* Johnson last piloted primary chassis No. 543 to his first road course victory by winning the Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway in June. * Back up chassis No. 442 was last driven to a seventh-place finish at Watkins Glen in August ...
* Johnson last piloted primary chassis No. 543 to his first road course victory by winning the Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway in June.
* Back up chassis No. 442 was last driven to a seventh-place finish at Watkins Glen in August 2008.
NOW THAT YOU HAVE THE ROAD COURSE WIN UNDER YOUR BELT, DOES THAT MAKE YOU LOOK FORWARD TO WATKINS GLEN MORE? WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO TRACKS? "The Glen's been the better of the two tracks for me. So I feel real good about going back there. Two totally different types of road course racing for our cars. The Glen is much more of a flowing track, a lot higher speeds, where Sonoma's very technical.
"I hope that I learned enough, and I certainly have more confidence after winning the race and running so well all day long that mentally I know what sensations I need in the car. I know what I need to feel on the brake pedal, braking zones, on throttle. So I feel good about going back."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU OVER THESE NEXT SIX RACES TO GET YOUR TEAM INTO THAT CHASE FOCUS WHERE YOU'VE BEEN THESE LAST FEW YEARS? "That's what it's all about. We're getting to that part of the year. I've had strong years where we've entered the Chase with a lot of momentum and have won a championship; and we've had years where we didn't have the best summer and have still gone on to win the championship. So I don't think there's a rhyme or reason to it. The 10 tracks in the Chase, a lot of them are much different than anything we run on during the summer and very special and unique into their own.
"So, I'm optimistic. I look at Loudon. I look at Dover. And both of those races were really good for us this year. Martinsville is typically good for us although we didn't have the best spring race there this year. I think we're getting smarter on the bigger tracks, the 1.5-mile and 2-mile stuff. We seem to be making small gains although we haven't really finished on one of those tracks recently like we should have. I feel like we're getting better there. Our team always responds well at the end of the year and especially under pressure. I'm excited and looking forward to whatever comes our way."