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November 18, 2016

Jimmie Johnson

Homestead, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. Jimmie will roll out 14th in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400. Some drama there at the end of round 1 and just getting to round 2 was not an easy task. Can you walk us through that?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, didn't have a clean first lap and unfortunately had to rerun and just a little unlucky with the spin, and then to be able to go out that quickly, being so hot, and transfer was encouraging, and then to pick up a few more tenths on quite old tires compared to everyone else and end up 14th, I think we made the most of the situation we were in. A bit unlucky, but first and foremost, we should have had a better first outing. That would have made life a lot easier.
But qualifying just isn't my thing, and I'm so much better at racing, and I'm ready to run the race.

Q. How do you like your car so far? And starting 14th and where that puts you with pit selection, is that a detriment?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It's not ideal by any stretch. I think guys were saying top 5 you have a pretty good situation, so we're not ideal there. From 14th to 5th it seems to be easy to pass week in and week out, but those final top four or five cars are always so tough to pass. You know, it's no different this week than others, but it would have made life‑‑ at least the first half of the race easier if we got to start up front, but we don't have that luxury.
Car‑wise, all we did was queue runs today, and with the way the tires go, I think we made three or four runs was it.
And I thought practice went really well for us. We were in the top 5 pretty much the whole time and was surprised with our opening lap in queue and then things got better from there. I think we have a great car. We'll find out tomorrow.

Q. Jimmie, does it give you more reassurance that the best of the Chase guys is none?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I wasn't aware of that, but sure. Let's all be in a wad there together. Let's party.

Q. What sort of strategy is going to play into this given that you're starting a little further back? Is there anything from a strategic standpoint?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: There's a couple things, but the way the tires wear out here, I don't think you're going to see two tires staying out. It's not a good idea. So I feel like here, Atlanta, Texas, tracks with a lot of tire wear, you pit the car, you put four on it, and you just drive the wheels off it and see what happens.
I don't think that there's much for a creative strategy here. I think you're going to have to do it the old‑fashioned way.

Q. Jimmie, I feel like I'm repeating myself, but did you get to talk to NASCAR at all about the pulling up to pit?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, it's off my radar. You're damned sure bet I won't pass that pace car, though. I'm not playing that game again. Yeah, I've moved on. I just pray and hope that they officiate it the same way they did with me every stop, everybody who's up front.

Q. Talk to me about your helmet; tell me the idea behind that and when you started using that.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: We've had it since the Chase has started, and we just wanted to pay respect to Dale and to Richard. Jason Beam came up with the idea, and it's been cool to wear it. It's definitely been getting some attention, and honestly, it's just out of respect to those two guys. I'm glad everybody has been so excited to see it and talking so much about it.
THE MODERATOR: Jimmie, thanks for joining us. Good luck on Sunday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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