Johnson Returns Home As Defending Winner


The Greeneville, Tenn., native has picked right back up in 2013 as well, winning back-to-back races in Gainesville, Fla. and Las Vegas, while also posting two runner-up finishes in the last two events.

The win in Gainesville represented Johnson’s first win at that historic track, and he is hoping for a similar result at another historic track in Bristol.

“Bristol Motor Speedway and the area media always make it special for our team, and yes, it will probably be a little more special this year coming in as the reigning Pro Stock Champion and being named Tennessee’s Team of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall Of Fame,” Johnson said. “We’re very proud of the recognition we have received and it certainly means a lot to the team.”

Of course, there is added pressure for Johnson and his 200-mph Team Mopar Dodge Avenger racing in front of a huge contingent of family and friends at his home track.

But Johnson and his team, which also includes standout Pro Stock teammates Jeg Coughlin and Vincent Nobile, have always been rigorous about their testing schedule in Bristol.

“We test at Bristol before the event and that will be important for our preparation,” Johnson said. “It is also an altitude track and the Mopar team definitely likes altitude tracks. The elevation and humidity play right into our hands usually. It’s important to roll the Mopar Express Lane Dodge off the truck on the right track and build on it throughout the weekend.”

Johnson also plans to channel the extra support from family and friends into a positive result.

“It’s a bit difficult to keep your energy level focused, but you really can’t try too hard,” Johnson said. “I just don’t think that’s possible. I just try to stay focused and use the extra ‘attention’ to further our determination.”