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5-time champ Johnson has new take on restarts

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 4, 2013 at 6:36 pm •  Published: July 4, 2013
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson is reshaping his views about restarts.

After two noticeable mistakes during recent restarts late in Sprint Cup races, Johnson said Thursday he plans to "lighten up and loosen up" when it comes to restarts.

"I know the rule," Johnson said. "I feel like I'm maybe a little focused on the way the rule reads exactly and paying maybe too close of attention to that."

Johnson was penalized at Dover early last month for jumping a restart. Since then he's been critical of the pace of restarts and the interpretation of rules regarding them. He had a costly error at Kentucky last week, spinning shortly after a sluggish restart.

Johnson accused leader Matt Kenseth of breaking the pace car speed during the restart.

"There are a lot of restarts, especially during the Kentucky race, that I brought down that I feel like a good citizen, a good student in doing exactly what I'm supposed to," Johnson said. "There are other times when I don't feel that exactly happens and that it's not called on or viewed from the tower as kind of the rule reads.

"At the end of the day, I'm just going to lighten up on how I think about it and use that zone and that area regardless of the way the rule reads to get an advantage and worry about myself."

Kenseth went on to win his fourth race of the season. Johnson, meanwhile, managed to finish ninth and maintain his series points lead.

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