MARTINSVILLE, Va. – When Jimmie Johnson takes the green flag from his second starting position in Sunday’s Cup race, he’ll have pole winner Denny Hamlin to his inside, his closest pursuer in the championship battle, Matt Kenseth–behind him, and a third Joe Gibbs Racing driver, Kyle Busch on the inside of the second row.
“No doubt, we’re going to be racing in close quarters all day Sunday, and I’ve got the best shot at Jimmie’s left rear getting into (Turn) 1,” Kyle Busch said, needling Johnson in the post-qualifying press conference.
The series leader and five-time champion appeared unfazed by the proximity of the three Joe Gibbs Racing cars.
“No, maybe I should be, but not as of now,” Johnson said when asked if he was nervous. “We will all race hard I’m sure. We have all been… at least so far, (there) have been a lot of situations with each driver, and (we’ve) been able to race hard and take it right to the line, but not cross it.”