Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS, met with media to discuss his drop in the point standings, racing at Pocono, the summer slump, on fewer HMS wins recently, on not having Chad Knaus at the track, road-course racing, and the Busch...
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Monte Carlo SS, met with media to discuss his drop in the point standings, racing at Pocono, the summer slump, on fewer HMS wins recently, on not having Chad Knaus at the track, road-course racing, and the Busch Series in Montreal.
Select quotes from driver interview:
ON RACING AT POCONO: "We've got to finish a race. We've had a heck of a time finishing lately. This has been a good track for us. We had a good run in the spring. Our goals are to come in and finish in the top 10 and stop the bleeding from this points loss that we've had."
IS THERE A CONCERN THAT YOU'VE FALLEN TO NINTH IN THE STANDINGS? "There is concern. We don't want to be in this situation. But when we look at the performance of the team and where we've been as a whole, we've had very competitive cars. But we go back as far as Texas. We had a mechanical failure there. At Dover, we were racing for the win and blew a right rear tire real late. Here, we had a tire problem in the spring. At Chicago, the same thing. And then also last week we had our trouble. So, we feel very confident with team and what we're doing and the product we're putting on track. But we've just got to eliminate these situations where we're getting in trouble and tearing up race cars."
YOU HAVE TO LOVE THIS 10-POINT BONUS. IT WOULD POP YOU RIGHT BACK INTO FIRST PLACE: "It would. The Chase format certainly is forgiving. I've been on both sides of it now where I've had a nice points lead and hated the fact that the Chase was coming. And then now being in the situation that if it worked to my advantage, I'd be right back in the middle of it. So, It's an interesting range of emotions to go through. But the rules are the rules, and we're going to do everything we can to try to be the champion come the end of the season."
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOUR TEAM MAKE SOME IMPROVEMENTS BEFORE THE CHASE BEGINS? "The team has done a great job. We just need to finish a race. We need to take the checkered flag and collect some points. That's been our biggest problem. We've had all kinds of speed, but just no finish to show for it.
HOW HAS THE SUSPENSION OF CHAD KNAUS AFFECTED YOUR PERFORMANCE? "It hurts the team. There's no doubt about it. But we've had a great product on track without Chad being here. We just haven't had the finishes. We need to not put ourselves in situations of being caught up in wrecks. We've just had bad racing luck. The point system is forgiving. There's no doubt about that. If we can make the Chase and transfer in, we're going to be right back in the middle of the championship. We're just focusing on getting through these next four races."
WHAT MAKES THE TUNNEL TURN HERE AT POCONO SO UNIQUE? "it is a real narrow exit. if you're off two inches at the start of the corner and then through the center of the turn, and you're a foot or two wide on corner exit, you don't have a foot or two to give up. And, you can't change the direction of the car and you end up making contact with the wall."
ON NASCAR TAKING THE BUSCH SERIES TO CANADA: "I think it's great; especially in North America, to be able to go into the other countries surrounding us and really take advantage of our fan base. I didn't realize until yesterday when I was talking to Jeff (Gordon) that some of the concerns are the sponsors being in Montreal. Maybe that's not the best place for our sport to go being a French-speaking area. And maybe it's tough for some of our sponsors to correlate and mix. But I understand it's a great circuit and I'm really excited to watch the race there. But we have a lot of fans there. I do think we need to be in Canada. They all come down and watch our races and it's a huge, untapped market for us there. If we can just get the sponsorship piece to make sense crossing the border, I think we'll see Nextel Cup making the move there."
-credit: gm racing