Las Vegas: Johnson post qualifying interview

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN "We had a great day today. We had plenty of speed in practice and working through. For us we have kind of a new set-up. Last year was so difficult on us. We are happy to see that...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN

"We had a great day today. We had plenty of speed in practice and working through. For us we have kind of a new set-up. Last year was so difficult on us. We are happy to see that what we learned over the year came back and applied and after the first few runs today we took a big deep breath and smiled that the car was right. We felt like we had a good shot at the pole today. We missed it by just a little bit. But my lap was pretty uneventful, which usually means you're going to be a little slow. To be that close to the pole, I'm very pleased with our lap. I wish it would have turned a little bit better and wasn't so tight and we could have been on top, but it was still a great day for us.

"The other day, we were all out in the sand dunes; the top three cars were all out there racing buggies around. I guess it paid off coming over here to take over those first few spots in qualifying."

HOW WERE THE TIRES TODAY? NO POLE-SITTER HAS EVER WON THIS RACE. DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR MIND?

"No, I guess I can look at it two ways. No, it doesn't worry me and then if it did worry me, I qualified third. So I'd find a way to not let it worry me (laughs). It's an amazing stat that it is that, but I don't think it means much.

"For me, the tires were fine. It seemed like the more you ran on the tires, the faster the tire was, for some reason. It's usually the other way around. But the stability and comfort in the tire, they made some good changes in that department, and the speeds were certainly up. I hope that we have some fall-off in the tire over the course of a run and we don't have two-tire pit stops take place during the race. In order to get the car comfortable and secure, there is usually a sacrifice somewhere. And it looks like there will be a lot of two-tire strategy being played in the race. But they did a good job. I think the tire was comfortable and balanced and tomorrow we'll know more once we get race runs on it and how durable the tire is but all indications are showing a good tire right now."

ON THE BUMPS IN THE FIRST COUPLE OF CORNERS

"Today is the worst situation for that with all the tape on the noses of the cars. You have max down force and traveling as far as you will the whole weekend as far as the speeds with the wheel travel and stuff. So today it was tough. That's was probably one of my biggest problems. I was trying to find the balance of keeping the car off the track, plus keeping it low. And I feel like if there was one area we could have worked a little harder on today it could have been there. The balance of the car everywhere else was really good. I just couldn't carry the entry speed in to Turn 1 like I needed to because of the bumps. And on the lap tracker, that's where I lost the bulk of my time to the No. 18 car. The bumps are there but I like the bumps. I don't think that's a problem where they need to go off and change that stuff. It gives us something to do and to work on and put your shock engineers into their sweet spot to do some work and the crew chiefs and the drivers and things like that. So I like the fact that the track has some bumps and it developing its character."

WHAT WAS THE FINISHING ORDER OUT AT THE DUNES?

"We didn't have any official races, but shocking enough as it is, I think Kyle proved once again that he is probably the craziest one out there. And damn good. He was doing some stuff with the buggy that I'm not sure I'd do with a quad. He had some pretty big jumps and some great wheelies and stuff. But if you haven't been out to the sand dunes to drive around on these cars and the stuff that they have these days, it's unbelievable. And some of the buggies have over 1200 horsepower in them. You can do a wheelie at 100 mph, uphill. It's unbelievable. There was a big group of guys. Casey Mears was out there. Matt Crafton, Robby Gordon, Gilliland was out, the Busch brothers, myself; it looked like a racing series was going to start out there in four-wheelers and stuff (laughter)."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon , Casey Mears , Matt Crafton