CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS crew chief Chad Johnston has two goals in mind for the remainder of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The first-year crew chief wants to move his driver Martin Truex Jr. to 13th place in the standings while learning as much as he can in preparation for the 2012 season.
Going into Sunday's 400-mile race at Chicagoland Speedway, the Michael Waltrip Racing team is 17th in points, just 41 markers out of 13th - the highest non-Chase points position. Both of Johnston's goals are realistic. Truex is the 13th highest points scorer in the last 10 races and he finished 11th at Chicagoland last season.
Crew Chief Chad Johnston on plan for remaining 10 races: "Really, nothing is going to change. We remain on the same path and it seems to be working. We are making progress. We want to qualify and finish consistently in the top 10. When we do that, it puts us closer to the main task at hand and that's to get the NAPA Toyota back into victory lane by the end of the year. We can do that. Our other goal is to finish 13th in the points. Anything less than 13th in the standings, I will be disappointed. That's how confident I am right now with this race team."
On Chicagoland: "It's another 1.5-mile track. We tried a few things in Atlanta and they seemed to work so now I want to build upon what we learned in Atlanta and try to expand on it at Chicagoland. With us not being in the Chase, we can take a few more risks or be more aggressive in evolving our setups during the weekend in comparison to the 12 guys who are in the Chase. But don't get me wrong, it's our job to come out of Chicagoland with a strong points day. Last time we left Chicago with an 11th-place finish, so hopefully we can leave Sunday night with a top-five or a win."