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NASCAR CHAMPIONSHIP FOUR MEDIA DAY
November 17, 2016
DAVID HIGDON: Good afternoon, everybody. My name is David Higdon from NASCAR. I welcome all of you to NASCAR Championship Four media day here at the Loew's Beach Miami. Very excited to also recognize our fans who are following us live on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, streaming live on NASCAR.com, as well as Facebook Live. So we appreciate you joining us wherever you may be and sharing your passion for NASCAR with us.
To the media here with us today, thank you again for your extensive coverage over many weeks. It's been a great season, and I'm pleased to see so many new faces here with us today for our season finale, as well. I hope that you enjoy the NASCAR experience and share it with your followers.
We are also very pleased to welcome so many of our official partners who have joined us here, so earlier today the final Fuel For Business event took place, and we've asked several of our sponsors and partners to come join us today. Welcome. The theme of their event was together we drive wins. Couldn't be more apt given the four athletes here today, who obviously had the bulk of the wins for the season for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, and they've earned their way to this final culminating weekend. We will be introducing them one at a time.
First up, his dramatic win at Phoenix locked up a spot in the Championship Four, the driver of the No.22 Shell‑Pennzoil Ford for Team Penske, please welcome Joey Logano.
On Sunday, he'll look to make history with his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship to join legends Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, the driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Jimmie Johnson.
His dramatic win at Texas earned him a berth in the Championship Four, driver of the No.19 ARRIS Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, Carl Edwards.
And finally, he looks to go back‑to‑back, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and driver of the No.18 M&M's Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, Kyle Busch.
We'll welcome everyone. We'll open it right up to questions. If you have a question, please raise your hand and we'll get a mic to you. Please state your name and affiliation before asking your question.
Q. Nervous or excited, and Carl, from you, I want to know have you thought about what your Twitter handle is going to be yet, if you need it?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know about the Twitter handle, but I'm pretty excited. I don't even know how Twitter works. I know Jimmie got a lot of hits for his bicycle riding this weekend, and that was pretty fun.
But yeah, I'm just excited. I think I'm imagining all of us are, just to get to go race. This is a pretty awesome opportunity, and our 19 team has been looking forward to something like this, so really looking forward to getting in the car.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, same thing, just excited right now. I'm sure nerves will kick in at some point, but there's going to be challenges for all four teams during the course of the race or qualifying, practice, whatever it might be, but this is a moment that I think we all really embrace and enjoy. As a competitor, you hope to be in a championship moment, and we're the fortunate four that have come through and have a shot at it, so I think we're all welcoming it.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, what they said. That was a good answer, guys. No, it's an awesome opportunity to be here. There's only four of us that get the opportunity to race for a championship, and that's an amazing opportunity that we're going to enjoy and be excited about, embrace the pressure and have some fun with this whole thing.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, definitely excited for the opportunity. Once you're eligible or once you're locked into the Final Four, having the opportunity to go to Homestead and having a chance for that championship is certainly exciting, but then past that, you know you've got to move on and you've definitely got to put your focus forward and make sure that you can go out there and achieve and excel at what you need to on Sunday.
Q. Carl, how much does the tie with Tony in '11 still rankle you? Does it still hang in your head?
CARL EDWARDS: You know, I got to my hotel the other night in New York, flipping through the channels, I was like, what the hell is that on the TV, and it was that race, and I thought ‑‑ I sat and watched it, and I thought, man, this is really motivating. I really, really want to win this one. So yeah, I guess it's a motivator, and I thought the experience was great.
I was just thinking that while we were sitting here last time I had this opportunity, it was just against two guys. This is much more dynamic and probably in a lot of ways going to be tougher. It's different, but I feel like that experience was very good. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It was a lot of fun.
Q. Kind of handicap this group in the fact that between you you have 14 wins, and in the past maybe among the four guys that have gotten to the Championship Four, one of them might have been a shock or a surprise if they won. It obviously wouldn't be with you four, so I'd just like for you guys to handicap how tough this Championship Four is.
JOEY LOGANO: I don't think it's ever easy. Everyone is here for a reason. These are the four best teams this year. It's been proven that they've either been consistent or can win when they have to. If they had some troubles earlier in one of the rounds, everyone was able to get through, and there's not many guys who are able to do it, and obviously it was so close. There's a lot of pressure that's been put on these race teams, and these are the race teams that were able to handle it. A lot of people can go a different way when there's pressure put on them, but these teams here seem to be the ones that are best this year, and one of them will prevail at the end.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I don't really know what to add to be honest. It's hard to handicap by the numbers. We each have a 25 percent shot at this thing. Outside of that, you can fall on some past history potentially, but then again, it's a new race, it's a new year and a new set of circumstances, so it's really hard to put any weight anywhere.
