CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP
ROUND 3 OF 10
CITIZEN SOLIDER 400
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed the first two Chase races, his expectations for track conditions today at Dover, and more. Full Transcript:
DOVER IS ONE OF YOUR BEST RACE TRACKS ON THE SCHEDULE. LAST YEAR HERE AT DOVER, YOU ENCOUNTERED A LITTLE BAD LUCK. THIS YEAR YOU ARE IN A REALLY SOLID POSITION TO MAKE IT TO THE NEXT ROUND. TALK ABOUT THOSE TWO ELEMENTS AND HOW YOU WILL APPROACH THIS WEEKEND
“I’m excited to be back to my best race track, without a doubt. I think last year shows that you really can’t count on a race track always being kind to a driver or always working in their favor. It’s part of racing. I’ve learned it through many different lessons over my racing career. Last year, I think, kind of showed everybody once again that you just can’t take a race or a track for granted for anybody. We’re back with high hopes. I love being here. I’m glad to see the weather moving out so that we can get on the race track today. I think it’s going to be a tricky day on the track. The track will be very green, very fast; and then these winds are definitely going to give us a hard time on the race course.”
YOU SAID IT’S GOING TO BE A TRICKY DAY, BUT YOU ARE SO DARN GOOD HERE, DOES THAT GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE?
“I think the two tricky elements will be the fact that the track is so green. Race day at this track takes a lot of rubber and drives totally different and requires a different set-up. So, trying to be patient with your set-up, and we all know how we want our cars to feel during the race come with our ideas built on a mid-race balance that’s needed. And then you show up and the track is green. It’s cool. And the wind is hard to count on because if it’s a consistent wind, that’s one thing where you can kind of adjust to it and get in the rhythm of it. But, the gusts are what really cause a problem. So, between those two elements, I’m just going to remind myself all day long what I think I will need for Sunday and just try to live with maybe a little less lap time than I would want today compares to the field; and then really focus on a feel in the race car.”
DALE EARNHARDT JR. IS COMING AND IT’S GOING TO BE HIS FIRST RACE WATCHING AT THE TRACK. WILL THAT BE A MORALE BOOST TO HAVE HIM AROUND AT ALL? HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT HE’S DOING ALL HIS SPONSOR STUFF STILL? WHAT’S YOUR IMPRESSION OF ALL THAT?
“I haven’t seen a lot of Dale away from the race track. I completely understand how difficult it is to come to the track and feel productive. But, I guess many of you haven’t had a chance to see him in our team meetings, at the shop, and various ways we interact and being a part of the discussions week-to-week on what’s happened when we’re getting ready for the next week. He’s been deeply involved in all of that. I can only imagine how hard it is to go to the track and watch your car race, and then also how boring it would be because we do have the coolest job to sit in that race car. And then just to come to a track and watch, I don’t know if I could do it. I’m great from a public perception that he’s coming and that people can really see how hard he’s working and then kind of tie that together with his recovery process. But, I’ve seen a lot of him and I know he’s dying to get back in the race car and eager to feel amazing again and I think he’s on a great road of progress right now.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY WAS IN THE MEDIA CENTER A FEW MINUTES AGO, AND HE SAID HE FELT LIKE THE CHASE DIDN’T HAVE AS MUCH DRAMA THROUGH THE FIRST TWO RACES AS HE WAS EXPECTING, PARTICULARLY WITH RESTARTS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE. THERE WASN’T THE NORMAL CHAOS. DOES IT SEEM THAT WAY TO YOU? DOES IT SEEM AS IF IT’S BEEN A LITTLE BIT MORE LOW KEY DURING THE FIRST TWO RACES AND IF SO, WHY?
“I guess it just depends on your own environment. We had plenty of drama at Chicago. I was super-hyped to lead laps and thought we had a chance to win. I made a mistake on pit road. And then failed LIS following the race and then (penalty) points were given back. So my Chicago was about as exciting as any Chicago I’ve ever had, personally. Last weekend was plenty tense for me. We started the first half very competitive. We lost some track position; and then Loudon was very challenging for me to try to get back through. So, from where I was sitting, I had plenty of challenges and it felt like a typical pressure-packed start of the Chase.”
THERE HAS BEEN DRAMA FOR YOU, BUT THE BUZZ FROM THE FANS IS THERE HASN’T BEEN MUCH. DO YOU EXPECT THE INTENSITY TO PICK-UP AT THIS RACE AND AT SUBSEQUENT ROUNDS?
“It’s so hard to make everybody happy. It actually frustrates me to hear that, that might be the response. It’s just tough to make everybody happy.”