Tag:Jimmie Johnson
Posted on: July 10, 2011 1:19 am
 

Reutimann, Johnson post Kentucky comments

Posted by Pete Pistone

JIMMIE JOHNSON: We decided to come down pit road and put two tires on it, which ended up being good as few guys as we had on the lead lap. Had a great lane to restart in. The car did not take off like I had had it before on two tires.           

That first run, I was in trouble. These tires seemed to kind of wake up after they get a heat cycle. So the last restart, the car took off a lot better. I was able to hang with the 18 outside of turns one and two. Man, just cleared me going down the back. The outside lane had more momentum coming off of two and down the back.           

If I could have stayed inside of him, would have been one heck of a finish to the end. He cleared me and went on. Then I had my hands full with the 00. I think he probably was the best car at the end.           

If he would have cleared me sooner, I think he would have been up there with the 18 racing for the win.           

KERRY THARP: Talk about racing here at Kentucky Speedway, how the test session went and racing out there tonight.           

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I'm a big fan of the test session. I think that was good for our sport, good for the teams, a good use of money for all the race teams to come out and get data on the track we run on. I felt like it helped us get a good baseline for the weekend. We were able to validate some things we'd been messing with, some things we shouldn't have been messing with and some other things we needed to go a little further on. I enjoyed that.           

I think the racetrack has plenty of character. Wish that we could get higher on the racetrack than what we are. For some reason, I don't know if the track is not taking any rubber. I've heard from some people there's a different grooving pattern above where we're running, that's why the cars aren't comfortable up there, but something to widen out the lanes would put on a better show.           

I think it's a challenging place. If I could pick, I heard there's been plenty of trouble trying to get everybody into the facility, I think coming back next year that would be the priority. Leave the surface alone on the racetrack and make sure that the fans have the experience they deserve to have.           

KERRY THARP: Our race runner-up is David Reutimann. Terrific showing out there tonight by the 00.           

David, good to see you out there running up front again. Talk about your race out there this evening.           

DAVID REUTIMANN: It was hit or miss the first part of the race. We would make it better, then make it worse. Every time we put four tires on, we couldn't go anywhere, too tight. My guys did a good job. Kept adjusting on it. Either the track was changing or tightening up more or we weren't changing enough, taking big enough swings on it.           

We unfortunately have a bit of a history of being fast when it doesn't really matter. Tonight worked out where we were fast at the end of the race, which is evidently what you got to do.           

Proud of my guys. New configuration car, different than what we brought all year. Guys in the fab shop have been busting tail trying to get things done. It's off to a good start anyway.           

KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Jimmie or David.            

Q. David, can you go back and talk a little bit in-depth about the technology you have been working on. This was your first big showing of the season. And, Jimmie, talk about going for the checkered, thinking it was the white flag.           

DAVID REUTIMANN: Yeah, I mean, this is one thing about this sport, it changes every week. We seem to have been behind on things. We knew we were behind. But you just don't make changes overnight. Between the help of Toyota and their engineering staff, Toyota Racing Development, all the guys at Michael Waltrip Racing, guys being in the wind tunnel, working their guts out, finally got us a car, at least this weekend, we're closer to what we needed.           

Not that we've had bad cars in the past. The guys you're running against, their cars constantly evolving, changing things. We're trying to catch up sometimes. Everybody at MWR is doing a really good job.          

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I mean, I didn't see the white flag. It didn't change the outcome of the race by any stretch of the imagination. I think the 18 was going to be the winner the way it was.  I thought I had a chance to race him for a second one more lap. Came by, David let off, the 18 let off. I was still hard on the throttle going.           

I saw some type of flag when we were coming, which was the checkered, but I didn't see the white for some reason. Went blowing on by those guys           

Q. By every statistical measure, Kyle dominated this race. But Brad Keselowski also did. For you guys that finished second and third, had you been able to get a good restart and slip through the back, could you have done what he did tonight?           

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I want to think so. Track position is so important. You look at the 2, when he lost track position, he didn't go anywhere. The 18, I was around him a lot through the night. When he was in the lead, he'd stretch it. If he was behind someone, the 2 or the 22, really couldn't go anywhere. The clean air really makes a big difference.           

But I don't want to take anything away from the 18. He was strong all night long. Spent a lot of time chasing him. Watched him inch away from me the longer the run went on.            

Q. I know the 18 had a great night, but the top tonight was two Toyotas, three Chevys, three Fords and two Dodges. Did it seem pretty even to you guys, the teams, in terms of the championship?           

DAVID REUTIMANN: You know, you can probably say that, I guess. In the end, you don't know what you're racing against out there. I just know I'm racing the 48 car. I don't know the make or manufacturer, doesn't really make any difference to me at that point. I'm just trying to beat the guy in front of me same manufacturer or not.           

It appears there's some parity. Some guys get it together and run pretty well. Overall if you do look at the finish, I think there is parity in the sport. At the mile-and-a-half racetracks or at least here anyway.          

To be honest with you guys, I haven't run close enough to the front to notice if there's any parity or not. Seems kind of unfair from where I'm sitting. We've had good cars all year. We just have been missing a little bit.           

In the end, it was good to be able to race, as far as parity goes, it seems like that's what we had this weekend.            

Q. Denny Hamlin mentioned on Twitter hours before the race he had trouble getting to the track with some of the traffic issues going on. Did you have any issues getting here?           

