Jimmie Johnson is not the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion this season, and that hasn’t been an altogether bad thing in his eyes.

After a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Cup standings in 2011, Johnson has two victories — including one in May that gave team owner Rick Hendrick his 200th career Cup victory — and 11 top-10 finishes in the first 15 races of this season. He enters this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 fourth in the standings as he looks for his second victory at Sonoma raceway in three years.