Johnson Seeks Fun, Wins Consistently

Nascar Sprint Cup Lifelock.com 400

July 11, 2009|By Brian Hamilton | Brian Hamilton,Tribune Newspapers

JOLIET, Ill. - -The promo for Jimmie Johnson's three-DVD self-help program - "Winning at Confidence: Jimmie Johnson's Success Guide to Success" - begins with cheerleaders jumping beside the three-time reigning NASCAR champion and chanting "Winner!"

Then Johnson defeats an elderly man in arm wrestling by using both hands. With former NFL defensive back Jason Sehorn, he routs two boys in football. Then he dusts singer Nick Lachey in a race - Johnson driving a sports car, Lachey riding a bike.

"Just a bunch of stupid stuff that makes it funny and different," Johnson said of the satiric piece posted on the Web site Funny or Die.

Johnson starts tonight's LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in the third position with Brian Vickers on the pole, seeking to add to a third-best Sprint Cup points total and seize momentum for the impending Chase for the Cup and a fourth straight title.

Johnson is driving like he drove en route to title No. 3. He has two victories and 12 top-10s this season; he had one victory and nine top-10s before a second-place finish in Joliet in 2008.

He recovered from a crash to win the Chase in 2006. He sizzled during the Chase in 2007 and eked past Jeff Gordon. Johnson recorded top-10s in eight of the 10 Chase races last year.

Consistency is the linchpin. Johnson's demeanor is metronome-steady. His team adjusts well.

"When we get things right, we can have a car that will dominate," Johnson said. "When we have an off day, it's not all that bad."

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