Tag:Jimmie Johnson
Posted on: March 20, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Edwards, Johnson post Bristol comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

We're going to roll into our post race for today's race here at Bristol Motor Speedway. Joining us is our race runner-up Carl Edwards and our third-place finisher Jimmie Johnson.

Carl, I'll turn it over to you. Certainly a race of ebb and flow. You had a good car it seemed like throughout the entire race. Maybe just couldn't get there to the 18 at the end.

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I thought we'd be better matched with him. I thought I'd be able to race with him harder for the last 15 or 20 laps. But he took off and I was a little loose off. I just couldn't get back to him to race.

While we were racing for the first couple laps after the restart, it was a blast. If I'd have known that was the only shot I was going to have, I might have raced a little harder.

It was a good race at Bristol. It was fun. I'm just ready to go to California and hopefully we'll have strong cars there.

KERRY THARP: Jimmie Johnson, third-place finish, leading the most laps, 164. Your thoughts about today's performance?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Certainly a solid performance for us. I felt like coming off pit road in fourth with only 40, 50 to go, the guys I was racing with, I knew it was going to be tough to get back to the front. I think we had a slip on the rear tire changer coming around the back of the car. Amazing, one little slip on pit road what it equals on the racetrack.

Great performance, qualified well, raced well. Very proud of the team. Glad to be climbing up in the points.

Q. Carl, when you said you might have raced a little more aggressively earlier, does that mean when you were in position to give him the bump-n-run, everybody thought it was a little early, do you wish you had given it to him while you had the chance?

CARL EDWARDS: I should have. It was a little early. I told him after Phoenix I still owe him one. But I'll save it up.

But I was just talking to Jimmie on the way over here. We were running so hard at that point in the run, I don't know that you could really bump a guy and just move him. You might cause a big wreck, might wreck yourself. Jimmie was right behind us.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Should have done it.

CARL EDWARDS: Thought I'd maybe give him the win.

I figured we'd let it calm down and we'd just race. It ended up the fastest car at the end won the race. Hindsight is 20/20, but that's the way it panned out.

Q. Jimmie, were you taking it all easy the last laps where Edwards and Kyle were really fighting for position?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: To a certain degree. I mean, we were all running really hard. There were a couple moments where I thought I might be given a big gift here. It's not like I was really riding. There was nowhere for me to go if I got up in there and raced with these guys. I left myself a little bit of room. I was still running awfully hard to keep pace.

One neat thing about this track, you can run good lap times side-by-side. There's just enough room to do that. These guys were digging up front and I was just waiting to see what was going to happen.

Q. I know it's really early in the season. I know y'all will say, Anything can happen. Is it pretty much down to the 48, the 99 and the 18 this year? Three of you seem to be noticeably better than everybody else.

CARL EDWARDS: Are you seriously asking that question right now (smiling)?

I hope. It would be nice to have two guys to race. That would be great.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: If you're going to go on short-term results, you look who has done the best, it's the 99. You look at us at Vegas last week, we just about killed each other during the race.

We're still looking for some speed. I think on the short-track stuff, we're in good shape. Our research and development program on the mile-and-a-half and two-mile is still underway.

Q. Carl, when they gave you the new tire yesterday, it didn't seem like you took to it too well. Was that an issue? Did you have to battle through that today?

CARL EDWARDS: We never ran the old tire in that second practice. That's I think why we were 33rd or 34th on the board. It looked bad. But I thought we were pretty good once we made two or three runs on that tire. I felt like we were pretty competitive.

The beginning of the race, we weren't very good. We went backwards pretty quick. Bob made some pretty large changes with the car.

I would say we didn't think we would be struggling as much as we did when the race started. It was a little bit more of a curve ball than we thought.

Q. Carl, three restarts you and Kyle side-by-side. Did you think, If we do enough of these restarts, I'm going to figure out how to beat him? Is he just so good on restarts, it's hard for anybody to beat him?

CARL EDWARDS: I think the last two if I'm not mistaken I had to lift out of the gas. I got a pretty good jump on him. I kind of figured out what he was doing.

But he does do a really good job on restarts. I think that outside lane, you have a little more of a hill to come down or something, so you have a little advantage on the outside. So I was doing everything I could to take away that advantage.

I needed a few restarts just to figure out how to keep up with him because he was doing a really good job.

Q. When he started to break away from you and Jimmie, was it because Jimmie came up and put heat on you? Was he just a stronger car?

CARL EDWARDS: He was better off in the corner. I think I worked my tires a little too hard on the bottom racing really hard with him. My car had been loose all day. That was the tightest it had been. Coming off the corner, I pushed the throttle down, I was sideways all the way. Once Kyle got out there, I was just trying to keep Jimmie behind me. At the end, I think Kyle definitely had more drive off the corner.

Q. Jimmie, when you were leading, how was it getting through some of the lap traffic for you?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: It's always challenging. I mean, I've been here with a torn-up racecar. You just go to the bottom or the top, pick a lane and sit there. You can still run fast lap times around here. So there's always issues with torn-up cars that you catch at the wrong time, maybe you're alongside of a car for position, it gets frustrating.

Then there were some other guys racing hard to stay on the lead lap. You try to give them two or three laps, understand what they're doing. But at that point when somebody starts catching -- when the leaders started catching me, I just had to start moving people, bumping people out of the way. Nothing major, but put pressure on them, lean on them, they would point you by and let you go. It's kind of short track stuff. When you're the leader, when you watch the lead you built up disappear, that's frustrating. Those guys have every right to race for their lead-lap position as well.

Q. On the short-track racing, short-oval racing, how big is the issue with brake cooling and engine cooling? Is this always a problem?

CARL EDWARDS: I was a little nervous about my brakes today because I was riding them a long ways through the corner. I kept asking Bob the wheel temps and stuff. He said they were fine. We didn't have any trouble today, but I was nervous about it.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Same here. A little contact with some guys when I was leading trying to push them out of the way. Did some damage to the radiator. My water temp was high at the end . It was 250 the last 40, 50 laps. I was a little concerned about that, but it survived.

Q. Jimmie, we talked to Jeff Gordon a few weeks back when Kyle was having a pretty decent run. He compared the young Kyle Busch to Kyle Busch now. How have you seen Kyle mature over the last year to 18 months?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, you can definitely see him bite his tongue at times and not say what is the first thought that comes through his mind. From being teammates with him and racing with him, I've been able to get to know him years back. I've always raced well with him on track. He's always been patient, hasn't roughed me up. So I haven't had any issues on track with him over the years.

But you can see, especially now that he is a car owner, has sponsors to worry about, you can just tell in his interviews the way he speaks. He's very aware of series sponsor, track sponsor, his sponsors. We've also probably seen that same transformation with Stewart over the years. Once you're an owner, I haven't been in that role, you understand how fragile this environment and sport is. It certainly matured him a lot.

I can't say a ton in the car because I don't think he was doing much wrong there to start with. I think outside the car, he's handling himself better.

Q. Between you two and Kyle, you have pretty much won all the short track races over the last two or three years. Even though these tracks are all different, what is the similarity? Why are the same guys winning? When you look particularly at Bristol with Kyle winning four of the last five year, do you feel the gap is widening or you're closing on him here?

CARL EDWARDS: I didn't know I'd won that many short track races. These guys have been doing a good job, though.

I don't know. I think these races are pretty grueling. They're tough for the whole team: the driver, the pit crew, the crew chief, the engineers, everyone. I think that, you know, I look at some of the best teams in the garage, it's Jimmie and Kyle's teams. I think from my perspective that's why they do well here, because they have good, well-rounded teams and they're great drivers.

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I'm just happy to be in the hunt here at Bristol. It's been such a long time for me to figure this place out finally, two years of Nationwide, then probably eight or nine years of Cup. I can say through all of that for me, if you don't have the right rhythm at this track and know how to drive it, you can drive it a lot of different ways, I'd go out there and search for three or four different rhythms or lines, have Chad set the car up for one of those, it just wasn't right. I would change my line in the race, see what I should be doing. Now I have the car set up to run differently.

I think now that we're on the same page, I know the line we need to run, we can tune to it and improve the car in the right areas. It's been helpful for me. It just took a while to get it.

This track, a lot like the other short tracks, technology doesn't affect the cars as much, so your setup should last longer on a short track over the years. Then also the driving style, the technique for each track. That stuff doesn't really change all that much.

The reason Kyle continues to run well, he started off strong well here and has done nothing but make small improvements and stay ahead of it.     

Q. About 50 laps to go, it looked like it was in the perfect Mark Martin cautions-beget-cautions mode. Had it been that way all the way to the end, both of you certainly would have had more chances. Do you think the only way he could have been beaten would have been to get him quick after a green flag?

CARL EDWARDS: Looking back on it, that was the only way. At the time I thought our 99 car was going to be better after 10 or 15 laps. I wasn't too concerned with it. I thought we were going to get another caution or two. My gut told me there was going to be another caution. But you never know how those runs are going to go. You never know the adjustments guys make on the last pit stop. You just don't know.

Q. Carl, with the confidence that you've had so far and the results you've had dating back to the end of last year, the last 50 laps you thought you were going to win this thing. How confident were you and how peeved are you now instead of sitting in Victory Lane?

CARL EDWARDS: It's no fun to run second. When I look at the big picture, the fact that I'm sitting here frustrated about a second-place, one or two points out of the points lead, that's a huge jump from a year ago.

When you're running poorly, you'll take anything you can get. I guess we're just so greedy when you're running well, you want to win every race, want to lead the most laps, sit on every pole. Our performance has been great. It's just been amazing. It's been a huge turnaround.

I have to keep this in perspective. By the time Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolls around, we're gearing up to go to California, I have a feeling I'll be all right.

Q. Jimmie, you mentioned you really started to figure out Bristol. Your result in August when you had the wreck, was there anything you learned from that?

JIMMIE JOHNSON: Last year, the last race in August, I learned that you need to leave Juan Pablo a little bit more room. Thought he was getting crowded, turned down from being kept from running into the wall. Had plenty of room, but maybe couldn't see over the dashboard. He's kind of short, you know.

CARL EDWARDS: That's a low blow, buddy (laughter).

 

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Posted on: March 4, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: March 4, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Video of the day: Johnson, Gordon 2010 Vegas


Posted By Pete Pistone


Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson didn't quite see eye-to-eye in the closing laps of last year's Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Gordon looked like he had the win sewn up until late race troubles which allowed Johnson to pull away for the win:





Posted on: February 26, 2011 6:14 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2011 6:14 pm
 

Johnson can't explain Phoenix success

Posted By Pete Pistone

Jimmie Johnson has won four of the last seven races held at Phoenix International Raceway an dis a favorite in Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 but will have to do it from deep in the field after a mediocre qualifying run on Saturday.

DOES THE NEW POINT SYSTEM HURT MORE NOW WITH BAD FINISHES?

“We think so but only time will tell. It looks like that way. The worse you finish the bad days are going to be tougher to recover from but luckily it’s still early in the season and we know that people are going to have bad days. And I was one of 15 or 16 in that wreck that had a bad day. At Daytona, at least at the 500, I either run up front and win, or we’re on the hook going to the garage to fix the car. I hope to get that out of my system. The Daytona 500 means so much to me and to our sport to win it; I have the one win and I’d love to get a second (win).”

 

CAN YOU RELATE IN ANY WAY TO WHAT TREVOR BAYNE IS GOING THROUGH? HAVE YOU WATCHED ANY OF THE STUFF HE’S BEEN DOING THIS WEEK AND HIS WIDE-EYED AND GEE-WHIZ THING HE’S GOT GOING ON?

“Yeah, I can relate in some ways. I came into a very powerful situation driving for Hendrick Motorports and Jeff (Gordon) and it’s a big world out there and there was a lot to learn in a short period of time. You find that the magnifying glass instantly is put on you and things that you say are now critiqued and judged and it’s confusing. It’s a tough world. And I’ve reached out to Trevor and we’ve been talking a little bit over the last week and like I do for a lot of other guys, I’m always here to help. Jeff helped me out and I remember his words and I’ve used them in talking with Trevor that Jeff said he wished there was a book to tell you the do’s and don’ts as you are thrust into stardom as an athlete, whether it pertains to this sport or any other. And I used that again for Trevor. There is no way to educate you for what’s to come. You’re just going to have to go through it and you’re going to make mistakes being true to yourself. People see that. And in time, if you do make mistakes, people understand. His world has changed dramatically since last Sunday (Daytona 500).”


HAVE YOU AND (CREW CHIEF) CHAD KNAUS DISCUSSED THE NEW-STYLE PIT STOPS? HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE TEAMS FULLY HAVE A GAME PLAN ON THAT?

“I feel like during the 500, because we had a wrecked car, we took every opportunity to come down pit road and get familiar with it. But at the end of the 500, we were pretty efficient. So I hope that we’re there. I know that it took a long time for everyone in the Truck Series to get comfortable and familiar with it. I think there’s still a learning curve here for the Cup guys. We had the old system perfected so well and now it’s just something new in a couple ways. So it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

 

DOES THE REAL RACING BEGIN THIS WEEKEND? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?

“I certainly agree that this weekend really starts what our season is about. And we have four plate races out of the 36 that we run for points. In my eyes, along with many others, the Super Bowl, the big race, was last week and it’s kind of a specialty event. But now we get down to what we really use to determine the champion. And that’s short track racing 1.5-mile racing, and so on. So we, a lot like a lot of other race teams, worked very hard all off-season to get better. We’re excited to get on track this weekend, and really the next two or three weeks to find out if our hard work during the off-season was done in the right areas.”

 

YOUR RECORD HERE IS FANTASTIC. YOU HAVE A 4.9-AVERAGE FINISH. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PLACE WITH YOU?

“It’s weird because in the Nationwide Series this was one of my worst tracks. We came back in the Cup Series and things have been a lot better for me. In the past this wasn’t a good track for Hendrick; so I think over the last six or seven years our company and the drivers at Hendrick have learned how to get this track down and what we need, along with the crew chiefs. It’s a fun track. You have two different ends and drive them differently with different banking in (Turns) 1 and 2 than in (Turns) 3 and 4. I run well on quirky tracks. This is one of those tracks. It’s low-grip, it’s odd-shaped, you can’t get the car perfect on either end of the track and you’ve got to make up for it and slide around yourself.”

 

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE LAS VEGAS RACE? WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET AROUND THAT PLACE?

“Vegas, the last few times, has had so much grip between the re-surfacing they did a few years back and the progressive banking and the new tires that we take to the track. So when I think of Vegas, I think of pulling (his belts) tight and taking a deep breath, especially in qualifying. You go out there and lay it all on the line (during qualifying). And in the race, you’re not tiptoeing around there either. In the race you’re laying it on pretty hard.”

 

WILL YOU STAY OUT ON THE WEST COAST BETWEEN THE PHOENIX AND LAS VEGAS?

“Yeah, we’re going to stay out instead of traveling back and forth; and just have some fun and try to relax and then head over to Vegas.”

 

IS THERE ANY ADVANTAGE TO STAYING OR GOING HOME?

