Jimmie Johnson

Is Jimmie Johnson's summer reign beginning?

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Dover International Speedway
Five things to watch in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Dover international Speedway

Jimmie Johnson’s summer reign may be just beginning  Jimmie Johnson
It was a bad, horrible and no-good storyline in the run up to last week’s Coca-Cola 600: a “struggling” Jimmie Johnson was winless and looked more average than a six-time champion really should in the season’s opening stint.

Jimmie Johnson dominates in Charlotte, wins NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the Coca-Cola 600
Post-race reaction from Jimmie Johnson's win in NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR has IndyCar’s number when it comes to television, revenue, pretty car colors … you name it, it’s simply a step above. We’ve been over this one time and again where even Indy qualifying lost out to stock car racing’s All-Star event in the latest Nielsen ratings. More than likely, this week it’s NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, not the Indy 500, that will draw the larger audience overall.

Auto Racing's Greatest Memorial Day Weekend Moments

Busch prepares to tackle "The Double"; Coke 600 in need of a spark

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch in the Coca-Cola 600
Five things to watch on racing's biggest weekend with IndyCar's Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on tap.

Each week, Geoffrey Miller’s “Five Things to Watch” will help you catch up on the biggest stories of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ upcoming race weekend. This week, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Indianapolis 500 share center stage over racing’s biggest weekend.


Coca-Cola 600 in need of a spark
Racing 600 miles at Charlotte has long been NASCAR's attempt at one-upping the open-wheel gang and that group's lasting importance of the Indianapolis 500.

Jamie McMurray wins NASCAR All-Star Race in Charlotte

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the All-Star Race
Post-race reaction from Jamie McMurray's win in NASCAR's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jamie McMurray has one of the strangest resumes you’ll find in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. He’s a record 0-for-10 on Chase appearances — making the Missouri native the only driver who’s run full-time since 2004 to get shut out. Despite wheeling playoff-capable equipment with respected car owners Chip Ganassi and Jack Roush, he’s never finished better than 11th in series points, as inconsistency and mediocre performances have been his hallmark. Heck, McMurray has only posted wins in five of 13 career seasons while racing Cup.

Kansas winner Jeff Gordon still a NASCAR contender after 20 years

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Kansas
The four things we learned after Jeff Gordon's win in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway.

Twenty years. That’s how long it’s been, on May 29, since Jeff Gordon won his first NASCAR Cup Series race at the ripe old age of 22. One of the first to do so well, so young, Gordon encapsulated the perfect mix of talent, speed, sponsorship and confidence cloaked in invincibility. Four titles in a seven-year span had many pegging him as the man to knock off Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt atop the Cup championship ladder.

NASCAR goes under the lights at Kansas Speedway

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Kansas Speedway
Each week, Geoffrey Miller’s “Five Things to Watch” will help you catch up on the biggest stories of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ upcoming race weekend. This week, a new roof cam, a new night race, Kurt Busch’s Double, Goodyear tires and the Family Blaney kick off a weekend of racing at Kansas Speedway.

Each week, Geoffrey Miller’s “Five Things to Watch” will help you catch up on the biggest stories of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ upcoming race weekend. This week, a new roof cam, a new night race, Kurt Busch’s Double, Goodyear tires and the Family Blaney kick off a weekend of racing at Kansas Speedway.

Hamlin gets NASCAR season on track with win at Talladega

Through the Gears: Four things we learned at Talladega
Denny Hamlin got his season on track with a win in NASCAR's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

As an unproven rookie in 2006, restrictor plate racing put Denny Hamlin on the map. A victory in the Bud Shootout, NASCAR’s exhibition to open the season, proved the catalyst for a freshman phenom who wound up third in the final point standings. It was the start of seven straight Chase appearances, annual flirtations with the series championship and a seemingly lifetime contract to sit inside the No. 11 FedEx Toyota.  Denny Hamlin

NASCAR wild card win possible, not likely, at Talladega

Geoffrey Miller's five things to watch at Talladega Superspeedway
Five things to watch as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Talladega Superspeedway's 2.66-mile tri-oval.

1. Chase wild card available at Talladega, but still unlikely  David Ragan
No one logically would have put David Ragan and his Front Row Motorsports team as a lock to qualify for last season’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. But under NASCAR’s new points structure, that’s exactly where Ragan would have been thanks to his shocking win a year ago at Talladega Superspeedway.

Exclusive Q&A with NASCAR Rookie Alex Bowman

NASCAR Rookie Report: Bowman talks goals, hurdles and lessons
An exclusive Q&A with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender Alex Bowman.

Welcome to the Athlon Rookie Report, where each week David Smith will evaluate the deepest crop of new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series talent since 2006. The Report will include twice-monthly rankings, in-depth analysis, Q&A sessions with the drivers, and more.

Prior to this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, rookie Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 23 Dr. Pepper Toyota Camry for BK Racing, sat down with David for an exclusive, extended interview. What follows is an edited transcript of their chat.

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