- Associated Press - Friday, June 14, 2013

BROOKLYN, MICH. (AP) - Sprint Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson arrived at Michigan International Speedway with a comfortable lead in the standings, but he’s still trying for his first win there in NASCAR’s top series.

The five-time series champion has three victories this season and leads Carl Edwards by 51 points in the standings heading into Sunday’s race. Before practice began Friday morning, he said he was looking forward to crossing Michigan off his list.

“I’ve been ready for a long time,” Johnson said. “We’ve been so close here but when it happens, it will make it all that sweeter for us.

“The exciting thing is we’ve been plenty fast here over the years.”

Johnson’s best finish was a runner-up performance Aug. 21, 2011.

He’ll start Sunday’s race 17th after qualifying at 199.689 mph Friday.

Johnson won the season-opening Daytona 500 and was first at Martinsville in April before dominating last Sunday’s stop at Pocono. Even he was a bit surprised by his advantage so far.

“I know it might sound crazy, but I’m still just thinking `Chase,’” he said. “I feel like our wins right now lock us in there, but my mind is still on running well now and getting ready for the Chase, honestly.”

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