JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - POST PRACTICE AND POST 'SPONGEBOB' PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT: "To have a chance to come back and get in a Busch car is very exciting. Lowe's is doing a great promotion with Nickelodeon and the ...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - POST PRACTICE AND POST 'SPONGEBOB' PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT:
"To have a chance to come back and get in a Busch car is very exciting. Lowe's is doing a great promotion with Nickelodeon and the SpongeBob movie and it's going to be popular with the kids. We're at our home track and a place that I love to race at in a SpongeBob Lowe's car and I couldn't be more excited about it."
ABOUT HIS SUCCESS AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY
"This has always been a track that I love to race at. Hendrick Motorsports has always had good set-ups for here and good motors for here and the package works well. Chad (Knaus, crew chief) loves the track. When you get positives together like that, you're going to have a good run. That's really what it boils down to. We've had a lot of success here."
ON WINNING LAST YEAR
"It was a rain-shortened event that turned out good for us. We ended up winning. Last year is last year. There have been a lot of changes to the rules and the bodies and the tires. You really can't take last year and roll it into this year. I went out awfully early in the All-Star Challenge last weekend and thought I had a shot at the million dollars. My bank account is a little less than what I'd like it to be at this time of year. So, I need to come back and win the 600 and try to win again here in the fall - even in the Busch car that we're going to come back with."
ON BEING ABLE TO ADJUST THE CAR AS THE NIGHT GOES ON IN THE 600
"I really have to communicate everything that I feel and that goes on to Chad (Knaus). We've been here and tested for each of the 600's in the past. We have some good notes and have a pretty good idea of what adjustments we need at what time and as the sun is going down. But you can only build so much adjustability in the car and still have it be fast at the beginning of the race. So at some point you're going to have to take a risk on a pit stop and put spring rubbers in or take them out and make some major changes. Throughout the evening, everybody is going to have a slow spot in the race - even the winner will. So hopefully we're on top of things and can use our notes and apply them to the 600 because it's one of the most physical races to stay on top of and be good from start to finish."
HOW WILL QUICKEST IN PRACTICE TRANSLATE INTO QUALIFYING?
"The track is going to change a lot. The speeds are going to pick up and the track is going to change. We go out dead last. Fortunately our teammates going in front of us and will give us an idea of what the track is doing. We've got a real good shot tonight. We were very fast in practice, we'll have a late draw to help us plus our teammates and their information. Hopefully we can put this Monte Carlo on the pole for the (Coca Cola) 600."
ARE YOU SATISFIED AS SECOND IN POINTS AFTER ONE WIN?
"We've been really strong. We've been in contention for wins each week. We have one win in a place I'm happy to win at - Darlington. It's been a solid year. We've been collecting a lot of points for doing well. Where we're at in points, we can afford to take some risks right now and try to win some races. A couple of guys have two or three wins. I'd like to get up there in that department and have a couple more wins in the next few months. When we get in the final ten, I'm not sure how that strategy is going to play out yet. I think you'll have to side on consistency and lean that way."
DOES MISSING THE PITT IN 2002 BOTHER YOU?
"You learn from your mistakes. I let one slide through my fingers there. I was able to come back and get my victories here last year. I think I'm in contention again. I don't think from '02 I have any unfinished business. It's a new year and a new track."
HOW WAS REGIS & KELLY?
"It's a lot of fun to go to New York and to be a NASCAR driver and help bring our sport into the mainstream market. I enjoyed going up. There's a lot of interest in all the major cities now from requests to go on to MTV, to Regis & Kelly and the Today Show. There's a lot of things that NASCAR drivers in our sport are having the opportunity to be a part of."