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September 7, 2013

Jimmie Johnson


KERRY THARP:  What a night it was here tonight at Richmond.  It was quite the event.  Jimmie Johnson is our five‑time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion.  He'll go into the Chase as the No. 2 seed as he contends for his sixth championship.
Before I even get into NASCAR racing, congratulations, dad, on the birth of another beautiful young girl.
KERRY THARP:  Just your thoughts maybe about that and just now your thoughts about the Chase.
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Obviously extremely happy, proud.  Tired from the last few nights.  Shanny is home.  Lydia is home.  They're both doing really, really good.  Got them about 11:00 today.  Got some food in everybody.  We all took some naps.  Flew up here.  Got in the car and went at it.
Just the five‑time thing is awfully cool, but two‑time, I'm much more proud of being two‑time than anything (smiling).  Just an awesome couple of nights.
Ready to get home and see my girls.  I'm obviously out‑numbered in the household with my daughters, wife, two female dogs.  I need to find a male fish to put in the corner of the room so I have more testosterone around.
Unfortunately tonight here at the track things did not go well.  We would literally wear the right front tire off the car as the night would go on.  Start off kind of fast, run through the right front tire, had some issues there.
Unfortunate night here.  But as I look at the string of bad races we've had here over the last three, four weeks, the majority of the tracks that resemble the Chase, we've been fast.  We had a blown engine and tire failure at Pocono.  Bristol, here, tracks we don't see in the Chase, we've had our issues.
I'm glad Richmond and Bristol aren't in the Chase.  I feel the 10 tracks that are in the Chase are very good for the 48 team.  We'll start over on a clean sheet of paper next weekend and go at it.
KERRY THARP:  Questions for Jimmie.

Q.  Kyle Busch was in here yesterday and he was asked about the bad finishes you had.  He shook his head and he said, The 48 team will flip the switch next week.  Do you believe that or are you concerned at all with four bad races in a row?
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  There's always a little concern.  Without a doubt you want to enter the Chase with momentum.  I think every team falls back on past history.  We have won championships without momentum going into the first race.
So we're going to fall on our experience and also the experience of knowing the Chase is so different than anything else.  You're only racing 12 guys, not 43.  So things change a lot.  We're going to go to a track that is very good for us.  We had a tire test there earlier in the year.  It went really well.
I'm going to reserve any major concern or overwhelming confidence until after Chicago.  I'm going to go in there with confidence I can go out and win because I know that I can.  We're going to enter nice and smooth and see how Chicago goes.

Q.  Did you know you've never finished 28th or worst in your entire career.

Q.  Because he asked that, we're going to ask a group question here.

Q.  Are you glad that the baby is here and that all the personal stuff is finished and you can now just focus on the racing?
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, without a doubt.  I don't believe that the personal side has distracted my focus by any means.  I think moving forward with Lydia here, there's going to be more demands on my personal side.  It's been pretty easy.  Shanny is extremely supportive of my career, lets me have all the time and space I need to do my job.  As the Chase starts, I'm going to have more going on at home.
We've had some bad tracks we've run bad at.  Then the tracks we run good at we've had some issues.  Definitely don't want to enter the Chase with no momentum like we have right now.  But Chicago is a whole new world.  The personal side, you know, things will pick up at home a little bit more now than they have.  No way around that.
I think more than anything, I'll get less sleep.  Have to come to the motorhome and get a good nights sleep on Thursday and Friday (laughter).

Q.  Jimmie, did being away yesterday in a more important part of your life affect how you raced tonight at all?  Was that a negative not being able to practice?
JIMMIE JOHNSON:  Yeah, it definitely hurts the efforts of the team.  We tested here a couple weeks ago, felt like what we learned during the test was going to translate and be fine.  We had confidence in the decision not to be in the car yesterday.
Without a doubt, it would have been best if I was in the car.  I'm not sure we would have gotten where we needed to.  We were pretty far off tonight.
Speed was okay on the short run, but it would run through the tire and blow the tire.
KERRY THARP:  Jimmie, thank you very much.

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