Martinsville: Johnson - Friday media visit

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, met with members of the media to discuss racing in Impala SS new-generation race car at Martinsville and lessons learned at Bristol. WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT NEW GENERATION RACE CAR, IMPALA SS, AT ...

Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS, met with members of the media to discuss racing in Impala SS new-generation race car at Martinsville and lessons learned at Bristol.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT NEW GENERATION RACE CAR, IMPALA SS, AT BRISTOL THAT YOU CAN APPLY AT MARTINSVILLE: "I am not sure I have an opinion yet. I am hopeful that the easier transitions in and off the corners will let us get car turn better in the middle. At the same time, we are going to try and run the front as soft as we can and we will be hitting the packers and the bump stops. That is really the key, when you are hitting the packers or bump stop, the car gets really really tight so it is trying to get the car to turn when it is doing that. It really reminds me of the early days of the coil-bind. I think we will get it. I know Chad and the guys have put in a lot of hours this week. Worked a lot of late nights to try to find something and sort it out to get the car to rotate in the center for me."

YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WORK WITH THE CAR LAST WEEK AND AGAIN THIS WEEK, DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE MADE PROGRESS: "It depends on the first lap when I get out there. I haven't been on the track yet, but I know we will make improvements like we do anytime we work with any package, we make improvements. If you look at the test at Bristol and then saw the race, you saw a much better feel from the test to the race and I think you will see the same kind of progression from Bristol in to Martinsville. We are still in the early stages of it and we are all trying to sort it out."

BASED ON RECENT SUCCESSFUL HISTORY AT THE TRACK, DO YOU THINK THE NEW CAR IS GOING TO AFFECT THAT SUCCESS? "I hope so, that is what I am counting on, I hope we do well here. I know there are probably a handful of guys that were disappointed with the new car coming here. Stewart has always had a great car coming here. Myself and the No.24, I am a little bummed that we don't have the same package so we will just have to refine what we have. But it is the same for everyone. I hope that my knowledge of the track and the fact that I like this race track will help me out in the race."

ON PREVIOUS SUCCESS AT MARTINSVILLE FOR THE NO. 24 AND NO. 48 TEAMS: "It is a quirky track and it takes a lot of discipline. I think with Jeff's (Gordon) personality and the way he drives, he was able to find that early in his career and have success here. My first time here, I didn't think I was ever going to get it right. But I stayed focus on the right things and found the right discipline and the patience you need around this race track."

ON WORKLOAD AND STRESS ON TEAMS RUNNING TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT RACE CARS: "There is a lot more stress and a lot more of a workload for all of the race teams to prepare the old car and the new car. We have speedway races coming back up and a lot of teams Daytona unscathed so there is a lot of work right now getting caught up. We all knew that coming in to this year, even last year when we were out testing. I don't think we have seen any cost saving yet. It certainly hasn't been any easier on the teams, in years to come, hopefully it will go that direction, but changing vehicles and getting the whole thing started up has been very hard on the teams."

ON USING A LOT OF BRAKES HERE AT MARTINSVILLE: "In my mind, I don't think we will use any more brakes that we did here in the past. But I won't know until I really get in to race trim and we can work on the car. At Bristol, the transitions in to the corners are so abrupt, you would hit the bump stop and the car wouldn't turn. So the best way to help that was to slow the car down more so you didn't smash in to the bump stop and the car would shoot up the track. That means using more brake and a lot more brake than we typically would have at Bristol. So I am hopeful here, we don't have the big transitions, I am hopeful we don't hit the bump stomps like we were at Bristol. We are going to try run the car as soft as I can. I still think we will be on the bump stop, but I am just hoping it is going to turn better than at Bristol because it is not as severe of an entry in to the corners. We will find out when we get in race trim.

"At Bristol, I cut a tire down because I overworked the brakes. I got the right front too hot and we lost a tire. It is certainly something we are thinking about and are hopeful it goes away here."

ON DIFFICULTY FOR DRIVER TO GO FROM NEW STYLE IMPALA SS BACK TO MONTE CARLO SS: "We haven't made the transition back yet so I am not sure what it is going to be like going back to the old car. Every time I get in this car, I have a question mark because I am learning about the car and I am not sure what to expect. When we go back to the old car, there might be a lap or two where you question which car you are in and what it is going to do. But we are all pretty good at picking up reference points and knowing what the car is going to do from track to track. I can say it was a big surprise going to Bristol because the first couple laps on the track was much different from what we normally expect at Bristol."

ON ISSUES SOME DRIVERS HAVE TALKED ABOUT PROBLEMS WITH FUMES AND THE SPLITTER AT BRISTOL: "I think the splitter is a real problem and something to think about. I think Kasey Kahne had a tire go down right in front of me. I saw just light contact and it cut his left rear tire. As far as the exhaust pipes, we didn't have any issues. So I am not sure what the problems are there. I think we made it through it ok."

ON USING OXYGEN DURING RACE WEEKENDS TO HELP STAMINA, ETC.: "Yes, without a doubt. There are a lot of things that breathing oxygen helps you with. One of the most important things, especially after a short track, is to get the carbon out of your system. All the exhaust fumes, brake fumes, everything you ingest in the course of a race. Pure oxygen is the only thing that will get that out of your system. You can really see that process if you sit in a hyperbaric chamber or have oxygen and take that after an event. There are also some other properties where it helps your hydration and helps you kind of store fluids before the event. It is something we have looked at and have had in our lineup for two years now.

"Everybody has different beliefs with it all, it hasn't scienced out to a T yet, but, the schedule I have been on is Friday for an hour, Saturday for an hour, Sunday morning for an hour and then if I can, get back on it Sunday afternoon after the race. That is really when you can feel it the most. Going in to an event, you are usually hydrated, you aren't feeling too bad, and you have had a chance to recover. The biggest things really come after the race, if you can get on some oxygen; it helps you out a lot.

"I have done it for all size tracks, but it is time consuming and hard to stay on a regular schedule with it, but the short tracks, I really really focus on it. If I have the time at a big track, I will use it as well.

"I am not a fan of needles so I don't do IVs. I stay fluid through the week and make sure I drink enough fluids and the right fluids to make it through the race."

ON DEVELOPING A RHYTHM AT A SHORT TRACK RACE: "Your rhythm is set based on how good your car turns in the middle of the car. Once you figure out how good your car will rotate, you start backing up your turning point, then your braking point and I use the rev chip to help me out so I don't overdrive in the corner. It helps me being disciplined getting in to the turns. So all of it depends on how well the car turns in the center and once you get a handle on that after a few laps, you start looking for reference points or shift lights or revs to really set that pace for yourself. Then you are just looking for that rhythm. A good rhythm may only be 5 hundredths faster than a bad one but every little bit counts here.

"Here especially in turn three, there is a little bit of a dip there. I would expect some of us to struggle with turn three going in to that corner, trying to get the car to rotate. At least that is my thoughts going in to it."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne