|Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, will visit the Martinsville Speedway media center at 10:45 a.m. local time on Friday, March 31.
MARTINSVILLE STATS: According to NASCAR loop data since 2005, Jimmie Johnson has the series-best driver rating at Martinsville Speedway with a score of 117.7. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator. Johnson also has a series-best average running position of 7.990 and finishing position of 6.8 in that time span. Since 2005, Johnson has spent 85.8 percent of all laps run in the top 15 at the 0.526-mile track.
LAP LEADER: Johnson’s 2,838 laps led at Martinsville Speedway are the most among active drivers – 1,475 more than second place. The number ranks him fifth all-time at the paperclip-shaped oval.
LAST OCTOBER: Johnson punched his ticket into the championship round of the 2016 NASCAR playoffs on Oct. 30, when he crossed the finish line for his ninth career win at Martinsville. Johnson led 92 laps that day and went on to win the 2016 NASCAR Cup Series championship three weeks later at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
MASTERING THE PAPERCLIP: Forty-nine different NASCAR Cup Series drivers have won at Martinsville Speedway, led by Richard Petty with 15 victories. Johnson has the most wins among active drivers with nine victories. Former teammate Jeff Gordon also has nine wins. Johnson is also the most recent driver to win consecutive races (fall 2012 and spring 2013) at Martinsville.
GIFT OF THE CLOCK: The seven-time champion now has nine of the famous Ridgeway grandfather clocks, the trophies Martinsville Speedway gives to its race winners. During the postseason in December, Johnson was feeling the holiday spirit when he delivered his ninth clock directly to the home of Speedway Motorsports Inc. founder and chairman Bruton Smith. Johnson and Smith are longtime friends and Johnson felt it was a fitting gesture to gift the clock to Smith and make him smile.
HELMET OF HOPE: Voting continues for the 2017 Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign until April 14. The campaign will award $125,000 to five non-profit organizations in May. The program, which began in 2008, allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate their favorite education-focused charities, including parent-teacher associations, to receive a $25,000 grant, a Blue Bunny ice cream party and special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet. Nominations will be accepted at www.helmetofhope.org and 10 semifinalists will be selected from the nominations. The public vote to choose the final five grant recipients will take place from May 5 to 12. Johnson will wear the Helmet of Hope during the NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 13.