Q. Do you guys like each other?
JOEY LOGANO: Kyle, we'll let you answer that.
KYLE BUSCH: Right now, yes. In about 25 more seconds, no. (Laughter.)
JOEY LOGANO: We love each other. What do you want me to say?
KYLE BUSCH: I would say it's kind of been fun this week. Being in it last year, I thought it was pretty fun. It was kind of more a sending off of Jeff, if you will, so we were all kind of cordial with each other because we probably kind of had to be because it was nice to be for Jeff.
This year it's just been fun. These guys are easy to get along with, easy to talk to, easy to have a good time with and joke around and mess around, so it's been good.
Q. Kyle, when will you know whether you have a car to beat this weekend? Will you know first practice Friday, or it won't be until Saturday?
KYLE BUSCH: Honestly, I don't think you will know if you have a car to beat because so many things change throughout the weekend. I mean, track conditions, rain in and out, although the forecast looks nice. Last year with the rain in the forecast and everything, there were definitely different guys that had a shot that were capable of winning that weren't in the Chase, so you could look at that respect, as well, too. We could go this weekend and you could see a Denny or a Matt be just as fast as Carl or I and they have a shot to win the race. So it's really every man for himself when it comes down to Sunday.
But as the weekend goes, I don't think you can count on qualifying. I don't think you can count on practices or the beginning part of the race because as the race goes on, track changes, shade comes on. I think we're going to end right at dusk, dark, so it's going to be all the way to the end.
Q. I'm asking you this not from an entertainment, create drama standpoint, but more from a psychological standpoint. There was a big UFC fight last week; everybody knows a lot about that, Conor McGregor tried to hit the other guy with a chair in the press conference leading into it. You guys have‑‑
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Sorry we're letting you down.
Q. No, you're not letting me down.
CARL EDWARDS: Honestly there's probably more drama out here if we really get down to it.
Q. I'm not asking for drama. From a psychological standpoint, you guys spent the whole week ‑‑ all week together. You're getting along, you're enjoying each other, when in theory in sports, where people are battling individually they don't do that, so how do you guys flip it on Sunday and all of a sudden want to really beat each other?
CARL EDWARDS: I think theory in sport might be a perspective, right? At the end of the day, I grew up‑‑ and this has been the kind of sporting event where, hey, you go in there and your respect your competitor as best‑‑ I realize what these guys are capable of, and I think that being able to go have respect for your competitor, but still, when that race starts, we're going to race each other with a lot of intensity. I don't think you have to be throwing chairs at each other to have a good competition on the field of battle.
JOEY LOGANO: I think you see that in all sports. You watch a football game, after the game they're all shaking each other's hands after they just knocked the heck out of each other. That happens. You even watch a hockey game, afterwards they all shake hands, whether they want to or not. It's enforced that sport.
But I do think there's obviously a switch that everyone, maybe when they put their helmet on, things change. We're all out there as competitors, but right now we're outside the car, we also get along, right? We've got to spend a lot of time together this week.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I think one other thing that plays into that, and I'm not sure if people like it or love it, but this is the 39th race we've probably had against each other this year, and then years out of doing it, so we do have a rapport, and we also do learn how to socialize outside of the car and then how to flip the switch, as you mentioned. It's just something that I guess we grow up dealing with from a young age racing, however we did it as youngsters up until now, and where a fighter is somebody, they might see that guy one or twice in that moment, and oh, by the way, in the UFC they try to kill each other anyway, so it's all about killing the guy.
CARL EDWARDS: And I think that ‑‑ I don't know how the guys feel, but I don't think anything I'm going to say to these guys is going to make their car any slower on Sunday, so there's really no point. I know it's entertaining for you guys, but...
Q. Jimmie, it's cool to see you with your family, your daughters celebrate a win. As a father, what does it mean to you to experience a win and celebrate with your daughters?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, obviously our sport takes a lot out of us, and families have to sacrifice a lot to support us. I have my kids at an age now where they somewhat understand what dad does. It makes it all the more enjoyable, and to share those moments of success, you know, it's a nice way to enjoy the moment as a family and a reward for all that goes into it. But then at the same time those little eyes and ears are paying attention, and in the tough times I've been asked questions, Daddy, why were you so mad; you didn't handle that very well, did you, Dad. It goes both ways.
