JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- Will start third: TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR CAR WAS IN PRACTICE? "We were focused in on qualifying trim. It has been a little more difficult for us, granted, we haven't qualified here for a long, long time.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- Will start third:
TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR CAR WAS IN PRACTICE?
"We were focused in on qualifying trim. It has been a little more difficult for us, granted, we haven't qualified here for a long, long time. I guess once in the last six or seven attempts. The one attempt we had last fall wasn't that good so we focused a lot on that today. We have a lot of confidence in our race setup. We worked on qualifying trim. We were better. I wish we could have run the session just to see where we would have ended up, even if it was worse than where we are right now. I just want to be better prepared coming back for the fall race knowing how important qualifying is. A little disappointed we didn't have a chance to see where we were. We'll focus on tomorrow. Weather looks good so we will work on our race stuff."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THE IMPACT OF THE RAIN TO BE ON THE TRACK?
"I don't see it doing much. We'll have tomorrow morning to put the rubber down. This track takes rubber pretty quick and have the truck race going in to it as well. So I don't really think it's going to do anything to the track. There really isn't a third, fourth lane to work in and stuff like that so I don't think it is going to hurt anything."
WHAT MAKES THIS TRACK SO DIFFICULT WHEN MOST GUYS GREW UP RACING ON SHORT TRACKS, SO MANY STRUGGLE HERE?
"I didn't race a lot of stock cars growing up. The two years I spent in ASA and Nationwide, I had never competed on a track that was like that was so tight with the radiuses of the corners and the long straightaways. I'm glad that we didn't because I was really tough on the brakes coming up through the ranks and trying to learn how to drive a stock car. I don't think I would have made 500 laps in my early days. This track demands a lot out of the car and the driver and patience is a big part of that. Your mental discipline inside the car, there are a lot of guys that are fast in the beginning of the race or the middle part of the race and can get frustrated easily with traffic and make bad decisions. If you have a bad pit stop, it is easy to lose your cool and it is real difficult to pass cars. A driver has a lot on his hands here to keep his head in the game. Also, there is a lot of weight on the pit crews because if you do have a bad stop and you do lose a lot of track position, it's tough to get back in contention and get to where you were when you started."
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF PIT STALL NUMBER ONE HERE?
"It is at least a second and if you have 14 second stop and everybody else has a 13 second stop, you come out even. So it is a huge advantage. I have been very fortunate to be in that stall and those guys (Kevin Harvick, pole sitter) are going to be tough. Kevin does a good job here and his pit crew has been real fast all year long. I would expect them to make good use of this opportunity."
DID YOU SEE ANY DIFFERENCE WITH THE SPOILER HERE?
"Huge difference man, like huge. (LAUGHING) I could see more out of the mirror. (MORE LAUGHTER) So there is something that was different, there is a lot more to see out of the mirror now. Your vision, there is more room back there now. You don't have the wing kind of in the way blocking things. I am digging deep trying to help you here. (LAUGHS) I think it can help with restrictor plate racing because it is so important to know where someone is within a few inches behind you and on either side of your car in the draft. Outside of that, no."
ARE THE SPOTTERS GOING TO BE AS IMPORTANT ON RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS?
"Yes, you do bring up a good point. When we tested the restrictor plate package, it had those, I guess they were calling them dog ears on the end and it was real difficult to see around the car in front of you. It is already tough with this car in general, but I am not sure what package we are going back with. No dog ears? That is going to help. I'm not sure what the total height is, but it is going to be better. Directionally it is going to help us a lot. When we first started, we were flying blind pushing guys around Talladega so that will help a lot."
-source: gm racing