Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo - fastest in both the morning and afternoon practice sessions. "There's a lot still going on. Everybody is going to show their hands a little more tomorrow, I think. Some of the guys were...
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo - fastest in both the morning and afternoon practice sessions. "There's a lot still going on. Everybody is going to show their hands a little more tomorrow, I think. Some of the guys were stepping it up this afternoon. Our game plan was to come out and hit every test session and practice session as hard as we could because we don't have any points for provisionals. So we've been laying our cards out on the table and everybody else is catching up now.
Has the No. 48 team been working a lot with the No. 24 team? "The No.24 and the No. 48 have been working closely together because we're in the same building. The No. 25 and the No.5 have also been working closely together. All four teams have been working together and all four cars were in the top ten in the afternoon practice session. It's something that we're working hard on so that all of Hendrick Motorsports can utilize the advantages of a multi-car team."
How do you concentrate and keep a level head about being the fastest? "Keeping a level head is pretty easy. The restrictor plate racing is unique and really reflects what the teams have done and what the manufacturers have done. I wish I could tell you that I'm the reason that the car has been the fastest, but that's just not the case. If, when we get to Rockingham, I'm still the fastest, I'll take some credit. But it's really because of all the hard work that they've done. By tomorrow afternoon, if we're still sitting on top, I'll be smiling a lot more. But right now, it just seems to good to be true."
How great is it to work with such a successful team as Hendrick Motorsports? "The way the team is set up, I'll be able to work side-by-side with Jeff (Gordon) all year at every track. Any questions that I have about the car or about the track, I'll get honest answers from Jeff and Terry Labonte and Jerry Nadeau. The resources speak for themselves. You know what the No. 24 has been able to do with all their equipment and hopefully that's where the No. 48 team will end up also. We work together on data and he is a great resource."
Did you have any trouble getting through inspection late yesterday? "We got the sticker for our car this morning -- a half-hour before practice started."
Have you been pinching yourself a lot lately? "I've been pinching myself ever since I signed on (with Hendricks Motorsports) in September of 2000. So I've got welts all over. As excited as I am to be running well here, when we get to Rockingham it will be a totally different game. I've got a lot of learning to do and a lot of experience to gain. Hopefully we'll get a solid starting spot here and then more on. In my dream world, I'd love to stay on top."