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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)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, suffers a mechanical issue during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmie John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s/Budweiser Chevrolet SS qualifies in second position Friday, February 27, 2015 for a front row position start in Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS races to a third place finish with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS who finishes in fifth place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS pulls into his pit on his way to a second place finish in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Percision Chevrolet, lead the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, race three-wide during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
Hendrick Motorsports team mates (left) Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet and (right) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, captures the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015 after posting the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who has said this is his last full season of racing, has won the Daytona 500 three times. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second and will also start from the front row. (Photo by HHP/David Tulis for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, captures the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015 after posting the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, shown with his team and crew chief, Alan Gustafson, said this is his last full season of racing. Gordan has won the Daytona 500 three times. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second and will also start from the front row. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

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