Johnson will pilot chassis No. 540 in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. He last drove that car to a fifth-place result at Martinsville Speedway in October. Back up chassis No. 520 has collected four wins in five starts -- the most recent coming...
Johnson will pilot chassis No. 540 in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. He last drove that car to a fifth-place result at Martinsville Speedway in October.
Back up chassis No. 520 has collected four wins in five starts -- the most recent coming at Martinsville Speedway in March 2009.
WILL YOU TAKE MORE SATISFACTION IN WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP THAT IS A TIGHT POINTS RACE? "I don't know. Initially I react and say not really because the reason we had a lot of points is because we went out and won races and the amount of wins we had in the Chase -- it's not like we backed into a championship and just kind of stumbled upon four in a row. I don't want to take anything away from the stretches we've had and the races we've won. We've won a lot of Chase races. I guess I'll know more if that comes together and I can look back on my emotions then. Right now I'm really proud of how we won these races and taken a lot of pride in winning 19 of 64 Chase races right now. That is pretty tough to do so I don't want to take anything away from the past."
YOU ARE IN UNCHARTED TERRITORY. NORMALLY THIS TIME OF THE YEAR YOU ARE THE POINTS LEADER AND NOW YOU ARE 33 POINTS BACK GOING TO PHOENIX AND HOMESTEAD. WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET NOW? "Well the last four years we have been in a different position. I have lost plenty of championships in the past and this is racing and it doesn't come easy and you are not going to get what you want every single year and every single weekend. I can promise you this. I am trying as hard as I can; I know my team is, and we are doing everything we can. Thirty-three points back is not where we want to be but we are going to work to get back on top."
COMMENT ON THE DECISION TO MOVE FORWARD THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR WITH THE 24 AND 48 SWAPPING CREWS: "Yea, you know. It's a difficult decision for sure. There's always emotions involved but I think the thing that everybody has to realize is when we set up this team it was a one team situation. That's what we are and we always have been. We've had crew members from the 24 pit the 48, we've had crew members and mechanics on the 48 pit the 24. It's always been like that and we're going to continue to work that way. We set it up at the beginning of the year that we were going to have five or six tire changers, we were going to have three or four jackmen for the 24 and the 48 and that was explained to the guys at the beginning of the year and everyone understands that and that's the way it is."
YOU SAID ON SUNDAY THAT YOU WANTED TO GET YOUR GUYS BACK HOME AND REGROUP. HOW DID YOU COME TO THE DECISION TO MAKE THE CHANGE? "It was obviously a collective decision. We got everybody involved, Stevie (Letarte) and myself initially. We actually talked about it Sunday night quite a bit on the flight home from Texas. We had a couple of hours there where we could run through some ideas and how we wanted to approach it. We felt like it was a good thing for the 48 obviously. And it could be a definite positive for the 24 as well. We got the drivers involved. We got Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and Mr. Carlson (Marshall Carlson, President, Hendrick Motorsports) involved and we discussed it and came up with a choice. And then we got the guys together and we discussed it with them and they all bought into it 100% and there's a lot of positive in it to be honest."