JIMMIE JOHNSON NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - FINISHED 3RD: "You know, it was a lot of work today. These last two weeks have been tough on us. I guess through qualifying, and all the practice sessions leading into the race, we just...
JIMMIE JOHNSON NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - FINISHED 3RD:
"You know, it was a lot of work today. These last two weeks have been tough on us. I guess through qualifying, and all the practice sessions leading into the race, we just haven't been right. But, we work on it, we work hard on it and part way through the race, or half way through the race, we get it sorted out and get the car running again. I am disappointed to start the race off so slow and frustrated because it makes for a long weekend for the race team.
"But sitting here right now, I can't be more proud of my crew guys than I am. Chad made some incredible calls on pit road. We had to pull spring rubbers, put them back in, wedge, track bar, air pressures.Chad was doing everything he could to do to that car. And at the end, he got it right. We were coming on strong and I don't think anyone had anything for the No.16 (Greg Biffle). We were catching Jamie a little bit there and a 600- mile race? Maybe we would have finished second. The longer the races, the better we do, I guess. I don't know why."
SINCE YOU WERE ABLE TO COME FROM THE BACK TO THE FRONT, DOES THAT MEAN YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT MUCH EMPHASIS ON QUALIFYING?
"I think qualifying.the biggest importance of qualifying is your pit road pick. And when you have a big track like this, where the pit stalls have a lot of room, it doesn't kill you to be in the back. The race is long enough; usually you can pull some strategy to get some track position. But if you have a good car, you have a good car. It's more of good cars being good but being in the back. You know, Greg (Biffle, race winner) crashed in Happy Hour so he had to start in the back. So, I think it's more of that than anything. The softer tire and the shorter spoiler.the idea of it is to make the cars harder to drive. When that happens, you have more lanes and handling is more of a premium. So I think there is a small play of that happening into the passing. That's why NASCAR made the rule change this year."
DO YOU HAVE AN EXPLANATION WHY THERE WERE SO MANY SPINS IN THE EARLY PART OF THE RACE?
"Today was probably the most difficult time in traffic I've had all year long, from Atlanta to Fontana. Wherever the track was. Today was tough in traffic. I don't know if it was just because I had a bad car or what but it looked like a lot of guys were just looking for single file racing. I think a lot of it has to do with a shorter spoiler."
DOES IT SEEM LIKE GREG BIFFLE IS THE CAR TO BEAT AT A 1.5-2.0 MILE RACE TRACK?
"I think that the #16 has really stepped up there in a 1.5-mile and above program. They showed some brilliance last year and the team really showed that they were getting things figured out. And then this year they stepped it up. He's definitely one of the cars to beat but I don't think he's the dominant car."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BIFFLE AS A DRIVER?
"He's definitely aggressive -- from the Busch Series when I raced there and into Cup. He's always been fast. He's always been hard on the gas. When you're in a race with him, he's definitely going to be very aggressive. And that's not a bad thing. I'm not saying that in a negative way at all. And there are just certain guys.some guys are reckless and aggressive and other guys aren't. You know with Greg that he's going to be aggressive and put up a really good fight. I've respected him through the Busch Series and with the championship. So, I've raced with him for a long time. Off the track, it's hard to spend a lot of time with drivers who aren't on your team, but I do see him around home and he does have a fast boat and we get out there and race around a little bit, so it doesn't matter if it's on the track or on the lake."