Richmond: Johnson post-qualifying interview

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET TALK ABOUT HOW YOU THOUGHT YOU QUALIFIED THIS EVENING: "I'm really pleased with that qualifying effort. We struggled in practice. It seems that a lot of guys are really struggling to get ...

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET

TALK ABOUT HOW YOU THOUGHT YOU QUALIFIED THIS EVENING:

"I'm really pleased with that qualifying effort. We struggled in practice. It seems that a lot of guys are really struggling to get grip. But we just couldn't produce a lap time that some of our teammates were and also the fast guys. We got up on the wheel and really hustled the car around the track. And then also at the end of practice we found a couple of things that gave us a little bit of hope and we went further in those directions and it definitely gave the car some more grip. So I'm really pleased with the qualifying effort. Pit road pick is important. Track position is going to be tough here. I just don't know how; there is so little grip and the cars are moving around so much I don't know how you're going to finish a pass. It's going to be really tough."

YOU KNOW SEEM TO HAVE CONQUERED RICHMOND. IT USED TO BE A TRACK YOU DREADED AND YOU SEEM TO BE DOING GREAT. WHAT HAS CHANGED YOUR LUCK HERE?

"I feel like a couple of years ago we had it under control. Last year we were decent but today if we didn't run this qualifying lap and ended up in the top five there in third, I would have said we've lost the touch. I still have hope that we know what to do here come race time. Granted we're going to have to change our car completely around for the race. We just weren't happy with it all in race trim. I hope we finish the race tomorrow night and are under that impression, but right now I think we're playing a little bit of catch-up."

HOW MANY PEOPLE DID YOU HIT AT QUAIL HOLLOW? DID YOU KEEP SCORE?

"Luckily I didn't hit anybody. I've only played two rounds before. I played in the Pro Am and I was hitting them so far out of bounds that it was clearing the line of people on the other fairway. So I was lucky in that respect."

IT LOOKS LIKE WE'RE IN A PATTERN WHERE MORE TIMES THAN NOT, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED, 1-2-3. WITH THAT IN MIND, AND AT THIS TRACK WHERE THEY'RE MORE LIKELY THAN MOST, DO YOU TRY TO SAVE YOUR CAR THOSE ARE GOING TO HAPPEN?

"I think if you're the leader, and you have a couple tenths on the field, you'd be wise to get out to a nice little comfortable margin and then not ask a lot more out of your car in case the crew chief decides to stay out or just take two or whatever it may be. Outside of that, and you have to race every lap like it's the last, so, outside of that one opportunity I think you've just got to dig and hope for the best. It's so inconsistent with which line is going to be the fastest line. The two versus four (tire) strategy; one spot on pit road may put you in the right line or the wrong line for the re-start and then cost you the race or help you win the race. There are just so many things going on that I think we're all head-down focused on getting every position we can."

ON TIRE STRATEGY, HERE WE ARE AT A SHORT TRACK. WHAT DO YOU THINK? SAY ITS 20 LAPS TO GO AND YOU'RE RUNNING IN THE TOP FIVE, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

"The way my car was driving today, I want four tires every chance I can get. But once the sun goes down, I think we'll know a lot more though tonight's Nationwide race. And then some guys will take a chance tomorrow and see what they can do on two or none. We'll just have to take it from there. I think right now there's a big question mark."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup