Michigan II: Johnson, Bowyer post-qualifying interview

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 2ND CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 3RD CLINT BOWYER: "It was a good run. It was a well-needed run. Obviously, these are important times for us, the ...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 2ND
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 3RD

CLINT BOWYER: "It was a good run. It was a well-needed run. Obviously, these are important times for us, the situation we're in racing for this Chase spot. Starting up front at a big race track like this, being in that clean air, having an opportunity at a good pit stall, it's just goes a long ways towards a good run on Sunday. So, very happy with the guys. We're in this situation. Our cars are running well, just keep having crazy things happen. The frame broke last week. Again, I've never broken the frame before, ever, and pulled the trailing arm bracket out of the frame. So, just some wild and crazy things happening, and if we can get these things behind us, with the way of the speeds of our cars and the way they're running, I think we can be a part of this Chase and make three chances for RCR to have a shot at the championship, instead of just two."

ON SEEING JACK ROUSH AT THE TRACK TODAY.

CLINT BOWYER: "It meant a lot to me to see such a dominant figure in this sport, a very important part of this sport, have such a horrible thing happen and to be able to bounce back from that and be back at the race track. It just shows his determination as a human being, as a racer, and what racing means to him. I mean, you're getting ready to roll out there in qualifying and you see a guy that determined to be back to the race track after such a horrifying accident, just meant a lot. It was a pretty cool moment to go down there and shake his hand and say, 'Welcome back,' you know? It was pretty neat."

COMING OVER FROM EUROPE, I AM VERY MUCH IMPRESSED ABOUT YOUR ABILITY TO RACE IN SUCH HOT CONDITIONS. HOW HARD IS THAT ON YOURSELF AND THE ENGINES?

CLINT BOWYER: "It's not that hot in Europe?"

NO.

CLINT BOWYER: "I've never been over there, either, so maybe I'll move over there and race. It's just part of it. It's the same as here. It's hot out. You've got to be acclimated, but, I'll tell you, I've been in Sturgis all week and it was 95-plus, and my nose is wind-burnt, sun-burnt, been riding. Drove about 700 miles out there and had a good time, so, it's a lot of fun to be back at the race track no matter what the temperature is."

JIMMIE JOHNSON: "A very good lap. We were struggling in practice with the exit to turn four. And we got it right, I mean everybody will say I wish I had a second chance at it -- I didn't expect it to be as good as it was in turn four and when I committed to the throttle, I expected the car to push and head to the wall, and it turned, and I thought, 'Man, I could've gotten into the gas a little harder,' and lose it to Kasey by two-hundredths of a second, really, you can look anywhere around the track or a gust of wind to look at that. I felt like it was almost a perfect lap. Just left a little bit on the table in turn four on the exit."

WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A TOP THREE RUN? IS IT FOR CONFIDENCE, OR DOES IT SHOW YOU'RE GOING TO BE GOOD ON SUNDAY?

CLINT BOWYER: "Well, both of those. Confidence, for our race team; it sets precedence to the other guys we're racing against. We're not out of this thing. I feel like our cars are running good enough to be a part of it because they have all year long. We've just had some wild and crazy things happen and we've just got to keep that from happening. We've got to keep from beating ourselves and if we can do that, if we can get the finish like we've run all year and like we deserve, I see no reason why we can't be a part of this."

ON THE WEATHER, THE SUN WAS GOING IN AND OUT. DID THAT AFFECT YOUR LAP?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: "It seemed so hot all day long. I'm not so sure it cooled down much. When I got in the race car, (crew chief) Chad (Knaus) told me that the track temperature had cooled down a few degrees since practice, but I think it stayed pretty warm all day long. Now the sun coming in and out will definitely affect things. When I walked out to my race car it was pretty hazy, period. So maybe the earlier guys had some issues with the sun and direct sunlight on the track. But I think it was pretty consistent from the 20th car on. That's when I got in my race car."

KYLE BUSCH SAID THE REASON HE'S STRUGGLING IS BECAUSE HE ONLY HAS ONE CAR IN HIS FLEET THAT HE LIKES. ALL THE OTHERS ARE SLOW. OTHER GUYS SAID VARIOUS THINGS. HARVICK SAID ALL HIS CARS ARE GOOD. HOW ABOUT YOU? DO YOU HAVE CARS THAT YOU LIKE MORE THAN OTHERS?

CLINT BOWYER: "Sounds like he needs to buy a Chevy."

JOHNSON: (laughing) "I agree. Good thinking man, that's fantastic!

CLINT BOWYER: "I'm on a roll today" (laughter).

JIMMIE JOHNSON: "That's awesome. From my standpoint, after thinking he should buy a Chevy as well, I think that in today's world of the CoT, there's far less of that. We have tried different things over the years but it was more of a totally different car combination with suspension; stuff that you can bolt on and off, than it is a particular frame. The frames now, and even the bodies for that matter, are so much the same that we don't see that as much. Yeah, you have some favorite cars that you grow accustomed to and we have a rotation of cars that we work through, but we're not splitting hairs anymore."

ARE YOU BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO BE? ARE YOU EXPECTING BIGGER THINGS FOR SUNDAY?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: "We qualified well here in the spring, but didn't race like we wanted to. So, we felt good about our qualifying package and came back very close to the way; I guess this is the fourth time we've qualified with the set-up and we've been second or third all four times. So that part, things seem to be consistent. Tomorrow will be the big test for us to make sure we get stuff right."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup