Johnson, Knaus on Joliet mission
You don’t expect Jimmie Johnson to lose a race when he restarts from the top spot with two laps left, but that’s exactly what happened last year at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
In a green-white-checkered finish, Kyle Busch raced to the lead to the outside of the No. 48 Chevrolet and kept Johnson winless at the 1.5-mile track. Like Joliet Jake of “The Blues Brothers” fame, Johnson will be on a mission when he returns to the speedway for tonight’s LifeLock.com 400.
That goes double for Johnson crew chief Chad Knaus, from Rockford, Ill., who craves a win in his own backyard. Lack of a win at Chicagoland is especially frustrating given that, in seven starts at the venue, Johnson has finished second twice, third twice and fourth and sixth once each.
“We still haven’t gotten the win in Chicago, so we’ll be going after it this weekend,” Knaus said. “We always run well there – I think we’ve only finished outside the top five or so twice.”
Johnson is nearing several significant accomplishments this season. The only driver in the modern era (since 1971) to win at least three races per year in his first seven seasons of Cup racing, Johnson needs one victory to make it eight years in a row.
Already having notched 42 wins, the three-time defending Cup champion is two victories short of tying Bill Elliott for second place among active drivers. Johnson is 15th on the all-time win list.
Joey Logano has won the Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway for his third win of the season.
Logano passed Kyle Busch with 25 laps left, then held him off over the final 10 laps. The 19-year-old Logano, the youngest winner in Sprint Cup history, did not make a late pit stop to get fresh tires. The gamble paid off.
Busch was second. Brian Vickers, Jason Leffler and Kevin Harvick round out the top five.
Busch kept his overall points lead over pole winner Carl Edwards.
Justin Wilson has won before on the streets of Toronto, and he’s ready for an encore performance in the wake of his first IndyCar Series triumph.
“Everyone’s on a high after Watkins Glen,” Wilson said Friday after turning the second-fastest lap in afternoon practice for the Honda Indy Toronto.
The 11-turn, 1.75-mile layout on the temporary street course at Exhibition Center promises to be a challenge in Sunday’s 85-lap race for every driver in the 23-car field.