Watkins Glen: Johnson - Friday media visit

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, met with members of the media and discussed driving the Impala SS at Watkins Glen, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining Hendrick Motorsports, Kyle Busch's ability to focus after finalizing his plans for next year,...

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, met with members of the media and discussed driving the Impala SS at Watkins Glen, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining Hendrick Motorsports, Kyle Busch's ability to focus after finalizing his plans for next year, where the No. 48 team is at heading into the Chase, the impact of having wins going into the Chase, having different drivers compete at the road course races, Chad Knaus' return after his suspension, comparing competing in the Chase this year versus previous years, Jeff Gordon's chances for another championship, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, teammate dynamics during the Chase, racing at Michigan International Speedway and what their team has done to prepare for the race this weekend.

Select quotes from driver interview:

ON RACING THE IMPALA SS AT WATKINS GLEN AND IF HE HAS THE INFORMATION HE NEEDS: "We spent some time testing, getting prepared for this race. I think we did learn a little bit at the race in Sonoma and I think I learned a lot with the couple test sessions that we had leading into this race to understand this car better and I'm coming in with a lot of confidence and probably more excited for a road course race than I am in a long time."

WITH KYLE BUSCH KNOWING WHERE HE IS GOING NEXT YEAR, WILL THAT MAKE IT EASIER FOR HIM TO FOCUS ON HIS CAR THE REST OF THE YEAR OR WILL IT BE MORE OF A DISTRACTION? "I would have to think now that he knows where he's going and his deal is done that it will calm things down, there's no doubt about that. I think it's got to be easy for him knowing where he's going to land, knowing the particulars of his deal. Those things really probably bring a lot of peace to someone in that situation so I would expect him to be just as committed, as fast and as focused as he's ever been."

ON WHERE HIS TEAM IS AT WITH FOUR RACES UNTIL THE CHASE: "We've been performing well until last weekend. We've had some crazy luck and really didn't have the finishes that we wanted through the summer months but the good side of it has been strong performances and where we were running when we had our bad luck so we're certainly not happy in seventh but the way the Chase works this year and the seeding process and all of that, we just got to focus on transferring and then we'll be towards the top if not tied for the top going into the Chase."

ON CHAD KNAUS' RETURN: "We're getting through this weekend and we'll have him back. I know there's been a lot of discussion that since he's been gone we've had poor performances and I don't think that's a fair assessment of the way the team's operated through the summer months. Before Chad's suspension we were having crazy luck with tires and fuel strategy and blew an engine in Texas, so I've been very proud of the team and what we've done. Without Chad here I think we've kept our pace up and we've been less of a team but I still think we've been right on par and where we need to be. We really look forward to having him back next week and getting everything in line and ready for the Chase."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Chad Knaus , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports