home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


February 10, 2019

Jimmie Johnson

Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race winner, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet.

Q. Jimmie, a couple‑‑ does this count as the first win, and did you have to kind of show up William after he got the pole?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: You know, points races are different, but we'll take this. You know, we still need a points race win to say we've been back to Victory Lane. It's a great first step today to get first reps with Kevin, a lot of new members on the team, to bring Ally into the sport with a victory and qualifying third. Just a really big day for the 48 team, and just building the confidence that we're going to need to carry into the season.
And then when you look at what happened for Hendrick Motorsports today and also Chevrolet, just an epic day across the board.

Q. If you could talk a little bit about how important it was maybe to come right out of the box for not only the new sponsor but also for you looking to get back in the win column?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, there's different pressures put on each team, and certainly outside pressures of‑‑ somebody came up with a great idea of who's going to win first, Jimmie or Chad, and then the pressure, can we win again. There's just different things that any and every team and driver deal with, so to work through that today and to win today just kind of, I think, helps with some of that outside pressure on where the team is.
And then internally, we've only talked about winning races. Kevin and I, this team have mentioned it many times, many different ways, I'm far from done. So for us today, there was no other thought process than to try to go out and win the pole and win the race, and we came close to doing both.
Just a great day. Builds confidence for myself and the team, and hopefully we can get it done again next weekend. Great way to start. Thank you.

Q. I'll ask the tough question. Winning the way it played out with the contact, walk us through the incident, and does it take away from the celebration a little bit knowing that that's not the way you traditionally want to win a race?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I guess I need to look at it some more. I was inside of him for a little while before things went haywire, so I don't know what caused his car to get out of control. I didn't hit his rear bumper cover. I made a move and got to the inside and was side drafting him, and his car started wobbling. So I don't know what caused it. It's the last way I want to win a race. I've lost plenty this way. Restrictor plates usually do end this way. So I don't know‑‑ it's plate racing. I'm here to win races, and I hate there are a bunch of tore‑up cars, but I didn't drive through a car and create a wreck.
Again, I'll look at it some more on tape, but from where I was sitting, it was just a racing incident.

Q. Just following up on that, Kurt was in here, felt like you were‑‑ he called it the no‑zone, hung on the left rear quarterpanel of the 21 too long and also passed below the yellow line. Your comments to that?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: So he wants the trophy. I'd politic if I was him, too. Why not?

Q. I guess it's just a matter of you just have to take the mindset of that's just this type of racing, that there can't be any remorse in a situation? Not that that means that there's blame anywhere, but just how the situation‑‑ how the mindset works when you go through something like this.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I mean, when you drive into somebody and spin them out, you know what you did, and I pulled up alongside of another car and a wreck started. I mean, I'll take whatever blame is fairly supposed to be put on me, but let's remember that rain is coming, it's literally the white flag, and how many plate races have we seen where there's aggressive driving to try to win the race. That's simply all I was doing.
I didn't try to crash Paul. I didn't drive through Paul. It was a racing incident. I'm very remorseful. I'm probably more remorseful than any driver in the field when stuff like this happens. I don't crash people to win races. I looked in the mirror and there were a lot of cars caught up in it, and I hate that aspect of it. So absolutely I'm remorseful.
But at the same time, I have a split‑second decision to try to win a race, and I set up the pass and got position on him clean. I don't know what triggered his car wobbling and then the accident started from there.

Q. At Talladega the Fords were really able to hook up and no one had anything, at least for those Stewart‑Haas ones. Are things just more even now? Is it the track? Is it maybe the way they're looking at skew? Or do you feel like they're still extremely stout?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I feel like the rules have changed quite a bit. The SHR Fords found something really good that worked for all four of their cars. I would guess that it's in the skew department just because that's one of the bigger changes that's happened to the plate cars. But I don't know for sure.

Q. Is there anything that you saw today running closer to the front of the field to indicate that the 500 will play out similarly, even though there's more cars and maybe warmer conditions, in regards to how hard it was to pass?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, there were a lot of opportunities to pass, but when the line is around the top, you get runs and you just‑‑ you can't pull out. There's a line 20 cars long that you'll never get back in, and that was just today. In the 500 it'll be 40 cars long. It's circumstantial to what's going on, and this rules package has kind of trended towards the middle of the race track or the high lane, just the cars stay wound up and you're at higher RPM and the engines pull better. The bottom lane it's easy to really stop that car with a side draft and get their RPM too low to where the engine doesn't pull.
So we're all kind of fighting for the outside in general. Restarts, the outside lane seems to be the lane you want to be in, and that just kind of takes you forward.
And then when it gets to single file on the top, I mean, you're just waiting. That's all we did at‑‑ every time we got 5 or 10 laps in, it went single file at the top, and everybody is just waiting for that chance that it's safe to make a pass or you think that you're coming to the checkered or something like that.

Q. How did the race go this morning?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: The foot race? It went good. The headwind down to the beach was a bit more than desired, but outside of that, it was a good day.

Q. What did you finish?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I didn't see the official result, but Chip said in the driver's meeting I ended up 10th. But I don't have official‑‑ 14th. 14th overall.

Q. So today how much better do you feel than you did a year ago heading into the week?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Into the week, I feel good. It's tough to say what you have in Daytona for these two weeks really carry into the season and Atlanta, Phoenix, California, all that stuff. So for this week and the success that we had today in qualifying and today on track, absolutely, it was a great sign for the week ahead.

Q. I was going to say that the race results show that you were first in your age group, so I wondered if you had heard what happened to McMurray's results because they're not showing at all.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Did he go below the yellow line?

Q. Maybe he did. He finished four minutes ahead of you, but you're the winner in the group.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Are we in the same age bracket? Think so? I don't know, he was definitely ahead of me. I don't know how that works out.

Q. Not about the race, but the relationship between you and Chad now because it's gone from a driver‑crew chief combination to a driver and‑‑ Jimmie and Chad. Is there a different kind of relationship? How is that relationship now, or is there one?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, there is a different relationship kind of growing, and it's more on the kind of friendship side and personal side that has always been there between myself and Chad, but work has occupied the majority of our time with one another. We were just at his house I guess last weekend visiting his wife and his son, and hanging out with our two girls and just kind of getting together and hanging out with him. You know, it's a transition for both of us, and we're both working through it on the professional side, but the personal side, we've been great friends for a long time. Both of us want to make sure that our friendship is one that lasts a lifetime and that we're here for each other outside of‑‑ inside the racing bubble, but certainly outside with family and all the other stuff that goes with it.

Q. You said you weren't remorseful, so now what happens when you go back to your phone? Are you going to have to do like outreach to your peers and send a group text and say, my bad, or what happens now?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, definitely reach out to Paul and talk him through what happened and take it from there. I think a phone call goes much further than a text. It would be even better face to face, but I'm assuming he's gone. But certainly talk through it. I don't know if he or anybody else involved in the crash will care what I have to say. I mean, I've been in that position where I just didn't care. But I will definitely do my best to explain what I was thinking and what was going on and expect to hear his point of view, as well.

Q. You had talked in Vegas on the playoff media day before the playoffs last year about how your daughter Lydia had been so enthusiastic in trying to support you and push you to get those wins and kind of made you laugh about how she reacted. How had she been going into the week, and have you had a chance through the victory to talk to her through FaceTime or is she down here to get her reaction to that?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, they're not here, and I haven't had a chance to talk to them yet, but she literally closes in prayer every single night with, "We need Daddy to win a race," or "Dear Lord, can Daddy win a race." She is highly competitive. It's so cute to hear it. And then after hearing it for a lot of months last year and into this year, it's putting some pressure on me. Granted, it's not a points win, but she's going to be a happy girl when I see her.

Q. I think Paul said something along the lines of aggressive side drafting caused that big crash, and he also mentioned, I believe I got it right, "Jimmie does that a lot at these tracks." What might he have been talking about?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I think we all aggressively side draft at these tracks. That's what we do. And absolutely that's what I did. That's how you pass, when you break the bumper cover, the plane of the bumper cover of the car you're going to pass or go by. So I guess, guilty.

Q. How does it feel to start off Speedweeks on a much higher note than last year's?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, last year was tough. I don't think we finished any events down here. Good qualifying effort, the win, it's a great way to start it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297