New Hampshire Motor Speedway September 14, 2008 An interview with: JIMMIE JOHNSON CARL EDWARDS KERRY THARP: We'll roll into our post race press conference here for the opening race of the 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. I think we...
New Hampshire Motor Speedway September 14, 2008
An interview with:
KERRY THARP: We'll roll into our post race press conference here for the opening race of the 2008 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. I think we had a great one today. We're joined now in the media center at the podium by our runner up in today's race, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet, and our third place finisher Carl Edwards, he drives the No. 99 Office Depot Ford. Both of these competitors right now have 5220 points. Carl gets the edge on that because of our tiebreaker. But congratulations to both of you guys. I'll ask you, Jimmie, hard-fought race, certainly had its twists and turns, but your thoughts on how things turned out out there today.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: You know, definitely a good effort for us. We'd love to be in Victory Lane celebrating right now. But the big picture, second place is not a bad day at the office.
So very happy with the performance. We had great stops, fast car. The only weakness we had all day long was on the restarts. From the very first start of the race, we were loose in spots. It would take a while to get the tires up and get going.
I really felt after the two or three restarts we had on that set of tires, my tires would be good and I'd be able to get away from Greg. But his stuff must have been coming in as well and he was too strong on the short run.
KERRY THARP: Carl, had you a strong car, especially early on. Now after the first race, you're in that No. 1 spot. What are your thoughts?
CARL EDWARDS: Man, you know, I feel like we won the thing, just because of how terrible we were in practice. To finish this well, you know, to be tied with Jimmie there with the points, it's a huge day for us. It was really cool that Greg got the win. It's awesome for him and the DISH Network team.
It was really fun to watch Jimmie and him race, man. That was wild. They were fighting hard. Good day for us.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now for Jimmie or Carl.
Q: Carl, Jimmie didn't seem to be so surprised that Greg got to him and passed him. Watching him from behind, did you expect it to happen, too?
CARL EDWARDS: No, I didn't expect it to happen. After hearing Jimmie was having trouble on the short runs, it makes more sense. But it was just so hard to pass, I mean real hard to pass. I think it all just worked out perfect for Greg.
You know, I didn't expect it to happen, no. It was a surprise to me.
Q: You saw the trouble Kyle Busch had early, Jimmie. You've had a similar situation at this track. First race of the Chase you fell back in points but were able to recover. What does it mean in the scheme of things for Kyle and for yourself and Carl?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: When I was in that position, we couldn't do much about it. It is what it is. We just really went on and fought through the rest of the season. Luckily things came our way. So at this point Kyle's hoping everybody has a bad race.
I just think it's way too early in the Chase to count anybody out. We just have no clue what's going to happen with the races to come.
Q: Carl or Jimmie, how much of relief is it to have opening night done and over with and you were not one of the guys who had a problem today?
CARL EDWARDS: That's a good question. For me, like I said, it's a huge relief. I mean, I was out there thanking everybody like I won the thing. Last night I didn't go to bed thinking that today was going to end up like this. So it's a huge relief for me.
Q: Jimmie, Joey Logano, can you relate to his first start? You've been there before.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, I definitely remember my first race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. We ran pretty good at the start of it. I kept up with the leaders. We had a pit stop, came out around I think Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett. Kind of hit me at that point. I'm like, Wow, this is the big show, I'm with the guys.
Such a cool moment and enjoyed it. Then I proceeded to spin out and almost take out my teammate, who was going on to win the championship that year. So I was thankful I didn't wipe out the 24 in the process.
It was a long race. I remember the mileage being much, much longer than I anticipated from a Busch race at the time to a Cup race.
KERRY THARP: Guys, good show for us today. Good luck next week at Dover. Thank you.