25 February 2013
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports - Q&A
It is a little early yet. Once we get a downforce race or two behind us, we'll have a better understanding. I have confidence because I know how hard Chad works, I know the tools and commitment that Rick has and gives us, how hard everybody works at our shop. We've had great test sessions.
Again, we felt like we had a shot at this race, but we're really excited for the races to come.
But it is a little early. Maybe after Vegas, Bristol, we can see which team has the upper hand.
Obviously it feels fantastic to do this. What does it mean to you that so many of your competitors come into Victory Lane to congratulate you in a moment like that? What does it mean to you to spend those types of moments with your family?
It means a lot. I mean, that hits me deep. We race against one another, do some awful things to each other out on the track as competitors. But it's the ultimate nod for another guy to come in, if he's a Hendrick driver or not.
Brad came by, Ryan came by, Mears came by, Gordon, Junior, Kahne. It's really cool. It means a lot to me. I'm one of the few racers out there that's concerned about friendships and relationships. I have a lot of friends out there on that track and I'm proud of that.
I'm also proud to have my family here. Chani and Evie mean the world to me. Chani has been by my side and supporting me and letting me focus on my job and do all that I need to to be a part of this race team.
I win, our family wins. To have that moment in Victory Lane is very special, too.
I'm not sure what we thought we were going to see down here, but after hearing all about the Gen‑6 car, how it was going to do this, that and the other thing, for much of the day it was just single file, parade style until the very end. Is this race so different that this car eventually will be very good at other places and may not be good here or are we expecting too much?
No, I think the cars are sensitive to side drafting, and that is some of what we saw. When we're running single file, we're just trying to get to the finish. We've all crashed so many times and have torn up so much stuff that a lot of that falls on the driver's shoulders.
I feel for NASCAR, they're trying to create a very competitive car. They want a side‑by‑side. The fans want a side‑by‑side. There's a few guys willing to race. The spotters were all talking. I'd get word that three or four guys wanted to jump out of line, they were tired of riding. I thought they better get some friends.
I just believe a lot of the competitors just wanted to get to that last pit stop and race for it.
Jimmie, in the best laymen's terms, because maybe the casual fans don't understand how difficult it is to do what you guys do out there, is it particularly hard to win here at Daytona? If so, why?
Yeah, it's about as tough as it gets here. The draft and the way you race here and at Talladega is much different than anywhere else. It takes vehicles around you to create opportunities to pass. You can't do it alone. So it's far different than any other racing we do.
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