Continued from part 1 Q: How was it in June with that rollercoaster experience? JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, we finally got the car tightened up for me. It was pretty loose all day long. At the end we got the adjustment right. We had all kinds...
Continued from part 1
Q: How was it in June with that rollercoaster experience?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, we finally got the car tightened up for me. It was pretty loose all day long. At the end we got the adjustment right. We had all kinds of problems to overcome that day. I think if we can get in, qualify strong, not have to share a pit stall, deal with the things we had to, we'll be able to run up front all day long and be a threat for the win.
Q: A lot of people have tried to make it out, since you've gotten involved in NASCAR, about how close you've come to winning a title but not coming through with the title. What is your feeling about everyone? You've only been racing now for Hendrick four seasons, yet everyone is expecting you to dominate the world. How do you feel about all this added pressure that some people are wanting to put upon you as a driver?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I think actually it's - I think it's actually my fifth year. But no one can put any more pressure on me than I do on myself. I know what I'm capable of. I know what the team's capable of.
You know, regardless of your situation, if people have high expectations for you or if you've had a bad run, people think that you might lose your job, things are coming to an end, you will experience some form of pressure.
I've been accustomed to it my whole career in one form or another. I just go out and do my job, do my thing.
Q: I know after the race it seems like Tony wanted to get everyone's attention again, even though he's not in the Chase this year. How do you feel about the comments that he made about everyone having to be so careful around those that are in the Chase?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I didn't see it, so I'm not familiar with it.
Q: He was talking about how he felt like he had to be extra careful around the 10 drivers in the Chase, afraid of maybe bumping someone out, touching a driver, and them ending up having a bad finish like you did.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, I know Tony, he's got a lot of respect for everybody out on the track. I didn't see the comments. I would assume it's uncomfortable being in this position and racing hard for a win, not wanting to put anybody in harm's way.
I know he expects that respect when he's in the Chase. He's also a guy that will give it back. I think that's all he was probably concerned about.
Q: Hendrick has three drivers in the Chase. How much does that help each of you and are you sharing that much information, or is it a matter of you guys are two individual teams doing as much as you can?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, we got to this point by sharing information and working real close together. It's been a vision that Rick has had for a long, long time. Really first one to start off with a multi-car team, bring the two cars in one house. Just been growing that line of thought, I guess.
We're still doing the same things we've always done. We know when we get on the track, we've got to do everything we can to score points for our individual teams, but we're still working very close together, sharing information, trying to get a Hendrick car a championship.
Q: You need 15 and change to make up on Harvick all the way up. Are there any races in these remaining nine that you have circled as saying, This one we're really going to make a move?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, it's not that we're going to make a move. We don't have that luxury to sit around and be cautious. It's go time. We need to score points, a lot of points, every race.
The highlights and tracks that I look at and feel good about, one would be Dover. Talladega, great restrictor plate program. I think that's a strong race for us. Lowe's Motor Speedway's a great race for us. I think in the whole scheme of things, in the Chase, there are a lot of good tracks for the 48 team. Martinsville is a great place for me. I feel like there's a lot of good chances for me to score points.
Q: (Indiscernible) had said last week on a conference that a team could probably have one bad race and still be in the hunt. Now that you have had yours, how does this change your mindset? Are you still going to be completely aggressive, or would you have to be kind of concerned about making mistakes now and maybe be more cautious for a while?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, I just got to go out and race. I need points is the bottom line. You can look at that and recognize there's sometime times where you need to be aggressive, and also times where, if you cross the line and crash the car, you're not going to score any points or enough points. It's just that delicate balance that we really deal with all year long.
I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know if guys are going to have troubles. Frankly, I'm not going to live in a world where I'm hoping for someone to have trouble. I just don't operate that way. I'm going to live in a world where I need to go out and score points. My team and I, we need to do the best job we can.
We had a good meeting today. We had a meeting yesterday. As I've been saying, everybody's spirits are high. Everybody is pumped up. You would think something like this would just crush a team. Myself and these guys, we're fired up. We're ready to go racing.
Q: Head start on Talladega stories. Would you look ahead to that race? You've won two restrictor plate races this year. Obviously that will be a special place for you.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, feel very good about going to Talladega. We all know the concerns that everybody has with scoring points at the track. It's going to be a hair-raising race. There's nowhere safe on the track (laughter). We'll just hopefully get out of there scoring points. Especially the position we're in, we need to score points. We can't afford to have any trouble there.
Q: Do you think drivers will be even more aggressive there than usual with it being part of the Chase?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It's so hard to say. You go through a wide range of emotions on the track when you're racing. You bounce back and forth between be smart, don't make a mistake, you don't want to crash, and not score a lot of points.
And then five laps later, you flip to, All right, I've got a chance to lead a lap or lead the most laps or pass this guy, be aggressive. You're just battling yourself internally between those two things.
Most cases I think we go out there and forget about points at some point in the race and just get into racing. It's always in the back of your mind, but you just got to go out there and race and do your job. If you're focused on other things, I think you put yourself in harm's way sometimes.
Q: How much of your success in restrictor plate races this year has been the team and the car and how much has it been that you've got some experience now and you've learned a couple things that have really helped you out?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, the team and car are extremely important. To my team and car's credit, they've been ready to win a plate race for a lot of years. I think I've learned how to win a plate race and have been able to do it twice this year.
I still feel they're important, but I think I've done a lot of learning and understanding of the draft and how to race a plate race. It's helped us more than anything get to Victory Lane.
Q: Obviously I know it's all about scoring the most points. How does this compare or differ from what the Chase was like for you last year? Even as late as the Charlotte race, you were tied for the points lead. How might this situation this year be similar? Still doing the same things as what you were doing in '05? Does it make kind of the outlook, the mindset, different? Last year you were looking at points, points, points. How does that perspective change when you're at the top of the board as compared with the bottom of the board right now?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I don't know, to be honest with you. All I know is I'm down by 139. There's no telling who's going to have problems, who's going to have a bad race, who's going to have part failures. It's so early. Nine of these things left. One down. I don't know what my strategy is. I don't know what to expect.
All I know is down by 139. We've got to make it up. I really don't have any insight or strategy. I have all the confidence in my team, in myself, and I know that we're capable of winning this championship still. That's what I'm going to sleep on at night. Just get out there and get to work.
Q: You and your team are known for rebounding. Can you compare the challenge of the task ahead of you now to past challenges?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It's what the whole season's based on, is becoming the champion in our sport. We've got a huge challenge ahead of us. I don't think it's an impossible challenge. I don't think it's something that we're shooting for the moon on. It's something we're going to have to go out and work hard for. That's no different than anything else we've done.
Q: Does your team, more so than any other team, seem to feed on adversity, they're so able to come back after having a problem?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It's hard for me to give an honest opinion on that because I'm pretty biased. I think the world of my guys. I think they're the best at everything.
History shows that we're good at that stuff. We'll just kind of leave it there.
MODERATOR: Jimmie, thanks a lot for taking time out from your schedule, busy week for you as you get ready for Dover. Best of luck in getting this comeback going.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: You got it. Thank you. As everybody knows, this is going to be an exciting Chase, so stay tuned.
-credit: gm racing