JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: (Finished 2nd) AFTER THE SPIN EARLY ON, DID YOU THINK YOU'D GET THIS FINISH? "As you are crashing you are doing damage control. l knew I didn't hurt anything suspension wise. I knew we...
JIMMIE JOHNSON , NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: (Finished 2nd)
AFTER THE SPIN EARLY ON, DID YOU THINK YOU'D GET THIS FINISH?
"As you are crashing you are doing damage control. l knew I didn't hurt anything suspension wise. I knew we were going to be OK. I just needed green flag running.
"We were really loose for the first 20 to 30 laps. The longer it went the better the car was. Fortunately we ended going through a full green flag pit stop and I was able to make my way back to 8th, cycle through the pits and make my way to 4th. I really felt like I had something for Junior. At the end we were about three tenths better than that group of cars in front of me. Once we went under caution and went back out and Junior just took off. He flat off was on it and drove away from us. I was trying to hang with him and I was making mistakes and Bobby (Labonte) was catching me. At that point I had to defend the position I was in."
ON SONOMA BEING THE ONLY TRACK HE DOESN'T HAVE A TOP 10
"I wasn't aware of that stat but I do know Sonoma is probably the biggest hurdle I have ahead of myself in the season. Everywhere else I feel good about. Rockingham, Infineon and here have been my three worst tracks.
ON PREPARING FOR SONOMA
"We're going to do a two day road course test. Brian and I are going to stop at Bondurant on the way out to Sonoma and beat up somebody else's equipment for a couple of days and have some fun there. I'm trying to take all the necessary steps I can and do some training with road course experts and try and improve our road course program. I can't seem to drive Jeff's set up on a road course. He really likes a car that rolls around a lot and has a lot a movement in it an he's been very fast with it. I can't make it work for me so we're trying got find out what I need."
ON ROCKINGHAM BEING CUT FROM THE SCHEDULE IN '05
"After finished second there to Bill in the fall of last year I was excited to go back. In the spring we were real slow and ended up being wrecked. You want to go back to a place and overcome that and that's what I have been able to go do at Martinsville. Rockingham I'm on my 5th year, 10th time driving there and still haven't figured that out. It doesn't hurt my feelings that much to see it gone."
ON DEBATING ON PITTING WITH 50 LAPS TO GO
"We knew what we were doing to do. If the leaders pit, we come in and put rights on and try a two tire stop. At that point we were running our best laps. We were running our tires on about 30 laps our so. We were running our fastest laps at that point We were really happy with the set up of the car and felt we were in the right position to win the race. Unfortunately when they dropped the rag they had other things to do with that."
WAS IT SURPRISING THAT DALE EARNHARDT JR COULD PULL AWAY WITH OLDER TIRES?
"We noticed it in our tests that they don't wear out. It didn't surprise me that he was able to stay strong. I saw early in the race the #18 do a gas only stop so I knew the tire wear must have been pretty good for him to try it. I was behind him at that point and he was really fast coming into the filed. It' just a matter of getting the balance right on these short tracks. You have to hustle the cars so much now and drive every lap like a qualifying lap."
WAS THE RACING SURFACE WHAT YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE?
"The racing surface made us all look like a bunch of liars in the garage area. From the drivers and crew chiefs we all swore it'd be a single groove race track. It ended up tonight with two grooves and very good racing. They did a great job paving it. I really thought it'd be a single file race. To all of our liking it wasn't. My complements to every body involved with that. They did a great job."