Specter of Talladega motivates Johnson to win soon

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Monday, Sep 29 1287

Jimmie Johnson wasn't shy about revealing his game plan for the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

He wants to win either at Kansas Speedway or Charlotte Motor Speedway so he doesn't have to worry about potential chaos at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

Johnson advanced comfortably from the Challenger to the Contender Round of the Chase with a third-place finish in Sunday's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway. Johnson has been a quiet presence in the Chase thus far, and on Sunday, he never had enough speed to challenge either race winner Jeff Gordon or runner-up Brad Keselowski.

The six-time Sprint Cup champion hopes to change that, however, when the series moves to Kansas and Charlotte for the first two races of the Contender Round. Johnson craves a victory at one or both of the two tracks.

"I'd love to win at Kansas or Charlotte to take Talladega out of the mix and not have to stress about that, but we'll see how things go," Johnson said. "Talladega is definitely the wild card. If I'm one of the guys that wins at Charlotte or Kansas, it's sure going to make the race at Talladega fun.

"Otherwise, you're just going to be on pins and needles and stressing like crazy. That's the strategy; really try to win one of those first two so you can go to Talladega, pull them tight and let it rip." Rookie Kyle Larson, who finished sixth on Sunday, had a different suggestion.

"Hopefully, I can be the guy that wins Kansas and Charlotte so all the Chase guys can be nervous going into Talladega," Larson quipped.