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I went home to Charlotte. It was my daughter's birthday yesterday. I went home. I was going to drive in. I had heard there were some issues with the Nationwide race. So I made different arrangements and helicoptered in. I fortunately didn't have any issues.           

The stories I heard sounds like there's some upset fans, people that were turned away and weren't able to get into the event today.           

It's disappointing. I mean, the SMI group knows racetracks and does a very good job at all the racetracks they own. It's unfortunate we were unable to look ahead and see where these potential problems were.           

This is such a great market, so many fans are enthused to come and want to be here. To not get them all in the door is kind of a bummer. Knowing Bruton, he'll get it fixed for next year and unfortunately it happened this year.           

DAVID REUTIMANN: I slept here. So I walked out my motor coach. It looked good from where I was. I was good.           

Q. There were times when the cars were running three- and four-wide through the turns. How many lines did you find and which ones worked for you?           

JIMMIE JOHNSON: I'd say in one and two, there was really one preferred line. Two would work. But it seemed like there were three lines in, three and four to mess with, kind of a lower, middle, and outside lane.           

But as fast as we're going, those lanes get smaller and smaller. You can catch someone, but we needed a little bit more room to actually run as fast as the guy in front of you and have another lane around him.           

It's unfortunate we can't push that groove up further. We all tried to get it up there higher. But we could only get to the middle of the track and can't get any higher for some reason.            

Q. David, you had a very difficult season. You had a pretty good season last year. Finishing second, what does that mean to you?           

DAVID REUTIMANN: It's been an awful season for us. At the end of last year it felt like we were making some gains. This year we haven't had the results we've been looking for.           

With that being said, it's easy to get upset and down when things aren't running well. The guys are trying to figure out why we're not running well, and hence we have a better car this weekend.           

I'm not saying that's the answer, the magic bullet, but it's a step in the right direction.           

It feels great, it feels good. Second is still second, but it's certainly a lot closer than we have been in the last month or so, so it felt really good.           

Q. David, was it the technology, or did you hit a better setup tonight on this track?          

DAVID REUTIMANN: Setup-wise we're not all that different than we've been on the mile-and-a-half's in the past. Coming up with things aero-wise. It's a total package to what you do to the car. Anymore there's such small gains on the cars, you can't gain one big thing. You try to do things that eventually help the car. That's what we've done. It's certainly not a different breed of a car than what we've had. It's a lot of subtle stuff that seemed to make a difference. Better numbers in the wind tunnels.           

They say you have common templates, everybody's car is the same. Well, they are not. You have to work harder to get gains and that's what our guys have been doing.


 
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Posted on: July 8, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson not feuding

By Pete Pistone

SPARTA, Ky. - Last week's late race Daytona miscommunication between Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt didn't have any carryover according to both drivers who met the media Friday morning at Kentucky Speedway.

The Hendrick Motorsports teammates had worked together all night during the Coca-Cola 400 until the closing laps when Johnson came to pit road leaving Eanrhardt on track without a drafting partner.

The end result was neither driver was in position to make a run at the checkered flag in the wild closing laps of the race and both finished well outside the Top 10.

While Earnhardt was emotionally disappointed after the race and commented on his displeasure with the new tandem style of drafting as well as his confusion as to why Johnson headed to pit road, he says there is absolutely no animosity between the drivers or their teams.

".....didn't really bother me at all," Earnhardt Jr. said of Johnson's run to pit road. "I figured Jimmie would still have a good opportunity to get up to me and help us, and we were in fine shape until people forgot how to drive or thought they could disobey the laws of physics. They were trying to fit a square peg in a round hole."

Earnhardt said he understood the call by the 48 team and does not have an issue with their strategy.

"They got to do what they've got to do on pit road," Earnhardt said. "If they want to come pit, they've got to come pit. I can't argue with that. I'm fine with that. I don't have a problem with what he did.

"It seemed like just a normal damn race to me – the man wanted to go down pit road. No big deal. Caution was out. That's probably a good time to go down pit road."

Johnson said the plan to work together was working but that the change in his team's strategy was not intended at all to leave Earnhardt high and dry.

"Junior and I had the plan to draft together and hang out at the back and obviously it just didn't work out," Johnson said. "We came to pit road late and tried to together to draft to the front but it just didn't happen and we both got caught up in all that closing lap drama. But we'll continue to work together as a team always and there's nothing going on at all between the two of us or our teams."

 
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Posted on: June 24, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: June 25, 2011 2:20 pm
 

Sonoma race preview



By Pete Pistone


Toyota/SaveMart 350 Race Preview 

It’s not often you here five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson talk about a rebound but he’ll need one this weekend at Infineon Raceway. 

Johnson’s lap eight spin last Sunday at Michigan International Speedway started off a day of catch-up that added up to a 27th place finish and a disappointing day to say the least. 

But don’t ask Johnson what led to the slide off turn two and the subsequent afternoon of trying to make up for it because he’s not quite sure. 

“I don't know what really happened there,” Johnson said. “I thought for as fast as the car rotated around, I thought I had help getting turned around.

“I haven't seen a video, but evidently I didn't. It must have been an air situation with cars around the back of my race car in traffic. It's just the way it is and what happens.” 

What happened last year at the twisting Northern California road course was a first for Johnson when he drove to victory lane. 

Johnson attributes the success to getting a handle on something that believes is imperative to running well at challenging road courses like the one in Sonoma. 

“What I've had to work on over the years is just getting the car setup for the acceleration zone and having good rear grip,” Johnson said. “Then, you have to drive the car in a way to not abuse those tires. It's taken a while to figure it out and last year we did a very good job of managing those things." 

Last year’s Infineon Heartbreak Kid Marcos Ambrose hopes he has better management of something else this time around. 

Ambrose was in command of last year’s race until he made a gaffe that ultimately cost him a shot at career Sprint Cup Series win number one. 

While trying to save fuel under caution, Ambrose turned off his engine and when it came time to get back to green flag racing could not re-fire the motor. So rather than drinking champagne as part of a victory lane celebration Ambrose was left with a bitter taste of disappointment. 

But he vows not to carry last year’s frustration with him into Sunday’s race. 

“You hate to lose races like that,” Ambrose said.  “But I'm still proud of my effort last year, definitely led a lot of laps.  I'm proud of what I did but a shame we couldn't finish it off.  I haven't lost sleep on it.” 

 

Infineon Raceway  

Track Size: 1.99-miles  

Race Length: 110 laps/219 miles/350 kilometers 

 

Qualifying/Race Data   

2010 pole winner: Kasey Kahne (93.893 mph, 76.300 seconds) 

2010 race winner: Jimmie Johnson (74.357 mph, 6-20-10)  

Track qualifying record: Jeff Gordon (94.325 mph, 75.950 seconds, 6-24-05)  

Race record: Ricky Rudd (81.007 mph, 6-23-02)

 

Race Facts   

There have been 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Infineon Raceway since the first race there in 1989.       

Rusty Wallace won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole.       

Ricky Rudd won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.       

13 different drivers have won poles; only four have won more than one.       

Jeff Gordon (five) leads all pole winners. Ricky Rudd has four, including three consecutive (1990-92), Rusty Wallace and Kasey Kahne have two apiece.       

There have been consecutive pole winners three times: Ricky Rudd (1990-92) and Jeff Gordon (1998-99 and 2004-05).       

14 different drivers have won races; five have multiple victories there – led by Jeff Gordon with five. Ernie Irvan, Ricky Rudd, Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace (all with two) are the other multiple-race winners.       

Jeff Gordon is also the only driver with consecutive wins, winning in 1998, 1999 and 2000.        

Five of 22 races have been won by the pole winner, including three times by Jeff Gordon.      

The lowest starting position by a race winner was 32nd, by Juan Pablo Montoya; it also was his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.        

Boris Said posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole.       

Jeff Gordon is the all-time leader in road-course victories, with nine. Tony Stewart is second, with seven. 

 

Who’s Hot at Sonoma   

Juan Pablo Montoya – Since his win in 2007 Montoya has put together three consecutive Top 10 finishes for a career average finish of 5.8, tops for active drivers. Came home tenth in the 2010 edition of the race. 

Tony Stewart – A two-time Sonoma winner, Stewart has been one of the series’ best road course racing drivers during the course of his Sprint Cup career. A 9.3 average finish in twelve starts at Infineon includes four consecutive Top 10 runs heading into Sunday’s race. 

Jeff Gordon – The King of Infineon with five career victories, Gordon has put together a 9.1 average finish in eighteen career starts. But he’ll have to improve his recent performance which as seen him not lead a lap in four years and go winless since the 2006 season.

 

Who’s Not  

David Reutimann – Road course racing has not been kind to the Michael Waltrip Racing and his statistics at Sonoma bear that out. In three career starts, Reutimann best finish came last season when he came home 20th.  

Martin Truex Jr. – A 24.4 average finish in five career starts for the MWR driver with a career best 15th coming in his first outing back in 2006. Truex was credited with a 42nd place finish last year after being involved in a rough accident. 

Matt Kenseth – The Roush Fenway Racing driver will be hard pressed to match his second place finish last week in Michigan this Sunday based on his past Sonoma record. A 22.2 average finish in eleven starts does include a high of eighth for Kenseth in the 2008 race.

 

Notebook  

The track opened as a 2.52-mile road course and drag strip in 1968.       

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held in 1989.       

The first nine races were 300 kilometers and switched to a 350k format in 1998.       

The track was reconfigured to 1.949 miles in 1998 with the installation of an 890-foot chute between the original Turns 4 and 7.       

The track was reconfigured to 2.0 miles in 2001 and re-measured at 1.99 miles in 2002. 

There have been 130 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in California.        

417 drivers from NASCAR’s three national series (all-time) have their home state recorded as California.      

There have been 33 race winners from California in NASCAR three national series.


 
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Posted on: June 3, 2011 4:15 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Kansas driver notes and quotes

Posted by Pete Pistone


112035050CH038_STP_400_Prac
(It's a busy scene at Kansas Speedway this weekend)

NOTES AND QUOTES

Highlights from Friday’s driver availability at Kansas Speedway in anticipation of Sunday’s inaugural STP 400:

JAMIE McMURRAY AFTER VISITING HIS TORNADO-RAVAGED HOMETOWN OF JOPLIN, MISSOURI

“I woke up at about 1 in the morning and you just think about everything you saw, whether it was home or high school or just the town. And then I really couldn’t quit thinking about the stories that people shared with me about their loss. It’s just hard not to think about it.”

"I thought going there and seeing my childhood home was going to be the most devastating thing for me, and I was trying to mentally prepare for that. In reality, it wasn’t. It was to hear the stories and the fear and the voice of the people that went through the tornado. The fear when they told the story in their voice is something that you can’t explain. … [There’s a story] of a father [who] broke both of his arms holding on to his kid [who died]. Isn’t that crazy? I can’t imagine."


DALE EARNHARDT JR. ON HOW HE'D LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AND THE CONSTANT COMPARISON TO HIS FATHER

"I don’t know why that’s the case. I guess I don’t want to disappoint anybody. My father raced in this sport for a long time and he worked … with a lot of people I work with today. Being his son, I don’t want to disappoint anybody. I don’t want to say anything that will make anyone ashamed of me. I want to run well, but I want to act right, too. In the end, I just want people to say that I was a good person and I was honest. That I was a good guy to be around and a good sport about things.’’

 

KEVIN HARVICK ON WHETHER HE CAN KEEP THE “GOLDEN HORSESHOE” HE TOOK FROM JIMMIE JOHNSON

“I hope so. I hope we get to keep it. It is fun to be able to have performance in your race cars. I’ve said this about the No. 48 for a long time. They have had performance in their race cars and when they get in those situations where things are going their way, they are able to capitalize and finally, we’re able to capitalize when we have some breaks on pit road and we have fuel mileage, whatever the case may be. You car still has to be still running decent. When you get in those positions and you are able to capitalize on it, it makes it that much better. I hope we get to keep it until November 21st.”

 

JOHNSON’S RESPONSE ABOUT THE HORSESHOE

“Yeah, we’ve had some fun with it especially on the Twitter space with the whole horseshoe thing. It was something that Kevin said at California and we had some luck come our way. It started then and I couldn’t let it not come back after his good fortune the last couple of weeks. When I was in the situation having things going my way, sometimes things just go your way and other times they don’t and you’ve got to be running well and you have to be in that top-five window to take advantage of good luck. Last week things turned out well for him and I’m on the joking side of it all. I want my horseshoe back and I know he wants to keep it until after Homestead. Through Twitter there has been a ton of other fans, drivers and even crew members lobbying for their need for the horseshoe. So it’s been a fun week messing around with all of it to say the least.”

 

RYAN NEWMAN WHEN ASKED IF DRIVING A HIGH PERFORMANCE VEHICLE ON THE ROAD WOULD BE HARD

“Oh, my cars run pretty good. I’m like anybody else, I speed. If you go down the interstate very rarely do you find somebody doing less than the speed limit. But it’s that level of respect and it’s that level of responsibility of where you fit in. You’re going to be there matching everybody else’s speed or a little bit over or a little bit under. When you’re three times the speed limit that is way past crossing the line. I’m not saying that because I’ve gone three times the speed limit but in the right place and the right time, when there’s no cars around or people or roads or anything else.”

 

MATT KENSETH ON WHETHER THINK CAUTIONS SHOULD BE CALLED DIFFERENTLY WITH 200 THAN WITH TWO TO GO?

“Not necessarily. I think they should just be consistent and I think they have been pretty consistent when it comes to that. It is not easy to call a race. You want the fans to see a green flagged finish but you also have to have the safety of the fans and competitors and people on pit road on your mind at the same time. I know when they came back around there was nobody on the track and all the cars had cleared off there, so I don’t know. Part of the reason to have three green-while-checkered finish attempts is so that if you do have a mess like that on a restart then the fans can still see a green flag finish. There was two of those left, but like I said I didn’t really see it. I was on the tail end of the lead lap and I probably could have gotten a top-10 finish. Everybody is in a different situation and us as drivers are always going to look at it as what helps us the best in that particular race.”

 

TONY STEWART ON WHETHER SHOULD A RACE BE OFFICIATED DIFFERENTLY EARLY IN THE RACE VERSUS LATE IN THE RACE?

“My job is in the garage, I’m not going to get in that drama and that debate.  I think it’s asinine to keep people talking about it.  Nothing is going on now that hasn’t gone on for years here and it’s always been fine.  Everybody is over-analyzing all this.”

 

KYLE BUSCH ON THE STATUS OF KIMI RAIKKENON AND HIS TRUCK SERIES PROGRAM

“I’m pretty disappointed that a lot of my quotes from last week got taken out of context and misinterpreted.  As I did mention, Kimi Raikkonen’s people have paid in full.  The contract terms did change.  All we did was change -- they were going to run three to five Truck races.  Well, they paid for the Truck races, but then he said, ‘Okay, let’s do a Nationwide race.’  So, we took those funds from the end of the year and put them to that Nationwide race.  So, they are paid in full for the races they’ve run.  We have not had any discussions on further on down the road what he wants to do.  As he mentioned, he’s got Rally and other stuff that he’s worried about.  We’re not mad whatsoever.  We knew things would change so that’s why contracts are always kind of weirded-out anyway.  If they want to come and run a few more Truck races, we’ve got the opportunity to do a couple more Nationwide races, and I’m sure myself and Joe Nemechek can put something together.  It’s all up to those guys, really."

