Chicagoland: Johnson race press conference

Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet (Finished 2nd) ON THE INCIDENT WITH TONY STEWART "I didn't have a very good vantage of what took place even though it was right in front of me. I think it'd be unfair for any of us to comment on it...

Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet (Finished 2nd)

ON THE INCIDENT WITH TONY STEWART

"I didn't have a very good vantage of what took place even though it was right in front of me. I think it'd be unfair for any of us to comment on it unless we saw what took place. Evidently Ray (Evernham) is mad. I don't think Ray just goes around saying quotes like that over something minor. I'll have to watch the video and see what happens. He's definitely upset. I really don't know what took place."

DID THE RE-START SEEM SLOW?

"I think everybody took off up to speed good. I think I was three or four cars back. I saw Tony (Stewart) move to the outside. He had a run on someone. From there it was chaos. That start was fine. There were some other starts with serious brake checking taking place at the start of a re-start. It caused the incident with (Brian) Vickers and the 16 from brake checking from when the 20 was re-starting the race up front. I think a lot of us were complaining on the radio about the brake checking. They're supposed to maintain the pace car speed and take off without brake checking. That didn't have an outcome in the race and kind of a moot point. That's just the one little gripe I had on re-starts."

ON TODAY'S RACE

"It was a solid effort for us. There was one segment where we had the car to beat. It was probably two pit stops from the end. I was hoping that was the sign for the finish of the race. Unfortunately it just didn't work out. I think the 20 car was the strongest car all day long. It deserved to win the race. He had the speed and obviously a little controversy to go with it. We had a solid effort. Once again the Lowe's team continues to put forth great race cars, great handling cars and cars that stay together so I can go out there and drive my butt off. I had some fun passes on the outside of the 19 to get the second. I definitely had to work hard for that second place today but that's what I loved to do."

ON RAY EVERNHAM'S COMMENT THAT TONY STEWART HAS BEEN WRECKING DRIVERS ALL YEAR

"I just caught the end of it. I saw more of the guys rolling around on the ground with the fight than anything. I wish I could give you guys an opinion on it but I haven't seen it to say anything. When stuff happens to you like that you're upset. We all can imagine putting ourselves in that situation as Ray is in with two cars just outside the top ten in points and Kasey so close to winning so much. I think he probably had a run in earlier in the year with the 20 and this again. I don't think it was necessarily intentional. It's hard to believe at the re-start of a race where it would have crashed the 20 if it was something that was intentional. Maybe he was just too aggressive at that point. I'm just speculating. I'm just glad we didn't get caught up in it. We'll have something to talk about next week I guess."

DO YOU GIVE TONY STEWART EXTRA ROOM?

"No, actually he's been one of the better cars I've been able to race with personally. I haven't had any difficulties with him this year. A lot of other people have but it's been good racing for us so far."

SHOULD TONY STEWART BE DISQUALIFIED?

"I know you're looking for a good juicy quote and I don't have one. We know NASCAR. They won't take a win away from anybody. You can throw punches and have different fines that come down. I'm sure Monday or Tuesday we'll hear something come out if there is going to be some type of penalty or something to take place."

HOW MUCH MORE IMPORTANT ARE THESE TOP FIVES WITH THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?

"I think it's really important to have momentum on your side for the mental standpoint for your race team and for myself as a driver knowing that we're doing the right things leading into the final ten. The dynamics change this year for the championship. I think finishing up strong now before that final ten starts will give our team the momentum and confidence to walk into that without feeling pressure. I think that is important. Hopefully we can close out after race 26 as the champion and start up front and hopefully hang on to it. It obviously means less this year to be the points leader right now mathematically. Emotionally I think there's still a lot more riding on it."

ON COMPETING WITH THE 20 CAR

"We wanted to obviously be better than he was. I knew following him that I wasn't going to be able to follow him on the bottom. I really stuck to trying to make the top work especially in turns one and two. That's how I was finally able to get past him on the one segment where we took the lead from him. I got a good run on him on the outside and was able to sweep by him. My strategy was really to find a line on the track that he wasn't using and set my car up for it. We got it right for that one segment but unfortunately didn't have it when the checkered dropped."

-gm racing-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson