25 February 2013
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports - Q&A
No, I don't think we went anywhere anybody in the garage area, they're wise to all that. We had great pace last year, championship form, had two bad races at the end.
You know, I'm just enjoying this moment. This is a one of a kind race. In the rush that follows, the notoriety that follows, it's great for all of us. Chad, Rick, the company, Lowe's, Chevrolet. It's just time to sit back and enjoy.
When we pull into the gates at Phoenix next weekend, it's a totally different game as we all know. We'll enjoy this rush. If there's some down points through the year, we'll look back on this race and smile again.
As far as racing with Brad out there, you really lose sight of who is in what car. It's just somebody between you and the trophy. It could have been anybody. I knew the #2 had damage and wasn't going to be really fast. That's the only thing I thought about regarding the #2, was he had some damage and hopefully I could get by him with the clean racecar I had.
Jimmie, you just said you were aware the #2 had front end damage. It seemed like it took you a long time to get by him. Were you just sort of biding your time or were you surprised he was as fast as he was with that nose so torn up?
No, I was desperately wanting to get by him or in the inside lane. There were far more cars lined up on the outside lane than the inside. Who was behind us? [Denny Hamlin.] I think the #9 was there at one point.
It was just so hard to make up time on the bottom because there were fewer cars. I was hanging on side drafting, doing all I could to hang onto the #2 when I was close to him and the #16. The caution truthfully fell at a good time for us. Right when we surged ahead, that allowed me to get ahead for the driver's choice for which lane he wanted.
Seemed like you were laying low for half the race. Was that the way things went?
No, I ran second to fifth all day really. But you had such a small opportunity of time to get something done, you had a restart, and that would shuffle around for three laps, then we're all in line. Coming to pit road, Chad's strategy on when we pitted, the guys, what they did on pit road, was great. We always got the lead as the result of one.
Once that single file, it would be foolish to pull out. You get back in line in 35th or something, so you just kind of hold your spot.
Jimmie, I know it's awfully early, but the last time a new racecar was introduced in '07, Hendrick and you were strong right away. I look at this and I wonder are you maybe a little bit ahead of the rest? Is this a sign or is it too early to say that maybe you have something?
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