But it's just a fun experience to have with your family, and again, they sacrifice so much to let me do what I love. I cherish those moments that I do have with them.
KYLE BUSCH: I don't think your YouTube channel is going to be near as entertaining as mine.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: You'll have a lot of explaining to do.
Q. What does Tony Stewart mean to you guys, whether he's been a teammate, an adversary the last couple years, and does anybody have a Tony Stewart story they can share because Elliott Sadler had one he didn't want to tell me.
KYLE BUSCH: There's some that are unsharable. Let's just put it at that.
As far as I go, I came into this sport young in age, 18, and I was with Hendrick at the time and teammates with Jimmie and Jeff, and I was essentially a competitor of Tony's, and in my rookie year I remember it was Las Vegas and we were running around there and I think I was running third. Tony was behind me trying to get by. I was kind of holding him up a little bit, but then he pounded the fence off of 2 and faded, and I ended up finishing second to Jimmie there.
So later after the race was over, he was really pissed, and his crew chief basically called him an idiot for hitting the fence. All Tony wanted to do was fight essentially, but I waited seven days before I met with him, which was California the next week, and we sat in the motor home, we talked, we talked it all out, and went on there and we've been good ever since. We even became better friends and allies when be became teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing.
I've been on the really, really bad side of Tony, and I've been on the really, really good side of Tony, and it's obviously way better to be on the better side, but I also think Tony has been a little bit more forgiving with age, so he's definitely gotten easier to work with and to be with and to race against, too. He's been awesome. Just my entire career he's one of my heroes that I grew up watching. Jeff obviously was probably my number one, but then also when Tony got involved in the sport, he was probably a close second as to the guy that I really looked up to and followed along with.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Just to add to that, I feel that I wasn't old enough to really watch Parnelli Jones or an AJ Foyt race in all these different vehicles and win and succeed, but Tony Stewart, I was able to see that. So I just feel like he's a driver that‑‑ maybe not that he was a generation too late, but he could have fit in so well in some previous eras and raced anything anywhere in the world and won and been successful. I have a ton of respect for him, I absolutely do.
I've gotten to know him very well over the years, and one of my big eye‑opening moments about the vast differences in his personality, Daytona 500, we're in the transporter fighting it out. Mike Helton is not happy with either one of us. Crew chiefs and owners are there.
And then the following year we're racing in the Rolex 24, and he's going to give me a ride from the Las Vegas test session down to Daytona for the 24‑hour race, and I get on his airplane, and there are two greyhound dogs, and we get up in the air, he cuts up two filet mignons, which I think are probably our meals, which he feeds to the dogs, and then he reaches into a Burger King bag and throws me a Whopper. I said, all right. This is interesting. They were two racing dogs that he had rescued and had somewhere he was taking them to take care of them.
CARL EDWARDS: Just for me, that battle that we talked about, I've talked about a lot this week. To get to race Tony at his best for a championship was really a cool experience. To be able to see how much ‑‑ last week I got to give him the helmet that I wore during that race and to see how much that meant to him and how important that battle was to him, that was really cool.
I'm a lot like these guys. I watched him on his way up, he won the USAC triple crown that year, and that was spectacular, and then to see him progress and then finally to be able to battle him like that, that was a lot of fun.
DAVID HIGDON: So on Monday night did you turn the TV off near the end of the race?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I had seen enough after about five or ten minutes. I thought, man, I'm ready to crawl out of my skin and go racing right now, so yeah, I had to shut it off.
JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I think I've been at both ends with Tony, as well, like Kyle. But talking about just the ultimate racer, right, he's the racer's racer. Obviously with his dirt track and all the different things that he's done for our sport, and he's got a huge heart, and I think that's something that a lot of people don't know about Tony as much as you see from the outside, that he's a hard‑nosed racer and you see the drive and determination from that standpoint.
But outside of the car you see that he's got a very giving heart, which is something that's really cool. From seeing both sides of it, it's been fun. Obviously I got to take over the 20 car when he moved on to start his own race team and got to spend a lot of time with his race team after that and heard plenty of stories about him, and a lot of them, yes, I can't share. But it was a lot of fun getting to know him over that part and the beginning part of my career.
Q. Kyle, last year you qualified for the Chase and won the thing under challenging circumstances given what happened at the start of the year. Is it apples and oranges coming back as the defending champion and very different dynamics of how you got here to this stage today? Can you just talk about that?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I certainly would think that it's different from last year for sure. Last year I was just a part‑time champion, so this year I hope to become a full‑time champion.
The other aspect of that was we won four races last year in a way short of period of time. I should have won more than four races this year in the extra 11 races that I had to race in, but as far as throughout the Chase, it kind of looked the same if not a little bit better. Last year we kind of had a little run‑in here or there that tried to knock us out or eliminate us from the Chase, but this year we seemed to have really good races throughout, and we ran consistent, and we did all the things we needed to do. We scored the most points in order to get ourselves through. We weren't as flashy as maybe some of these other guys in being able to win races when we needed to or if our backs were against the wall. We never had that, but we certainly had a challenging weekend in Phoenix, for instance, and we persevered through the entire day and we were able to get home in a second‑place finish.
I feel like this year we're just as prepared, if not a little bit better than last year, but also you could look at Harvick's scenario, he was the defending champion coming up through, one of the only guys to make the Final Four, and same situation as myself, and he got beat.
As Jimmie said earlier, you know, it's a whole different circumstance, it's a whole different race. I don't think past success you can look at or necessarily reference because it's a new day on Sunday and new challenges persist.
Q. Carl, you've got a couple sponsors this year that are in this position. Unlike the other guys, it's new to them, so from a relationship point of view, do they call you during the week and say, are you sleeping, are you hydrating, how are you feeling? Do you feel added pressure because of that?
CARL EDWARDS: No, I don't. Thanks for bringing it up. The ARRIS folks, a bunch of them, are really, really excited. A bunch of them are coming to the race, so that's really neat to see how excited they are. It's my first opportunity to be in a championship position with Toyota. A lot of neat things going on with that. Kyle can attest to how special these opportunities are to them.
So yeah, I feel this is an opportunity for the people like Comcast and XFINITY and ARRIS and all the folks that kind of came over here and started this 19 team. It's an opportunity for me to put their names under the lights and hopefully get them that championship. Yeah, no pressure. No pressure.
Q. Obviously every week you guys are trying to win; how much different is everything, preparation, and then the actual race day when you have to win, when you're just going into a race where the only option is to win? How much different does it make everything for what you guys do?
JOEY LOGANO: For us it's the same exact thing for us ‑‑ at least for us it's the same thing we had to do last week. Last week was part one of our championship, and now this is part two. I feel like I've kind of lived this once before as far as last week, and not only a couple years ago, as well. I think that all helps. But for the most part it's still another race. You're still going to have to go out there. We're going to have to beat each other. We're going to have to beat the rest of the cars, as well. There's going to be a lot of fast cars here trying to end on a very good note for the season.
At least for us, for the 22 team, we're going to stay constant to what we typically do. The way we work practices, the way we prepared for the race at the shop this week was very normal. Obviously we all think about what's on the line and we know what's on the line and we make sure that we've talked about everything and thought about everything that can happen and be as prepared as possible, but at the same time you've got to look at it, it's still a race. It's still just like every other race this year that we're going to try to win. Our goals don't change.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I think we're all kind of in that mode. We were able to win two rounds in the Chase and advance. The 19 won in Texas, Kyle virtually had to win at Phoenix. I think we've all had that exposure, plus past experiences with championships. I've sat on this stage, a race stage like this before where guys were kind of going for their first opportunity under these lights, maybe not their first time at a championship, and I don't have that luxury this year. Everybody here has been in this moment. They know what the weekend is going to be like. They know how the pressure is going to come in, and as Joey mentioned, we've all kind of had to operate with this mindset as this new format has come along. Guys are much more advanced and seasoned with, I guess, stress management than my last championships with the old format.
CARL EDWARDS: For me, I'm going to be honest. This week feels different to me. I mean, it is‑‑ we do have to go do the same job, like these guys said. But for me, each moment, I'm trying to‑‑ I almost have to like pinch myself, like hey, this is really it, we're getting to do this. So there is more excitement for me personally. But yeah, I think once you get in the car, everything will kind of slow down, but I'm having fun with it.
KYLE BUSCH: Probably more so down the path of Logano's answer. We've been doing this that each round is different. There's different preparation for each round, but yet you try to go through and strategize with your crew and your crew chief and stuff like that to make sure that you're as best prepared as possible. You know, you try to make sure that you do everything you need to do to focus on what's ahead this week. This week you're only working on Homestead versus other weeks you're working on maybe three tracks at a time. You know, preparation is key, and do what you can, and do what you've always done. Don't change much.
Q. Last two years in this format, the champion won this race and the guy who finished second finished second in the championship. Knowing that coming into here, is your mentality we have to win this weekend?
JOEY LOGANO: Yes.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yes.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah.
KYLE BUSCH: We've talked about it already. Yes, we get that point. Been there.
Q. It's the first time there's been a Chase in the XFINITY Series and in the Camping World Truck Series. I was wondering if you guys had picks for those two races Friday and Saturday.
KYLE BUSCH: Christopher Bell and Erik Jones.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: We have to go with the JR Motorsports cars.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, Crafton and Suarez would be awesome.
JOEY LOGANO: I mean, I can actually pick because you guys were forced to pick the ones you picked. I'm going with Johnny Sauter because he's awesome. I'm a Johnny Sauter fan. How do you not root for Johnny Sauter?
KYLE BUSCH: God bless America.
JOEY LOGANO: Got bless America. That guy is aggressive. I love watching him. I hope he does it. And my spotter spots for him, as well, which is I guess a little bit more‑‑ you remember that God bless America thing?
In the XFINITY race, the 22 Team Penske car is running for the owner's championship or the secret championship no one knows about, so I'm going to root for that car. I have a little vested interest in that one.
Q. Four great drivers, four great teams. You guys have won a bunch of races. What decides it on Sunday?
KYLE BUSCH: Whoever is out front and takes the checkered flag first.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I think with it ending at night, all of our practices during the day, and then we race in the afternoon and end at night that there's got to be something, part of the story line is how you adjusted with the racetrack. Seems that there's a few cautions at the end, so maybe somebody's restart ability or how a restart goes for somebody could come into play, maybe even tire strategy fits into that. But I'd say it's in that mindset.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, and if you watch, kind of look at Kyle's race last week, ran kind of, what, middle of the pack most of the race and then was able to adjust and make it to the end, so I think being able to adjust just the type of things he was talking about could be huge.
JOEY LOGANO: Agreed, the track changes a lot for sure. Re‑watching last year, you watch the 78 car, he didn't have a bunch of speed, but every opportunity they had to put two tires on or to change the strategy up, he got himself up there. There was parts of the race that he could have won the championship with a car that wasn't the fastest. A lot of things can happen towards the end of this race, and we've seen a green‑white‑checker before and having long runs versus short runs and where your car is fastest is going to definitely be a story because this racetrack, tires wear out a lot, so there's comers and goers throughout a run.
Q. Carl and Joey, how does a championship on Sunday change your self‑perception of your racing career?
JOEY LOGANO: You know, obviously I think as an athlete in general, and a lot of times people judge your career off of championships that you have. You can have that conversation in a lot of different ways and say, this guy has made this many points or this guy did this in his career but how many championships does he have. That's what it always comes down to in those arguments. Obviously to have that next to your name means a lot. Means a whole bunch.
Means probably even more to me to be able to do that for Roger Penske in his 50th anniversary this year in motorsports. That's something that would be very special. And that's the ultimate goal, right? You start the season and what do you say: I want to win the championship. You don't say I want to win a certain amount of races, you say I want to win the big prize at the end. Obviously to be able to do that means a lot.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, it would be great. I think it would be great for‑‑ you can print that. It would be great for a different reason for me at this point in my career than when I started. I'm sorry to just realize how difficult this is, obviously, and for me it would be a lot about, like he said, for Roger Penske, it would be good for me to do it for Coach Gibbs for starting this fourth team, for Dave Rogers, for all the people who have helped me. I've got Cessnas flying a plane full of people from Missouri to come be a part of this that have helped me. It would be really special for all those reasons.
As far as self‑perception, probably like most race car drivers, I kind of have an ego problem already, so that could put me over the edge, honestly.
Q. Similar question for Joey; you were in this in 2014, Carl 2011, obviously. What have you two guys learned from losing a championship?
CARL EDWARDS: It's not great.
JOEY LOGANO: It kind of sucks.
You know, when I was up here a couple years ago and I was up here and I got a question about the people that say you have to lose one to win one, and I thought that was the biggest line of BS I've ever heard in my life, and I didn't like that statement, and I don't believe that you have to lose one to win one, but I do believe you learn a lot by going through the experience once and going through this actual format once, through this whole weekend.
