Q and A with Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson
THIS IS THE SECOND TIME YOU'VE WON THE DAYTONA 500, BUT IT'S BEEN A BIT OF A DROUGHT SINCE 2006.
|Johnson bent up the nose of his Chevy in the uneven Daytona grass infield after the race|
|CIA Stock Photo|
"It has. Plate racing is awfully tough racing form of racing and there's a lot of luck involved. Pack racing is a little different. You can't ride and kind of wait for things to happen. You have to race all day long and fight for track position. And this race car, this Lowe's Chevrolet, was so good. Chad Knaus and all of Hendrick Motorsports gave me a fast car and I could really stay up front all day long. I had a lot of confidence those final few laps leading the train because I knew just how fast this car was. It's a big credit for everybody at Hendrick Motorsports."
IT SEEMS LIKE YOU HAD A SPECIFIC GAME PLAN FROM THE MOMENT YOU UNPACKED HERE IN DAYTONA
"We did. We wanted to get this car to the 500. We knew it was the best car for us and I'm very happy to have it in the 500 and it certainly did its job for us. I just want to give a big shout-out to all the fans and I also want to send my thoughts and prayers out to everybody yesterday that were injured in the grandstands. Go to Lowe's. Buy some stuff. Spring is coming. Go buy a Chevrolet. I'm very happy to win the first Gen-6 car race by racing the Gen-6 car for Chevrolet and their Chevrolet SS. It's been an awesome day."
TELL US WHAT YOU HAD TO DO TO KEEP IT OUT FRONT ON THOSE LAST COUPLE OF LAPS?
"I think it goes all the way back to when the caution came out and the fact that we were in the lead and gave me lane choice. The outside lane worked in most situations. The inside would rally from time to time. When I had lane choice I knew that we were set up to win the race and it was up to me to not make a mistake and blow it. This Lowe's Chevrolet was so fast. Chad (Knaus) did an amazing job. We stuck to our plan all week long, kept the car straight through the practice sessions and the duel. We knew it was a very fast race car and it would race well. We got that done here today."
YOU MENTIONED THE OUTSIDE LANE BEING THE STRONGEST. WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE THAT ENABLED YOU TO MAKE THAT PASS DOWN ON THE LOW LANE?
"Things just worked out well for me coming to the caution. The No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) got a big push and was way out and kind of falling back to the No. 16 (Greg Biffle). My lane was bunched up tight and helped me surge by the No. 2 at the start/finish (line) when the caution came out. That was really the move that set things up for us. At the end it got exciting. I was waiting for the run and it came further back than I expected. The No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) got a big shove and was coming up the inside. I moved down to defend that and we were able to get a one-two (finish) for Hendrick Motorsports. For the 48/8 shop so very happy there are a lot of people put a lot of effort into these cars, I want to thank all them."
WHAT MADE THE DIFFERENCE ON THAT LAST LAP?
"Making sure I got down to get in front of the No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.), but honestly once I had control of the race, I knew I was sitting on a lot of speed with this car. It was so fast. I give it to my shop and my guys. They gave me a great race car."
YOU'VE WON THIS RACE BEFORE, BUT THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS IT JUST HASN'T SMILED ON YOU. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE MOMENTUM GOING INTO THE 2013 SEASON?
"There is no other way to start the season than to win the Daytona 500. I'm a very lucky man to have won it twice. I'm very honored to be on that trophy with all the greats that have ever been in our sport. Amazing day for myself, for this team, as the year goes we are excited. But next week is a whole different game. We will have to make sure we are buttoned up and ready to go there. Before I go I just want to send my thoughts and prayers out to everyone that was injured yesterday and I hope they are healing up and doing well."
RICK HENDRICK – WINNING TEAM OWNER
CONGRATULATIONS JIMMIE JOHNSON DOES IT HERE FOR YOU TODAY:
"We have a hard time finishing these races, boy, to run one-two man what a day. I'm so proud of Jimmie (Johnson), Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) what a great move by Dale there at the end. (Sigh of relief) I'm glad."
CHAD KNAUS, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET SS – WINNING CREW CHIEF
CONGRATULATIONS YOUR DRIVER BROUGHT YOU THE TROPHY HERE TODAY AT THE 55TH RUNNING OF THE DAYTONA 500:
"Jimmie (Johnson) did a fantastic job today. It's been a tough week and a half down here in Daytona. Everybody needed to work together, NASCAR, all the teams to get these Gen-6 cars where we needed them so they go out there and put on a good show. I think it was a heck of a show and Jimmie did a fantastic job. The guys back in the shop they had to put in a lot of extra effort to get these cars built. I just can't say enough about them. Man, thank God for Lowe's."