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June 7, 2020

Jimmie Johnson

Hampton, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: Jimmie, thank you for joining us after today's race. We know there's been a lot of interest in the video that was released just before the race, and we know you were a leader in helping pull that together and just would like your thoughts on what that experience was like.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I was involved in helping put it together, and I was just really proud of the drivers who got involved. Honestly proud of NASCAR and what they did, but it's been a personal journey on a much deeper level this week for me to listen and learn, and as a lot of us drivers started chatting about the week and experience and a lot of this was led by Bubba. Really have to give him a ton of credit, including Ty Dillon, the accountability that those two really put on the garage area, put on me‑‑ not directly on me, but I could just see‑‑ it made a difference, and I think that resonated with a lot of people.
I spent a lot of time listening and learning this week, and that message rang clear with many of my other driver friends, and we kind of found that message, and that was the message that made it into the video.

Q. When you were in the process of trying to reach out to drivers for the videos, did you just individually contact people and say, do you want to participate? How did you go about rallying people to get involved with this?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: We have a big group chat that all the drivers are on, and that's how NASCAR communicates to us on the race weekends, during rain delays, any type of messaging, updates to the schedule. So a conversation started in there that I joined, and definitely had a calling and wanted to‑‑ as I was in the process of finding my voice, those conversations made sense to a lot of the other drivers, and we were very unified in that thought process.

Q. You mentioned it a little bit with Ty kind of bringing it up, but I'm curious, these conversations have been pretty difficult to have in the NASCAR garage. A lot of people have shied away from them. Why do you think this moment is resonating with the drivers so much that they are more willing to speak out now than before?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: That's a great question. I'm not sure I have the answer for you. I know for myself, what I've been through, and some great conversations with Bubba at the beginning of the week were very good for me. I just called him. I just wanted to check in on him as a friend and where our conversation went was good for me. And then I spent the majority of the week reaching out to other black friends that I have around the country and just checking in, checking in on them, wondering what they're thinking, wondering how they're doing, and then just listening, and then it was really good for me.
There's a lot of noise out there, but the conversations I had on just basic human rights and being kind to one another rung true for me, and I know that's where it came from for myself. I'm not sure about the other guys.

Q. Kevin clearly seems to have something figured out in recent years here in Atlanta and you're one of the guys that also has something figured out in past years at Dover and still now. I'm curious, what is it like as a driver when you know going into a weekend and during the race that you have a leg up on your competitors?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, it's a great feeling, especially for the team when they know that they've hit on something that works, and what's impressive is when a team and driver are able to continue for a long stretch of time at a track. You think about the various rules packages that have come down the pipe and that 4 car, and it's consistently up front here at this track with an open motor, a 750 motor, a 550 motor, different aero packages, they just have a great feel for it, and I've certainly had that luxury a few times in my career. I wish it was still going on right now, especially going into Martinsville on Wednesday. I wish this was kind of mid to late 2000s when we had a great advantage there. But you enjoy it while you can.
THE MODERATOR: We appreciate you joining us for a few minutes after the race today, and we wish you the best of luck later this week in Martinsville.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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