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September 9, 2017

Chad Johnston

Richmond, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our race‑winning crew chief Chad Johnston, crew chief for the No.42 Target Chevrolet. You're going in the race off of pit road there at the end, and Kyle beat Martin on that restart. Take us through that last restart from your view on the pit box.
CHAD JOHNSTON: Yeah, we had a pretty solid car all weekend long. We felt like going into the race, we were a third‑ to fourth‑place car. I think that's pretty much what we had for the night. The 78 definitely was faster than us and probably was the class of the field once he got 10 or 15 laps into a run. We knew our best chance was when that caution come out to be the leader off of pit road, so we put four tires and no fuel in it, which played to our handling there earlier in the race a little bit, and were able to win it off pit road. So the pit crew guys won that race for us.
Kyle did an awesome job on his restart. That's the second one, win in a row that we've got on a late‑race restart, so really proud of him and really proud of the job that he did all day long keeping the tires on the car. We felt coming into this that Richmond is kind of one of our worst tracks, to to come here and to be competitive all weekend long and to go home with a week going into Chicago is pretty special.

Q. We've seen probably since the middle of the summer that in a lot of cases NASCAR hasn't thrown as many debris cautions so there's been a lot longer stretches of racing. As you go into the playoffs, how do you start factoring that in, and how much does it not matter what history is at what tracks in the past because of this new way of doing things?
CHAD JOHNSTON: I think the format with the different segments makes it a little bit easier because you know obviously when two of the cautions are going to come out. But as far as the debris cautions, it's definitely been a lot less this year. The one here tonight obviously wasn't a debris caution, so I think you just play it off of past history. You definitely look at it, but I don't think that you live by it. You look at what the characteristics are. Even if you go back the last five, six years, it's pretty hard to draw a distinct conclusion that a caution‑‑ you look at the percentages and it's a 50, 60 percent chance. It's not like it's a high likelihood. But you definitely play it different based off of the racetrack that you go to and what the tire falloff is and what the probability of the caution coming out at a certain point is and what gives you your best chance to make it work in your favor and not get caught by a caution.

Q. Does short pitting become a bigger factor in these races?
CHAD JOHNSTON: Yeah, I think you see it at the places that have a lot of tire falloff or tire degradation. This place is pretty bad, you get about two seconds of falloff, so if you come in you're making up two seconds on the guys that haven't pitted. Darlington is similar; I think Chicago is going to be the same way. The repaves and stuff you don't see near the falloff. Dover you don't see a lot of falloff. But you definitely‑‑ at the places where you get a lot of tire falloff, short pitting will definitely play a factor in it, and you're just going to have to pay attention to who you're racing to get into the next spot in the Chase and play your hand the best you can to try to finish in front of them and make points on them every week.

Q. Chad, you said that you didn't add fuel on that final stop. Without the weight being added to the car, did that help make it looser or tighter?
CHAD JOHNSTON: It helps with additional nose weight, which will tighten it up on a short run. We use nose weight as far as percent of weight that's on the front tires to tighten it, so the more weight that's on the front tires, the tighter it'll be. We pumped the air up on them, too, to try to get them to come in a little bit quicker and take off a little bit better for the green‑white‑checkered, so it was to tighten it up.

Q. How was that playing into his driving style tonight?
CHAD JOHNSTON: We were a little bit too free on the short runs, so I think that helped. We're typically loose in, tight in the middle, loose off, which is typical Richmond for us, but we didn't fight the entry balance as much today, but on the short run it allows him to be a little bit more aggressive taking off.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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