Watkins Glen: Johnson - GM Top-10 interview

AMD AT THE GLEN - Weekly Top 10 BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS WHAT WILL THE RACING BE LIKE FROM HERE UNTIL RICHMOND WITH DRIVERS TRYING TO GET INTO THE CHASE? "It's just racing. Everybody has to do...

AMD AT THE GLEN - Weekly Top 10

BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS

WHAT WILL THE RACING BE LIKE FROM HERE UNTIL RICHMOND WITH DRIVERS TRYING TO GET INTO THE CHASE? "It's just racing. Everybody has to do what they can to get maximum points. That's something we've always had in our sport. And it will always be there. I think all you're going to see is good hard racing. I think part of being a good points racer is recognizing when a situation is coming up that you need to be a part of and then how to get kind of get away from that or around it. I don't see the intensity from the guys around the bubble area in the Chase. I don't see that affecting the race. I think it's going to make it more exciting and a lot different competition on the race track."

WHY ARE TONY STEWART AND JEFF GORDON SO STRONG ON ROAD COURSES? "I don't know. They both have great equipment. I know Jeff has awesome equipment. They just have a feel for it and an understanding of where to find speed. I think all of us recognize that braking zones are important so I think everybody focuses on that. But I think they have found a way to get through the corners or back to the gas just a little bit earlier. And when you have 11 corners on a race track, all they need is a little bit in each corner to really impact the total lap time. They are both very talented at it and I'm hoping I can improve my road course skills this weekend and be able to race with them."

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE HAVING SUCH A GREAT SEASON? "It's such a special year for me to be able to win the (Daytona) 500 and the (Brickyard) 400 in the same year. I really never thought I'd have a chance of winning the 400. So it's a special year and it puts a lot of confidence in myself and my team to know we're capable of winning races that we didn't think we were. It just builds more confidence and a championship mindset and a personal victory of beating a track that's beaten us."

IS THERE ONE PARTICULAR COMPONENT THAT'S CRUCIAL TO WINNING AT THE GLEN? "I think brakes probably mean the most. I think you can over-abuse brakes and wear out on the race track pretty quick."

WHAT DID YOU LEARN LAST YEAR THAT YOU CAN BRING BACK THIS YEAR AT THE GLEN? "We were competitive in the race here last year. I think we finished in the top five, but I wasn't able to run for the win and be able to race with Tony (Stewart) and I think Jeff (Gordon) came up there late and I think some of the other road course specialists got in there and were really dicing it up. In my heart, I just can't accept the fact that those guys can catch and drive away from me. So I may be over reacting with some of my comments about not thinking I've done a good job on road courses, but I've just found that I should be able to win on every type of race track and I'm just challenging myself to step up to the plate and do it better."

WHAT MAKES YOUR TEAM SO SPECIAL? 'I really think our team is all together, and we think alike. We're really a team. I don't know how to describe it, but we pick each other up when we're down and help each other out and motivate each other. We really are a tight-knit race team and I think that's very important. I'll sit here and brag about my team, but as I look around there are five or six teams that have that same thing going for them. That's why the Chase is so competitive this year. There are five or six teams that are very capable of winning this championship."

WHAT PITFALLS DO YOU SEE COMING UP BETWEEN NOW AND THE CHASE? "Bristol has been a hit or miss race track for me, so I think it's probably the biggest challenge we have coming up."

AS A PART OWNER OF YOUR CAR, DO YOU EVER HAVE A CHANCE TO TALK TO JEFF GORDON AND GET HIS INPUT? "Yeah, but not really from the car owner aspect but from the teammate aspect and trying to make our cars as good as we can. We definitely spend a lot of time talking about driving styles and set-ups and how to communicate with our engineers and crew chiefs and really, all four teams work through all of that as one unit."

DO YOU EVER TALK ABOUT VICTORY NO. 76 FOR JEFF GORDON? "No, we haven't talked about that. We talked about 75 and how amazing that is. He doesn't know where all those victories came from."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT CHANGING THE POINTS SYSTEM AND PAYING MORE FOR A WIN? "I think NASCAR has done a good job of making the point system exciting and entertaining. The only think I would ask is that they not be under the assumption if they make more points to win that it's going to change the racing. We race as hard as we can. We do everything we can to win races. Nobody is out there riding around. I just don't want anybody to think that it would make us drive harder and make the racing better. It's not going to do that."

-credit: gm racing

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup