NASCAR » 30 September 2013
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, Hendrick Motorsports - Q&A
No, it's good. The fact of the matter is this: I feel like in Chicago if we hadn't had a botched-up little pit stop there at the first part of the race - some of our doing, a little of assistance - I feel like we could have won the race in Chicago, which we're hoping to do at some point before I retire.
I feel like last week in Loudon if we could have ever gotten control of the event, which we had great opportunity. Got jumbled up on some restarts, couldn't get to where we needed to, we could have beaten him there.
I feel we had cars capable of winning the first two races, like the #20 and #18. Coming into this event we felt we had a good racecar. Brought the same racecar we had in the spring. We obviously ran really well in the spring.
Being able to come in here, qualify respectably, go out and lead the most laps, win this race, speaks volumes about this team.
What we're doing right now is we are just trying to establish a foundation and set ourselves up for the second half of the Chase. As long as we do that, we're going to be where we need to be.
Chad, when you realized behind you was somebody on four tyres, I assume you were thinking there was going to be a bigger buffer, did you feel like you had enough laps that they wouldn't factor in? Did you think, We're screwed?
Second part (laughter).
No, here is the situation. If you look back over the history of this race, we even saw at the beginning of the event today, the #18 car was able to go out there on two tyres, establish a lead on two tyres versus the guys on four, took 27 laps for somebody to catch the #18 car and pass them. We felt like with 20 something laps to go in this race, we would probably be okay if we could make it happen.
Now, fortunately enough for the #88, they were able to get broken free of the guys who were on two tyres pretty quickly. But we did a lot of due diligence yesterday trying to understand where our car was, what we needed to do with the KOBALT Chevrolet to make it fast for Jimmie if we did get ourselves in a position where we needed to do two tyres. We understood what we needed to do. We made those changes. Jimmie told me after the race, he felt like that was the best the car was on the short run.
We ran our fastest laps right there at the end of the race, on two tyres. We ran some twenty-three fifties which was really fast. We worked hard and tried to understand what we needed to do for strategy, and fortunately it paid off for us.
Are you surprised more people didn't go with that?
I was surprised. I thought more people would have taken two tyres towards the end of the race. We saw guys early in the race take two tyres, get track position, maintain that without having clean air. So I expected a little bit more of a buffer.
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