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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?

Jimmie Johnson:
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.

Q:
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?

Jimmie Johnson:
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.

Q:
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?

Jimmie Johnson:
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.

Q:



Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS won Sunday, April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway for the STP Gas Booster 500 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Christa L Thomas for Chevrolet)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag from NASCAR official Rodney Wise after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 on April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with car owner Rick Hendrick after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP Gas Booster 500 on April 7, 2013 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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