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GM FastLane:Chevy’s 20th Victory Is Bittersweet

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Jimmie Johnson

By Alba Colon

GM Racing program manager, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series

I was glad to see Jimmie Johnson celebrate his win at Martinsville this weekend. While it was Chevrolet’s 20th win this season and fifth win in the six Chase races, the victory was bittersweet for Jimmie and his Lowe’s Monte Carlo SS team.

Sunday marked the two-year anniversary of the plane crash that killed 10 individuals from Hendrick Motorsports who had been en route to Martinsville. Jimmie won this same race on that fateful. I was happy that Jimmie and his team were able to celebrate and deliver a very special win to Mr. Hendrick, his family and the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization.

That sad note aside, six races are complete and we are about to embark on four very stressful weeks! As the Chase championship battle heats up with drivers constantly trading places in the points, this down-to-the-wire championship will be a bit nerve-racking for us.

We saw this weekend that it only took one engine failure for Jeff Burton to go from first place to fifth in points. Even though we relinquished the points lead to Matt Kenseth (Ford), the big picture still looks very good for Chevrolet. With Atlanta approaching this weekend, Jimmie and the Gibbs drivers run very well there. Hopefully Gibbs’ knowledge and success at Atlanta can transfer to Denny Hamlin, who is also performing very well right now. But just as in Charlotte, Kasey Kahne (Dodge) is good at Atlanta and now only 99 points outside of first, so we expect that he will be a strong contender there as well.

As I’ve said before, this championship is still anybody’s game and we are approaching tracks where Chevrolet is strong. Chevrolet has been very successful at two of the remaining tracks in the Chase (Atlanta and Phoenix) and we look forward to gaining ground at those places to position ourselves for Chevy’s 23rd driver’s title.



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