Jimmie Johnson hopes to be able to score his maiden victory on a road course this weekend at Watkins Glen, after 15 failed attempts.
Despite his three consecutive Sprint Cup Series titles and 43 career wins, the reigning champion has yet to win a race at one of the two road courses of the season with a third place finish two years ago at Watkins Glen being his best result thus far.
Johnson seems puzzled as to why he has been unable to translate his oval success into road courses but believes he is edging closer to getting that checked on his NASCAR resume.
"I don't know what it is about the Cup car that I've had some troubles with," said Johnson. "But I am getting closer and I think more seat time is helpful. I usually am a slow learner, but once I get something, I own it and I don't let go of it. I feel like I'm chipping away at it.
"Last year here at the Glen was probably my best opportunity to win, and we had that flat tyre. I'm not really sure. I can't really remember that pace of the race and how competitive we were with the #18 [Kyle Busch's] car, but I have to feel we would have been up there in the top two or three if we didn't have our troubles.
"I feel we're getting closer and I hope it's this weekend, and when I figure out how to really get around these places, I'm sure I'll be on it and do well with it."
The Californian, who currently ranks second in the Sprint Cup Series standings, says winning a road course race has been one of his goals long before becoming champion for the first time.
He says that first elusive win on a non-oval track remains at the top of the list of pending achievements.
"Truthfully, it's been on my list far before winning a Cup championship," Johnson said. "I was just able to get the championship stuff done before getting a road course win. I had no idea that this type of success would come and I would be experiencing stuff at the championship level.
"So, there were a lot of other steps and goals on my sheet before a championship, but I was very fortunate to get those first. Winning championships is what the season is based on and what the ultimate goal is, but when I look at the little battles through the course of the year, a road course is at the top of that list right now."
Johnson starts Sunday's race at Watkins Glen from pole position - his second ever at a road course event and also his second at the venue.