Daytona II: Johnson post qualifying interview

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Starts 3rd: WITH QUALIFYING BEING CANCELED DUE TO RAIN, CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT HOW YOU WERE IN PRACTICE AND YOUR THOUGHTS LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW'S RACE "We weren't going to be in third. I know...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS -- Starts 3rd:

WITH QUALIFYING BEING CANCELED DUE TO RAIN, CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT HOW YOU WERE IN PRACTICE AND YOUR THOUGHTS LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW'S RACE

"We weren't going to be in third. I know that much. We're just working on a lot of other things. Just like everybody else is saying, handling is so important. We didn't even make a qualifying run. We didn't want to disappoint ourselves and sleep on it all night long. So it's definitely going to help our starting position. I feel that the car is going to drive really well. We got off to a slow start yesterday in practice and had a lot of ground to make up. But by the end of practice, we sorted out the package that we needed and felt real good about it. So, we'll take the track position. It's as important here as just about any race track we go to, oddly enough. Just with the track aging and the roughness of the track. It is so important where you start and where you're running on the track. So, hopefully we can take advantage of that all day long and be on the right tire strategy and I can make the right decisions to keep us up front and we can have a good race."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SINGLE LAP QUALIFYING AT DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA?

"At moments like right now in trying to take care of the guys who needed to qualify in on speed, we can come up with ideas, but we need consistency in my opinion. And to have it work at some tracks and not others, I think would just confuse us all the more, and the fan, for that matter. And then at some tracks you'd wish that it would work and why is it only on superspeedway. Pocono there's an argument. It takes a long time to get around that race track. So I just think it would confuse things. But, yeah, you'd like to see us qualify, especially when the sun starts to come out and it's too small of a window of sun to get it in. So I see where the thought comes from, but I just think it would be tough."

SO IT'S IMPORTANT WHERE YOU START ON A RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACK?

"It's important. And it's changed really in the last few years. And in my opinion, with this car, it's becoming more and more important at Daytona. At Talladega, it does not matter. Track position is not as important or really has no importance because you can run three and four and five wide. And here, just in practice yesterday, two to three laps into the run you needed to let out of the gas and start lifting; where at Talladega, you'll run an entire fuel run wide-open and never let off. So as soon as you need to lift, it makes it single file. And then single file means track position is super important. And if the race was when the sun was out, I think the race would be really boring and single file. Luckily, it's a night race. The grip will be higher. We can run side-by-side a little easier. It still gets strung out from time to time, especially on old tires, but it's a handful out there. In yesterday's practice, none of the cars were driving good (laughs). It was really exciting from sitting in the car and watching other guys try to handle."

WILL THE DOUBLE FILE CHANGE A LOT OF THAT?

"It will. I think there was some strategy that you used to either get a gap on the guys, like if you're running along and the gap developed in front of you on a restart, you could use that pocket of air to run up into and create a pass. If somebody was slow on the restart, you could time it right and get inside of them at the start/finish, or the outside, depending on what type of blocking that guy would try to do. You had an option. So I think the double-file will eliminate those options. You can't pass 'til the start/finish and if you do have a run, I'm not really sure where you're going to go (laughs) with it two wide. So it will change that strategy some, but I think it will keep it entertaining still because we're all up there racing for the positions that count and the positions that are important. I think it will probably have less of an effect here. I did not benefit from the double-file restarts at Loudon. But there was a lot of good racing as a result of the double-file restarts, I thought. At Sonoma, it went my way. I passed 15 cars on restarts the way it worked out. I was in the right lane and off I went. So you'll win some and lose some. But I think here, it's going to be tough to see a big difference."

-credit: gm racing

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup