Countdown to Daytona: 29

January 26, 2013, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service,

There are 29 days left before the Feb. 24, 2013 Daytona 500; hence, today’s number is 29.

The number of pole positions recorded by Jimmie Johnson, fifth most among active drivers behind Jeff Gordon (72), Bill Elliott (55), Mark Martin (55) and Ryan Newman (49). Johnson, who is tied with Ricky Rudd for 23rd on the all-time pole list, isn’t a prolific front-row qualifier, but the five-time champion is adept at converting poles to wins, a feat he has accomplished 12 times in 29 tries. In his first visit to Daytona, in 2002, Johnson won the pole for the Daytona 500 and finished 15th. His only other Daytona pole came in 2008, when Johnson started first and finished 27th in the Great American Race.