Kansas: Johnson - Friday media visit

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed his charity golf tournament coming up next week, racing in the winds, making commercials and more. TALK ABOUT YOUR GOLF TOURNAMENT THIS...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed his charity golf tournament coming up next week, racing in the winds, making commercials and more.

TALK ABOUT YOUR GOLF TOURNAMENT THIS COMING TUESDAY. "Excited for the golf tournament. We've changed locations in San Diego and have kind of scaled things back a little bit. It's going from 27 holes down to 18 and a new location. So we're really excited to see the tournament grow. I'm very thankful to the sponsors and fans and everybody joining in. The money raised will do a lot for San Diego."

IF YOU LOOK AT THE RACES COMING UP FOR YOU IT ALMOST SEEMS LIKE THE NEXT EIGHT RACES ARE REALLY STACKED IN YOUR FAVOR. "They really are great tracks for us. I think the season comes to us in a way. I know that we perform well in the Chase but I think the schedule is helpful for the No. 48 car. We have great results and it gives us a lot of hope going into these tracks but we still have to show up and get the job done. So we have a positive mindset looking forward to those tracks. It will make the week easier leading into those tracks but we still have to go in there and get to work. I'm excited for it."

TALK ABOUT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE TOLERANCES FROM THE DOVER INSPECTION AND HOW DO YOU ATTACK THE PERCEPTION THOSE HENDRICK GUYS PUSHING THE LIMITS, CHEATING? "Well we weren't cheating. The cars were not found illegal. It's not uncommon for cars to stick around at the tech center to be measured. The tech center has ways to measure the vehicle that teams don't have. So they're doing their work and doing their data and collecting all that stuff and the cars were there being inspected. Believe me if they weren't legal they wouldn't have been released. So it is what it is and I hate that its drawing speculation and concern but the cars passed tech and here we are."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU'VE SEEN YOUR TEAM STEP UP INTO EVEN ANOTHER CHASE AND HOW YOUR TEAM HAS PERFORMED AND THE DEPTH OF YOUR TEAM? "There is a ton of depth. Right now things have been going well so I don't think you really see the depth in the team. It's the tough races like Pocono where we had the spark plug issue and changed carburetors and changed spark plug wires and went through two rounds of changing spark plugs and finally found a couple of spark plugs that were the trouble part on that. Days like that really show the depth of the team. I hope that things go smoothly through these 10 races and we don't have to show what we're capable of but 10 races, 10 tough tracks, your team is going to be challenged. I think you'll see it with teams that rebound from something going wrong on a pit stop or maybe not qualifying where they need to or whatever it may be. That's where you really see the depth of the team and I feel like our team has been able to step up over the years."

LOOKING AHEAD TO LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY, IS THAT GOOD TO HAVE A HOME RACE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CHASE AND KIND OF GIVE EVERYBODY A LITTLE EXTRA TIME TO FINISH THE SEASON OFF? "It doesn't hurt being close to home so people don't have to travel as far and being able to sleep in their own beds and stuff. As far as where it's placed in the Chase I don't think it has a big impact. It's nice to be home. You've probably experienced that as well. It's good to be around the house. We'll take that any chance that we can get it."

YOU SAID LAST WEEK AFTER DOVER WHEN GUYS WERE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE TIRE TEST THAT WAS A GOOD THING FOR YOUR TEAM, YOU WANT THEM TO SORT OF BE DISTRACTED IS THE ATTENTION TO THESE TOLERANCES ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THAT? "It could. I hope it does. I hope that people are concerned and focused on non-issues which this deal is, it's a non-issue. Give everybody something to write and talk about and hope it will be swirling around in the competitor's heads."

YOU WERE PRETTY CONFIDENT ABOUT THE CAR GETTING THROUGH INSPECTION AND BEING LEGAL AT DOVER SO DOES THAT MEAN THIS WEEKEND THAT CHAD IS GOING TO DO THE SAME THING AND HAVE EVERYTHING TO THE NTH DEGREE AS FAR AS THE TOLERANCE? "I don't build the race cars, I just drive them. The car passed tech. I think you guys really need to pay attention to that. The car passed tech. So we're doing what we do. We're just building race cars and trying to build the fastest race cars that we can. I'm not aware of this car being cut up or changed or anything being different. I'm coming to the race track in what we had prepared for in advance or any way. Things are like they normally would be."

