Jimmie Johnson in the no. 48 Lowe'S Chevrolet was the RaybestosÂ® Rookie Of The Race in the Pepsi 400. Johnson finished eighth, his 11TH top-10 of the 2002 season. He has now been highest finishing rookie in 10 Winston Cup races. He unoffically...
Jimmie Johnson in the no. 48 Lowe'S Chevrolet was the Raybestos® Rookie Of The Race in the Pepsi 400. Johnson finished eighth, his 11TH top-10 of the 2002 season. He has now been highest finishing rookie in 10 Winston Cup races. He unoffically leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings by 27 points over Ryan Newman (256-229).
"That's incredible; to come out of here with a top-10 after everything we went through. We got caught up in a lot of little things early. We got in the back of John Andretti and knocked a hole in the nose of the car. I got caught up in every single wreck and went to the tail end many times and came back through. The guys on the Lowe's team worked their butt off and gave me a great race car and, more than anything, kept fixing the car so I could get out there and stay in the draft which is so hard to do.
YOU HAVE SOME DAMAGE ON THE RIGHT FRONT OF THE CAR. WHAT HAPPENED?
"The right front was early with John Andretti. And then every wreck that happened we were in the middle of it. We never had anything major happen to us, but had a lot of bumps and bruises along the way. It's unbelievable we were able to finish in the top-10 and it ended up being a good points day for the championship and the Raybestos® Rookie of the Year battle."
HOW CLOSE DID YOU GET TO ANY OF THE MULTIPLE CAR ACCIDENTS?
"I was in every single one of them, except the last one. I was in every single one of them."
HOW DID YOU MISS THEM?
"I didn't, that's why the car is all knocked around. I didn't miss them. I was in every one of them. The guys just had to fix the car and they kept doing a great job fixing the car. I'd start at the tail end of the lead line again and come back through and get in another wreck and start over. It was a repeated deal over and over."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET:
YOU FINISHED IN THE TOP-10 TONIGHT. HOW DID YOU DO IT?
"I don't know (laughs). We've definitely had the Lowe's Chevrolet handling a lot better at other race tracks than we did here tonight. John Andretti got sideways and Jimmie hit him and punched a big hole in the front end of the race car and it was a handful for him to drive from that point on. We tried to be conservative, tried to be Mr. Nice Guy and we got beat up like a wiffle ball out there. It was terrible. We just stuck with it, repaired it after we got crashed there a little bit, and kept on working on the car. I tell you the reason we finished up front is because the guy that's driving this race car is an awesome race car driver and he goes when he can and that's all there is to it."
DID YOU DO ANYTHING TO TRY AND MAKE THE CAR DRIVE BETTER DURING THE RACE?
"We tried to help it a lot, but everything we did to try to help it would hurt it somewhere else. We couldn't get the balance quite right after we had the aerodynamics messed up on the front of it. This is a tough place when the car is not just right. Jimmie had to wheel it all night long and he did an awesome job."
JOHNSON PRESS CONFERENCE
"It was definitely a trying night on patience. We seemed to find ourselves in every wreck but the last one which was a gift for us. We spent a lot of time on pit road with tape patches and putting a nose on it and just trying to repair the damage. The guys did a great job keeping me on the lead lap and keeping a car that would still draft, sort of, there at the end. We were lined up probably 20th on that last restart. I worked the middle and got up into the top-10, actually up to seventh, and then Todd Bodine got by me there at the end. After everything we went through, to come out of here with a top-10, I just can't believe it."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 12 ALLTEL FORD, FINISHED 27TH.
"We just got hung out there and I had to go. I didn't want to get around Rusty but it was either go or not go and I had to go. The 6 car (Mark Martin) pushed me all the way down the backstraightaway pretty hard and I got there and I don't know if I should have just braked checked him on the straightaway or what. I had a run and got hung on the outside and then the 09 car (Geoffrey Bodine) came up and just drilled me in the door. I think he got hit to do what he did in the middle of the trioval. It cut a left rear tire down and it was downhill from there."
DID YOU THINK YOU HAD THE CAR SAVED?
"It was already gone. I had so much damage on the left rear corner it wasn't going to matter anyway. I was still going to finish way in the back."
SHAWNA ROBINSON, NO. 49 DAKOTAIMAGINING/LIFE 02 WATER DODGE, FINISHED 40TH.
"We started off just riding along knowing that it was going to be a long day. Basically, we think the rear end locked up on it. We burned up a gear and it was causing both rear wheels to rotate wrong and in the middle of the corner it would just kick out. I'd be all by myself and it was like saving it from crashing two or three times. I think it's really the whole drivetrain in the back end of the car."