“I don’t think so. For us, we realize that the season is long; and for myself and my family to take breaks in the action between races is important. Granted we just got started, so we don’t really feel like we need one, but we’ll take this chance to spend a couple of days and have some fun with some friends. But then actually Wednesday, I have to be in Las Vegas. Lowe’s has a big thing they do out there each year and there’s two days of work at Lowe’s before we go to the race track. So it is somewhat of a work week for me.”

 

ANY THOUGHTS ON THE CHANGES THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT DOING TO PIR AFTER THIS RACE? WILL YOU BE SAD TO SEE THIS CURRENT LAYOUT CHANGE OR DO YOU THINK IT’S TIME?

“Yeah, I’ll be sad to see it change. I understand that tracks need to be resurfaced and it’s one of the necessary evils of our sport. I know they are working very hard to make sure we have two lanes of racing when we come back. And then all the changes they make will make it safer and more competitive. So only time will tell. The best of intentions are there but until all of us get on the track and really get to work, we just won’t know. But they’re working very hard to favor things in the right direction.”

 

MARK MARTIN SAID ALL THE HENDRICK GUYS ARE TRYING DIFFERENT THINGS THE FIRST FEW WEEKS HERE AND THEN MAYBE IT’LL BE MORE COMMON IN A FEW WEEKS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TRYING TO BALANCE WHAT MIGHT WORK WITH THE NEW NOSE AND SOME OTHER THINGS VERSUS KNOWING THAT YOU’RE LOW IN POINTS THIS EARLY?

“We haven’t really thought about points that much. We certainly didn’t finish (Daytona 500) where we wanted to but there is so much racing left that we’re not concerned with that yet. We’re just more interested in what we worked on during the off-season and if it’s going to produce speed.

“All four teams are trying a few different things. We feel we can cover more territory that way. And then the fact that we have great drivers and crew chiefs, we can find our way back after a practice session and we’ll take what’s working from each car and apply it and hopefully get to the end result faster and have our cars as fast as possible.

By the end of these practice sessions to day or Vegas or soon to come. We’re working hard. There is a lot that has changed with the concept of our car and the way our cars are set-up and the set-ups underneath them. We worked really hard over the off-season to come back and have the speed that we should have.”

 

DO YOU ANTICIPATE IT TO BE MORE DIFFICULT TO LEARN THINGS ON A RACE WEEKEND THE WAY IT IS HERE WITH QUALIFYING ON SATURDAY AND NO PRACTICE?

“I don’t know when you fastest lap counts. I don’t know if it’s an average; does anybody know?”

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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 10, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 5:19 pm
 

Change in Johnson's future

Posted By Pete Pistone

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The driver, crew chief and car number will stay the same but Jimmie Johnson's team will have a different look to it this year.

Jimmie Johnson (AP) Personnel changes among pit crew members will have Johnson relying on a different group of crew members to help him in his quest for a sixth straight title.

Hendrick Motorsports basically held an open competition to find the right mix of pit road personnel for the coming season.

"We're in a very fortunate situation to make big changes," said Johnson. "We've got a very young crop of guys. Situation where guys are earning their way on to the team. We've had a series of competitions and tests to see who is the fastest, who can withstand the pressure. We put a lot of pressure on them to see if somebody was better in that environment than another guy so we're still in the process. I saw a very strong first and second string group of guys."

Johnson sees it as a natural progression of NASCAR as a need to find athletes who can perform at the highest level changes the sport.

"It's going to be a much different look with our guys,' Johnson said. "You're going to see some real athletes. These guys are the real deal, young, athletic, all have sports backgrounds. That will happen from a physical standpoint and also from a pressure standpoint, they've played important games in the past, they know how to deal with those emotions."

Hendrick Motorsports is in the midst of constructing a state of the art outdoor pit crew training facility on its Concord, North Carolina campus.

Listen to Jimmie Johnson at media day (20 minutes)

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Category: Auto Racing
 
 
 
 
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