JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 3rd: "I was wondering if Jeff Gordon was going to get held up through lapped traffic and if the No. 20 (Tony Stewart) was going to get up beside him. Thinking that might happen, I...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: Finished 3rd:
"I was wondering if Jeff Gordon was going to get held up through lapped traffic and if the No. 20 (Tony Stewart) was going to get up beside him. Thinking that might happen, I just ran as hard as I could trying to chip away at the deficit I had to make up. But those guys were all so equal at the end - it's just kind of like where we came off of pit road is where we ended up at the end - but it was just a great effort for this entire Lowe's team. I want to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. You run wide open around here for almost an entire fuel run and to have these engines hold up all day long and the car drive this good is really a testament for this entire team.
"We went down a lap from pitting under green one time when the caution came out and was able to get it back. We went through everything. We had a very tight race car at the beginning of the day and we didn't know if we didn't know if we were going to get it back. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) made great calls all day. It was another top three for us."
"It seemed like there were about five or eight cars that were so equal at times that it didn't really matter where you came out of the pits. It was very hard to make up any ground until the very end of a run when the tires were falling off and you could find somebody making a mistake. When the race started, we weren't that good. We made a lot of changes throughout the race today."
WHAT HAPPENED ON LAP 260 WHEN YOU AND JEFF GORDON WERE RUNNING SIDE BY SIDE?
"On new tires at the beginning of a run, I think he was a little loose and I was just trying to get by him and I couldn't get by him. Being trapped down on the inside that if I was loose that I would take us both out. And I'd hate to have to explain that to Mr. Hendrick. But I tried to get by him and I stayed underneath him for a while until my stuff got hot and his tires finally came in and he was able to march off and get away from me. He worked through traffic. I followed him through traffic and then there at the end on the pit stops he maintained the lead, the No. 20 passed us and we were in third and brought it home."
ON THE RADIO CONVERSATION.
"When you're racing out there and doing all that you can, I'm sure that everybody has said things and done things that once everything has calmed down you don't even realize that you said it. I'm sure he was irate. I'm not sure what about. I was definitely trying hard and was vocal on my radio as well. It's just hard racing. One good thing about it is that Jeff and I can race as hard as we can together and we won't cross that line and take each other out like you might see with some other guys. We'll race each other hard but we're not going to give each other an inch."
TO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE STAYING IN THE TOP 10 IN POINTS FOR SUCH A LONG TIME?
"Just driving for Hendrick Motorsports and having Lowe's backing this team like it needs to be backed. I think everyone was curious about what was going to happen with me coming into Winston Cup and I was too. If I didn't have the quality of equipment and cars and support from Lowe's, I wouldn't be able to go out there and show what I can do in a race car. It's kept me in there and kept me good through all of last year. At Rockingham and Daytona at the beginning of this year - those are the tough ones to finish in the top to keep that streak going - but we were able to do it."