JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON KASEY KAHNE'S PROBLEMS "I feel for that team. Those guys have been the class of the field at many races. When they figure out how to make it to the end, they're going to be awfully tough.
JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON KASEY KAHNE'S PROBLEMS
"I feel for that team. Those guys have been the class of the field at many races. When they figure out how to make it to the end, they're going to be awfully tough. They've been strong at many of the race tracks. The hard times are tough to deal with. It's easier when you're up front and leading to a point. I've been lucky not to experience a lot of that. Usually when I'm running bad I end up crashing. He's had bad luck in that respect. It's had an impressive run as a rookie."
ON HIS RESPECT FOR RICK HENDRICK AND THE POWERHOUSE ORGANIZATION HE'S BUILT OVER THE YEARS
"I'm so lucky to be able to drive for Rick. There are a lot of people who have watched Rick and have dreamed about driving for him. To be able to be here and be a part of it is really special. There isn't anyplace else I'd rather be. I can't tell you how blessed I feel to be a part of the team. It's a family atmosphere. But it's a very serious business. Facing Rick after poor performances is sometimes an easy thing because he's an understanding man, but he wants to win so bad and has such desire that it's also difficult. His dedication to the sport is unmatched by any team."
ON HIS CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES WITH 5 RACES TO GO
"We still have hopes but it's out of our control. It's going to require the No. 8 and the No. 97 to have some bad luck. Right now, with a lot of the drivers having one bad race, maybe a top five is a realistic goal that we can control as a team by our performances on the race track. We need to finish as high as we can in points and do the best we can. If these guys bobble up front, then we have a chance. But with two bad races like we've had, I don't think it's in our control."
CAN YOU HANDICAP THE FIELD OVER THE FINAL 5 RACE
"In the short format, I think all 10 drivers stand a chance. That's what is so dangerous about the perspective I take on the championship with a 10-race shootout. All the teams are capable of putting together 10 races. That's a short program for what we're used to doing. Now that it's looking like a three-man race, I stack the odds in Jeff's hands. The man has so much experience and knows how to win championships. He's had that pressure on him. He's got four of those trophies already. If you look at what he did tonight and what the team did, they were able to rally back from two incidents and finish second. Those guys know how to do it and if I was in Vegas, I'd put some money on them."
CHAD KNAUS , CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
HAS IT BEEN HARD TO KEEP THE TEAM FOCUSED?
"No, not at all. These guys are very focused and determined. It's not been an issue to keep them motivated. But yeah, we've had some problems and crashed and blown engines, but we know week in and week out we run competitively."
RICK HENDRICK, OWNER, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
ON A ONE-TWO FINISH AND ON THE NO. 48 SWEEPING AT LOWES MOTOR SPEEDWAY THIS YEAR
"It was a heck of a night for the No. 24 car with all the adversity and all that went on. To see that car come back is the kind of championship effort by them. We felt like Jimmie was our best shot in final practice last night. Jimmie just gets around this place. We were just fortunate tonight. I felt like this was the night. He has a knack for figuring this place out. And so does Chad and that's why they've been consistent every time they come here."
ON THE ROLE THAT LUCK PLAYS IN A 36-RACE SEASON
"Well, I like the old program. I know it's interesting in the last 10. But it's almost like a throwaway lap to get into the top 10. I personally believe there ought to be a 200- point spread between first and 10th going into the 10-race deal. It's just hard. It's not like basketball or baseball. A lot of things can happen. It's awful tough when you've been there all year long. It's the format and we accept it and that's the way we've got to race. But I do believe there could be some adjustments for winning and the guy who goes into the 10-race stretch with the most points ought to have at least 200 over the other guy."
Q: ON CHEVROLET WINNING THE MANUFACTURERS' CHAMPIONSHIP
RICK HENDRICK: "Chevrolet came down and presented me with a car that had the 20th anniversary on the hood. We had all our cars painted silver this weekend. Being a Chevrolet dealer and racing Chevrolets all the way, GM in Detroit puts an awful lot of emphasis on winning that deal. To clinch it tonight with us doing it is really special for me."
JIMMIE JOHNSON: "I have to agree. It's been a very special ride for me with Chevrolet. When I was 16 years old, they took a chance with me and put me in their off-road program and have really guided my career and helped me meet the right people and bring me though the ranks. They helped me meet the right people and bring me though the ranks. They helped me get involved with Herzog Motorsports and they brought my name to Rick's attention. They've really helped me out in so many ways it's hard to explain. Last year I think I won their 400th win and that was very special for me with the history I've had with Chevrolet. And then to be able tonight to win the race and clinch the Manufacturers' Cup for them this year is just really cool for me. I remember being the young guy under the umbrella and watching all these marks be taken by guys like Jeff Gordon and numerous other top-notch guys and it's pretty cool to know I'm in that company now."