Chassis * Johnson will pilot brand new chassis No. 618 in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. * Back up chassis No. 482 was driven to a sixth-place result at Talladega last November. JIMMIE JOHNSON: IS THE RUN FOR THIS CHAMPIONSHIP...
* Johnson will pilot brand new chassis No. 618 in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race.
* Back up chassis No. 482 was driven to a sixth-place result at Talladega last November.
IS THE RUN FOR THIS CHAMPIONSHIP THIS YEAR ANY DIFFERENT THAN ANY OF THE OTHERS THAT YOU HAVE WON? "Yeah, I think that every other championship has helped me be more confident in my abilities, what my team is capable of; and there are probably some other emotions that are wrapped up into it that all lead to the fact that I am much more relaxed fighting for this championship than any other championship in my life. So experience really helps out a lot and I have enjoyed these last five races more than I did the last year and the year before, and so on.
"I feel like I am in a really good place where some guys that are fighting for their first championship, there is so much on it. I have been there, so I know exactly what those feelings are like. I feel like it's helpful for me to be this relaxed and to come in and not obsess over things during the week and to come into the track with a fresh mind and a ton of energy and go to work. So I really hope that the experience gives me an upper hand through the championship battle."
AT TALLADEGA, THERE IS REALLY NO WAY OF STAYING OUT OF THE BIG ONE. YOU'VE DONE IT BOTH WAYS, AT THE FRONT OF THE PACK AND THE BACK OF THE PACK. IS IT REALLY A ONE IN 200-LAP SHOOTOUT THAT YOU NEVER REALLY KNOW AND THERE'S NO SURE WAY OF AVOIDING IT? "We've tried both approaches and the last three years we've made it through there (the big crash) without any big trouble. I can remember Bobby Labonte at the front of the pack racing Talladega one time and gets flipped over and ends up landing on Tony Stewart, who is trying to ride at the back to be smart for points. So there is no safe place. We see a lot of teams trying to be conservative and smart and get to the end of the race and go from there and the problem we have now is when everybody decides with 20 (laps) to go, that it's time to race, you have to race. You need the best finish you can get and that's where the crashes are. So I think we all feel better if we go 480 miles and then get crashed. It really sucks to crash at five miles into the race or something. I think that's what we've done over the years is there's no need to push the envelope now if something weird went on, we could miss that. But at the end you've got to pull (the belts) tight and drive through there and try to get the best finish you can."