Jimmie Johnson off weekend pre-Indy notes

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will enjoy an off weekend before visiting Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. Johnson is the defending race champion and his four victories equal with Jeff ...

Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series will enjoy an off weekend before visiting Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. Johnson is the defending race champion and his four victories equal with Jeff Gordon's total for the most in 2007.

DRIVER JIMMIE JOHNSON QUOTES:

OFF WEEKEND: "Chandra and I are going to Europe and just get away from everything. It's time to relax and unwind and spend some time together. As the Chase draws closer things are going to get more and more hectic so you take every opportunity you can for rest and relaxation."

ON RETURNING TO THE BRICKYARD AS THE DEFENDING WINNER: "I'm excited to go back. It's the first time I've ever been excited to go back to Indy. I've always struggled there. And after our victory last year, I'm really pumped up to go back."

WINNING INDY AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2006: "It was very special to do it and to be in the category of guys who have won both Indy and the championship. I look back at last year and the All-Star race and Daytona 500. It was just an awesome year with all the big events being taken down by the No. 48. I hope we can go back and get the Brickyard trophy again. It was a great experience and it really got our team fired up."

DOES IT SHOW YOU WHAT YOUR TEAM IS MADE OF? "It does. I think it's more of the high you ride after winning a major event. You win the Daytona 500, I'm sure you've seen through time, that, that team is on cloud nine for a while. It's the same for the All-Star Race and the Brickyard. With the Brickyard being as late as it is in the season, that momentum and that confidence that it brings you can help carry you into the Chase and to the championship."

WHAT WILL IT FEEL LIKE TO DRIVE THROUGH THE GATES AT INDIANAPOLIS, KNOWING THAT YOU ARE THE REIGNING CHAMPION THERE? "I'm not sure I'll really think of it because every year you've got to focus on that event and the challenges that you have there. Without our crew chief (Chad Knaus) it's going to be tough. It's a tough race track in general. I'll be more concerned about the qualifying session and the race session and the things coming up that weekend more than anything. I'm sure at some point I'll kind of look around and take in the fact that we've won there and how amazing that it, but I'm pretty sure my mind will be focused on what we need to do."

IS IMS BUILT MORE FOR INDY CARS THAN STOCK CARS? "Yeah, I think even now, the Indy cars would like an even wider race track so they can run side-by-side. If there is an aero-sensitive track, Indy would probably be the worst track for it. But with the history of the track and the shape of the track, nobody wants to see it go anywhere. But one of the cold, hard facts is that it's a narrow race track and you can't run side-by-side on that race track."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson