JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS TALKS WITH MEDIA ABOUT RACING AT HIS HOMETOWN TRACK AND LAST WEEK'S DAYTONA 500: WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ABOUT NASCAR'S DECISION ABOUT THE FINAL CAUTION FLAG AT THE DAYTONA 500? "I don't know. It's real...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS TALKS WITH MEDIA ABOUT RACING AT HIS HOMETOWN TRACK AND LAST WEEK'S DAYTONA 500:
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ABOUT NASCAR'S DECISION ABOUT THE FINAL CAUTION FLAG AT THE DAYTONA 500? "I don't know. It's real tough to have an opinion. I can see both sides of it. After watching Mark Martin's gracious interviews afterwards, I really don't know. I don't have an opinion. If we want consistency and that's what we're all after; if the caution comes out and Mark is the winner and if it doesn't come out, Kevin (Harvick) is the winner. It's a tough thing and it'll keep us talking for a long time."
YOU WON AT LAS VEGAS LAST YEAR. WITH THE NEW TRACK SURFACE, HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE SPEEDS AND THE RIGHT SIDE TIRES? "The speed inside the car doesn't seem high. I think we're going to put on a good race. The new banking is going to allow us to have more grooves. I'm disappointed to know that we're going to have some tire issues and that's why we're going back with a smaller fuel cell. When they resurface these tracks, it seems like there is something that goes wrong. I don't know why or what it is, but we hate the fact that we have these issues when we go back to Charlotte and when we go to Vegas now, we've got to run these smaller fuel cells."
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NEXT WEEK DURING THE OFF-WEEKEND? "Hopefully we get the Bristol test in where we can have the weekend off. If so, I'm going to do some snowboarding."
AFTER A DISAPPOINTING FINISH LAST WEEK AT DAYTONA, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO HAVE A GOOD RACE AT CALIFORNIA? "It's certainly important. But when you race in this sport, you're going to have DNF's and you're going to get caught up in big crashes. So we're far from being overly concerned. We're excited for this weekend and I think we're going to know a lot more about the first quarter of the season after Sunday's race here. It's so early in the season. Everybody has crashes and everybody has bad luck. So we're in no position to worry or panic. This race will show us what the first quarter of the season is going to be. We only have four plate races and coming here is the start of what the bulk of the season is built on. So we're excited in a couple of areas. One, we need to get back up in the points; and two, it's going to let us know how the first quarter of the season is going to go."
ON RACING AT CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY, WHICH IS SO CLOSE TO WHERE HE GREW UP IN EL CAJON? "It's fun to be here. California Speedway has done an amazing job in welcoming me back and they have been very helpful with my foundation. California Speedway makes it very special for me to come home and I love being here. I want to win another one here."
MORE ARE MORE DRIVERS ARE COMING INTO NASCAR CUP FROM CALIFORNIA. WHY IS THAT? "There are a lot of racers in California in general. NASCAR, until recent times, has been kind of a distant thing that we've watched on television and didn't really have access to. And now, times have changed, obviously. There are races throughout the states and on the west coast, which is allowing drivers as they're coming up through their local ranks to think this might lead them toward road racing or something else, then why not NASCAR? So we have a lot of drivers focusing on NASCAR and not only drivers, but I think crew members as well."
DO YOU THINK THERE IS A SHIFT IN RACING WHERE WE ARE SEEING MORE AND MORE CALIFORNIA DRIVERS? "It's hard to say. There is a lot of racing in both north and southern California. I think it's more about the numbers than anything. I think California has been a hotbed at this point in time, but there are still areas up in the northwest that we don't race in. Kasey Kahne is doing a good job of showing what kind of talent is up there. So I think California is hot now, but it's not saying that it will always be hot. It might more somewhere else."
ON QUALIFYING THIS AFTERNOON REGARDING THE COOLER TEMPERATURES "The engines will certainly run better but if the clouds come in, that will change the speeds more than anything. If the sun stays out, I think the track will be warm - not slick - but not the potential for the lap times that we would expect."
WHAT'S THE SECRET TO DOING WELL HERE? "It seems that the track is aging. Being able to run from the bottom to the top so that you can work traffic and not get stuck behind somebody in a bad aero situation."
-credit: gm racing