if he finds himself a little
            completed 96.3% of all the laps run at this facility since   melancholy when it comes time to suit up here for the
            he entered the NASCAR Cup Series as a rookie in 2002.   last time.
            It’s fair to say he’s learned a thing or two about what it
            takes to be successful at NHMS.                     “It would be incredible to win in my final start at New
                                                                Hampshire,” Johnson said. “A win anywhere is never to
            “It starts with qualifying,” said Johnson, who scored all   be taken for granted and it’s a memory that will always
            of his New Hampshire victories with former crew chief   be cherished. New Hampshire is a special place.”
            Chad Knaus and will be making his first start here this
            weekend with Cliff Daniels atop the No. 48 pit box.
            “Getting a good starting spot is really important and
            not just because of pit stall selection. It’s tough to
            pass here, and starting in the back just makes
            your day that much tougher. Track position
            is key, and the car drives differently
            depending on where you are.

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