Atlanta II: Johnson Saturday wake-up call

Nextel Wake Up Call with Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS Bass Pro Shops 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway On adversity early on in the Chase: "Looking back at the past few seasons of the Chase, we felt like maybe we gambled at the wrong...

Nextel Wake Up Call with Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS
Bass Pro Shops 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway

On adversity early on in the Chase:

"Looking back at the past few seasons of the Chase, we felt like maybe we gambled at the wrong times, and tried to develop parts and pieces for the car and setups at the wrong time, and this year we really stuck to a good plan and developed our stuff at the right time, and started showing a lot of strength when the Chase started, which this year has worked out. We feel like we have a good approach, and the way things have gone has really made this an interesting and crazy Chase for all of the competitors. We have made good changes, and we have been let back into this deal, and we are ready to go."

On Matt Kenseth's comments regarding the Chase and Johnson position as "the favorite":

"I think Matt isn't really good at fooling people, I think he is pretty honest about things. (Laughs) With me sitting here, I am sure you would like to torture me sitting in the back the last thing you would want one of his competitors to hear is that. I have had a lot of respect for the #17 team, and I continue to, those guys have always been great competitors and champions. I think we have been a favorite throughout the season, we have led a lot of the points battle, the Chase started and everyone is familiar with how things have gone, and it is nice to be back in this thing. It is nice to have the other teams thinking about us and worrying about us."

On competitiveness of the start of the race in Atlanta:

"It might be competitive in the first few rows, but I think the majority of the guys will look at it and say nice break for us, we didn't have to take any chances in the beginning of the race, and we have track position. We may be out of where problems typically take place in the middle of the pack, so I think it will make things a lot more comfortable for the Chase contenders. Personally, I wish that we could get qualifying in, but there is no telling where we would all shake out, but maybe it would keep somebody from getting five points, and five points may determine the championship. So, we will just have to see, there is no way we will get any on-track activity today."

On upcoming charity event for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation:

"The Foundation has been great. We have spent a lot of time this year just trying to find out what a Foundation is all about, and the different avenue to pursue, and there is a lot of paperwork and filing that I had no idea took place. It's been a lot of work, and the director of the foundation has done an amazing job, and we did some strategic planning in the last month or so for next year, and we are hopeful to have some more events, any events period. We have been involved with a few different things, and Sprint/Nextel have been awesome to include us and have us be the recipient of a fundraiser. Hopefully, we will have some good things to announce shortly, and it's great to give back. I have had a chance to go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and spend some time with the President when he was there, and to see the construction site and the pad cut for the bowling alley as it is coming along, as the first project for my Foundation. It is exciting to see it all come together. It has just been papers and e-mails and a lot of discussions and now to actually have something together and seeing it and knowing that we can give back to the children. It is getting interesting right now and is going to be a lot of fun as time goes on."

On his reaction to the closeness of the Chase thus far:

"I am really shocked with that, as I think we all are. Championship battles, and I think of Tony (Stewart) last year and how rock solid they were, he did have some bad luck, but it seemed like every week he was in the top-three or top-five. I am shocked that it has turned out this way, and the slow start that we had, I am happy to see it be this crazy and out of control so that we can be back in this thing. I hope to get a championship for this race team. We have worked so hard and have been knocking on the door for five seasons now, and hopefully this can be the year for us."

On the keys to winning the Chase:

"I agree with the statement that it is a four race Chase now, and I think the one thing that none of us has had from the start of the Chase is consistency. If somebody can string together four straight consistent runs this year, they will be the champion. It is so close and so tight, and that has been the one thing that has been missing in the Chase so far is consistency. There has been a lot of great performances and teams have showed strength, but for whatever reason no one has been able to string together a series of races. (Jeff) Burton did, and then he head his back luck last weekend, and Talladega wasn't too strong for him but I think that whoever can string together four good races is going to be our champion."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Jimmie Johnson