Daytona Shootout: Johnson post race interview

JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED THIRD. ON HOW THE SHOOTOUT UNFOLDED FOR HIM: "We didn't practice with the car. At the start, we had some thing not exactly right with the travel in the front of the car. Really, I lost the ...

JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, FINISHED THIRD.

ON HOW THE SHOOTOUT UNFOLDED FOR HIM:

"We didn't practice with the car. At the start, we had some thing not exactly right with the travel in the front of the car. Really, I lost the draft. The car wasn't all that good and I lost the draft. We came in during the break and made some changes and got the car to drive better. I knew at that point to race in those final 50 laps, I needed somebody behind me. At that point, I did the best I could to not put myself in a position to not get hung out. My car drove really well, I could get through traffic, I found myself up there in the top-five, top-four and ended up having a good night.

"The car was off on pace. Being a short track car we were missing a little something. But it drove so well as a result, that I could really carve through traffic and run wide open all night long and it kind of worked out for me."

ON IF SITUATION IS THE SAME NEXT WEEKEND IN DAYTONA 500, WILL HE STAY BEHIND HIS TEAMMATE EARNHARDT:

"I am going for it. But I have lost a lot of races by making a move too early. I thought I had the Kevin Harvick Daytona 500 winning move, but I didn't have the car to get it done. I waited and waited, got the huge push came from fifth and was rolling around the outside, but the car just didn't have anything left. There was a couple of times I had a chance to get inside the No. 88 before that when the No. 20 was on the bottom, my car just wouldn't lead. It was just barely hanging on in second. If I had pulled down and how aggressive Tony (Stewart) was and how good of a car he had, he would have put me in the middle and have gone to the back. So I felt like my safest situation was on the outside. I had teammates in front and behind me and I could just kind of wait until that scramble with two to go, or one to go it fortunately it worked out. I had to play more defense tonight than I want to, but it was what I had to do with a short track downforce car using for a speedway car.

"I was running out of steam before I got to Junior. If the No. 41 could have stayed with me a little longer, he hit me so hard I think it broke his momentum and it shot me off like a canon. If we could have stayed together for a little bit longer, or if I been in our intended car I would have been in good shape."

ON IF IN DAYTONA 500 YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMEONE BEHIND:

"I think that is the way our cars race. Talking to Dario (Franchitti) and some of the open wheel guys, they get more of a tow than a push. In Sprint Cup racing, it is all about who is behind you. Yes, the car in front of you helps, but it is more important to have someone pushing and how you control that space behind your car. That is not any different than years parts, I think my circumstances tonight made it more so for me.

"I saw the No. 20 car, he didn't really need any help. His car was good and slick and did all the things it needed to. He could run on the bottom with half the amount of cars against the guys on the top.

I think it will be standard racing and one thing I was real happy to see tonight, it seemed like a lot of thinking was going on out there. There was some hairy moments but it was much better in practice. I think we were all just too charged up yesterday when we took them off the trucks and it caused some problems."

ON TONIGHT'S RACING GIVING NEW INFORMATION ON THE IMPALA SS:

"I was surprised of the finish of our run tonight. But, when it started off, we were in big trouble. I was losing the draft. I think the car reacted like it should have; this car does clothes that gap up a lot. There is no way you would bring the old downforce car here, it just wouldn't happen. It has certainly closed up that gap. But you still have a set speedway car and a set short track car which is what we had tonight. The thing about the short track car, the panels, you try to make it light and not brace every thing like you would on a different car. I thought the windshield, the roof and the sides were going to blow off the car, everything was shaking so bad when I got in the draft. Sounded like the body was going to blow off the car."

ON HOW MUCH THE IMPALA SS MOVES AROUND:

"I think the cars move around more. I know for a fact that they do move around more. I think that at night, the grip level was better and it kind of masked some of the problems. When we start practicing for the 500 in the daytime it is going to be a handful again. But in general I found the car is much more sensitive with somebody on my bumper than the old car was. It is real easy to get someone loose and in trouble and as we make more laps each driver is understanding where that sweet spot is and how close you can get to someone and help them, and then where you get too close to them and get them in a bad situation."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick