|ICYMI JOHNSON EXTENDS CONTRACT: Hendrick Motorsports and defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson announced last week that they have agreed to a three-year extension that will keep Johnson behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevrolet SS through 2020. In addition, Lowe’s Companies Inc. has extended its longstanding relationship with Hendrick Motorsports after signing an agreement that will continue its full-season, 38-race primary sponsorship of Johnson and the No. 48 team through 2018. Click here to see some of Johnson’s “storybook” accomplishments.
ONE WIN IN SONOMA: Johnson has been able to sip wine in Victory Lane one time at Sonoma Raceway over the course of his career. His win at the 1.99-mile road course came on June 20, 2010, when he led 55 of 110 laps en route to the victory. In 2015, Johnson led 45 laps before finishing sixth.
SONOMA DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics since 2005, Johnson has the second-best driver rating at Sonoma with an average score of 99.9 at the track during that span. 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.
CALIFORNIA CREW MEMBER: No. 48 team race engineer Julian Pena hails from Aliso Viejo, California, and graduated from Stanford University with a degree in mechanical engineering.
GUEST PHOTOGRAPHER: As part of an ongoing photography project designed to showcase life at the track with a unique perspective, Johnson has invited photographer Victor Cobian to Sonoma Raceway. Cobian is an up-and-coming photographer who was recommended for the program by Lyle Owerko, who photographed Johnson’s 2017 Daytona 500 weekend. As part of Johnson’s 2017 photography project, several amateur photographers will be invited to the track as a guest of Johnson and the 48 team with the potential to win a grant to further their art and photography career. With a social media takeover on Johnson’s handles (@JimmieJohnson on Instagram & Twitter, Jimmie Johnson on Facebook), Cobian’s work will be highlighted for all NASCAR fans to enjoy.
MALEC WINS AT ROAD AMERICA: No. 48 team car chief Ron Malec was absent from Michigan last week as he took his first weekend off of his NASCAR Cup Series career, which spans over 17 years. Instead, Malec spent his weekend at Road America, a road course racetrack in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, racing as a competitor in the Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints. Malec participated in two events, finishing second on Saturday and then winning the GT-1 class on Sunday.