MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 24, 2018
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S FOR PROS CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed the challenging weather this weekend at Martinsville, his approach during practice sessions, the progress of the No. 48 team thus far this year, and more. Full Transcript:
YOU’VE HAD NINE CAREER WINS HERE AT MARTINSVILLE. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET YOUR 10TH?
“I think survive the snowstorm and see what happens with the weather. I don’t know. When it’s warm here, there’s a certain amount of rubber that gets laid down on the track that we all anticipate. With the cooler temps, I think being smart and trying to understand how much the track will change, if much at all, because of the cooler temps and we’ll hopefully have some sun tomorrow. But, that’s really going to be the guessing game as to how the car will change as the race progresses and that’s really based on how much rubber goes down. So, we’ll keep a close eye on that. We’ve had a good record here at judging that stuff. We’re excited to be here at one of my best tracks and looking forward to getting out there.”
CHASE ELLIOTT HAS JUST PROCLAIMED YOU AS ONE OF THE BEST NASCAR DRIVERS OF ALL TIME. I WANTED YOU TO KNOW THAT IN CASE YOU MISSED IT.
“I’ll take it (laughter).”
REGARDLESS OF THE TRACK CONDITIONS AND HOW THE CAR RESPONDS, WHEN IT’S REALLY COLD IN A RACE LIKE APPARENTLY IT’S GOING TO BE TOMORROW, DO YOU KNOW THAT MUCH ABOUT THAT IN THE CAR? IS IT COLD IN THE CAR? OR? WHEN IT’S LIKE IN THE FORTIES, IS IT BETTER FOR YOU?
“The air temp does make a difference in the car. Certainly a cooler environment outside means a cooler environment inside. I think humidity has a really large role in that, for whatever reason; like when we go to New Hampshire and it’s not all that warm but the air is pretty thick. And you always get hot and cooked and work hard in the car there. I don’t think we’ll have that problem here today. But just kind of on a side note, I think humidity is probably one of the bigger issues we deal with. So, it’ll be a little easier on the equipment. Brakes will cool better. Engines will cool better. The crew chiefs will probably put more tape on to get it back up to that optimum area. I think at the end of the day, the hardest thing is going to be if we do qualify, just getting enough tire temp so you can put down a lap, and a few laps. Laps on the tires do affect things here. Restarts will be kind of tricky with the colder temps. So, I really feel tire-related temperatures will be the biggest hurdle to deal with cool temps. After that, it just makes life easier for the rest of the areas.”
WITH NEXT WEEK BEING EASTER, WHAT ARE YOU PLANS AND YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO TEXAS WITH YEAR TWO OF THE REPAVE?
“We’re definitely going to take some time and hopefully head out on a trip Monday if we’re not here racing. But (we’ll be) back for Easter. We want to have Easter in Charlotte and be home and kind of enjoy kind of a slow week leading into Texas and another long stretch of racing.”
TODAY’S FORECAST LOOKS LIKE THE DEEPER WE GET INTO THE AFTERNOON, THE GREATER THE OPPORTUNITY FOR WEATHER. AS YOU’VE LAID OUT A PRACTICE STRATEGY, IS QUALIFYING BEING CANCELLED A FOREGONE CONCLUSION FOR THE NO. 48 TEAM? AND HOW DOES THAT IMPACT YOUR PRACTICE WHETHER YOU’RE WORKING ON RACE STRATEGY MOST OF THE DAY OR QUALIFYING? WHAT WOULD NOT HAVING QUALIFYING MEAN AS TO HOW YOU RUN THE RACE?
“I would like to qualify. I think we’d start better than 17th or 18th or wherever we are in points. That’s going to hurt on pit stall pick and obviously on track position at the start of the race. So, that element, I’d love to have the opportunity to have a better shot and work my way forward. Fortunately though, this is an impound race. So, everybody will be in race trim and if you get a chance with 10 minutes remaining in second practice, try to run a Q-lap or something and get a balance check there. I think the schedule just favors everybody and makes it a little easier. The rhythm is kind of already set in place and regardless of the weather, we’ll all be running race laps.”
THE 2000 POUND ELEPHANT IN THIS ROOM IS THAT YOU HAVE NOT WON SINCE LAST JUNE, THE LONGEST SLUMP OF YOUR CAREER. DOES THAT PUZZLE YOU OR EMBARRASS YOU OR MAKE YOU THINK MAYBE I’M NOT WHAT I USED TO BE? OR, IS IT JUST CIRCUMSTANCES THAT FOR 29 WEEKENDS YOU HAVEN’T BEEN TO VICTORY LANE?
“I kind of chuckle. Only 29 races, you know? I mean, I won three last year. I guess so. I don’t think that way. At the end of last year, there were layers of high frustration and some embarrassment that we just couldn’t get things going in the right direction. This year, we’ve improved every week and have seen great strides. So, I’m very optimistic that success is out there in front of us and around the corner. But, through it all, I live in the moment and understand where I and and where our team is and what we’re doing as a company. I know the journey that we’re on. I know what’s happening internally to build a better product and to better use our resources to build a better think-tank if you will and how all the crew chiefs work together. So, there’s a journey of growth going on right now at the company.
“So sure, I’m reminded every week of a streak that’s not one that you want to be reminded of. But I’m not losing sleep over it. I know I’m going to win races. I know this team is going to win races. I know we’re going to compete for championship. It’s just getting all of our stuff right. I think people often take for granted how competitive pro sports are and how competitive this garage area is. And, although we’ve been able to do some pretty amazing things that have never been done before, I think it’s unfair to believe that it can last forever. What we did to win five in a row was pretty darn special. Nobody has ever done that before. Cale (Yarborough) won three in a row, and that would be the next closest one. I do hold myself to a very high level of expectation, but I just think that in society today it’s real easy; it doesn’t matter if it’s our sport or another sport, there are some unfair expectations put on people and on teams and on individuals, and I think people often forget how difficult it is to compete at a pro level.”