 
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Posted on: May 26, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2011 9:55 pm
 

Drivers comment on Kyle Busch speeding ticket

Kyle Busch


What is your reaction to the speeding ticket?
"I'm certainly sorry for my actions and for my lack of judgment.  This is something that I can take and learn from and hopefully move forward and not let happen again."

How do you look back on the speeding incident?
"I'm certainly sorry that it happened and my actions led me to speed.  It was a lack of judgment and all I can do is apologize to the public, my friends, my fans, my sponsors and everybody, look at this experience as a learning experience, and to move forward."

Is it difficult to have a learning experience in the public eye?
"It's certainly challenging sometimes with things you have to think about and of course actions that you may cause yourself. Thankfully, I've got some good people around me that can help me through these experiences and help me learn from them. Take the good from it and take the bad from it and just be able to apply that for later on down the road."

Can you make a case for yourself?
"I'm sorry I'm not the jurisdiction to make a case.  I leave that to the court systems and everything else like that.  This matter will be handled through that as best as we can handle it and as best as the authorities decide to handle it.  I have the utmost respect for the authorities across the United States of America that try to keep all of us safe every day.  Of course, being Memorial Day weekend with all the men and women serving our country to keep us safe as well too.  It's not in my place to decide what does or does not happen."

Has Joe Gibbs Racing given you any penalties?
"We have certainly discussed some things.  We're working through the process of that now and looking at what might be done later on down the road."

Have you personally spoken with your team owner, your sponsors and your neighbors about the speeding incident?
"I have certainly had discussions with Mr. Coach Gibbs (team owner) as well as Joe Gibbs Racing and my sponsors as well too.  It's just a matter of showing your utmost respect for them and what they do for you.  That they believe in you to do what you can in order to represent them well and obviously I had a lack in judgment and just made a mistake.  I'm sorry for making that mistake, but as far as any of the people that have made comments or anything like that, I don't have a relationship with any of those people.  Unfortunately, I don't go door-to-door knocking on the door and commenting to them.  All I can do is say my piece here and let it be."

How much have you thought about the potential of what could have happened on Tuesday?
"There's if, ands or buts to a lot of different things in life.  Fortunately, there was no one hurt, but that doesn't make any kind of excuse for what happened and for my lack in judgment and for what I did.  Like I said, there's a lot of processes to be thought about here. There's some learning experiences to be taken from this and the best I can do is just try to move along past it for this weekend and take my course of action during the week in what might lie ahead."

What did you mean when you said the Lexus was, 'just a toy?'
"Well it was a car that was on loan to me from Lexus and it wasn't that it was a toy, it's a high performance vehicle and that shouldn't be taken lightly.  Should be driven with caution.  Obviously, I didn't have caution and I had a lack in judgment and there's probably a reason why on TV commercials and such they always show at the bottom, professional driver, closed course.  Mine was not that.  Again, I apologize sincerely to all those affected and that all I can do is try to make sure it doesn't happen again and that I make sure that lack of judgment doesn't overcome me."
 

Kurt Busch

“Talking with Kyle (Busch) about it, I feel like he definitely understands the mistake that he made and that speed is supposed to be saved for here at the race track and putting on a good show.  All of us drivers have a responsibility as being role models to what we can teach our youth on the roadways.  There are posted speed limits and rules and laws; that’s what we have to do.  Whatever comes of it, he has his court date and things will be ironed out.  He’ll learn from the situation and be a better person from it.  I think I was 26-years old when I got put through my big episode and it definitely changes the way that you look at things.  There’s a responsibility that all of us have.”

Jimmie Johnson


SHOULD NASCAR BE INVOLVED IN KYLE BUSCH’S TUESDAY INCIDENT WITH PENALTIES OR ANY KIND OF CORRECTIVE SITUATION?
“I think consistency is the key in whatever other issues that have taken place off the track. There should be a precedent there and that’s how they engage and interact. I don’t know how to really form an opinion on that. You’ve got to get into the fine print of the rule book. I think I’m learning a little bit through this as well. You don’t need a valid driver’s license to compete, is that correct? It’s in there and when you have leagues and players unions and things there are penalties that are usually passed along and make sense because you are part of a league, we’re not in that situation. I don’t know. I don’t have an answer and I’m kind of watching and learning as we go here just to see what it is.”

IN REGARDS TO KYLE BUSCH, WITH WHAT YOU GUYS DO FOR A LIVING DO YOU GUYS JUST KIND OF MAKE THESE WEIRD DECISIONS SOME TIMES?
“Yeah, we as drivers aren’t necessarily wired the same but I’d have to say anybody that buys a high performance vehicle gets in it and stands on the gas. Maybe not in the same situation but that’s why you buy whatever car. I’ve always joked with my friends and I have a collection of old cars that I cruise around in because I’ve always felt if I have an exotic sports car I would be doing stupid things and I don’t need to do that. I drove my ’49 Chevy Step-side pickup here today and I don’t think I broke 65 on the way up, just kind of cruising with the windows down and enjoyed the ride. It’s tempting especially when we have the skill sets that we do as drivers and you get a high performance car and you just want to see how it stacks up. Man I guess everybody that has a high performance car stands on the throttle at some point. I’m not trying to justify what he did, but we can all look at ourselves in the mirror and know that we’ve wondered what it felt like to stand on the gas pedal.”

WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO GO 200 MILES PER HOUR OUT HERE AND HAVE TO GO BACK HOME AND DRIVE 35 MILES PER HOUR IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD OR WHEN YOU GET STUCK IN TRAFFIC?
“For me there is certainly a huge sensation of speed on the track and some tracks like Darlington or Dover really exaggerate that sensation. But for me, it’s about passing someone. As long as I’m going by someone, if they are doing 35 and I’m doing 37 I seem to be pretty content there and haven’t had many issues with the law.”


Ryan Newman


DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE A NASCAR SANCTION AGAINST A DRIVER WHO WAS CHARGED, AS KYLE BUSCH WAS CHARGED WITH SPEEDING THIS WEEK?
“If you don’t have to have a driver’s license to compete in the series, then what happens on the street has no affect as to what happens on the race track in my opinion. That’s what you hold a driver’s license for. If he’s charged criminally, then that’s a different situation, right? Versus being charged with a driver-related issue. Maybe that makes sense, I don’t know.”

BACK TO THE KYLE SITUATION. WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT IN REGARDS TO CRIMINAL AS OPPOSED TO A LICENSE, AN ACTION IS AN ACTION? SECONDLY THERE IS A LOT OF RUSH ON THE PUBLIC’S BEHALF FOR SOME KIND OF JUDGEMENT, SOME KIND OF ACTION UPON THIS, DOES IT NEED TO GO THROUGH THE COURTS AND WAIT OR DOES SOMETHING NEED TO BE HAPPENING UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU COULD BE IN A SITUATION LIKE THAT, NOT SAYING YOU WOULD, BUT FATE, BUT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED, IT WOULD BE COMING DOWN ON YOU?
“My point about the license part of it is if you don’t have to have a driver’s license to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, then, no matter what, it’s DMV (Department of Motor Vehicle) related in my opinion. If he would have clobbered a mail box at 128, then that is a Federal situation. There are different ways of looking at it is my point. If something was to happen to it…it is just a private car incident that has no affect on his eligibility to drive a Sprint Cup car or a Nationwide car. But, to me, it is a very gray area in reference to the police officer and what he did as to how he got away as clean as he did. I think that is probably your judgment question. If it was you running 128 in a 45, would he have treated you the same way? Every officer has to answer that question a different way depending on who he is dealing with.”

THE NEXT THING PEOPLE WILL LOOK AT WILL BE THE TEAM OR SPONSORS, SHOULD THEY ACT BEFORE IT GOES THROUGH THE COURT PROCESS OR SHOULD HE BE ALLOWED TO GO THROUGH THE COURT PROCESS AND WHAT’S DETERMINED THERE BEFORE ANY KIND OF DISCIPLINE TAKES PLACE?
“It’s just as you said. It’s a judgment situation where I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. In multiple people’s eyes, is Joe Gibbs going to react to it in the same way that M&M’s or Interstate or anybody else does, I don’t know. That’s not for me to judge. I believe that he made a big mistake, he openly admitted that he made a big mistake from what I read although it sounded like somebody else wrote it and not him. We’re supposed to be professional race car drivers and by being professional race car drivers we don’t make stupid mistakes like that on the road. That’s the way I look at it.”

Jeff Gordon

Do you think NASCAR should penalize Kyle Busch for his speeding violation the other day?
"No, I don't.  You know, I think it's pretty clear if they feel like it's detrimental to the sport, then maybe they should or could.  But in my opinion that's not detrimental to the sport.  I think it's more detrimental to Kyle than anything else.  I think it's something that should be handled separately away from the sport."

Is there an urge for somebody in your profession to just want to drive fast all the time no matter where you're at?
"I've always kind of had the approach of I get it out of my system on the weekends.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't want you to think I'm perfect.  I've been speeding before.  But certainly the way I look at it today as a parent, I look at things different.

"I do think of the 'what if's.'  I told somebody this the other day.  If I'm going down a fairly narrow country road and I see houses and yards, I think of that ball running out in the street and that kid chasing after it.  That's because I'm a parent.  You think a little bit more responsibly."

Greg Biffle

HAVE YOU EVER RECEIVED A SPEEDING TICKET?

“That’s a loaded question (laughing).  In my younger days I have driven a little faster, probably, than I should have a time or two.  I never got pulled over or never got a ticket for doing that, but the fastest I’ve gotten stopped is maybe 85 or 90 – something like that.  I think I got pulled over going 90 out in California.  I was on my way to the desert one time, going through the desert with tumbleweeds and was on Highway 8 or something like that.  That was probably the fastest I ever got a ticket for, but there is obviously a time and a place for going a little bit faster than we should at times.  You just have to watch your P’s and Q’s.” 

DO YOU WATCH IT MORE CAREFULLY BECAUSE YOU’RE A NASCAR DRIVER? 

“I do.  I will always make sure I take advantage of the nine miles an hour over the speed limit, but, beyond that, you have to be careful how fast you go.  Certainly, you don’t want to cause an accident because that’s probably the worst thing to have in the newspaper being a NASCAR driver, so you have to take a little precaution when you’re on the road around other cars.” 

Matt Kenseth


"My first reaction is I was wondering if he was in jail.  My second reaction is, when I heard where it was, I thought it was probably a little extreme for that road, but, other than that, I didn’t think about it.  I’m glad somebody didn’t get hurt.”  

