Jim­mie John­son hopes to vault into the play­offs at Indy

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Player Profile -

He’s one of the great­est driv­ers in NAS­CAR his­tory but for the first time in his ca­reer, Jim­mie John­son could miss the post­sea­son.

In­deed, as the Mon­ster En­ergy Cup season winds down to its fi­nal reg­u­lar-season race with the Big Ma­chine Vodka 400 at the Brick­yard, air­ing Sun­day, Sept. 8, on NBC, from In­di­anapo­lis Mo­tor Speed­way, the 43-year-old Cal­i­for­nian is in trou­ble.

As of mid-Au­gust, he was 18th in points, 26 points be­hind the 16th and fi­nal play­off slot at this writ­ing oc­cu­pied by Daniel Suarez. With no vic­to­ries on his 2019 record (and, by the way, none since 2017), it may very well be win or else at Indy.

For­tu­nately for him, he’s run well on the ven­er­a­ble 2.5-mile rec­tan­gu­lar oval, post­ing four wins, six top-fives and seven top-10s in 17 ca­reer starts there dat­ing back to 2002. His four tri­umphs tie him with his former Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports team­mate Jeff Gordon and Indy­Car driv­ers A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears for most all-time wins at Indy. A fifth on Sun­day would give him yet another record in a Hall of Fame ca­reer and couldn’t come at a bet­ter time.

It’s a po­si­tion the seven-time Cup cham­pion isn’t ac­cus­tomed to be­ing in. But here he is in his 18th Cup season, hop­ing to get lucky at a track that has his­tor­i­cally treated him well.

A field in­clud­ing past Brick­yard win­ners Kevin Har­vick, Kyle Busch, Brad Ke­selowski, Ryan Newman and Paul Me­nard stands be­tween him and the post­sea­son. FULL NAME: Jim­mie Ken­neth John­son BIRTH DATE: Sept. 17, 1975 BIRTH­PLACE: El Ca­jon, Calif. HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5 feet 11 inches/175 pounds

NO.: 48

TEAM: Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports SPON­SOR: Ally Fi­nan­cial

MAKE: Chevro­let HON­ORS AND

ACHIEVE­MENTS: Cup Cham­pion, 2006-10, 2013. 2016; As­so­ci­ated Press Male Ath­lete of the Year, 2009

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