JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS met with media and discussed goals of winning a road course race, double-file restarts at Michigan, choosing between winning at Bristol versus a road course race, and more. WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK GOING INTO...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS met with media and discussed goals of winning a road course race, double-file restarts at Michigan, choosing between winning at Bristol versus a road course race, and more.
WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK GOING INTO THE ROAD RACE HERE AT WATKINS GLEN? "I'm excited. I'm looking for that first road course win. I think that we're getting closer and closer. I'm hopeful that it's this weekend. At Sonoma we overcame a lot and finished fourth and I left there extremely optimistic for this race. Last year we were really fast. We had a cut left-rear tire and had to come back from pitting under green and then pass a lot of cars to have a decent finish. So I'm very optimistic about things and looking forward to it."
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK YOU NEED A ROAD COURSE WIN TO COMPLETE YOUR RESUME? DO YOU THINK IT'S JUS A MATTER OF TIME? ALSO, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TIMES WHEN ROAD COURSE WINS SEEMED IN HAND, BUT ENDED IN DISAPPOINTMENT? "I don't feel like I need it (a win) to complete my resume. It's been shocking to me and I saw this with short tracks as well. The types of tracks I figured I would be really good at with my background in off-road trucks and road racing that I've done, I thought that I would come into a NASCAR-style vehicle and take to it right away. My example for the short tracks was that in ASA I was really competitive and ran on a lot of the great short tracks around the country. I (thought) I would go back to that same short track in a heavier car with a radial tire and I was terrible; but I did better at the 1.5-miles out of the gate in the Busch (now Nationwide) Series. It's been kind of that weird thing for me and I don't understand it. Certainly I hopped in other vehicles; I hopped in a Grand Am car and am on pace with my teammates that are extremely fast and won a championship. So I don't know what it is about the Cup car that I've had some troubles with. But I am getting closer and I think more seat time is helpful. I usually am a slow learner, but once I get something I own it and I don't let go of it. I feel like I'm chipping away at it. Last year here at the Glen was probably my best opportunity to win, and we had that flat tire. I'm not really sure. I can't really remember that pace of the race and how competitive we were with the No. 18 (Kyle Busch) car, but I have to feel we would have been up there in the top two or three if we didn't have our troubles. I feel we're getting closer and I hope it's this weekend and when I figure out how to really get around these places, I'm sure I'll be on it and do well with it."
WITH THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS, THE MICHIGAN RACE COULD BE VERY INTERESTING. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT? "Yeah, it will be. I remember at Michigan we had a dominant car; such a fast race car all day long. So I'm really excited going back. It wasn't too long ago, so hopefully the advantage we had will still be there and hopefully we can make one more lap on fuel (laughs). We came up just one (lap) short last time, so fuel mileage races and the No. 48 car just don't mix. I'm shocked that we've even won one at Phoenix last year. But I'm looking forward to it. That's one of the tracks (where) we've been getting better and better. Our finishing results don't show it, but if you look at laps led, we've been up front a lot there. We just haven't been able to close the deal yet."
IF YOU HAD TO PICK BETWEEN WINNING AT A ROAD COURSE AND WINNING AT BRISTOL, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PICK AND WHY? "Oh, man. I don't know. That's a good one. I guess I would say here. I guess a road course. It's surprising that I've not been better on a road course in a Cup car. So it really gets under my skin more than Bristol. I don't know why. It's not by a landslide by any means, it's a very close call between the two, but I think a road course (win) would mean more to me."
A ROAD COURSE WIN IS ON YOUR LIST OF GOALS. IS THAT BECAUSE ONCE YOU WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP, YOU LOOK FOR OTHER BOXES TO CHECK OFF? IT SEEMS LIKE A RELATIVELY SMALL ACCOMPLISHMENT GIVEN WHAT YOU'VE ALREADY DONE. "Truthfully, it's been on my list far before winning a Cup championship. I was just able to get the championship stuff done before getting a road course win. I had no idea that this type of success would come and I would be experiencing stuff at the championship level. So, there were a lot of other steps and goals on my sheet before a championship, but I was very fortunate to get those first. Winning championships is what the season is based on and what the ultimate goal is, but when I look at the little battles through the course of the year, a road course is at the top of that list right now."
-credit: gm racing