Dale Earnhardt Jr.


“Sometimes you go a little fast, even away from the race track I guess. I’ve been guilty of the same thing myself just been lucky enough not to get caught.”

“I don’t really know if I got that fast, I didn’t know if we had enough straight road in North Carolina to get going that quick, but, apparently there is a piece somewhere (LAUGHS).”

Kevin Harvick


“I think some people are their own worst enemy when it comes to being responsible as a person or as a business person or anything that comes with life’s responsibilities. For me, they won’t even let me drive down the highway because I drive five miles per hour over the speed limit and it tends to take us a lot longer to get to places. Since I’ve been about 16 or 17 years old, I haven’t been into really driving fast down the highway or anything reckless on the road. It’s not really the place to do that. I don’t really know how to answer that to be honest with you because I’ve never driven a vehicle 120 plus down the highway. It could put a lot of people in a bad situation and I think Newton’s article probably touched the outcomes of how things could work this week.”

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Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 4:14 pm
 

Dover race preview

By Pete Pistone

FedEx 400 Race Preview

As the winds of controversy swirl around Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch this weekend at Dover, Jimmie Johnson and company are simply going about their business.

Once again Johnson comes into “The Monster Mile” as a weekend favorite on following the usual steady as she goes course that has served the No. 48 team well through its remarkable run of five straight Sprint Cup Series championships.

And while Harvick and Busch snipe at each other all Johnson can do is set back and smile as he sets his sights on a possible fifth win in the last six Dover outings.

“At times, yes,” Johnson said when asked if he sees the possible distraction a feud like the one Harvick and Busch are in can cause. “I remember being here in the Chase and watching the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) and the No. 29 (Harvick) going at it. At that point in time, yes.

“But now, the championship implications haven’t crossed my mind because it’s so far from now; things seem to get rectified in 2 to 3 weeks. So I haven’t thought of it in that perspective. It was exciting seeing discussions about it in major newspapers and the social media world; it’s been everywhere. So you hate to see somebody potentially injured and the stuff on pit road is really the sore spot of all of it. But it was exciting. It gave us all a lot to talk about. If something like that happens in the Chase, It certainly will affect those two drivers there, but we’re too far away from it now."

Now don’t misunderstand Johnson. While he’s glad that he’s not the one in the middle of this latest tiff he understands the value of having such rivalries and what they mean to the overall exposure of the sport.

"Yeah, it’s so funny; we’re all around the sport enough to know that and, in your position covering the sport, that it’s real easy one week to say oh well, it’s too vanilla out there; it’s too boring and these guys don’t rough each other up and back in the day this or that would happen,” he said in Friday’s media session at Dover.

“And then damn if we don’t go to the next race and all that happens and now you’ve got to write the opposite of that. So I think we’re all confused. What do we really want? Does anybody know? It changes every week. And if you read the articles and follow the path, we’re all confused in my opinion. At the end of the day, our sport is stronger than it’s ever been. We have more lead changes, more race winners, and I guess any press is good press."

There’s a good chance the press will be covering another Johnson victory come Sunday afternoon considering his stellar track record at Dover. He has six career wins and number seven would put him in the lofty company of Richard Petty and Bobby Allison as the only three drivers to have seven wins at the Delaware track.

“It reminds me a little bit of my off-road days and controlling the vehicle through a vertical motion coming into the corner, up over the hill and trying to land,” he said explaining his approach and subsequent successes at the track. “And also control the lateral forces that we see in the car. So that dynamic I enjoy. I really like this track. Our race wins and finishes kind of back that up. So, I’m looking forward to another great weekend and I would love to hopefully get a win and get some more points.”

 

Dover International Speedway

Track Size: One Mile

Race Length: 400 miles

Banking/Straightaways: 9 degrees

Banking/Corners: 24 degrees

 

Qualifying/Race Data

2010 pole winner: Martin Truex Jr. (157.315 mph, 22.884 seconds)

2010 race winner: Kyle Busch (128.790 mph, 05-16-10)

Track qualifying record: Jeremy Mayfield (161.522 mph, 22.288 seconds, 06-04-04)

Track race record: Mark Martin (132.719 mph, 09-21-97)

 

Race Facts

There have been 82 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Dover International Speedway since the track opened in 1969.

There was one race in 1969 and 1970. There have been two-a-year since 1971.

Richard Petty won the track’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

There have been 35 different pole winners, led by David Pearson (six).

David Pearson won the first pole in July 1969.

Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman lead all active drivers, each with four poles.

32 different drivers have posted victories led by Bobby Allison and Richard Petty, each with seven.

Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers, with six victories.

Hendrick Motorsports has a series-high 12 wins.

50 races at Dover have been won from a top-five starting position; 17 races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.

13 drivers have won from the pole. The last to do so was Jimmie Johnson, in last season’s September race.

The furthest back in the field a race winner started was 37th, by Kyle Petty in 1995.

Several active drivers had their first start at Dover, including three past champions: David Ragan (finished 42nd in 2006), Kurt Busch (18th in 2000), Matt Kenseth (sixth in 1998) and Bobby Labonte (34th in 1991).

In addition, Matt Kenseth (2002) and Michael Waltrip (1991) earned their first pole at Dover. Martin Truex Jr. won his first race there (2007). 

