Charlotte II: Johnson post-qualifying interview

Jimmie Johnson - ...

Jimmie Johnson - #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
3rd position

HOW WAS YOUR LAP? It was good. We really worked to get the pole tonight, but came up a little bit short. We put up a great effort. The car drove really, really good. It was a bit tighter than what I was in practice and it being so close on speed, it's really hard to see if that would have made the difference or not. It was a very good lap - something I'm proud of. Unforutnately we won't be able to start there because of the engine failure we had in practice. So we'll get a good pit stall and go to the back and put in 500 miles and hopefully make it up there.

RE: OTHER DRIVERS IN THE CHASE, COMPETITIVENESS ON THE TRACK? I think it will be the same. Eveybody in the Chase is really comepetitive. I think it's shown week after week, where everybody is finishing. It's just going to be a fight all the way to Homestead once again. In my eyes I still feel there's a lot of racing left and a lot of things can happen every race. It's about finishing in the top 5, top 10 and not having really bad days. Hopefully we can do that and we'll just see how everybody else's life goes. With two or three to go, we'll evaluate where we are then and a little bit more then and take it from there.

RE: BRINGING THE CAR BACK FROM YOUR SPRING VICTORY IN THE COCA-COLA 600 This is not the car and the first time we haven't brought the car back. Things have changed here at this track and aero balance and chassis. We had so much success with this car at Dover that we thought we should bring it here. It's a new body and new version that went to the wind tunnel and had great numbers. It had everything that we had in it, had everything that we wanted to improve in it. It was much better and it showed out on this race track, at Dover. At that point, we decided to bring it back since there wasn't any marks on the car. With the new paint scheme, since we're here at Lowe's Motor Speedway, we thought it would be a great time to give a chance to see what the 2006 paint scheme will look like.

HOW MUCH OF HAVING THE PREVIOUS CAR A PART OF YOUR SUCCESS AND HOW WILL THAT AFFECT YOUR RACE ON SATURDAY? With all the races we've won, we thought it was a huge part of it. When we made the decision not to bring it, we've been telling ourselves it's not a big deal and this car is better. So, we'll see what happens Saturday night.

RE: SPEEDS GETTING HIGHER, WHAT THAT DOES TO THE TYPE OF RACING ON THE TRACK I that it's going to be like that. Single file. The reason being is that we use all the race track right now to make, to run the lap times that we do, and on race pace we use every inch of the race track to get the speed. The tires slowly give up a lot, or actually I should say wore a lot, because of the surface and the bumps and everything. It was easier to run side by side because you didn't need that extra track to run your lap times. Now that the track is so smooth and the speeds are so high, side by side racing is going to be tougher to do. And we just won't see as much of it.

HOW MUCH OF AN ADJUSTMENT IS IT WITH THE CHANGES IN SPEEDS? I'm not really sure. As far as the team and spotter and people, I don't think it will have a huge effect on any of that. We just go when something in our bodies and sensors says we need to go faster. We drive in as deep where we're comfortable at. So, those sensors that we have when you're on a track with a lot of grip, it's not like you feel like you're going that much faster, you just go from your past experience from the track and you know that you normally lift at this spot and now you're going way past it. Back to wide open a lot earlier than you did in the past. I can't think of the G-forces in the car being any different. It's more the reference points and those are the things more than the visuals.

WHAT HAPPENED IN PRACTICE TODAY AND HOW HARD WILL IT BE TO START FROM THE REAR AND COME THROUGH THE FIELD? We were out scuffing some tires for qualifying and I came off turn 2 and the engine locked up. I know that they worked hard to get it out and change the engine and put the other one back in. I don't have a real understanding about what happened yet. Maybe they do. I just haven't heard. It's not a good thing to come from the back. There are a lot of risks I'll have to take to get to the front. Hopefully we can do something with tire strategy to get us some track position. But I have to be on my toes at the start of the race. I do feel that I have a great car. I think I'll be able to race my way to the front. We've just got to be smart.

YOU DO VERY WELL AT THIS TRACK. DOES HAVING LOWE'S AS YOUR SPONSOR MAKE YOU DO BETTER HERE? Coming out of the box, we did put more emphasis on this race and came and test. This year I came in the Busch car to test and we didn't even come in the Cup car. We have tried to use our test sessions a little smarter. We try as hard as we can every week. So it's not a matter of trying harder or paying more attention to anything any more here than at any other tracks. It's just my style and it's (crew chief) Chad's style for whatever reason. It's just been a good track for us for whatever reason. I think it's really a matter of preferences and the way I drive a car that works for me personally.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson