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October 1, 2017

Jimmie Johnson

Dover, Delaware

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our third‑place finisher, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. Really good run out there today for both you and your Hendrick teammate, so why don't you just talk a little bit about that.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I think when we unloaded on Friday, we realized how much speed all of our Hendrick cars had. As we look back over the summer, it just seems like tracks with more banking, our combination works well, and we were able to exploit that this weekend. I wished I would have qualified better. I really think we had a shot at winning the race today, and at times I was better than the 24 and the 18 and was catching there at the end. I just never really had track position to race for the win. I finally got top 3 there on the last run and we were out of laps.
A solid day, though. Thankful to have SharkBite on the car this weekend and A.O. Smith, of course Lowe's and our long‑standing relationship there. Charlotte is a great track for us, as well, and typically when we run well at Dover, it carries over to Charlotte, and we're optimistic about next week, too.

Q. At the same time you and Chase had two great finishes, what does it mean for Hendrick to have two strong cars like that? And it looked like you said something to Chase after it was over, such a heartbreaking loss for him. What did you share with him?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I knew I couldn't make him feel any better. I just wanted to check on him and turn him around where people couldn't see his face and let him get those few first words and sentences out. I anticipated them being cuss words, and they were. So just trying to be there for him, let him vent, let him get those first few sentences out. I just know from my own experience it's just nice to kind of vent and get through that. Clearly he didn't have much to say and he's pretty bummed out about the situation. So is his team. They're all gathered down there around the car. But mid‑week I'm sure they'll work through this and find the silver lining and move on and go to Charlotte. They're a fantastic race team. Chase is one heck of a driver, and look forward to whenever that celebration does happen.

Q. The situation that Chase faced there at the end, when you've got a car that appears to be fast and coming or coming every lap, what can you do beyond trying to cut laps that are a little bit faster, and at a track like this where blocking is not something you can really legitimately do? What else could he have done?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, we did briefly touch on that when we were at his car for a few seconds, and the bottom usually prevails. I'm not sure, especially on a long run the outside has really ever worked here. The two or three runs before the final one, Kyle was dedicated to it, and I was able to hold him back just running the bottom.
So I think Chase weighed his options out and knew that the bottom is where 90 some percent of these races have been won, if not 95 or more, and stuck with that. I think he had more trouble with the lap cars that were in front of him. I think there was some cars fighting to stay on the lead lap that really, I think, hurt the performance of his car, and the 18 had a straightaway of clean air to really chip away at the lead and get to him. I feel like lap traffic probably played a bigger role in it than anything.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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