JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - QUALIFIED SECOND ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP: "It was a real solid effort for us. We I guess just missed the pole but a short, short margin. I don't win many poles in the course of a season or...
JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S MONTE CARLO SS - QUALIFIED SECOND
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP:
"It was a real solid effort for us. We I guess just missed the pole but a short, short margin. I don't win many poles in the course of a season or throughout my career so I hate seeing an opportunity slide by. I would have met my quota for the year and been in good shape but qualifying is just not my specialty so I really have to commend the team and the race car that they brought here for me. Since we took it off the truck it's just been really comfortable to drive, a lot of speed in it, a great engine under the hood. We've been working hard on making our current car program better and I think we've seen some gains. We didn't have the showing at Pocono that we wanted or hoped but I think rebounding from there, coming here to Michigan from Pocono we've done some good things and I look forward to the race."
DID YOU PUT EXTRA EMPHASIS ON QUALIFYING TODAY?
"Chad and I have trouble on Fridays and we each put on our own shoulders as to why we don't qualify like maybe some of our teammates do and like some of the other teams that have that strength but come race time I know that I'm a better driver in race conditions than out there by myself trying to find a tenth of a second somewhere. I'm better at racing than running by myself. I try to put a lot of responsibility on myself and Chad being a good teammate does it as well and says 'well I didn't give you the right car.' There's certain weeks where we think we should and last week we felt like with what we took to Pocono we were a threat for the pole and we came up short and were disappointed. This week we came here and we're excited, didn't know what to expect, didn't have any expectations, maybe that helps a little and got real, real close to a pole. It's tough to really understand and figure out. I think over the years, I like a looser race car and that hurts you in qualifying. You can't get the power down. You need that for the fuel burn and over the course of a race but in qualifying conditions what I think feels right is just a little too slow. It's better for race (conditions)."
HOW HARD IS IT TO STAY FOCUSED WITH EVERYTHING THAT'S BEEN GOING ON THIS WEEK WITH DALE EARNHARDT, JR.?
"It's actually really easy and I think this plays into the whole concept of how can three big drivers fit in at Hendrick Motorsports and that's because all four teams currently, and since I've ever been there, we all have every tool that we need and it's up to each individual team to find out what they need and to rally around the people that are there to perform and do the best job that you can. Even though there is stuff going on at Hendrick Motorsports right now and the 5 team and the decisions that have been made and Kyle's going to be leaving and Junior's coming in, we're still focused on what that 48 needs to do and our engineering staff is focused in the right areas. We're a big company. We're a strong company and I think that times like this it shows that even if there is something that's on the fringe or within Hendrick Motorsports, we can still find ways to perform."
ON IF THE HOT AND HUMID WEATHER CONDITIONS AFFECT HIM:
"Yeah, certainly. It's really not hot yet. In August especially when we get to Indy it's hotter and more humid than what we have now. I think that's something that may be overlooked as far as the driver stamina and the training that's involved. You almost have to train outside in the heat and the humidity to get ready for this and then inside of our cars with the closed cockpits, we have a right-side window and then the window net on the left side is sealed off. There's very, very little air circulation in the car and it is a big part of what we do and it really boils down to hydration. You've got to focus on hydration kind of on Wednesday leading into an event in the summer months because it's just tough to get hydrated properly."
CHEVY HASN'T HAD AS GREAT OF SUCCESS AT THIS TRACK IN RECENT YEARS AS THEY HAVE AT MOST OTHER TRACKS. ON IF THEY THINK THEY HAVE IT FIGURED OUT NOW AFTER QUALIFYING UP FRONT:
"It's weird how certain tracks favor certain teams and I know everybody has seen a lot and heard a lot about... Manufacturers unfortunately are tied, they're hands are tied and they can't do a lot and it really revolves around the teams and this has been a Roush track for whatever reason. I know Jeff (Gordon) has won here. I think Tony (Stewart) has won here but it kind of falls into a Roush track for whatever reason and they carry the Ford logo and that's called a Ford track but I think that the Chevy teams have been close here. I know from my own experience we were running up front in the fall here and had a flat tire and I just personally have had a lot of crazy things happen late in the race - if it's strategy, we've run out of fuel, we've had tire failures and just haven't had the finish that we though we would. I think if you look at the statistics up to probably the two-thirds mark, Chevy teams are in contention but when the checkered falls just weird things happen and I don't know why but the statistics certainly show that the Ford camp continues to win here."
WHAT'S THE STRANGEST THING A FAN HAS ASKED YOU TO SIGN? (Laughs)
"Just let your imagination go. If it's on their own body, you name it it's been asked."
-credit: gm racing