Dover II: Pole winner interview

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET -- POLE WINNER: ON RACING AT DOVER: "I do like the race track. It's always been a very fun race track for me. Practice was in the not-so-fun category and we made some changes to get a good...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET -- POLE WINNER:

ON RACING AT DOVER:

"I do like the race track. It's always been a very fun race track for me. Practice was in the not-so-fun category and we made some changes to get a good lap. I wasn't sure if it was enough for the pole, but I knew I'd be far better than I was in practice. It was a fun challenge for me today; especially the way things turned out. And there are a lot of times where you change the race car around and you're not sure what to expect with the balance and you go out and you run a lap and things happen. Today, to really go into qualifying blind and go off of past notes for qualifying and the rhythm and mindset that I thought I needed to drive here and just blindly go into it in the first turn and just lay the car in there as I would hope, it could handle the speed and the car stuck and made the transition through (Turns) 1 and 2 and was strong. It's cool to have that come full circle. And I guess a lot of that boils down to the confidence I have in my race team and the faith I have in them and the trust I have in them to give me a car that I need to feel. So today was a neat challenge the way it all turned out."

IS THIS THE BEST MEDICINE AFTER LAST WEEK? HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION AT THIS TRACK?

"This is certainly a step in the right direction for momentum. Last weekend we ran much better than where we finished. It stinks that we finished where we did but there is nothing we can really do about it and to come out this weekend and qualify on the pole just starts the weekend off on the right foot. And it really creates a good situation for us in the race having that first pit stall. Track position is very, very important here. It seems to be more important as each weekend and each year goes by. We just learn more about the cars and make them more equal and the aero deficit that you're in being one position back; just one position back is enough to keep you from running the lap times you need to. So, it's all small little steps now and track position is one of the few big steps left in our sport. And the best way to get that track position is by qualifying on the front row or up front, and we did that. Hopefully we can maintain that track position throughout the race and have a good finish."

ON THE ADJUSTMENT FROM PRACTICE TO QUALIFYING THAT ALLOWED HIM TO WIN THE POLE. WHAT WILL YOU WORK ON IN TOMORROW'S PRACTICE?

"We just worked on qualifying trim today. So we can learn some trends from what we saw today and carry that into race practice tomorrow. But the track, to be honest with you, it was a little different than what we expected today. The grip level was a little off. The balance of the car wasn't as we anticipated. So hopefully what we learned today we can lay that into our race set-up and transition into a smoother day tomorrow."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE LAP, WAS IT THE PERFECT LAP FOR THIS TRACK? DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD A SHOT AT THE POLE?

"No, I wasn't sure it was a pole lap. Our practice session was really, really loose. And it was the first time I wasn't crashing loose so I felt like I was going to be better than 18th or wherever I was in practice and I was prepared to run a second lap and was carrying my speed into Turn 1 and committed to running my lap when (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) with great surprise said on the radio, 'Whoa, whoa, stop, stop...pole! You're good, you're good!' And I'm like what'? I didn't know the lap would turn out to be that fast. It was cool to see it all come together for us."

DID YOU FEEL THE LAP WOULD HOLD UP?

"I was the last of the guaranteed starters, I'm not even sure what the heck we're called, but I was the last of those guys. And I didn't feel like a go or go-homer had a shot to win the pole from what I saw in practice. I didn't count them out, but I felt pretty good about things.

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup