Charlotte II: Johnson post qualifying interview

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - QUALIFIED 2ND ON HIS LAP: "The car was maybe a little on the free side. But I really don't think I left anything out there. I'm real proud of the lap we put in. We had a great run. We've had a...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - QUALIFIED 2ND

ON HIS LAP:

"The car was maybe a little on the free side. But I really don't think I left anything out there. I'm real proud of the lap we put in. We had a great run. We've had a very smooth day in the Busch car and in the Cup car and I'm looking forward to a good weekend in both races."

DO YOU THINK THAT ANYBODY WHO IS MORE THAN 200 OR MORE POINTS BACK AFTER THIS RACE WILL HAVE DIFFICULT TIME OF HAVING A LEGITIMATE SHOT AT WINNING THE TITLE?

"I would think so, but it just depends on what the guys up front do, and if they have any bad luck. It's tough to call it. I think their situation is getting more and more difficult as the races go by. But there's no telling what's going to happen. And the way these first three or four races have been in the Chase, it seems like there's a wreck that takes out three or four of them. If you collect first through fourth, those guys are right back in it."

YOU WORKED A LOT ON QUALIFYING TODAY. IF THE CHASE IS THE BIG PICTURE, IS PIT SELECTION ALL THAT IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOUR TEAM?

"If you're able to maintain track position, it makes the race so much easier for you. And you really start adjusting the car to race the guys up there for the win. I think at Kansas we had a really good car through traffic, but I didn't spend enough time up front to get the fine adjusting done on the car to run for the win. I got to third once and then we had the pit stop sequence and the rain and then I was at the back and came flying through the field again and I got to third and I couldn't go anywhere. So if you can stay up there with the guys that are really racing for the win, and adjust with them and find out how fast you need to go, it really helps you when it comes time to get the deal done at the end of the race.

"But the other part of it is for us, if we qualify well, it starts the whole weekend off on a good tone for the team. I'm not sure if it's momentum or if it's mental or maybe the two are the same. It's just better to get off to a good start. We also find that the track changes a lot from when our qualifying practice session starts to when we actually get into race trim on Saturday. It's very easy to start going down the wrong road on Friday. You think you've got things under control and you show up Saturday and are scratching your head and frustrated wondering what in the world went on. So, those things, all considered, kind of help us lean toward just focusing on qualifying."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup