Martinsville: Johnson post-race interview

Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS - Finished 3rd "We had a great performance today. We ran up front most of the day, staying in the top-three. I am very proud of the team. We had great pit stops, a great race car. Just messed up a ...

Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS - Finished 3rd

"We had a great performance today. We ran up front most of the day, staying in the top-three. I am very proud of the team. We had great pit stops, a great race car. Just messed up a little bit myself there at the end.

"We were starting to fade a little bit and the 24 and the 5 were really strong and coming on. I was hoping that the 24 could get to the 20 and get by him.

"Today was a special day for us in some regards because we had a great day for our whole organization on what would have been Ricky Hendrick's birthday. But it is also a sad day for us and my thoughts and prayers go out to the Hendrick family as it is a sad day for them.

"We are real happy to be back on track and be competitive on the short tracks and the super speedways and the intermediate tracks. Last year at the end of the year, we just didn't have our team where it should have been. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports looked really hard at everything over the off-season. Now we are right where we need to be, hopefully we can keep this magic rolling and keep learning and advancing so we are right where we need to be at the start of the Chase."

ON THE TRACK SURFACE AT THE END:

"Yeah, I was sliding all over the place. The guys gave me a great race car and great pit stops. Tony (Stewart) is always really good here on the short runs. I lost a little ground to him and the 24 got by and we brought home a nice third place finish."

ON YOUR RUN TODAY:

"It was a real strong performance for the Lowe's team and really for all of Hendrick Motorsports. Between Jeff and I and it looks like Kyle and Brian (finished well) so we're always excited to come up here and race. The fall race has the anniversary of our airplane going down and the spring race is right about the time of Ricky Hendrick's birthday. As excited as we are to be here to race and put up a good performance, it's also tough and I think between all of us we really wanted to win a race today and take a trophy back to Rick (Hendrick)."

ON TONY STEWART'S PASS AND THE BUMP JIMMIE GAVE HIM BACK:

"When you come out with the upper hand, I'm sure everybody would say it's all fair with short track racing. Looking back on it, I ended up third. I was fading so I don't really have any complaints with the way that he raced me. I passed him two or three times earlier in the day and found another line and worked my way around the outside of him. I was a little surprised that he continually drove it in and kept trying to blast me in the center. I think he probably hit me for four or five laps and the time that he got by me, he really had my wheels off the ground and I couldn't get in the gas and he got inside of me and from there drove on and drove away from me. This is short track racing. I had a great time racing today. It was really hard racing on the race track from Tony and I throughout the whole day so there just at the end he got aggressive with me and I had a fading car."

ON RACING YOUR TEAMMATE KYLE BUSCH:

"He did a great job throughout the entire day. He ran up front and his crew had great stops. He had a great race today. Like Jeff said earlier when he came off of (turn) two and got sideways, I protected the bottom and broke my momentum. If I was in the position (that Kyle was), I'd do the same thing, trying to get around the outside and do something with it but he faded back and the 8 got by him. He did a great job today. At one point I told my spotter to pass the word along to him that I thought he was doing an awesome job out there."

ON HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAVING FOUR CARS IN THE TOP 10. WHAT WAS IT THAT YOU GUYS HAD PREPARED GOING INTO THE RACE TO MAKE YOUR TEAMS SUCCESSFUL?

"I personally think it has a lot to do with Jeff Gordon and what he's done here over the years. It's one of his stronger tracks. He's come up with a great set-up. From my standpoint, I really try to run the same set-up and find a way to make it work. I see that same thing going on with Kyle and with Brian. The questions they ask remind me where I was when I first came here the first two years. During practice all of us were huddled around Jeff between the two practice sessions on Saturday trying to pick his brain a little bit." (JEFF GORDON - "I'm thinking twice about those conversations now.") He's so generous to share what it takes to get around here and at the same time, over the years he's refined such a good package here that we can just get in there, try to do our job as a driver and we've made the most of it."

ON HAVING THE SAME AMOUNT OF CONTACT AS BRISTOL BUT BEING ABLE TO GET AWAY WITH IT MORE HERE AND WITH LESS EMOTIONS INVOVLED:

"I don't think we touched (Jeff and himself) but it's definitely a lot easier here to use the bumper to move somebody out of the way. The encouraging thing from my standpoint is the outside lane was starting to come in. There were times where I was up there actually making ground on the 20 and another time when I was leading where I could kind of stretch it out there. When you put us all that close and competition is this tough, you're going to have bumping and banging. It didn't seem like a lot of cautions, just short track racing like you would have on a small little paperclip."

DID YOU KNOW NASCAR TOLD TONY STEWART TO CALM DOWN NEAR THE END?

"No, I don't think the message made it to him either (laughs). I have to give him some credit. He did it in a way that didn't wreck me but it had my rear tires off the ground where I couldn't touch the gas pedal. I was just a sitting duck and he got inside of me and got position on me."

ON WHAT YOU WERE THINKING DURING THE RED FLAG:

"I could see that there was a big mess down the backstretch. After the red flag I was a little nervous about the groove being real clean and there being grip there. Watching Jeff come off of two I thought 'uh oh this going to be bad, we're going to have another caution' but everybody came through there and nothing happened. You just hate breaking your rhythm and you hate things stopping at the end like that. On top of that, it's warm and all the heat is making its way up through the car and you can't get going fast enough to get some air circulated inside car."

-gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Ricky Hendrick , Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports