Johnson earned his 11th Chase berth, a NASCAR record. Johnson is the only driver to qualify for the Chase every year since its inaugural year in 2004.
Johnson was the only driver who didn’t talk to the media post-race last Saturday night at Richmond. The six-time champion suffered from dehydration after a top-ten effort at the short track.
Yet, Johnson did participate in the Chase Media Week, making appearances on the Today Show and LIVE with Kelly and Michael.
Johnson has won at eight of the ten racetracks on the Chase schedule. Eluding Johnson are the opener and finale—Chicagoland and Homestead.
Johnson expressed how important winning today’s race at Chicagoland would be, especially for his crew chief.
“I’ve been so close to winning there,” Johnson said in a press release earlier in the week. “My own personal goal and really, kind of a team goal, is to win there for [crew chief] Chad [Knaus].”
Photo by NASCAR Via Getty Images
Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 car at Daytona International Speedway.
The team will roll off the grid in row four for Sunday’s race.
Chad Knaus, who has been atop the pit box for 67 of Jimmie Johnson’s 69 career wins, said he has a special connection to the track.
“I think for sure that obviously growing up in Rockford, Illinois, which is 90 miles away from there, you have a little bit of a sense of ownership to the racetrack,” Knaus said. “Unfortunately it hasn't been the best for us—we've had a lot of good, strong finishes there and a lot of really strong runs, but we haven't had the victory yet.”