Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe'S Chevrolet was the RaybestosÂ® Rookie Of The Race at Dover. He won the MBNA 400, his second victory of the 2002 Winston Cup Season. Johnson has now been the RaybestosÂ® Rookie Of The Race eight times in 2002. ...
Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe'S Chevrolet was the Raybestos® Rookie Of The Race at Dover. He won the MBNA 400, his second victory of the 2002 Winston Cup Season. Johnson has now been the Raybestos® Rookie Of The Race eight times in 2002. He has three top-fives and nine top-10 finishes this season and is second in Winston Cup points, 136 behind Leader Sterling Marlin. Johnson won in his First Winston Cup start at Dover. He unofficially leads the Raybestos® Rookie standings over Ryan Newman (203-177).
"We had a great car. We ran probably in the top-five throughout the majority of the race. We get bad fuel mileage. I'm partly responsible for it and on top of that we're building a lot of power so you end up burning a lot of fuel. We had to pit. Rudd stayed out and a couple of guys stayed out, at couple of two tires, fuel only, a bunch of stuff was playing out and we lined up tenth. At that point I thought 'Let's just try to get a top-five and don't get torn up in anything.' Before I knew it I ran out of cars and the 28 was there in front of me and we were able to get by him. Then that last caution came out and I knew it was going to shake the bag up a bunch. We questioned two tires, four tires, staying out. If we came on pit road, someone was going to put two on in front of you so you had to do two. Two wasn't working out very good. It would take probably five laps for the pressures to come up so you could really lean on your right side tires. We're trying to discuss it on the radio and Mr. Hendrick got on the radio and said 'I think you boys need to stay out.' We kind of laughed a little bit and decided to stay out. That was the fastest we were; the balance of the car was right and we knew that if we could get going and clear the lap down lane we could buy some time and let the new tires heat up and slow down. It worked out that way. Elliott was coming hard. I wasn't really paying attention behind me that he was coming and they told me with about five to go that I needed to step it up and we were able to bring the Lowe's Monte Carlo home for our second victory in our rookie season. Three poles and two wins this early in the season is incredible. I'm very thankful for all the support from Hendrick Motorsports, Lowe's, and Chad Knaus and my guys. They believe in me and Chad and give us everything we need, all the resources at the shop the motor department chassis. Right now it's clicking and I wish we could bottle it up and store it for a hundred years and just keep doing this forever. We're going to enjoy the wave while it's here."
DID YOUR CAR OWNER, JEFF GORDON, HELP YOU WITH YOUR SETUP HERE AT DOVER?
"Jeff had a dominate run here last year and we came with that package in the car. Chad has really been pushing the envelope with setups and technology with some of the engineers at Hendrick Motorsports and has been finding a lot of speed in our cars. We come with that standard package and work from there and we've been able to improve on it at a lot of these racetracks. I've got to give all of the responsibility to Chad for the setup of the car. Jeff helps me out in more ways than he realizes and we were talking about this last night. I spend a lot of time studying his data and looking at what he does in the car and his habits driving the car and compared them to mine at some of the tracks that we tested at. I've been able to understand what his versions of driving into the corner too hard are and what he thinks picking the gas up early means so I can adjust my style accordingly and when I go ask him a question we're talking the same stuff. It's really kept me in check and kept me in perspective. They're simple one liners that I ask him."
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 12 ALLTEL FORD FINISHED FOURTH. NEWMAN HAS NOW RACKED UP FOUR TOP-FIVES AND SIX TOP-10 FINISHES IN 2002.
"I want to congratulate Jimmie Johnson first of all. Those guys did a heck of a job all day. We just needed track position. It seemed like we had a good race car but the air just kept screwing us up. Eventually once we got up there and got some pit position through pit strategy we were a contender but not there until the end. I wish it was a 500 mile race now. It was a good ALLTEL team effort. I want to thank everybody on the team and thank everybody at ALLTEL. We struggled from the start of the green flag in practice for qualifying this weekend and finally turned it around and came home with a top-five."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DOVER?
"Dover is a lot of fun as long as the racecar sticks to the racetrack."
YOU RACED HARD WITH JEFF BURTON AT THE END OF THE RACE.
"He didn't take tires and I had, and it was just a matter of four tires versus no tires. We raced clean and it was fun."
WHAT HAPPENED EARLY IN THE RACE WITH STEVE PARK?
"I've seen it happen several times here and I guess I was the one at fault this time. I got underneath him, got in the gas and washed the nose about the same time he started coming down the racetrack. I had been following him for about 10-15 laps and it was just a racing accident to me. I feel sorry for him and I hope that he is all right."
DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR JOHNSON?
"He had an awesome racecar. We kept working on ours and getting it better and better but you never know. I guess it's just the way it ended and congratulations to him."