Friday practice quotes Infineon Raceway Jimmie Johnson - ...
Friday practice quotes
Jimmie Johnson - #48 Lowe's Chevrolet
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT NASCAR TOOK SOME ENGINES BACK LAST WEEK TO DYNO TEST? Yeah, that's the first time that I think (it's happened) when I've been around. I don't think it's the first time it's happened, but first time in my experience on the Cup level. NASCAR is working hard to keep things fair and equal, and this is another extension of that. They've taken cars, and now they've taken engines.
HOW WAS PRACTICE TODAY? It's been good. I really better understand how to drive a Cup car now. And, practice showed that we were fifth on the board. Now we just have the hardest part, which is qualifying. I've screwed up the past few times here in qualifying. Hopefully I can make a clean lap and get us a good starting spot.
YOU PREPARED AT BONDURANT THIS WEEK. TELL US ABOUT THAT Yeah, I just went out knocked the rust off, like I did last year. You know, it helps, but the cars aren't the same. It's just nice to get in that mindset and go through the drills of looking, downshifting and all that before you get here.
YOU'VE HAD GREAT SUCCESS BEFORE WHERE PEOPLE EXPECT YOU TO WIN. TELL US ABOUT THAT PRESSURE, ETC You know, it is like walking a tight rope. The tight rope comes into play when it's fading away. When you're in that zone, things are clicking and it's almost easy. You end up finding yourself in that right situation, you have luck working your way on top of having a good race car. There are other days when you have a great race car or are trapped in the pits, or wrong time. It's frustrating but you still get up there and do well. But, when you're in the zone, and everything is working for you and you can rattle off three or four wins in a short period of time, it takes a lot of outside factors other than a good race car that come into that. And you get a sense of feeling easy, then it starts get difficult and that's when the tight rope starts to come out. Everybody is asking questions-can he keep the streak going? Can he do it again?
DID YOU SEE ANY OF THE RECENT DEBACLE AT INDY? A little bit. It's unbelievable when only a few cars start the race after traveling that far. I don't know all the inner workings that took place, but it's a shame to see their teams didn't race and there wasn't some sort of happy medium between the sanctioning body and the race teams so the guys could put on a show for all the fans.
COULD YOU SEE THAT HAPPENING AT NASCAR? No, I don't. I think NASCAR would handle it in a similar fashion to what F1 did, to say, look, we have a race, it's your responsibility to stay on the road and to prepare a race car that can finish the race. Tires included. I would see them running the race. If you rolled your car off the race, then off you went. I would hope it would never happen or be like that, but with all that money and points on the line, NASCAR has got to put on a show and it's our responsibility to make the cars survive.
THERE USED TO BE A BIGGER GAP BETWEEN THE ROAD COURSE RINGERS AND NASCAR REGULARS. HAS THAT GAP CLOSED? The gap definitely has closed. I think you see more oval track guys competing up front with Robby and Boris and Scott Pruett. The changes they've made to the race cars, and also the drivers' development on the road courses. It's getting tougher and tougher every year and with the new format, this race and Watkins Glen can be two very important races for a team to make up some ground where the championship leader is or to the 10th place in the Chase. Any more and you really have to have a 1st class road course team and it's a lot harder now for the road course guys to come in and cherry pick.
Jeff Gordon - #24 DuPont Chevrolet
We've had some rough weeks and we need to find a way to get on track and get things going in the right direction for us. I know we're a really solid team, we just haven't had things going our way and I'm not going to point fingers at anybody including myself. That's just not good. Just, things have happened and this is a good track for us, the road courses have been good tracks for us. You know, Daytona, yeah, I think we're going to run good, but those types of tracks are the thing where anything can happen-including "the big one." You can't count on us just coming out of the shop and just finishing automatically.
HOW MUCH IS THAT HAVING AN EFFECT ON YOU RIGHT NOW THAT YOU'VE HAD SOME DIFFICULTY LATELY? I mean, I've always been one to focus on the next race and put the last one behind us, whether we win or whether we finish 43rd. So, I haven't seen anxiousness yet. I hope that doesn't happen and I hope we don't put ourselves in that position. But, other than just sheer competition and wanting to show up to the race track and be our best.
WHEN IN THIS PERIOD DO YOU NEED TO DECIDE TO MAKE YOUR MOVE? We've been making our move since Daytona in February. I mean, there's nothing more or less that we can do. We're going out there and giving everything we have every weekend. We want to be leading the points, winning races every weekend. We're not trying to play strategy or anything .We're getting after it, and things have been a struggle for us. And all we can do is just keep working hard and hope it gets turned around.
EVERYBODY EXPECTS YOU TO GET OUT OF YOUR SLUMP THIS WEEK AND NEXT WEEK AT DAYTONA, WHAT IS THAT PRESSURE LIKE? It is pressure. I feel like we're always kind of a target when we come to road courses because we've had such success here, so trying not to put too much emphasis on that. Just want to go out there and get in the car and just think about driving the car, hitting my marks and giving good information back to the team.