Chevy Racing–NASCAR–Michigan–Jimmie Johnson

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
CONSUMERS ENERGY 400
TEAM CHEVY BREAKOUT SESSION
AUGUST 9, 2019

JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 BREAKOUT SESSION HIGHLIGHTS:

SOME PEOPLE LIKE SEEING THE JIMMIE JOHNSON THAT IS AGGRESSIVE. CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?
“Of course, I was very upset following the race with what took place there, and in my opinion you have to go talk to people and try to find out if what you thought in the car happened or not. Through that conversation, I was able to learn a lot about where Ryan’s head was on it all and here we are, we’re in Michigan. That’s last weekend. It did not turn out the way if could have for us and points are so important for us right now. That is where a lot of the frustration came from. I’m sure we’ve all talked about it plenty and I’m ready to go racing at Michigan. I practice today we continued to make the car better.”

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT POSITIONED MOVING ON INTO THIS WEEKEND?
“It’s so funny in today’s world how many opinions exist out there. I have no desire to position it in any way. I was pissed out; I was crashed, I got drove through. Plain and simple. I don’t care how it looks or how it’s perceived. I got dumped and I was upset. The way I was raised and I went racing was when something like that happens you go talk to the guy. I was taught not to use my car as a weapon, go out and try to crash a guy back. Fighting is really not my thing either unless I have to defend myself, so I went there and talked to the guy and hoped to hear a different side of the story than what I thought took place in the car. So that’s the way I was raised in racing and the way I handled it. I’m not looking for a position, or anybody’s buy-in or what anybody really thinks. I’m doing my thing and that’s just the way I go racing.”

RYAN SAID HE THOUGHT YOU EXPECTED HIM TO CALL YOU THIS WEEK TO FOLLOW UP. IS THAT ACCURATE?
“All I can speak to is the way I know I would handle things. Wrong, right or indifferent, I’ve always made an effort to talk to the person. I have learned more about Ryan’s point of view through reading articles than I have from out of his mouth, and that part bothers me. It’s pretty sad. When I went to go talk to him after the race, at some point he said he felt bad but I never heard ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to,’ nothing that would make me think that he didn’t care if it happened. That aspect only confirmed the way I felt in my car. So I thought I would get a call from him during the week, just the friendship that we’ve had, the amount of respect that I thought we had for one another, and I didn’t.”

HE SAID HE HAS RESPECT FOR YOU BEING A SEVEN-TIME CHAMPION.
“That’s what I thought. I didn’t hear from him.”

WOULD THAT HAVE CHANGED ANYTHING?
“Absolutely. Your actions back up what happens in the car. No form of apology when we were chatting, no follow-up, nothing after. To me, it’s pretty obvious – he meant to drive through me.”

WOULD A CONVERSATION BE NEEDED AFTER THAT?
“There’s a million ways to look at it and everybody sees it differently. If I was in his shoes and saw that, I would realize that I didn’t say enough and I respect that guy and I need to follow up with him and talk to him during the week. That’s how I would have responded. I didn’t hear any form of sympathy from him following the race. So I went there and ‘What the hell happened? What went on?’ And to leave that conversation with no remorse, it’s like all right, he meant to do that. I had no other way to think than that. Again, everybody handles things differently and that’s just the way I was raised. Clearly a big age gap between us in the way we go about things, so I would have handled it differently and that’s all I can go by.”

WHEN YOU SAID HE WAS SCARED AND HIS LIP WAS QUIVERING, WAS THAT THE REAL JIMMIE JOHNSON OR JUST LOSING IT A LITTLE BIT?
“It was an observation, it was happening, I didn’t hear a lot of details that I expected to hear and I could have gone into a much more intense line of thought in said a lot more that would have been a lot more damaging to him that saying his lip was quivering. I don’t understand the sensitivity to that or why it’s such a big deal. His lip was quivering and he didn’t have a lot to say. It’s one of the facts that took place in the conversation.”

YOU NEVER ACTUALLY SAID HE WAS SCARED?
“Too many details to worry about. Again, this could have been cleared up with a phone call. The phone is still sitting in my bus and there hasn’t been a call placed to it.”
CAN YOU ASSESS CLIFF’S (NEW CREW CHIEF DANIELS) JOB THE FIRST WEEK?
“Today was just remarkable how it went and the speed that’s in the car. We worked through some issues from our first run and I think picked up almost three-quarters of a second of speed from our first run to our fourth run. The communication that we have an how quickly we can move through things I think that will be very noticeable sooner than later.”

DID YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH PITTING AT THE TIME THAT YOU DID BECAUSE THERE WAS SOME TALK THAT IS WHEN YOU GOT IN THE POSITION WITH BLANEY?
“There are risks to every strategy. We felt like we would have come out and been seventh to 10th with that strategy as things played out. I feel what happened was avoidable and I think somebody passed me just before that. I was on older tires with fuel and we felt like it would yield us a top-10 spot.”

ARE THE YOUNG GUYS STARTING TO COME INTO THEIR OWN AND DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN THAT WAS YOU? OR YOU HAVEN’T CHANGED HOW YOU RACE AND THEY’RE MORE AGGRESSIVE?
“I think there are so many things that today make us more aggressive than happened during my rookie year. Stage racing is a big part of it. It’s just a different world. What pissed my off tremendously was to have the old guy sit me down and say ‘You’re racing too hard, you’re being too aggressive.’ So I really bite my tongue and try not to go down that road of the veterans that sat me down. I just boils down to the basics, in my opinion. There are time when you get used up and there are times when it’s just racing. There are accidents that happen, and I just try to call it a ball and strike in my mind and try not to get caught up with age or car number or who it might be.”

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