Darlington: Johnson post race interview

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS - Finished Third COMMENTS ON THE RACE: "(It was just) really a challenging day. The track conditions changed as the sun came out. . I thought it was going to be overcast all day long. We got the car ...

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS - Finished Third

COMMENTS ON THE RACE:

"(It was just) really a challenging day. The track conditions changed as the sun came out. . I thought it was going to be overcast all day long. We got the car adjusted the first half of the race and started making some progress. And then the sun came out. Fortunately when the sun came out I think it helped our setup out... Put up a good fight, I'm disappointed to come in third, especially leading with 20 (laps) to go, not being able to bring home the victory. But very happy for Jeff (Gordon) and Hendrick Motorsports. I think today was a good example of the fight that Hendrick Motorsports has. Jeff and I both had okay cars and then at the end we were running 1-2 because we stayed focused and worked on our race cars all day long. I'm just real proud of our organization."

WOULD YOU RETHINK YOUR FINAL PIT STOP?

"New tires always face off here. If I was back in that position I think I would go for tires again. It really amazes me how we weren't able to get through traffic fast enough and I think part of that problem was that the lap-down cars came to pit road and had new tires too. So it was just tough to get through the lapped cars and start racing for the win."

AFTER THE PIT STOP DID YOU THINK YOU COULD CATCH GORDON?

"Yeah, I thought we were golden. The first restart I think I got two or three positions and a few of the lapped cars and I'm sitting there behind the No. 8 on that final restart and I thought I was in great position. Then I couldn't get through lapped traffic that fast. I got by the No. 8 finally and then spent a lot of time racing with the No. 12 and then the No. 11 got by the No. 12 and I was finally able to get by the No. 12. We were just too far behind at that point and plus, the last of the tires didn't work out for us. We were too tight."

DID YOU THINK THAT GORDON'S CAR WOULD OVERHEAT AND GIVE YOU A SHOT?

"I didn't really think so. I knew my car was getting hot and I saw a lot of other cars steaming under caution. These race cars really aren't happy once you slow down. They don't get enough air through the nose to cool the engines down. My car was hot and I assumed that Jeff's, being the teammate, was probably as hot as I was. So I didn't think his car was going to have a problem."

DID YOU THINK GORDON WAS GOING TO COME IN BEHIND YOU WHEN YOU PITTED?

"We were pretty determined to pit. If I saw everybody staying up, I kind of motioned back up to stay out of the pits and I saw everybody behind Jeff coming for the most part so our intention was to pit. With 20 (laps) to go we felt like that was the right thing to do."

DO YOU THINK HENDRICK'S SUCCESS CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO CLEAN OR SMART RACING?

"I think we've been solid. I haven't had any speeding penalties. We had an issue at the beginning of the year when we had a couple of tires get away from us but we've been mistake-free for the most part and I think that's helpful. Especially when you have so many cars that are so competitive. Today I saw the No. 17, No. 11, No. 24; No. 99. the No. 20 was up there and had some problems. I guess he got a flat. There were six or seven cars that had a chance to win. I think at the end we just put ourselves in position by not really making any mistakes. On top of the fact that we had a good car. But I feel our cars are equal to the rest of the guys out there. We've just been a little cleaner throughout the race weekend."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson
Teams Hendrick Motorsports