 

Who’s Hot at Dover

Jimmie Johnson – Can join Richard Petty and Bobby Allison as a seven time Dover winner for a trip to victory lane on Sunday afternoon. Johnson has won three of the last four races at Dover and brings a sparkling 7.9 average finish over the last five years with him to “The Monster Mile.”

Carl Edwards – Still on top the Sprint Cup Series point standings after posting another runner-up finish a week ago in Darlington to surprise winner Regan Smith. Has not finished outside the Top 10 at Dover since the 2006 season a string that includes a 2007 victory.

Kyle Busch  – In the middle of controversy with his feud still going strong with Kevin Harvick but that should not slow down his momentum at Dover. The defending race winner who also finished sixth in last fall’s trip to Dover will try for another NASCAR three-peat weekend with wins in the truck and Nationwide Series as well. 

Who’s Not

David Ragan – Has not experienced as much success as the rest of his Roush Fenway Racing teammates at Dover over the years and despite the organization’s stellar record at the track, Ragan has a lofty 23.6 average finish in nine career starts.

Juan Pablo Montoya – Only one Top 10 finish in eight career starts is one reason why Montoya’s average finish is a whopping 21.9 at Dover.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Dover has not been kind to Junior in recent years and the Hendrick Motorsports driver has an average finish of 20th in his last ten starts. He finished 30th and 23rd in two Dover outings last season.

 

Notebook

The official opening of Dover International Speedway, then called Dover Downs International Speedway, was in 1969.

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on July 6, 1969.

The first two races at Dover were 300 miles. The race length was changed to 500 miles in 1971.

The track surface was changed to concrete in 1995.

The race length was changed to 400 miles beginning with the second race in 1997.

The track name was changed to Dover International Speedway in 2002.

There have been 82 NASCAR Sprint Cup races in Delaware, all at Dover International Speedway.

Eight drivers in NASCAR’s three national series (all-time) have their home state recorded as Delaware  


 

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Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 3:57 pm
 

Delaware declares May 15 'Jimmie Johnson Day'

Posted by Brian De Los Santos

Talk about pressure. The state of Delaware has declared May 15 to be "Jimmie Johnson Day". That date -- no so coincidentally -- coincides with Sunday's race at Dover, where Johnson is a six-time winner.

As if the rest of his peers didn't have enough incentive to go out and win, how about beating the five-time defending series champion on the day a whole state decided to honor him.


Press release follows:

DOVER, Del. – Though he is a native of El Cajon, Calif., and currently lives in Charlotte, it appears as if Jimmie Johnson has found himself yet another home here in the First State.
 
Based on his extensive success at Delaware’s NASCAR track, Dover International Speedway, as well as the charitable work done nationwide by the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, the 146th Delaware General Assembly, in a joint resolution from the House and Senate, declared in Senate Joint Resolution No. 2 that Sunday, May 15, 2011 will be known as “Jimmie Johnson Day.”
 
Johnson’s day coincides with the return of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to the Monster Mile on the final day of the May 13-15, 2011 race weekend, as he and the rest of the Sprint Cup field will compete in the “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” race. The Hendrick Motorsports driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will be aiming for his second straight win at Dover, and seventh ever at the track.
 
A victory would put Johnson, a 10-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran, in elite company with NASCAR Hall of Fame members Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, the only drivers to ever win seven times at the Monster Mile.
 
“Jimmie Johnson serves as a tremendous ambassador for NASCAR and his success at Dover International Speedway makes him very deserving of this honor,” said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. “With the success he’s had and the potential that lays ahead, Johnson may go down as the greatest NASCAR driver of all time.”
 
The resolution, authored by Sen. Bruce Ennis (D-Smyrna), and co-sponsored by Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover), Rep. William Carson (D-Smyrna) and Rep. Darryl Scott (D-Dover), lauds Johnson’s athletic achievements, including his five consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles, and dedication to community service off the track, and “urges the people of the State of Delaware to observe the day with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.”
 
Special attention is drawn to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, which has contributed more than $4.1 million to a number of organizations since 2006, when it was founded with the “mission to assist children, families and communities in need throughout the United States.”



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Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: May 6, 2011 11:14 am
Edited on: May 6, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Gordon reacts to Richmond crash

By Pete Pistone

Jeff Gordon's hard impact to the inside retaining wall in the aftermath of his crash last week at Richmond International Raceway is still very prominent on the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion's mind. Gordon's hit registered at 4G, one of the hardest measures recorded in a NASCAR crash, and he spoke about it during his media availability at Darlington on Friday:

“I’m not (sure what) the threshold is, but, I know we exceeded the threshold. At the time when I hit the wall, I wasn’t thinking about it. I knew it was a hard hit. I got out, got in the medical center, you know, my head hurt a little bit. Other than that, I was feeling pretty good. I was walking out of the medical center and I happened to see a TV and caught a glance at what happened and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a Safer Barrier there. Then I realized why it hurt so much.

"I think that it was pretty interesting this week because I had several drivers text me saying thank you for helping to make the race tracks safer because I am pretty sure we will be seeing a Safer Barrier there and I seem to find those places on tracks and I don’t want to be that test pilot for those things. I think there are areas that are still out there for some reason that still need to be covered and hopefully through this incident, which, I walked away from unscathed, we’ll be able to make improvements there at Richmond."

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