Notebook: For Jimmie Johnson, old habits are hard to break
- Denny Hamlin seizes Charlotte pole with record lap
- Matt Kenseth is a favorite in his favorite race
- Triathlons or 600-mile stock car races: No problem for Johnson
- Flock, Petty, Jarrett, Ingram and Roberts to join the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2014
- Questions abound regarding tomorrow's NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014 announcement
- Jimmie Johnson adds another record to Hall of Fame credentials
- Johnson wins record fourth NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
- Crew chief Kevin Manion fights the symptoms and stigma of gout
- Kyle Busch breaks "drought" with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Charlotte
- Is winning Bruton Smith's $1-million bonus a realistic possibility?
By REID SPENCER
FORT WORTH, Texas (NASCAR) - On a conscious level, Jimmie Johnson knows his streak of five straight championships ended with Tony Stewart's title run last year, but force of habit is another matter.
For five years, Johnson's transporter was parked in space No. 1, a perk accorded to the reigning champion. So Johnson can be forgiven for a momentary lapse on Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.
"I thought I would only make the mistake at Daytona, walking into the wrong transporter," Johnson said. "I walked in here this weekend, and my little route I've walked for the last five years, I walked right on by my transporter and walked up and looked at the No. 14(Stewart's) truck and was like 'I did it again.'
"So, those moments continue to get me, and I guess it will happen all year long. I'm trying to use it as motivation to be back on top."
MICHIGAN MEANS SPEED
Sprint Cup cars running 215 mph approaching the corners at Michigan International Speedway?
As fast as that might seem, it doesn't concern Matt Kenseth, who participated in a Goodyear tire test at the two-mile track last week.
"I don't think we were going too fast, as far as the cars being out of control or not having a good race or anything like that," Kenseth said. "I don't really know the magic number on the speed. I know there is a point where they worry about the cars flipping over when they turn sideways, and they need to keep them slower then that or figure out something to keep the cars on the ground if they get out of shape. I think that is the biggest concern if something happens toward the end of the straightaway and corner entry or something, that none of the cars go flying up in the air. That is a little bit of a concern.
"Other than that, I don't think it is a big concern. They are big numbers, but I don't know if you would realize you were going that fast if you didn't have all that telemetry on the car. It's about what we expected. It was a ton of grip, and we've been getting faster at all the tracks in the last year or two. . . . When we're in race trim we were almost four seconds faster than we were racing last year. That's quite a bit."
That's also quite an understatement.
No. 6 CAR REVIVAL?
As soon as Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush secures sponsorship for his No. 6 Ford, he's ready to bring the car back to the Sprint Cup Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as the driver.
The No. 6 has been in mothballs since Stenhouse drove it in the season-opening Daytona 500.
"We've got the decal for the top of the roof on that 6 car all organized for Ricky," Roush said Friday night, after Stenhouse won the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race at Texas. "As soon as I can find sponsorship for it, he's good to go.
"The highest priority we have for this year in the meantime is to defend (Stenhouse's) championship in the Nationwide series but hopefully we can find sponsorship and run the 6 car with him next year -- and we will run some races with him in the 6 Cup car before this year is over."
Roush added that Trevor Bayne's participation in the Nationwide Series has been curtailed until sponsorship is finalized for the No. 60 Ford.
Though he was fourth in the series standings at the time, Bayne did not compete in Friday's race.
"We need sponsorship for the 60 car to keep it going," Roush acknowledged. "We ran both the 6 and the 16 car (which Bayne drove in 2011) without adequate sponsorship last year, and it's not reasonable for us to do that this year.
"We're in the quest of sponsorship, and we are having some encouraging conversations, and I certainly hope to have him back out for a substantial part of the remaining of the year, but it will depend on sponsorship."
Updated April 14, 2012