JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, STARTS 2ND: TALK ABOUT STARTING ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE FRONT ROW AND THE PIT SELECTION BEING IMPORTANT: "It is going to help. I feel like we had a really good car for qualifying but second isn't bad. I...
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S IMPALA SS, STARTS 2ND: TALK ABOUT STARTING ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE FRONT ROW AND THE PIT SELECTION BEING IMPORTANT:
"It is going to help. I feel like we had a really good car for qualifying but second isn't bad. I feel like we had a shot at the pole today but we will take it. At this race, pits are pretty forgiving, so is Indy which is nice because they are really long pit boxes. There is usually a lot of green flag stops here so the pit selection is important but it is not the end of the world if you don't have the luck with the rainout working like it does. We will take the track position; that is really important. We should be in good shape."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT POCONO LAST RACE AND HOW TO APPLY THOSE THIS WEEKEND?
"I think that trying to get the car to handle here is one of the toughest things to do. We did a decent job in the spring race. I think we are a little smarter now than we were in that spring race. Fuel mileage really ended up being the thing at the end that we were all worried about. If the car is driving right, I think you can do a better job with the fuel mileage too. I think we are smarter and will do a better job this time with the handling."
ARE YOU PLANNING A TRIP TO STURGIS AND ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT?
"Yea, I have been kicking it around. I am not sure if I am going to make it. I want to. Under a lot of pressure from my Dad, from friends in the sport-drivers and a lot of people affiliated with it. I have to get up there some year. I am not sure if I will make it this year."
TALK ABOUT THE MOMENTUM HEADING IN TO THE CHASE:
"We have been close to some victories over the last few months. You leave the track and try to pump everybody up after not being able to execute and finish it up. But to do it at Indy, that race carries a lot of weight and a lot of momentum. But at the same time, the momentum is good for the team but you can't put your guard down and you have to figure out how to use that in the right way. If we can link together three, four, five races with top-three, top-five finishes, and get some victories, that is momentum that will build a lot of confidence going in to the Chase so we're definitely higher than what we were at Indy. We feel good that we were able to pull off that race win. But if we can put a few races together, then we will really have some traction in the whole thing and carry that in to the Chase."
HAVE YOU BROKEN THE AUGUST JINX?
"Last year we did a good job of making it through August and it seems this year we are doing well also. Hopefully we have. Hopefully this summer stretch will be a lot easier on us. I know it's not good on (Chad) Knaus (crew chief) to put him through so much before the Chase starts. He's hard enough to deal with as it is then you put a bad August in there and the guy is just difficult as all can be. So if August is smooth, it is smooth for everybody and hopefully we can keep this up."
WITH A FEW DIFFERENT CHASE RACES THIS YEAR, ARE YOU OK WITH THAT?
"I think that the change with Atlanta and California is good for the No. 48 car. We have been able to win that fall California race a couple times the last few years. Atlanta, granted, we finished second there last year, but we ran around in like 11th or 12th most of the day and Chad made a brave call to come in and get tires and we worked our way back up in to second so. I think that it is going to be good for us. Talladega there is just no telling what is going to happen there. Regardless of where it is in the Chase, if it is the first race or the last race, you just dread going and hope that you make it. But the Atlanta-California switch should be good for us."
WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE PIT ROAD SPEED LIMIT SYSTEM?
"NASCAR gives us a five mile-an-hour tolerance over and basically the teams just adjust to that five miles an hour. Instead of fit being 50, it is 55. We all shoot for 54 mph, 54.5, somewhere around in there. You try to get as much as you can. If you think of the distance of pit road, that small 1/10th of a mph can add up to a second or so, if not more, depending on the length of pit road. It is an important part of what we do. I know it is a hot topic and I was thinking about this over the week, a way to eliminate any questions about pit road, in my opinion, would be to provide a channel like they do with timing a scoring for all the crews to have on their pit box to watch and it is live as it takes place, a name pops up in red or however the system works, everybody can see it at the same time. Because right now there is a question that's in the tower and no one else has access to it. You get printouts after the fact, it just leaves room for people to have concerns or to draw up some questions. I think their system works. Those timing loops work great, it is simple it is electronic. Make a channel for everybody to look at, have one in here for you guys to look at and you can watch during the race and somebody pops up in red, to pit road they go for a pass through. I think that would eliminate a lot of issues moving forward."
-credit: gm racing