Chassis * Johnson will pilot chassis No. 580 in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. He last drove that car to a third-place result at Auto Club Speedway in October. * Johnson drove back up chassis No. 558 from a first-place starting spot to...
* Johnson will pilot chassis No. 580 in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. He last drove that car to a third-place result at Auto Club Speedway in October.
* Johnson drove back up chassis No. 558 from a first-place starting spot to Victory Lane at Dover International Speedway in September.
DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM 2004 OR 2005 TO HELP YOU THIS SEASON?: "In both instances, kind of different routes to get to this same opinion, it's not over until the last lap at Homestead. Clearly the 97 (Kurt Busch) losing his wheel mid-race at Homestead led us to believe that it was maybe our day and that things were going to work out. The green-white-checkered run to the finish at the end, I don't think the green-white-checkered was in play at that time and he was the car behind me when it counts -- the 97 and he wins the championship. That one proved to me that it's not over until the last lap. At Homestead, with the 20 (Tony Stewart) car, we blow a tire and wreck and the 20 needed to finish like in the top-25 or something if we did things right. We had a great evening going and the 20 ran terrible. I still kick myself today for not coming to pit road, not getting the tire off the car because I felt like I had a problem and it was slowing down my pace and maybe we could have recovered from going down a lap and put more pressure on the 20 and come back and finish like we needed to, but we didn't. I know that if we stay in the game till the last lap at Homestead, we will have a chance. That's my mindset off of those two examples."
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PEOPLE WHO QUESTION YOUR PERFORMANCE AT HOMESTEAD? "I'm not sure why that's even relevant. If you look at points accumulated over the course of the Chase, I think that will speak volumes as to what type of Chase took place. I know we've been competitive, but not as dominant as we wanted to all year long. We've got to go down there and race for it; there's no doubt about it. I continue to hear that the No. 48 hasn't had to race for it before and we've raced for it all Chase long.
"Maybe at Homestead we've been able to protect, but we certainly know that's not the case this year and I love where we are. I love putting pressure on these guys and in fact I'm glad we cut their lead in half."
I KNOW YOU DON'T LIKE TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF IN THESE TERMS, DO YOU THINK YOUR GREATNESS CAN BE SOLIDIFIED WITH A COME FROM BEHIND CHAMPIONSHIP? "You know, it would probably be received better than the ones in the past, with the runaway show we've had on a couple of them. I don't care how I win it. However we win it, that's cool (laughter). I would love to come back and win from behind and eliminate that stat because that seems to be the only thing that everyone talks about right now.
"When I look at the way we started the Chase, I'm more frustrated at what we did then, in the fact we didn't capitalize at Loudon. Last week we missed a pit call late in the race. Everybody behind us had tires on. We ended up ninth. When you go back through the season, look at little things, we've left points on the table. That's unlike us from years past. That's the part we're fighting right now."