JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - MEDIA CENTER INTERVIEW: "It was obviously a great run for us. We had a lot of problems throughout the weekend with a blown engine and brakes hanging up. All kinds of crazy things went wrong...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - MEDIA CENTER INTERVIEW:
"It was obviously a great run for us. We had a lot of problems throughout the weekend with a blown engine and brakes hanging up. All kinds of crazy things went wrong with the race car. But I'm thankful that my guys have such great attitudes about things and we just laughed it off. We started at the back today - started 43rd and ended up third. So we're real happy about that.
"I think being in traffic and racing through traffic all day long, if you're able to stay out of trouble, you don't get behind on adjustments. We had a great race car and raced up to 14th before the first caution came out. And then we were able to race up front all day. In the end, the radiator ducting on the bottom of the race car blew off. We were dragging it around. I think that made it a little tighter at the end. That's what Chad (Knaus, crew chief) told me. I don't really know what the heck it would do (laughs)."
WAS THERE ANY PARTICULAR PIT STRATEGY THAT COULD HAVE CHANGED THE OUTCOME?
"We were able to see that new tires would only change things by a couple of tenths and you'd only get that for a couple of laps. So it became apparent to us quickly that whatever you could do while you were getting fuel in the car - take tires if you can get them -- but keep the pit stops as short as possible. And then a couple of guys stayed out and started stretching fuel opportunities and we did it one time too - just came in for fuel only. We won California that way - my first win on no tires - and I've lost them before by not taking tires. It's a strategy we have to play. It doesn't mean that it's probably the best racing."
ON THE BATTLE WITH TONY STEWART AT THE END OF THE RACE THAT WAS HARD BUT CLEAN
"At the end of the day, especially after that last pit stop, you've got to race everybody as hard as you can. I've been in situations this year where I've put a lot of trust in a guy racing with me to not take me out on the last lap and I've been crashed. Chad got on the radio and said, 'Man, just let him go, let him go.' In the back of my mind, I'm thinking the next time we get door-to-door; if I don't do my job he isn't going to respect me for it. I could put my trust in Tony and be out there and race with him side-by-side. I did it with the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon). There are certain guys that you can. You'll give each other room. But man, you're going to race hard and that's what we're here for."
ON THE NEW SURFACE AT NHIS
"It can't be any worse than what we've had in the past with the track coming apart and the different issues we've had. We've found ourselves racing on the apron just to have a racing groove and opportunities to pass. As hard as it was to race down there, I think we still had some good short track racing - even though we were using the apron and king of hooking the grass in (turns) 3 and 4. Jeff (Gordon) and Tony tested there. Jeff came back thinking that we're going to be in good shape."