JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET met with media and discussed his race record at Michigan, the four teams at Hendrick Motorsports, and more. WHAT'S YOUR APPROACH ON POINTS NOW? "The bonus points, that's kind of the obvious one that all...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET met with media and discussed his race record at Michigan, the four teams at Hendrick Motorsports, and more.
WHAT'S YOUR APPROACH ON POINTS NOW? "The bonus points, that's kind of the obvious one that all the drivers want and as a team, the momentum from a win would be very important and helpful. But from our standpoint, not just this year but others as well, we felt the consistency going into the Chase was really important. We've had some races in the last four or five weeks where we've been competitive and didn't finish well. We've had races where we weren't competitive and didn't finish well. I think we're looking more for a consistent run here leading into New Hampshire before we start the Chase. If we can get 10 points, obviously that's what we need and what we want. But I think the momentum and the confidence that comes with four or five strong races is really important."
YOU'VE HAD YEARS WHEN YOU WERE REALLY HOT GOING INTO THE CHASE AND YEARS WHERE YOU WERE REALLY COLD AND STILL WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP. WHAT'S THE SAME AND WHAT'S DIFFERENT THIS YEAR? "From our standpoint, it seems like the bread & butter tracks for us in the past have been the 1.5-mile to two-mile tracks and that's where we've been a little bit off. And then the short track stuff has been really competitive. It's kind of a flip of sorts from what we've seen before. Every year is different and the challenges are different, but I think we're making some good gains on the 1.5-mile and two-mile tracks and we're looking forward to this weekend's race.
"I'd say when we were here in the spring is when we started trying some new things and really got away from our standard stuff and we've learned a lot about that set-up since then and we're looking forward to debuting what we have here."
MARK MARTIN SAID THE AIR AROUND HIM AND HIS TEAM IS LIGHTER NOW THAT THEY KNOW WHERE KASEY KAHNE IS GOING. HAVE YOU GOTTEN ANY SENSE FROM THEM THAT THAT'S THE CASE? "I've not seen or talked to Mark yet but I would imagine so. Those guys knowing where they're going to be I'm sure on Kasey's side, Mark's side and even for Mr. Hendrick to have things under control now I'm sure; all of them feel very good about it. I've always said that I've been in a very tough position as a driver at Hendrick Motorsports because Mark Martin brings so much to the table that I don't want to see him go anywhere.
"At the same time we have Kasey Kahne who is going to bring a ton to the table as well and be there to work with him and develop that relationship. I guess I always try to find the positive in things and we have two very good situations and we'll just make the most of what we have today and now that there's clarity in that I think it helps everybody's worlds and lets them stay focused on their jobs and we can get back to work."
WHY DO YOU THINK THE 24/48 SHOP SEEMS TO WORK AND THAT THERE HASN'T BEEN THE SAME SUCCESS WITH THE 5/88 SHOP? "It's so tough to tell. We all have the same equipment even though people want to argue the fact over the years, especially since I've been at Hendrick Motorsports and the benefits we know that come from a true multi-car organization (with the) same engines, same motors and we have parameters on all that stuff. So all the equipment is there; everybody has access to the same data base and I don't know what else besides just the chemistry between people can make the difference. And the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) has had something very special that's worked for a lot of years and then the brain power of the No. 24 team selected all of us and brought us in. So whatever selection process or whatever values that they first had and then were looking for, I guess has made the difference."
IS THERE ANY OTHER TRACK THAT'S MORE FRUSTRATING FOR YOU THAN MIS? "Yeah, I would say Sonoma and Bristol were my most frustrating tracks and now this would be the third. Now that I've gotten those out of the way, I think out of the tracks that are left, this is definitely it. Last year was so disappointing to lead and dominate both races and then run out of gas. We've seen fuel mileage bite us here before that and then there were a few races where some tire strategy worked out. One, we got beat by two (tires), so the next time we tried two and got beat by four (tires), so we've been all around a victory and just haven't nailed it yet. We're hopeful we can get it done. We ran decent in the spring but I'm not coming in here with the confidence that I did, say, last year knowing that we led both races and all that. But it's a long race and a track that I really enjoy running on and so does (crew chief) Chad (Knaus). So I feel we'll be good and hopefully we can get that win."
-source: gm racing