30 September 2013
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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