Kansas City: Johnson qualifying press conference

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (qualified 2nd): "We just needed a little bit more. My hats off to Dale Jr. and his whole crew for such a good lap. Great work by the Lowe's team. We tested a couple of weeks ago (in Kentucky) a...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (qualified 2nd):

"We just needed a little bit more. My hats off to Dale Jr. and his whole crew for such a good lap. Great work by the Lowe's team. We tested a couple of weeks ago (in Kentucky) a couple weeks ago and crashed. We took another car there on Wednesday on our way here. We worked hard on it. We've got a new engine package and we've been working real hard.

"It was a great lap for us. I thought we really had a shot at the pole. But when Dale Jr. put that speed up early, I knew it would be close. The lap that I ran in practice - I didn't think there would be anything left. But Jr. found some more and we made some adjustments. We were real close. I'm real proud of that lap. It's one thing if you lose the pole if you made a mistake, but we did everything we could and just came up second. I'm real proud of it."

ON THE TRACK

"It's had a season on it. Usually you'd think it would get slower. But the track is in great shape. More than anything, I think it's the cool weather. It's not necessarily a cool track surface but the cool air outside is letting the motors run a lot better. You could feel a cool breeze blow through every once in a while and that really helps the horsepower of the engine. On top of that, Goodyear brought a softer right-side tire for us. The tire the Cup cars used last year was a little bit harder and didn't wear very well. So from what I understand, they brought a softer compound on the right side, which should bring the speeds up. Between those two, we're seeing the faster speeds.

"With the effort level, the endurance, the level of equipment we have you can run one hundred percent all day long. The final ingredient that decides a lot of that is the tire. Goodyear has brought a tire to all these events that is so strong and so good, it's been a debatable point as to whether it's the right thing to do. But we don't see a lot of right fronts blowing and people crashing and getting hurt. So I think it's the right thing. There's a lot of equality throughout the field. That's why you have to run so hard all day long because that one spot you might give up might hurt you in the end - on the race track and in the pits."

-team monte carlo-

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Series NASCAR Cup