At that point, like Jimmie said, I was the guy that sat here for the first time on the stage with these lights on me in a do‑or‑die moment. I've never had that before. That was the first time for me. And I made a lot of mistakes throughout that weekend, not just on the racetrack but preparation and how I got there. I didn't know what I was doing, so I had to learn.
Just like anybody in their first time, they'd have to figure it out. You can listen to people and all that, but there's not many people that have actually lived through this before that can give you the advice you really, really need.
So after going through that once and then going through that a few times throughout this Chase, this Chase presents a lot of opportunities, I call them Miami opportunities. The same pressure you feel when you come down here to race for a championship, you have to do that multiple times throughout this last 10 weeks.
So for me, I feel a lot more prepared. I feel ready for this weekend, and I was actually talking to a few of my team guys, man, I feel so much different than I did a couple years ago, and my whole team feels that way. We feel a lot more relaxed because we're confident, and we know what the challenge is ahead of us.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, almost identical. I feel the same way.
Q. At what point does respect and friendship go out the window as the checkered flag airs and you do what you've got to do to win the championship?
JOEY LOGANO: I guess that's a secret for everybody.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I'm going to wreck them all in practice. First lap of practice, just wreck everybody.
Q. In a one‑off situation like this, what variable concerns you the most, whether in your control or not heading into this?
JOEY LOGANO: I think there's always things that can happen during a race, right, so many different things can happen. This isn't one of the longest races of the year. It's pretty short. But you are able to recover if something happens early in the race. I think back to when Tony Stewart did it and was able to come back and win the race. It's only fresh in my mind because I watched the same thing Carl did.
But there's a lot of things that can happen just like every single week. You control your own destiny. I'm not a believer in luck at all. I believe you create your own, and I feel like our team is prepared for it. Preparation is key, like Kyle said. Our team is prepared for that, and we're prepared for anything. You've got to expect the unexpected. Anything can happen at any moment, and you've got to be ready to roll the punches.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, I agree, and just trying to be creative and say it in a different way, we're preparing for war. We have no clue what's going to happen during the course of the 400 miles. We've had the luxury of a few extra weeks to prepare, and we feel that we've really gone into great depths to get prepared and ready for this race from all aspects of the team.
But you have no idea what challenges are going to be thrown at you. Last week I found a new rule that you can't pass the pace car as you're on your way to pit road, and it's a lap penalty, too, by the way. So you want to make sure you don't do that one.
So there you just have to deal with‑‑ roll with the punches and see what's thrown at you. We all hope that we won't have any adversity, but man, when you want something this bad and something this important, you're going to have adversity through the course of the weekend, so we're ready for whatever it is. Hope we don't find it, but we're ready.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I think just being ready, ready for anything that happens, having all parts of your team working well and using all the experience that you have to minimize those mistakes or to correct those things that go wrong.
KYLE BUSCH: What was the question?
Q. What variable scares you the most heading into a one‑off race?
KYLE BUSCH: Having a short memory. I think that's probably key a little bit. Don't remember what just happened, just try to focus on what's ahead, and like these guys said, you prepare for war and you don't know what's coming, but as bad things get thrown at you, you've got to just look forward and keep going.
Q. In years past, I think about 1994, we spent months talking about Dale Earnhardt is going to tie Richard Petty. We haven't asked you about this all day. Have you given yourself a chance to think about the possibility of one of the greatest records in all of motorsports?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: You know, I know it's here. I know that I'm as close to this opportunity as I've ever been, but I'm not climbing in that car Sunday saying, I've got to win seven. I'm saying, I've got to win a championship. It's my own personal thing that I want to do. It's something that even though I have the six, the year, the last couple of years, the group of guys that have come together the way we've worked together, the way all of Hendrick Motorsports has worked together, there's something that's kind of crazy to even say, but at least in the way I'm living my life right now, there's something bigger than that seven that's going on, so it's much more vivid in my mind.
I'm ready to go to war with these guys. We're fired up.
Of course I would love to tie them, without a doubt. And the question has been asked a lot, and we start each year, could this be the year, and as we've transferred through the rounds, I've had to answer the question, and it's something that I guess I've learned to embrace, and I'm honored to have this opportunity, and it would be a massive honor to join petty and Earnhardt, I mean, without a doubt. And I hope that I can do that some day. If it's not this year, we'll be back next year and we're going to try again. But it would be a huge honor, but it's not my ultimate motivation and why I'm climbing in the car as hungry as I am.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports