MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
COKE ZERO SUGAR 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JULY 5, 2019
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1 Media Breakout Session Highlights:
ON THE JULY 4th PRACTICE INCIDENT BETWEEN TEAMMATE WILLIAM BYRON AND BRAD KESELOWSKI:
“I felt like yesterday was avoidable and didn’t think that was necessary by any means. It’s a tricky position that Brad has put himself in because plate racing is all about blocking. This new rules package on the 1.5-miles is all about blocking. And, he’s pretty damn good at blocking. So, that’s where I think he’s put himself in an interesting situation and we’ll see how the next few weeks unfold. I don’t he ‘sent a message’ to anybody. I think it was kind of careless and not such a smart move yesterday. But, if he feels good about it, which clearly…..I just watched his interview in the bus before I came over here….he feels pretty good about what he did and we’ll just see how it all unfolds for him.”
IT SEEMS LIKE WILLIAM BYRON IS NOT EASILY SHAKEN FOR A YOUNG GUY.
“I don’t think he is. His first reaction, he was still trying to figure out what all went on and didn’t know if it was just kind of a racing thing or it was intentional. And, then I think he realized the intent behind hit. And, I think his feathers were certainly ruffled after that.”
ARE WE GOING TO HAVE THE SAME THING IN THIS RACE THAT WE SAW IN TALLADEGA WHERE IT’S MORE OF THE MANUFACTURER GROUPS WORKING TOGETHER LIKE CHEVY AND CHEVY OR CHEVY AND FORD AGAINST TOYOTA?
“I don’t think they’ll be much between the brands working together. I think our practice session yesterday showed the commitment that we all have to work together and to try to make it work like it did in Talladega. And then it’s kind of up to the other manufacturers. We’ll have to see their level of commitment to a plan like that. But, it’s pretty obvious where we stand on it.”
ON THE IDEA OF A NASCAR/INDYCAR DOUBLE-HEADER DOWN THE ROAD, WOULD YOU BE IN FAVOR OF THAT AND AT WHAT TRACK?
“I’m totally in favor of it. And, I would hope that it would be a road course so I could do the double. I’m not interested in an oval IndyCar race, so I would love to have a road course.”
IN YOUR CAREER, HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SHOOK-UP BY A YOUNGER DRIVER THAT BLOCKED YOU AT THE WRONG TIME? HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MAD AT A YOUNGER DRIVER?
“We’re all mad at each other all the time (laughter). It just happens. And that’s plate racing. I think that’s why you would see so many agitated interviews; and you still do today after a plate race. What’s interesting though, is the 1.5-mile and two-mile tracks now that we race that way. So, we’re getting very comfortable and very used to this style of racing. I’ve made the comment a few times already, but Mark Martin would lose his damn mind out there. It’s hard enough for a guy like myself that was taught by Mark to give and take and not block. Pick your battles and be very smart. There’s a flow on the track. There is no flow. Stage-racing and this new rules package have completely changed that. It’s all about yourself. It’s the now and you really don’t think about the big picture. You just do everything you can.”
HOW DO YOU TACKLE THIS RACE TOMORROW NIGHT?
“I guess we know our starting position, so from there we’re pretty committed to make sure we’re with our fellow Chevys and trying to make sure Chevys are in Victory Lane. It just kind of depends on the flow of the race but I’ll look for my teammates and try to get with them.”
DO YOU WORK WITH OTHERS IF YOUR TEAMMATES AREN’T AS FAST? WOULD YOU TAKE HELP FROM SOMEBODY ELSE IF YOU COULD GET IT?
“I’m happy to get all the help I can get (laughs). But, I’m committed to the bowties.”
SPEEDS REALLY CREPT-UP IN YESTERDAY’S PRACTICE. WERE YOU ABLE TO FEEL THAT IN THE DRAFT AND WHAT’S THE RIGHT TYPE OF PACE FOR THIS PLACE?
“It’s a pretty unique situation to go that fast. I think the main pack is around 201 mph or something like that. But the Toyota group was catching our lead Chevrolet group and they had just the perfect storm to run a fast lap like that. And yes you do know you’re going fast because the bottom of the car starts dragging on the ground and sparks are flying and you know you’re moving.”
THE WHOLE HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TEAM, ALL FOUR OF YOU, ARE SCORING WELL AT SO MANY RACES RECENTLY. IT’S NOT JUST BEEN ONE OF YOU HAVING A GOOD DAY, IT’S BEEN THE WHOLE TEAM
“Yeah, I think that’s something you’ll see more of from the Hendrick cars because it’s maybe two years ago now that we really made a huge effort to make all four cars the same. All four crew chiefs live in the same building. All the cars are built in the same building now. At times, I’ve taken a No. 9 car (Chase Elliott) to the track. I think at Michigan I had one of Chase’s cars. We just put a wrap on it and took it to the track. We will see that. I think Joe Gibbs and the Toyota group have done a nice job. We all through they were crazy at first when they started it, but they did a really good job of bringing equal cars or the same cars to the track. When you’re on, it’s wonderful; but when you’re off, all four are going to suffer at that point. But, I think we’re doing a nice job. All four cars are very close and showing that speed week-in and week-out.”
HOW DO YOU ADAPT YOUR DIFFERENT DRIVING STYLES WHEN YOU DO THAT?
“I think there’s enough leeway with springs and shocks and tire pressure adjustments and other nuances there that you can dial-in what you want. But, we’ve really never had this pressure from Mr. Hendrick to make sure they were all built the same. So, as you can imagine, we had science projects and ideas going in every direction with four crew chiefs and all the ideas they have. It’s nice just to have a common cause and a common build. But the crew chiefs still spend a lot of time brainstorming one another about the next generation car. So, we’re trying to be more efficient with how we build cars and how we bring that next generation car out.”
DO YOU THINK THE DRAFTING WILL BE DIFFERENT IN TOMORROW NIGHT’S RACE?
“The package definitely makes a difference. We’ll just have to see what manufacturer games are played. I think that’s going to dictate the cadence of the race more than anything. But this package is way different than what we raced here in February.”
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