8 April 2013
Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports - Q&A
Was yesterday nerve-racking at all after the contact with Joey, and were you nervous at all today on that one restart where you fell back to sixth and the caution came out so you ended up being back up front?
Yeah, there was some oil down in 3 and 4 so that's why the caution came out. I went into the turn and the car just went straight. I'm not really sure what happened. Caution was out, fortunately I was still leading and I got to hang on to the lead.
But the contact with Joey, I stayed in the car so I didn't get to see it. Chad was - we saw another set of stickers left, so Chad looked at it, the guys were working on it, and we were already discussing what changes we wanted to make for that last sticker run. So I could tell right away that it was more cosmetic and nothing really bad. I hate that the contact happened but it luckily didn't hurt our car or move the splitter around. That would be the tough part is if - luckily it hit the bumper bar and smashed that in instead of bending the splitter up or down.
This question is for Jimmie. Jeff Gordon was on pit road during his post-race interview and kind of joked around saying when you guys qualify 15th or back in the pack you kind of gave them a chance to win. What's the advantage of getting that #1 pit stall and doing it two times in a row, the pole in the fall, winning the race, and doing the same thing here in the spring?
Yeah, you make your day so much easier when you qualify up front, qualify on pole and get that first pit stall. Jeff sent me a funny text Friday, you're tough enough to beat when you qualify 15th, now on the pole it's going to be impossible to beat you. I got a good laugh out of that.
There's four or five cars that we race with here that I don't want to see them get the pole because it could be that little advantage that gives them a chance to win. We all could see how bad it was to start in the outside lane, and if you can come off pit road first and not second, it makes all the difference in the world. Even third versus second, you'd much rather be third than second.
I heard you say I think to Chad on the cool-down lap something to the effect of we looked like we knew what we were doing today, which is kind of amusing when you consider this place has been hosting Cup races for more than 50 years and the only guys with more wins than you are Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip. I know it's tough to put that in perspective, but can you talk about being third all-time here by yourself, no other active driver has eight wins? Do you ever sit back and think about that?
Yeah, I think the fact that we had just such a calm weekend was the biggest part. I mean, it's easy to start chasing things here and get yourself off track.
We always race well, and fortunately here you pit a lot and you can make big changes to your race car to get you in the ballgame. We've won races where we were just terrible to start the race, having no fun. Chad is throwing spring rubbers in the car and track wear is coming up or down, wedges in and out, all those huge, huge changes, and we get ourselves in contention.
I don't know where we were - someone said the worst I was on the track today was fourth. We just executed from the first laps in practice to where we were at the end of the race, and that was fun. That's what I meant by that, that we weren't chasing a setup or track conditions or a variety of things that we've done in the past.
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