Long Pond: Raybestos Rookie race report

Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet was the Raybestos® Rookie pf the race at Pocono. Johnson finshed third, his fourth top-five of the 2002 season. He has now been Raybestos® Rookie of the race nine times this season. "It's a very...

Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet was the Raybestos® Rookie pf the race at Pocono. Johnson finshed third, his fourth top-five of the 2002 season. He has now been Raybestos® Rookie of the race nine times this season.

"It's a very long day here. It's a very intense track where you can easily loose a couple of tenths and you have to stay up on top of the wheel all day long with your upshifting and downshifting. The guys did an awesome job in the pits today. The top four or five cars were dead even and it was just how we got through traffic. I hate to see Ricky Rudd having the luck that he's having; poor guy can't get a break anywhere. This Lowe's Monte Carlo was awesome."

HOW PHYSICALLY DEMANDING WAS IT IN THE CAR TODAY?

"It was physical, but it was more mentally taxing because when you have the downshifts you worry about downshifting properly and you end up slowing the car down. So it's real mentally taxing to downshift without slowing the car down too much and still carry momentum. It's a very mentally challenging race all day long."

IS IT HARD TO RUN CONSISTENT ALL DAY AT POCONO?

"It is, because it's so long all the way around to make a lap and figure out what was going on. Turn one was the only place you could move around and try to find anything different, line-wise. It was just a long, mentally taxing day."

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING TODAY THAT YOU CAN TRANSFER BACK HERE IN JULY?

"I learned a lot. I still haven't got turn three figured out. One and two are pretty good, but turn three, I don't know if it's the setup or me but when we come back we'll be a lot better."

DID YOU TEST AT POCONO?

"Yes, we came here before we went to Dover and had a real good test. It's real good to come and back it up."

CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET:

WHY DID WE SEE SO MANY MECHANICAL FAILURES TODAY?

"This is a difficult place. Some people shift twice, three times; some people don't shift. Some people turn a lot of RPMs, some people don't. You shift, you are on the brakes, and you are turning RPMs. This is a tough, tough racetrack. When you go out there and you have to run 500 miles at a place like this it's difficult. That's a credit to Hendrick Motorsports team, the 24 and the 48 crew. They do a great job preparing these cars and Hendrick Motorsports engine department does a great job. That shows how long Hendrick Motorsports has been in this and how they know how to prepare a car for a race."

CAN YOU PLAY WITH THE REAR-END GEARING AND BE EASY ON THE ENGINE?

"You can do whatever you want, that's the beauty of it, not saying that if you go out there and you're real cautions you are going to win the race because that's not going to happen. You have to get aggressive, have to get after it. You can definitely lay back, take it easy, and make it to the end if you just want to ride."

RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 12 ALLTEL FORD, FINISHED 32ND.

"It was the fastest race car on the racetrack by far the first portion of that race. I lost the fuel pump, which is not out of the ordinary for us this year. Overall, the car was really fast but when something like that takes you out you're just kind of behind the eight-ball the rest of the day. We came in and fixed and went back out. Kurt Busch held me down pretty tight going into turn one and I got into him. I was just racing hard to try to get back what I could and try to figure out what we can do to make this thing better when we come back in July. Overall, it was a fast race car, just not the finish that we deserved, I don't think."

DESPITE HAVING A BAD DAY, ARE YOU ENCOURAGED BY HOW WELL YOU RAN?

"Yeah, it's encouraging for the team, but when you don't have the finishes, it's hard to pull your chin back up when something like that happens. It's a stupid failure; a $12 part that shouldn't happen."

CARL LONG, NO. 85 JARET'S ANGELS DODGE, FINISHED 42ND. THE POCONO 500 WAS LONG'S FIRST WINSTON CUP START THIS SEASON.

"We weren't prepared like we needed to be to run the whole race. The car drove well and did well, but I didn't have all the brakes ducted in like I should have. I was going to get greedy and stay out there. The pedal started going down to the floor quite a bit. I didn't have it ducted in like I needed to, getting here on short notice. I didn't have spindle ducts made for it. Hopefully, next time we go somewhere we'll be prepared with a crew and car that's ready to race."

WERE YOU PLEASED WITH HOW YOU RAN?

"I've never had any laps here at Pocono at speed to judge anybody else by and I wanted to get as much as I could. I really had to get out of the gas early to get into the corners and I was coming off good and keeping up. I told 'em there at the end when I went on past Hermie (Sadler) I said 'I'm going to go on up here and get the 44 (Steve Grissom) and other ones. I started running it a little bit harder and brakes started going away, just for lack of not having time to duct them in."

-raybestos-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Jimmie Johnson , Steve Grissom
Teams Hendrick Motorsports