Jimmie Johnson clinched his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship on Sunday with ninth place in the 2013 season finale, the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
After celebrating his achievement, Johnson joined car owner Rick Hendrick and crew chief Chad Knaus to meet the media and to speak about what a sixth Cup title really meant to him and the Hendrick Motorsports team - and what's next for the #48 team.
We're joined by crew chief Chad Knaus and owner Rick Hendrick. This is Hendrick Motorsports 11th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Owner's Championship, most of all time. 14th National Series Owner's Championship. Certainly the sixth with the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet.
This is Chad's sixth championship, all with Jimmie Johnson. Chad has 64 career wins, all with the Jimmie Johnson team.
Let's hear from Chad first. Certainly a terrific run this season and in the Chase. You handled the pressure. You won another championship. How does that feel?
Boy, I tell you, it's been a bit of a whirlwind, how long has it been, 30 minutes or an hour. It was a fantastic season. I actually spoke to my guys in the meeting before the event. You don't know what's going to happen when you come into these events. We've unfortunately had a couple races this year that we didn't finish as well as what we needed to to get that 23rd position to have clinched.
So when we went into the meeting today, I told the guys, You need to really focus on what it was we've achieved throughout the course of the season. We've led a bunch of laps, won a bunch of races. We've taken a group of new individuals, new engineers, mechanics, pit crew members, they've all evolved into a pretty spectacular team.
I don't think we're even close to the potential of the team yet. That's exciting for me. But they have really, really bonded well together. They care for one another. They put the team first. That's something that's hard to do, especially with a first-year team.
Ron Malec, Jimmie and myself are the only ones still here from 2002. Bunch of new players. It's a lot of fun.
Rick Hendrick, you were in here the other day. You were talking about how difficult it is to win these championships, how much they mean. Maybe talk about this one that the #48 team performed so well.
You know, so many things happened along the way. The car has been great. Jimmie has been great. Chad has been right on the money. Jimmie just drives the wheels right off of it.