WHAT'S THE BEST GOLF SHOT YOU'VE EVER HIT AND WHAT'S THE MOST EMBARRASSING SHOT? "Embarrassing one comes to mind quick. The first year I played the Wachovia Pro-Am in Charlotte at Quail Hollow, Casey Mears and I were playing together and I had him go first which was helpful because he hit the ball maybe 40 feet, sixty at most and all I had to do was beat him. I hit it just past him but still today people remember how bad his shot was and not mine so it worked out really well. Tiger (Woods) just finished with Michael Jordan and was coming up 18 and 18 and one are kind of close to one another so that whole overflow rolled over to the first tee box where we were and there were people as far as I could see, six deep and it was terrible. I addressed the ball and I was shaking so badly that the club face was just moving all around the ball and I had to step back and start all over again and then I topped it. Further than Casey though.

"The best golf shot, I don't even know if I have one. There was one long put that Darren Clark that same year helped me line up for. I had to hit it way out and around the pin and it curled around and turned and made its way back to the pin so that would probably be my best one. There was another shot where I was in the woods basically and shanked one off of two into the holly bushes and I couldn't see out and had a six iron or something and was just trying to punch it out and I hit it just right and hit the bank and landed on the green and people were cheering. I kind of ran out through the bushes just to see and it was on the green. There was a down-hill slope to the pin and it just kept rolling and rolling and got within a foot or so of the pin. So that would be it. But the shot leading into that was really terrible."

FORBES MAGAZINE THIS WEEK PROJECTED THAT TIGER WOODS WAS THE FIRST SPORTSMAN TO TOP THE BILLION DOLLAR MARK, YOU RACE FOR WINNINGS, PRIZES AND PURSES, HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THAT ACHIEVEMENT? "It's substantial. I think on a lot of scales there are similarities within all pro sports within reason of income but the thing that Tiger has really been able to do is sign Nike. That's the bulk of his income. I wish we could convince Nike or one of the other major athletic products or shoe companies or whatever it would be all encompassing that we could sell shoes and all that stuff and make that kind of money. It's staggering what he makes from that.

"When you're looking at the player, driver to player there's similarities but when you look at maybe a team verses a player we certainly have so much more overhead than what a golf player would."

CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE CHALLENGE OF DRIVING IN THESE WIND CONDITIONS LIKE WE HAVE HERE TODAY? "If you're going down the straightaway the car produces x amount of down force so if you're in the wind you're gaining down force so now going in the other direction when the wind is behind you the wind is blowing with your which eliminates down force and then your speeds are up. So now you're going faster with less down force and it really makes the upcoming turn when the wind is to your back more exciting. It's one thing if it's a consistent wind but if its gusting that's when you get in trouble because from a driver's standpoint they tell you where the wind is and you adjust but you get into a rhythm and then the time you come through that corner and if its gusts higher you are at the edge of traction already and then that's what really gets you into trouble. Another aspect of the win that's challenging is when you're turning kind of through the wind, when the wind is to your back, as you're trying to turn the car through the wind it tries to make the car tighter. The other way as you're going into the wind and getting turned it's much easier. The car has a ton of down force and can turn through the win and you have it to your back exiting the corner."

THE NEW LOWE'S COMMERCIALS THAT ARE OUT WHERE YOU ARE JUST DOING EVERYTHING, HOW BOGUS IS THAT BECAUSE YOU ADMITTED YOU'RE NOT THE BIGGEST HANDYMAN IN THE WORLD, HOW MANY TAKES DID YOU HAVE TO DO? "The takes weren't too bad. At one point I worked on my own race cars and did a lot of stuff but anymore, I'm allowed to take stuff apart but not really put it back together. I'm not home enough to really work on much anyway. I kind of play into a little bit where it's a joke but at one point and time I really did work on stuff a lot. It's just tough anymore. The commercials are fun to shoot. Luckily its winter time and we were in Miami where the weather is decent. The production the stuff they have put together we moved to different locations for everyone of those shots so we did it all in two days. They really worked hard to make each shot quick and easy, get what they need and load up all the cameras, crew and people and ride in the motor homes to the next spot and shoot again and move all around town. It was pretty amazing. A lot of money and time spent to get it right."

ARE THERE ANY MORE COMMERCIALS? "We shot a bunch there and I know they are going to change them throughout the year. I thought there were two versions of it that would air and that's it."

YOU'VE BEEN IN THIS SERIES ABOUT SEVEN OR EIGHT YEARS, AT WHAT POINT DO YOU START LAYING CLAIM AS THE GREATEST DRIVER EVER? "Not my space to say that. As a competitor and as an athlete, it's not what I say it's not my style, it's not what I think other athletes should say. Truthfully I have a lot of time left in this sport and hopefully we can increase my odds of being considered one of the better ones in this sport. Only time will tell. There's a lot of great ones that were before me. It's exciting to me to hear my name mentioned with those names and something that I really respect and appreciate. Hopefully I can keep this up and improve my position.

"I'm really shocked that it's me living this and experiencing all of this. It's been an amazing ride. The cool thing is I still have a lot of years left ahead of me so I think I can improve my position."

-credit: gm racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Casey Mears