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Johnson Stays in Front

So don't get the headline writers out saying trouble at HMS, because it's really no big deal. And we all know from scanning during the race, there are a lot of colorful things said on that racetrack about teammates and other drivers and all that kind of stuff. So to have the word disappointed used from Jeff and myself I don't think it is a very big deal.

Q. At that moment when your two cars made contact, how badly did it affect your car? How were Chad and the guys able to fix it? And at the instant it occurred, what was your reaction?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, we were lucky that where we made contact it didn't push the front fender down on the tire. It appears though that it did push that body work in and cut our left front down, which is why we had that problem and had to pit early. So it definitely hurt me having the contact with the 24.
I'm just thankful when we got together that we weren't both spinning down the front stretch and wadded up. I was thankful he didn't spin me out further in the corner. He was just on my bumper, pushing me through the center of the turn. It was like, man, I really can't go anywhere if you're there, pushing me. If you'd just get off my ass and let me get control of my car, I can accelerate (laughing). That's as you come off the corner and collide, and off we go from there.

Q. A lot of people I think were maybe ready to write off Denny Hamlin after the knee surgery as far as being a championship contender. He was the guy viewed as maybe the main threat to you coming into this year. Did you write him off? Did today's win by him prove something to you that maybe he's still in it?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, naturally, you would think it would take some time to heal. I don't know much about the injury and the rehab and everything that goes with it. But if you can just drive with your right foot on a big track like this, I think there are a lot of right footed drivers. I'm not sure what type of style he has. But the bigger the track, I think the easier it is to adjust and adapt as a driver with an injury, especially with your left leg.
Denny and that team, man, they've been the real deal for a long time. It doesn't surprise me that they're going fast. It would have been a surprise at Richmond if he would have won the race with the injury that he had, because there it is really difficult with the braking and using the left leg and all of that.
They're a great race team. They're showing it. So we've been focused on them since the season has started and even through a large part of last year.




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Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, pits along with the rest of the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase.  (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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