“Trying to beat that guy is like trying to beat Superman,” Mark Martin said after losing to Jimmie Johnson in the recent Brickyard 400 - and, on the ovals, there may be others thinking the same.
“Look at the results they get," Martin said the #48 team, "From the sheer number of successes they've had to the incredible comebacks that just are almost beyond belief. They certainly rebound consistently better than anybody in the series for several years now.”
But if Johnson is NASCAR's Superman, then Kryptonite for the defending three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has been the road courses, where he has yet to win.
"We've made a lot of progress at Bristol [Motor Speedway] and at Infineon [Raceway],” Johnson said, “I had a speeding violation and was able to drive up through all the cars and find myself in fourth. So I think we're making great gains. I'm becoming much more aware of what these cars need on road courses. We were very fast at the race last year at The Glen, so I think we have a shot - our best shot yet."
Johnson realises that California road course success does not always carry over to the New York Finger Lakes circuit, however.
"The speed is the first thing that comes to mind,” he says said when asked about the difference between the two road courses on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, “The speed of Watkins Glen is so much higher, but also the track is so much wider and the corners are low and much more sweeping, which gives you that speed. So they are two totally different approaches."
Sunday will be Johnson's eighth NASCAR Sprint Cup start at Watkins Glen. He's scored three top five finishes and four top tens, with an average finish of 13.1. He's also led four races for a total of six laps, but that victory continues to elude him.