Nascar

48 days to Daytona: Jimmie Johnson's pursuit of history

Just 48 days from now, on Feb. 26 at Daytona International Speedway, a 40-car field will take the green flag to start the Daytona 500 on FOX.

And in NASCAR, the No. 48 can mean only one thing: It's the number campaigned by seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

At Daytona, Johnson was won the 500 twice and the Coke Zero 400 once.

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His first Daytona 500 victory came in 2006, and in 2013, Johnson swept both races at the track.

For his career, Johnson has the aforementioned three victories, two poles, 11 top fives and 14 top 10s at Daytona, where his average finish in 30 starts is 17.50.

Johnson will start his pursuit of a record eighth championship at Daytona and he has a chance to add to his already impressive list of 80 wins, a total that is more than double what any other active Cup driver has.

Right now, Johnson ranks seventh all-time on the Cup win list. If he wins five more races this year, he will pass NASCAR Hall of Fame members Cale Yarborough (83 wins), Darrell Waltrip (84) and Bobby Allison (84).

If he reaches the 85-win total, Johnson will trail only Jeff Gordon (93), David Pearson (105) and Richard Petty (200) among NASCAR's all-time race winners.

Johnson's quest for a third Daytona 500 victory and an eighth title begins in less than seven weeks on FOX. And by the time the 500 rolls around, NASCAR fans will be more than ready for the season to begin.