30 September 2013
Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, Hendrick Motorsports - Q&A
I'll be honest, when Stevie and those guys took four tyres, I felt like, Damn, that was a missed opportunity, we should have taken four. But it definitely paid off for us.
Jimmie, a similar question, but if you could talk about what was going through your mind knowing that Junior had the four tyres, said this is one of the best cars he's had all season.
Yeah, he was fast. I'm not sure how much pit road early in the race, that couldn't have helped their overall cause. He worked his way back around, up into the mix of things there.
What I saw of his car on four tyres earlier in the race, he was pretty quick. That was really our weakest point, was the first five to ten laps, then our car would come in and was incredibly fast at that point.
I didn't want to lose control at the end of the race with 20 some to go and all that. So the pressure was on.
I ran my guts out to stay ahead of him. Any switch I could flip in the car that was a fan that might help the car turn my brake bias, everything and anything I could twist, turn, pull, push, I did, then just drove the shit out of that thing. Was able to keep him at bay for 10, 12 laps. At that point I was able to stretch a little bit and get back to running a smart race.
That opening 10, 12 laps was a pressure-packed situation.
Not only is Jimmie the all-time winner here, he's the all-time winner at seven tracks. Can you talk about what that speaks to?
The man's got a lot of skills.
It's been an honor to be able to work with Jimmie over the course of the years. I think he's able to pull out some things that are pretty spectacular. He's able to dig deeper, pull out his cape, make things happen in winning moments of these races that other people cannot do. It's pretty spectacular.
I've seen a lot of great drivers, worked with a lot of great drivers. Knowing what we've got sitting behind the seat is always a little bit of confidence, knowing if you get close, if you make the right call at the right time, he's going to be able to carry the ball.
Once again, I think Jimmie is probably the most underrated champion we have in this industry. He is by far and above the most powerful driver over the course of the last 25, 35 years in this sport. It's pretty fun being able to work with him.
Thanks, man (laughter).
Jimmie, for a while you, Kyle and Matt were top three. For most of the race y'all were somewhere in the top five. Either part of that motivational, give you more drive to do better? Was any part of that a cool factor?
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