JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Finished 2nd POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS: "Man, I wanted to win at home so bad! We put out all our effort there at the end. We came close, but we'll come back and hopefully get...
, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO -- Finished 2nd
POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS:
"Man, I wanted to win at home so bad! We put out all our effort there at the end. We came close, but we'll come back and hopefully get it here again in my home state later this year. We got out of sequence. We did a fuel only. I put the thought in Chad's mind. He did the fuel only. We suffered pretty bad from it. And then on that restart, we started off in 10th or so and got in a battle with a bunch of lapped cars all fighting for position and knocked me up in the marbles and I had to start over. I was surprised I even got back up to where I did. I'm very happy with this Lowe's Monte Carlo. This race team is incredible. My guys were the best on pit road and we had the best car. We just came up a little short."
ON THE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS BATTLING WITH KURT BUSCH
"The Roush cars and a lot of those guys stayed out there on the last stop. It worked for them because the four tire guys got hung up in traffic. If we just had another corner I think there would have been a different outcome to this race. But it was just an awesome day for this Lowe's Monte Carlo."
ON FALLING BACK AND THEN GOING TO THE FRONT
"We pitted and didn't take tires at one time. I've got to take a lot of the responsibility for that. I thought it was going to be a great call. I wanted the track position and I thought a lot of guys would take two tires. I gave Chad the idea and it backfired pretty bad. We did recover from that. I don't think it affected us too much. Maybe it gave the Roush guys the thought to stay out -- I'm not sure if it did or not. After a few laps went by, everything stabilized and we held our own. But we fell in about 10th after we made that call. Coming through there, I really thought I could get up to fourth. And then before I knew it, I had caught the No. 16 and the No. 97 and if there was another lap, maybe I could have gotten inside the No. 16. But it was a great finish. I'm happy to be here in my home state. It was all in all a great day and a great start to the season."
IT WAS A TOUGH DAY ON THE HENDRICK ENGINES. DID YOU HAVE ANY TEMPERATURE PROBLEMS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT?
"No, I didn't have any issues with temperatures. I don't know what caused those engines to fail. I know in the Busch race yesterday a lot of people had trouble with windshield tearoffs landing on the grills. But that's pure speculation. I don't know what happened. When I saw the No. 24 break, it started to make me nervous and I started to let off a little earlier going into Turn 1. But I had no issues."
ON RACING WITH JOE NEMECHEK
"Joe was awesome -- especially in the middle stages of the race. I hated to see him have the engine) failure. I really felt like we would be battling with the Nos. 97, 16, and 01 in the end. Everybody showed a lot of speed. I didn't lead a lot, but I was able to hang with whoever was leading. But those guys looked really strong. I don't know why the engines failed. I'm sure we'll go home and work on it. It raises some eyebrows because we're not turning the rpm's like we did before."
ON THE NEW AERO PACKAGE
"Spoiler-wise, it didn't seem to be as much of a deal as not having the gear that we'd want to run in the car. The cars definitely have some movement to them in traffic, but I had a really good driving car all day long. It didn't bother me too much. The hardest thing would be going into the turn, rolling inside of someone, and beat them back to the gas. The fact that you're pulling on the steering wheel and making a tighter radius would bog your engine down. And you couldn't accelerate up alongside the car that was outside of you. That was more frustrating to me personally than the aero package."
IS IT TOO EARLY TO JUDGE THE NEW RULES PACKAGE?
"For the first three or four races, the guys who didn't run like they wanted to today will go back and work on it. We have a weekend off to test and to dig deeper to find something. I think we need to wait for five or six races in and then we'll have a good understanding of the intermediate tracks. I was shocked to see so many cars and it may not have appeared that way, but it looked like the Hendrick cars were strong and the Roush cars were strong. Those two teams broke away. Between the two of us, we seemed pretty paired up as far as the teams were concerned."
ON THE NUMBER OF EMPTY SEATS HERE THIS AFTERNOON
"This is my own perspective that I've had for a long time and I don't know if anybody wants to listen or not. But I think when you have two events at any track, you take away a little bit from each event. When you have a single event, there's a demand. It's the one shot you have to go and watch a race there. If there are two dates, you think well maybe you've got some stuff going on and you'll go to the next one. It gives more people an opportunity to go to the races and the overall attendance would be up, obviously. There are probably more new fans coming because of the two events. But it's new on the west coast and I think it's going to take some time. But I would love to see us go to single events all over and race in every single state at 38 different races and hit every fan around the country."
HOW IS IT TO RACE WITH KURT BUSCH?
"It's cool. I love racing hard with everybody. My opinion has always been that in order to be the best you have to beat the best. I love racing Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch. Greg Biffle has been on the gas. He's fun to race with. He always puts on a good show for you. I love to race with these guys. Granted, when I roll across the line in second, I was e because I wanted to win. But there's nothing better than being out there racing with these guys. I'm sizing up the competition. I watched Kurt a bunch because I know he's going to be a major player at the end of the season and I wanted to see what his car was like at the start. You evaluate things and get a gauge on the competition."