Daytona II: Johnson, Riggs post-qualifying interview

Jimmie Johnson ...

Jimmie Johnson #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
3rd position

Scott Riggs #10 Valvoline Chevrolet
2nd position

PRESS CONFERENCE

JOHNSON

"I'm very happy with this lap. I'm happy with everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. We built a new car and didn't test it. The only laps it has on it are the ones we put on it in practice. I'm proud of the guys for their hard work and effort. I have to admit we really didn't think we'd be in the top 10. We were hoping for a top 15. We made a qualifying run in practice. It felt like we were fair, but nothing for the top five. We were pleasantly surprised to see that lap. It's a great starting spot and a great pit road pick for us. I'm happy for the Lowe's team."

RIGGS (ON STARTING ON THE FRONT ROW)

"We were really in the same boat as Jimmie. We were hoping for a top 10 or 15. We never made a qualifying run and didn't know what our car was capable of. This is the car we did our drafting practice with at the January test session. And we were just hoping that the other car that we brought back as our primary for the 500 would draft as well as this car, which it did. Unfortunately, by losing that car at Talladega we had to go back to this car. I knew it was going to be slower than the other car by itself. But we didn't know what it would be like around other car or in the race - especially with the impound. So it's a pleasant surprise to be on the front row."

JOHNSON (HOW WILL THE CARS RACE?)

"Everybody had some grip problems with the heat in practice. Some guys were loose, but the majority of them were tight. Scott and I both had a tight race car and were trying to figure out how to make it turn better. The car that was fast was the No. 20 (Tony Stewart, pole sitter). His car was glued to the yellow line through the corners. It was really amazing to see how well his car would stay in the bottom. I feel fortunate to have all our other Chevy guys (with Hendrick motors) to work with during the race."

RIGGS

"Yes, Hendrick horsepower always helps. We've been very fortunate to have great engines everywhere we go. I ran with Tony out there in practice and he seemed very strong. I think Jeff (Gordon) was pretty strong too. Seemed like both Jimmie and Jeff had strong cars. I just hope I can be right there with them and not collected in the big wreck."

RIGGS (ON THE MBV / MB2 SUCCESS)

"Oh they've done a great job. Everyone at the shop has done a great job building these cars and being able to duplicate what they built the first time. I know that Boris Said's car is brand new. Same with Joe Nemechek's car. His was actually supposed to be my new car to replace my primary. But when they took them to the wind tunnel it seemed like the two cars they ran were pretty good. We felt good about our back-up car and knew it drafted well. Since this was an impound race, we felt we could just bring our back-up car down here. But they do a good job - not just building the cars, but duplicating them. And I can't say enough about having a good water heater under the hood helps. Hendrick always gives us good horsepower too."

JOHNSON (ON IMPOUNDING VS. NOT, AND IS THE NO. 20 ON PAR WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS?)

"I think this qualifying effort shows more. When the race starts and the draft starts, there are a lot of other thing that take place out there and the best car doesn't always win. It's really about the guy who understands the draft the most and knows how to position himself how to pass and not be passed. So I think what we see here on the board shows us a real speed chart versus what we have in the 500 when everyone has their magic stuff working. We really had our race set-up in the race car. It sounds like Scott Riggs did as well. And Tony Stewart is not one to chase a pole - he's all about having a good race car. I really feel the top three cars are going to race."

"I do think that Tony Stewart is one of the better plate racers out there. He's done a great job with it. He's been a runner up quite a few times and close to winning. He's gong to be one of four or five drivers who is going to be very tough tomorrow night."

RIGGS (WITH THE UNUSUAL SCHEDULE, IS IT MORE OF A GUESSING GAME WITH SET-UPS?)

"The extra heat we were in today is just going to magnify whatever kind of trouble you car is going to show. Of course in the race, once you get a lot of rubber on the race track and heat in the cars, everyone usually fights a tight condition. It's the same kind of thing we had today. Some were talking about having their cars loose today during night, but I'd rather have a loose car and tighten up versus having a car that's tight and trying to figure out how to free it up rather than slow it down."

JOHNSON (DIFFERENCE IN NOT HAVING A POINTS LEAD GOING INTO THIS RACE)

"It doesn't change too much; we still need to go out and collect points. I would rather be leading the points than being in second, so we're going to try to do what we can to get back on top. There's still a lot of racing left between the chase start and now, and then once the chase starts it's a whole different game then. I think that leading the points gives the team experience with the pressure."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Boris Said , Joe Nemechek , Jimmie Johnson , Scott Riggs