JIMMIE JOHNSON, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, Finished Seventh. Johnson Has Been The Highest Finishing RaybestosÂ® Rookie In Seven Races This Season. "I just slid through my pit stall. I came in trying to get everything that I could and slid...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, Finished Seventh. Johnson Has Been The Highest Finishing Raybestos® Rookie In Seven Races This Season.
"I just slid through my pit stall. I came in trying to get everything that I could and slid through my stall. We had to back up. We had a great stop but backing up cost us in the pits. Clean air is everything. It's part of the problem of running up front all day. You adjust the car for clean air and then when you get back a few spots you get hung up in dead air and you can't do anything. Man, that hurts to dominate like we did today and then not to bring it home. That happens. The dominate car doesn't always win. It's the guys who are the smartest throughout the whole day. One small mistake cost us."
CHAD KNAUS AND SEVERAL MEMBERS ON THE TEAM CAME OVER TO GIVE YOU A PAT ON THE BACK AFTER THE RACE.
"We're all behind one another 100 percent and believe in one another. I'm just bummed. They're just trying to keep my spirits up. I guess you've got to loose some before you win them and we won our one at California. This makes you hungry and want to win a lot of them."
YOU WERE CONSISTENTLY STRONG THROUGHOUT THE RACE TONIGHT.
"We just worked hard on it all day. The one consistent variable we had is that we were up front most of the time so it was pretty easy to adjust the car. It's so deceiving what you have until you get mired in traffic. The way it ended up, any of those top seven cars had a shot at winning that thing. It was just who came out of the pits first. We came out third or fourth a few times and we were able to still get to the front. There at the end I slid though the stall and it killed us."
IS THE MEDIA PUTTING TOO MUCH PRESSURE ON YOU GUYS?
"It doesn't matter what everybody writes or says, I'm just out there giving 100 percent and I'm real fortunate to have great equipment, great crew chief, great sponsor; just living it up having a good time."
YOU WERE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD IN THE WINSTON AND THE 600.
"We couldn't bring home the big prize both weekends. It's encouraging for when we come back and for future races here but two really important paydays or accomplishments or whatever you'd like to call it and we weren't able to seal the deal. I think everybody knew we were here. We ran awfully strong and we'll be back at Dover. I've kind of forgotten last week and moved on to this week. I just had plans where I was going to put that trophy and I guess you just can't count your chickens before they hatch."
WERE YOU SURPRISED HOW BIG OF A FACTOR AERODYNAMICS WERE AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"It made a big difference. It's just what we've seen all year long and what everybody goes through. It's just normal racing."
WHAT HAPPENED WITH HUT STRICKLIN?
"I followed him for a long time and I was losing some time to the guys behind me. I drove into three and I thought he was going to the top. I kind of got confused where he was going to go and I had a lot of momentum behind me and I got into the back of him. I by no means meant to get into him. I just slightly tapped him and luckily didn't hit anything."
DID YOU HAVE ANY DAMAGE FROM THAT INCIDENT?
"It didn't hurt anything."
CHAD KNAUS, Crew Chief No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet:
"The car was incredible and Jimmie did a great job all night long. We came in for that last pit stop and we knew we needed to get a little bit coming on pit road. We overshot that line by, you know, an inch. That was a mistake, probably something that I could have prevented also by moving the sign board back a little bit and it's probably something that Jimmie could have prevented a little bit by stopping a little bit sooner, of course. Disappointed, yeah; angry, yeah; but everybody in that garage knows that we came out here for the last two weeks and just spanked them. We had them beat in The Winston and got set back in that inversion. Came back and put our car on the pole (for the 600) and I'm sure we led the most laps and drove away from everybody. There isn't anybody out there that even knows what that car was capable of because we never even pushed the button."
TALK ABOUT BEING BACK IN TRAFFIC AND THE AERODYNAMICS LATE IN THE RACE.
"You'll have that. That's racing. That's something that I get so tired of hearing. Some of these other guys complain about the dreaded aero push because everybody says all this is a new thing because of the aerodynamics on the racecars. That's not the case. If you look back over the years, everybody that's been back in traffic has always struggled. That's just the way it is. It's something that has been around for years and years. If you are running in the back or running mid-pack, you adjust on your car to where it drives in those conditions. We were never back in those conditions so we really didn't know what to expect. After the pit stop there was no time to make any changes to it. If we had had another caution we could have made some changes and we would have been fine."
WHEN YOU WERE BACK IN TRAFFIC, DID THE CAR PUSH?
"It (the car) just got a little unstable, that's all it was. It got a little free when someone was behind him and got a little tight when he was right behind somebody. If you look back at the last couple of laps, we were running as fast as or faster than the leaders so we were coming. It just took us a little bit. In clean air, our tires came in real quick. Back there in the back with a little less downforce on the car the tires didn't come in right away. If it had been 70 laps to go, we still would have won.
ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU DIDN'T GET TO THE FRONT QUICKER?
"Yeah, but Jimmie was being cautious. After we got to that point, we said 'Look, it's late in the race and let's bring this thing home.' It's another great finish, another top-10 finish. You can't complain about that. There's no sense in taking any chances once you get yourself back in the back, those two guys up front were going to check out.
RYAN NEWMAN, No. 2 Alltel Ford, Finished 41st:
"I guess Charlotte has been my place for engine failures. I guess we made our money last weekend. We had what I think would be a pretty decent car once the race started to draw out. We were trying to get our lap back. The car was super, super loose all day there. It's just part of it, I guess. They're engines, they do break. It didn't feel good and then all of a sudden it went. I don't know what it was, something in the motor.
DID THE ONE ENGINE RULE CONTRIBUE TO THIS FAILURE?
"They'll be plenty of cars to finish and make a good race out of it. When they break this early, it doesn't matter if it's one engine, two engines, three engines, five engines. It's just a mechanical failure."