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Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, Hendrick Motorsports - Q&A

I was thinking about it when I was in the car. My whole thought process was just how tough this championship's going to be. They're bringing their best and doing their best. You've got to deliver. That was my mindset when I was racing with both of those guys for three-quarters of the race.

It didn't surprise me. It just confirmed what I think we've all been kind of feeling and thinking about, is that those guys, they're both in a great position, and in it for the long haul.

For myself, from a mental standpoint, that's the area where I thrive, when we get into long runs, a tough, demanding track. It's not easy to get around this place. A long, tough championship. I really feel like I operate better. The more painful it is, the harder it is, that's where I seem to do my best work.

I don't like it. I don't enjoy that experience. But I've always done a better job and have surprised myself through those moments. It was like that in this race today. I think it's going to be more so of that into the coming races to the checkered flag in Homestead.

Q:
In that light, how important was it for you to win on a day it appeared you had a little better car than both of them?

Jimmie Johnson:
Yeah, I mean you've got to win when you're at your best track. That being said, we had to win here today. I think any points on the #18 or the #20 would have been a very good day. Max points, it's an awesome day.

Again, it's just relative. It's a little early to play that game too much right now. There's a point in the season where you just worry about who's leading, who's behind you if you're the leader, beating them. So that mindset would have been there if we ran second to Junior today. Still would have been happy to outrun the #20 or the #18. We need to win at our best tracks, and we did that.

Q:
About the mistake Junior had on pit road, he said that might have been the difference of him having the clean air and being up front at the end. Do you think that was really significant? Did you feel also you pissed off a lot of people today by beating Junior?

Jimmie Johnson:
It doesn't matter, I piss them off regardless. Just me breathing pisses some of them off (laughter).

It certainly affected his day. To lose track position like that, without a doubt it affected his day. I'm not sure at the end with strategy how things would have played out. I think he was second behind us on that run.

It's hard to say if it really would have made a difference, but it didn't help him, help his cause at all.

Q:
The fact that you guys share a shop with the #88, Junior says these were the best his cars have ever been. Do you feel the same way, your cars are right at the top right now?

Jimmie Johnson:
Bristol, no. Richmond, no. Dover, yes.

It's funny, because each track has its own demands. I feel like here, the way we performed at Martinsville earlier in the year, we've been able to refine and hone in on specific tracks. The bigger, faster tracks, I feel really good about our equipment.




Related Pictures

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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, celebrates victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, September 29 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Pixelcrisp)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 29, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, wins the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 29, 2013 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo Credit: Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with his crew chief, Chad Knaus, right, Sunday, September 29, 2013 winning the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Johnson becomes Dover`s All-Time winner with his 8th victory on the track. The win puts him in second place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, races to a fourth place finish Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, races to his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career win with a victory lap and checkered flag, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.  (Photo by Gregg Ellman for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory with a wave of the chequered flag Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Garry Eller for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Superman Chevrolet SS, celebrates his 77th career victory, Sunday, March 20, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, celebrates after taking the chequered flag during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s / Superman Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 20, 2016 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS SS, qualifies for second position Friday, March 18, 2016 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Harvick will be joined on the front row by pole setter Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

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