Loudon II: Johnson qualifying rain out interview

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS. ON PRACTICE: "We had a great practice. We didn't work on race trim. We were hopeful the qualifying would get in today and we'd have a shot at that first pit box. Unfortunately the rains came and kept...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS.

ON PRACTICE:

"We had a great practice. We didn't work on race trim. We were hopeful the qualifying would get in today and we'd have a shot at that first pit box. Unfortunately the rains came and kept us from having that opportunity. Certainly hope tomorrow, the weather stays away, which we felt like it would or else we would have gotten in race trim this morning. Hopefully that will come through for us and we can practice tomorrow."

HOW PIVOTAL IS THAT FIRST PIT BOX?

"It's becoming more and more important at every track we go to. At some tracks, the advantage is more than others. A lot of it has to do with the location of the camera line on the way out. One thing that's nice about this track with that pit stall is you do have two tires and fuel only that takes place and the further you are down toward Turn 1, the more time the crew chief has to see what's going on and make a change. You can switch from a four-tire stop to a two tire stop. From a strategy standpoint, it's nice to be down there. We'll get a great spot with the third pick, but at this point you want every little advantage you can find because these guys are all going to be tough."

NEXT WEEK, WE GO TO DOVER WHERE IT IS TOUGH ON THE DRIVERS AND EQUIPMENT:

"I'm excited for Dover. It's been a track that over the years we've run well there. The COT has been a bit of a struggle for us. The set-ups we've been working on lately and some of the work we've done in the last week or two will apply to Dover. It's tough to test on a track that is like it, so we're not 100 percent sure but we feel like some of the characteristics we've found will help that. So I'm very excited to go back and look forward to a good race. It's such a demanding race, physically and mentally, and the teams and pit road, and the better you can qualify and the more you can stay up front there, the easier that whole race goes. It's a race where you have to be on your toes from the start of practice on Friday all the way through the event. It's a pretty intense track."

AT THE BRICKYARD, YOU SAID YOU HATE FLYING UNDER THE RADAR. BUT NOW, GOING INTO THE CHASE, YOU'RE NOT UNDER THE RADAR

"I feel very confident with what we're doing. If you look at the last five races, in fact I saw something over the last 10 and what the average has been for guys and we're in the top five with the average. They showed Carl (Edwards) and (Kevin) Harvick were up front with the best in those 10 races. So we're doing the right things and I'm glad that we've won these last two races.

"Hopefully the statement that comes from that is that we've been working hard and we're there and we're ready for this battle for the championship. Time will still tell. Last year we got on a tear and ran with it. This year, we've had a decent summer getting stronger at the right point and the next few races will be key to see if we've got that momentum that will last and get us through the Chase. I do feel very good about things because we won on a big track and a short track and I do have a lot of confidence in what we're doing. I'm glad to be on everyone's minds and glad to have people thinking about us and worried about us."

THIS IS THE SECOND WEEK IN A ROW THAT QUALIFYING HAS BEEN RAINED OUT, AND THE YOU WON LAST WEEK. ANY GOOD OMENS ABOUT THAT?

"I forgot all about that. I'd say one of the better omens I had is that I talked to my dad today and my mom and dad were out in Southern California for services for my grandmother. And they went somewhere for lunch and his receipt was 48 bucks. And then he said they were on flight 148 or something like that and he had to call me and tell me, and that warmed me up more than thinking about the rain. So hopefully my dad's got that mo-jo right now and is on to something. I do some goofy things too. My microwave, I'll start it at 48 seconds and stop it at one. Instead of getting up at 7:30, it's 7:48 and stupid things like that."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup