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NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: Ford 400

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Ford 400

NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: Ford 400

Rick Hendrick
Jimmie Johnson
Chad Knaus
November 18, 2007


HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA

THE MODERATOR: We've got our Championship Crew Chief in here for the second year in a row, that is Chad Knaus, Crew Chief of the No. 48 of the Lowe's Chevrolet. How does it feel to be Crew Chief of the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion?
CHAD KNAUS: It's absolutely phenomenal. I'm very proud and very pleased of what we were able to accomplish. And the 24 and 48 shop this year, it's amazing what can happen when you have a group of 92 guys that are going out there and not so much racing against once another, but racing against the competition. That is really what this team did this year.
We have a lot of guys at Hendrick Motorsports and guys and gals that contribute a lot and go in the same direction. But the heart and soul of the 24 and 48 shop is back in Charlotte right now celebrating.
I wish they all could be here, because if it wasn't for those people, we wouldn't be where we are today. It's been a phenomenal ride. Sad it's over, but I can't wait for Daytona now

Q. Can you talk about I don't know if difficulty is the right word or not, but to go through that stretch where you're obviously going for everything you can get, and then you come in here, and you have to basically†detune the team?
CHAD KNAUS: It was really a lot of fun. We're pretty fierce competitors and what we want to do is win races. When we knew that was our only way to get back into the championship hunt was to win races, it was nice.
It was good that everything worked out for us. The cars were very fast. Jimmie did a phenomenal job. The pit crew really stepped up above and beyond the call of duty the last five races. They really did a good job.
Coming in here, you may not believe it, but we really wanted to win the race. That was the mindset coming in here. Obviously, by sitting on the pole, I thought that was a good show of faith that that's what our plans were.
We wanted to go and win the race. With the race trim, with a car that Jimmie was really comfortable with and he could do what he wanted, our plan was to go 200 laps and wait for that last pit stop. If we were in position to go for the win, that's what we wanted to do.
So that was the mentality when we came in. But the reality of it was once we got into the race and realized what a good car we had, he could just find a spot and ride, and ride safely in the Top 10, that's kind of how it all switched.
But it would have been fun, I would have liked to race with Matt and Robbie there. Congratulations to Robbie, by the way, his last race as crew chief with Matt, and to be able to win it. That's phenomenal. That's cool.

Q. Earlier tonight Jack Roush talked about this becoming a momentum sport. Earlier in the chase, Jeff Gordon had the momentum, and then Steve and you guys took it over. When did you feel that momentum hit you?
CHAD KNAUS: Obviously, I think a lot of it began at Lowe's motor speedway. Our car was so phenomenally fast. We were crushed a little bit by not getting that victory.
Unfortunately, we had some issues and didn't get what we wanted out of that race. But we were so strong and so dominant in that race that we felt really good going into the next week.
Obviously, winning Martinsville was a phenomenal kick start after that. So once we got into that, and we knew that the race that we had coming up were going to be great races for us, it, you know, it just kind of builds.
It's one of those things that momentum and confidence can be a good thing or a bad thing. It's easy once you get confidence to go out there and miss something and not do what you're supposed to do. Make a mistake whether it's mechanic or driver, overly confident. So we had to temper it a little bit, but it was big.
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by the Championship Owner, and our Championship Driver for the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet.
We've got Mr.†Hendrick, who is the Championship Owner. And we have Jimmie Johnson, who is our Championship Driver.
Okay. We've got a Championship Team owner Rick Hendrick. Mr.†Hendrick, this is your 7th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship. For Jimmie Johnson, it is back‑to‑back champion, that's outstanding. Outstanding job, Mr. Hendrick, how does it feel?
RICK HENDRICK: It's unbelievable. You dream about winning one of those, and doing it back‑to‑back, it's really special. Do have the two cars run like this all year it's great. I think the most gratifying thing to me was during the race and after the race the way the 24 team handled it.
I told them before the race that I was going to the guy that finished second first, and I did. And everybody just, they're happy for each other, and it's been a great night.
THE MODERATOR: Jimmie, for the second straight year, you're up here. How does it feel to be 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I'm so proud of this moment. I'm so proud of Chad, my crew guys. When I think of the year, and coming off the championship last year going through the off‑season, staying focused on the right things. Working through the year, and just to be fighting for a championship let alone win the second one this year. I was going to be so proud of my guys before the Chase started. Then we got on the terror and won all the races.
We've had an amazing run. A great time together. Friendships and relationships from inside the 48 team have grown, and the respect we have for one another. Including Chad and I. It's incredible.
We look at the 24 team, and the way things have gone there. Everybody wanted to see a little†‑‑ we thought Jeff and I were joking before the race started we thought we'd fight with Lennox Lewis standing at the top, give everybody something to talk about.
But the dynamic between the 24 and 48 team has been phenomenal. With all the sport we've had, it's very, very special for me. I don't want to leave anyone out. I want to thank everybody for making this happen.
Thank Mr.†Hendrick for believing in me and giving me a chance, Jeff as well. It's just a very, very special day.

THE MODERATOR: Questions now for our 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Team.

Q. Jimmie, you're sitting there, basically you can put yourself in this situation but like last year when you had the hole in your car and all that stuff. It was as you said last week at Phoenix, 400 miles, that was unusual considering you had been spectacular for four weeks. Talk about the difference of sort of coming in here and trying to nail down a solid day after just being off the charts great the last four weeks?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, I think in the last four weeks, and anyone to win four races in a row especially with what's on the line is pretty amazing. We knew that streak would come to an end. I feel like we had a Top 3 car today.
I felt like the 17, especially late in the race was the best car, and the best car did win the race. We were being smart. Played our car smart during the race. Raced when I needed to do, and ran in comfortable air when I needed to.
But what I'm more proud of is the way we attacked this race weekend. Friday winning the pole, Saturday being strong in practice sessions. We made sure that we came in and had our bases covered.
We came in prepared, we came in ready to race for this thing. I don't think I could have won the race tonight, but I feel like we could have been in the top three if we needed to. And really, we just needed to be less than 18 positions behind the 24.
So the racer in me, I was trying to pass the 1 car on the last lap, and then I'm like what are you trying to do? Just stop. It's tough to not go. But it was a balance of putting up a strong performance tonight and finishing the season up right.
We would have loved to have won our fifth in a row, but the big prize was the Championship.

Q. The other day at the press conference on Thursday, it seemed like that you smiled and almost kind of blushed when someone asked Jeff if this is becoming the Jimmie Johnson era. I know you've talked about kind of the awkward feeling of the competitors praising your abilities and talents and success. Certainly two championships now with what you've done since you came into the sport as a rookie. Can you start to feel comfortable? What is it like now that that moniker's going to be placed with you now more and more often?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I'd personally like to go out and earn those things. And hearing Jeff talk about me in that way is flattering. I did end up blushing of sorts. It just caught me off guard to hear those things. It caught me off guard to see Jeff come into Victory Lane at Phoenix and wave the white flag and go through what he did there.
I think our team, and Chad and I, we like to go out and let our stats speak for ourselves. That's been my style and the way we've done things all along. We'll leave the opinions to everyone else, and hope that our record speaks for itself. We'll work hard, and do everything we can to win races and championships.
We're very proud of that. We're in elite company winning two championships, winning back‑to‑back championships is something I'm very, very proud of.
The good thing, I feel, is we're just really hitting our stride. I think we have a lot of good years ahead of us, and we'll be fighting for more championships and certainly winning more races as years go by. Hopefully we can be a three‑time champion in the near future.

Q. Chad, we always hear the story about you dreaming to be top Crew Chief. How many championships would you win in your dreams? And after seeing the oldest, not oldest, but most veteran crew chief/driver combination up here with Reiser and Kenseth, and seeing that break‑up, could you ever envision not being Johnson's crew chief?
CHAD KNAUS: There's a lot more championships, I hope, out there for us. I didn't put a number on it in my dreams when I was a kid of how many we'd win. I know that it's definitely a ride I don't want to get off of. I hope we can go three or four more, or three or four championships.
They say a dynasty is anything over three, and we're on two. So you know, we go for three, and then we try to break that. That is something that I would be very, very proud of.
The guys on this team worked real hard. They've done a good job. To be quite honest with you, to see Robbie and Matt break up, or not break‑up, but Robbie say I've had enough after all these years of racing.
I remember racing with Robbie when I was a 14, 15‑year‑old kid up in the midwest and he was racing super late models up there. This guy's been racing a long time. He deserves to take a break and spend some time with his son and his family.
As far as Jimmie and I, I don't know. I guess I'm stuck with him until 2010, right?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: At least.
CHAD KNAUS: Something like that. No, there is nobody else I want to work with. I can promise you that. He's a great guy. He's my best friend. He's a great race car driver. His wife, Shandra is phenomenal. It's a great thing. I really cherish it.

Q. Jeff just came in here and said that he thought that at some point you guys were being so aggressive down the stretch in the chase that you were bound to make a mistake. But he didn't think somebody could be that aggressive to go for wins like that in the Chase down the stretch without something going wrong. So he said, you know, he had miscalculated. He thought you guys were being too aggressive and would eventually fail at some point, and you didn't. How do you feel about that?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, from my standpoint inside the car, I know who I'm racing against. And I knew that I had to get on to a terror like that. I had to win races to stand a chance to beat Jeff Gordon, just plain and simple.
He had an amazing season the first 26 races. He just kicked everyone's butts, week after week. I knew going into the Chase that I needed to do everything I could.
In the closing laps of Texas, Phoenix, all those races, I knew that I needed every point. One, because I didn't know what would go on in this race down here. But that's Jeff Gordon, he's the best out there. I had to bring my A‑game.
I felt like I was driving within my means in though races. I look back at the video, and maybe I was a little outside, but that's what I like to do.

Q. When it got down to those last 30 laps (Indiscernible)?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, when you're in the closing laps and you know what's on the line and you're in a safe position, it's not easy, but you can see the big prize and focus on the right things.
The thing that I'm most proud of today on top of the things we've done as a team and everything that's gone on, inside my own head today, I took†‑‑ I learned a lot last year in experiencing the Championship and the stress that comes with it and what goes on out on the track and the doubt that goes through my mind. The ups and downs of the event. I learned a lot through all that. I just wanted to keep it simple today.
We all talked about it. We talked about it last week leaving Phoenix. It was something that we really wanted to do. In my own head today inside that race car, I executed that. It is something I'm very, very proud of, not only today in the race, but also Friday and Saturday.
I think that was something Chad focused on. The team did as well. Pit stops were awesome all day long. The pressure did not get to anyone. That's something as individuals we'll all look back and say we were in the fire and executed like we needed to. On top of the great things we've done as a team, I think individually we all look at our responsibilities today and say that we did a good job.

Q. (Asking about Chad preparing for Daytona)(Indiscernible)?
CHAD KNAUS: Yeah, I'm looking forward to Daytona. I really am. When you're fortunate enough to be with a group of guys and have an organization behind you like we've got right now, all you want to do is just keep going. I think there are more wins out there for us. I think there are more Championships out there for us.
Don't take that the wrong way. I'm going to enjoy the hell out of this Championship. It's going to be fun in South Beach tonight. New York next week, I'm going to have a blast. I'm looking forward to it.
But the thing is you can't lose sight of the fact that next year is coming. There is a next season. We have to make sure we're on our game, and I want everybody to know we're on our game when we get there. That is probably a message more to myself than anybody else to be quite honest with you. Making sure I did my own mental check there

Q. (Indiscernible).
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I believe so. Especially if the car was comfortable. At this don't think Matt was going to go down without a fight, especially the last race of the year. If we had been in position to come out of the pits in the lead. If we were coming into the pits in second or third, and took advantage of our pit stall location, came out in the lead, I would have been comfortable racing for it that way.
But to get there up and race Matt or still had a lot of guys in front of me there, it would have been tough. It's a tough thing. I mean, it was cool riding around. I can see the 24 right in front of me. The 1 car was real tight, and losing time off the corners.
You know, I could squeak out another spot here. So I would think I would have that same approach if I was up there fighting for the win. But I was just being smart today. I didn't have that opportunity to try to take advantage of.

Q. (Indiscernible).
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Well, I'm not sure it means as much. No, I guess it would. If a young driver is coming along, it's something that a car owner would pay close attention and look at. There are drivers coming from all forms of Motorsports coming into NASCAR.
We've seen the elite guys, like Juan Pablo and Dario coming in from Open Wheel. But you look at Tony Stewart's background, it was Open Wheel in the end coming from IRL.
But you look at Jeff's background, my background, Robby Gordon, Casey Mears, there are a lot of guys out there that have the ability. And really in the last 10 or 15 years, car owners have been able to see these guys running from Sprint Cars to Dirt Late Models, off‑road trucks, whatever it may be. There is a lot of racing talent in Californian and Southern California.
And I also see a lot of crew members in the garage area from California. Not only just drivers, but there is a big racing group out there that is getting exposure to NASCAR now.

Q. (Indiscernible) if had you to race against this team, what would you do?
CHAD KNAUS: I am. I'm racing against the 24. It's about as close as you can get. I think the thing that we've done well as a team on the 48 tonight is we've looked back at our previous seasons and broken them down where we felt like we needed to improve.
Whether that was a particular racetrack or particular style of car or pit crew or whatever it was, then we've always really focused on that area. Not letting any of the other tracks go to the wayside or other areas, but really focus on the weak links.
I think that's something that maybe some of the other teams, I guess, should probably do. Whatever their weak links are, try to improve on those. But I don't want to say a whole lot. I don't want them to beat us, you know.

Q. You lost two close Championship runs earlier, and it prepared you for your first Championship last year. The lesson that you learned last year's first championship allow you guys to really hang it out this year to win this championship?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I think so. I think every year that the team is together, we're stronger, and we learn from the past season, and try to pick up, you know, our weak points. Like Chad just pointed out the question before that. We picked out tracks that are tough for us. We picked out characteristics in the car that we think have left us vulnerable, the mental aspect of dealing with the pressure, all the different things. Managing people, there are just so many different layers to a race team.
As each year goes by, and the core of the team stays together, we're able to make it stronger and stronger, and better and better. There are a lot of lessons, not just one specifically, but a lot of lessons learned last year that helped this year. Even losing those two Championships taught us a lot. It was painful. We went back and looked at it and tried to adjust and fortunately it's worked out and it's led to these two Championships.

Q. You've been part of some of the most dominant seasons in the history of the sport, where would you rank this year for the 48 guys in your estimation as far as overall dominance in years are concerned?
RICK HENDRICK: I think this has been the most unbelievable example of team work and dedication.
Jimmie's just getting better and better, and just phenomenal. He's so intense. He studies what he wants to accomplish or tries to accomplish. And Chad just eats, sleeps and drinks getting better every week.
For the level of competition to do what they've done and to do it in the Chase, it's as our organization and I look at it, I don't think I've seen a more dominant performance since I've been racing.

Q. Earlier today Brian France was in here and saw the run that you're on is pretty much the most dominant he's seen in the modern era you're now only the tenth driver in the history of the sport to win back‑to‑back titles. Can you put that in perspective? And also if you could just discuss what the lifetime contract over the off‑season?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It's tough to put into perspective, but I can tell you how proud I am to be in this position. To be considered or to earn our way, I should say, into the statistics and victories and being a back‑to‑back champion. Only ten teams having done that.
In my heart of hearts, it means the world to me. Since I was a kid, I just wanted to race. I wanted to be the best at racing. I didn't know where it would lead me or what was in store for me or where it would go, but I loved to race.
And to be here racing on the main stage of NASCAR, and to have the success of the championships means the world to me. It is something I'm very, very proud of and thankful of as well. And thankful for the relationships and friendships that I have. I look forward to the future, a lot of good times ahead of us.
As far as the contract, that is Rick's department. And it's a lifetime contract with unlimited budget, right (laughing)?
RICK HENDRICK: Yeah, that's the way it works, then I'm ready to sign up.

Q. How does that work when someone gets a lifetime contract at your place? I mean, truthfully you laugh, but it's been quoted. I'm wondering if you just get to a point where you offer it to a driver, and if that's what you want to see out of Jimmie to stay with you forever?
RICK HENDRICK: I just offered it to him. It's a commitment. Jimmie and I talked about it and Chad and I talked about it. You know, I want to do whatever I can do to keep it together.
When you've got someone that you really enjoy being with, and you see that they've got unlimited potential and he and Chad have got great chemistry. I try to look down the road as far as they feel comfortable. So we know we're going to be together for a few more years. I'm going to do everything I can to give them everything they need and whatever they look forward to in the future.
It's easy†‑‑ not easy either†‑‑ but when you see someone that has it all from the talent of how to handle the sponsors, how to represent the company, and has unbelievable talent and can make the whole organization better then you want to keep them in the fold, and that's what I've got here with these two guys.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: To add to that, to put Rick on the spot in that position, we†‑‑ I think we all know and understand that we have a good thing. With Jeff Gordon having a lifetime contract, it's just unheard of in Motorsports anywhere. And there are special things that went on there, and times are different than they are now.
This is home to me. Hendrick Motorsports is home to me. I don't need a lifetime contract to say that. I know where my home is. I know where I want to drive and who I want to work for. I have a contract through 2010. And after that we'll figure out what is in store for us for the future.
But this is home for me. It's family, it's great.

Q. Rick, as successful as your organization has been, these guys get to leave here and go celebrate and enjoy until the start of next year. Are you the guy that heads back to the shop and starts worrying about what the other guys are doing, and how much money they're spending and what you can do to maintain this level?
RICK HENDRICK: Absolutely. While they go out partying, I'm going home to go to bed.
I was thinking about it tonight. I talked about it earlier. You see a lot of the teams, you see the Roush guys getting better here in the Chase, you see the Penske guys, you know. There are so many people.
The biggest motivation in Motorsports to me is going to New York and sitting out in the audience and watching somebody get the trophy. I've done it before. Man, it fires you up to go to work.
These guys in the garage area, they have a ton of smart people. We can't come back just like we are this year. Chad and I were talking about it and Stevie, and Jeff Gordon and I talked about it this morning, we're going to have to be better. We're going to have to look at every area of our company and all of our teams and figure out where we're a little weak, and come back better. Or we're not going to be able to compete at the level we have this year.
So absolutely, we've already started.

Q. I hate to look ahead to next year, but your good buddy Felix Sabates said your toughest challenge will be next season with Dale Jr. What can you say to that?
RICK HENDRICK: I don't see that as any more of a challenge than I had this year or we've had.
I've talked to Jimmie, and Chad, and Jeff Gordon and all of the guys in it, and they've already started to work together. Tony Junior has been there. I don't foresee any problems at all.
Maybe that would be a good question for Jimmie or Chad. I think the pressure's on me, because of his fan base expecting him to do well. And I said it before, if he does well it's because of his talent. If he doesn't, it's going to be my fault. That's kind of the way it works when you have multiple cars.
But I don't see that as†‑‑ we've been through a test. He was there. He's contributed. These guys have welcomed this deal with open arms. We all decided this was something we should do and could do.
So I've got their support. It's not like this is something that we're going to have a bunch of hiccups on. I just don't foresee it. I think it's going to be fairly smooth. And I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Q. (Indiscernible).
RICK HENDRICK: What I said to Jeff was I was proud of him, and he should take a lot of pride in this because I was proud of him and how he handled things. That was basically what I said.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I would thank him, and I did when I saw him, thank him for the opportunity. Thanks for believing in me. Thanks for being a mentor and a great friend and teaching me a lot inside and outside of the race car.
He's a great guy. I mean, he's put a lot of faith and belief in me, and given me a great shot. He's opened up and shown me a lot of different things that I'm not sure anyone else would. He's been a great teammate and great friend.

Q. (Indiscernible). Did you think the last ten races would have got you where you are tonight?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I guess he would have had to do better. He's done an awesome job. He put up great numbers. We just got on a terror that is unbelievable. I'm not even sure what our end number ended up being. 5.0, wow, just a little bit. And I'm not even sure†‑‑
THE MODERATOR: Jimmie's average finish was 5.0.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Wow! Jeff's was 5.1.
He has had an amazing season, an amazing Chase. We were just for whatever reason, able to squeak out a little bit more and get the victories. The victories made the difference.
If we didn't win four in a row, this race would have been a much different race. Not saying that we wouldn't have been in position to still win t but we needed every point coming in here, and that's why I was attacking like I was.

Q. With you and Jeff Gordon era, do you see this now as becoming the Jimmie Johnson era?
RICK HENDRICK: You know, I really do. Jimmie's just when you look at being a really smart driver and a really aggressive driver, and Chad the same way, I think his talent and the way he approached racing. The fact that he goes Monday morning and works out after a race on Sunday, he's as determined as anybody I've ever seen sit down in a race car.
Chad's the same way. Chad is like always thinking. We fly home together at night, and it's 1:00 o'clock in the morning, he's got his computer out, and he's dissecting the race.
So I just don't see anything that is going to slow Jimmie down. He just gets better every time I see him get in the car

Q. Jimmie, for bringing such a disciplined approach to everything you do, I'm just curious how you got ready last night and today? Did you change your routine? Did you go to bed early? Did you get up early? Did you have butterflies while you were shaving, anything?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I at times would go through periods of being nervous. I wouldn't call Rick back is what he said. We played phone tag.
I went through periods of being nervous and other periods of being comfortable and confident because of the way Friday and Saturday went. That's what I was really trying to put my brain into. The fact that we did a great job on Friday, great job on Saturday. We had a great race car, and just focus on the things I could control.
Last year I worried myself to death about things I couldn't control. I just came to grips with that this weekend, if I can't take care of it or control it, why worry about it? Not saying that my mind wouldn't slip into it, but I really did a good job with is it in general.
I wish I could have slept in longer this morning. I was up at like 7:00 a.m. on the dot, just sitting there wide awake like man, I've got a long time to be anywhere. I wish I could sleep until 1:00 o'clock, and roll out and get to work.
But the morning went well, just kind of relaxed. Shandra and I hung out, spent some time, just chilled out and tried to approach today like it was another race day. Trying to keep it simple, and it worked.

Q. Right after the race, I think it was Alan Bestwick trying to get a comment from you. Everybody was jumping around celebrating, and you were in the box looking at a notebook. Why was that so important at that moment?

CHAD KNAUS: Honestly, it got knocked out of my hand. And there were papers and stuff strewn about. And I wanted to make sure I had everything so none of the competitors could get them. I wanted to make sure everything was present and accounted for before I moved on.

Q. Willis says you're now the No. 2 as far as car owner champions with 7 behind petty. So could you comment on that?
CHAD KNAUS: If you grew up like I did, idolizing the Pettys and Junior Johnson, and the Wood Brothers and that ballpark, it's just hard for me to even take it in.
I hope I'm around to see these guys right here win a bunch more, and Jeff, and I'd love to see Casey up there and love to see Junior the same way.
I'm so proud of the organization. When I see guys like Stevie and Chad and Jimmie, I remember when I was 16 years old. And Herb Fischel told me you need to look at this guy. I just hope we can keep it together and we can do some phenomenal things in the future with these guys.
But I just don't ever look at myself as being in the same category with Richard Petty and what he's done in Motorsports. I don't feel worthy, I guess is what I'm trying to say. He's done so much for the sport. I hope to ride his coattails and try to get 10. Can we get 10, guys? Okay, we're going to get 10.

Q. More for Chad than anybody else, you were talking about your notes, not losing your notes. How much concern or how much nervousness is there because you're going full‑time with the new car next year? Is there any concern? Because you've been pretty powerful with it. But it was a part‑time this year, next year it's full‑time. This is one race that you haven't raced it at. How comfortable or nervous are you about that?
CHAD KNAUS: We're real fortunate. We've got guys that are full‑time testing, working on that stuff right now. David Green's been driving a car for us. Rex Stump and Jim Long have been working on that car.
I think things are going really well. Obviously, when we broke it out this year, it was good out of the box. We needed to make improvements to it, we did and the car got better. But the thing that we've got to make sure we take note of is a lot of the competition's gotten an awful lot better.
We have some weak tracks that we need to get better at. We're going to have to get to work. Bristol was probably our weakest. The Road Course was probably our second weakest. I think Dover we struggled just a little bit. So some of the other guys were a little bit faster.
The thing we've got going for us is we have a new car that we're working on testing right now. We've got some other new things coming down the pike. So we're really excited about next season. Really, really looking forward to it. I think we're going to have a good product out there.

Q. Jimmie, you improved your performance in the second Chase. Do you have any plans to improve your golf cart acrobatics in the off‑season?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Man, if I can make it through this off‑season without a broken bone, it will be a successful year (laughing). I don't have any time to go golfing. And the Hamptons Golf Tournament was this weekend, So I won't have an opportunity to go get hurt in Florida again.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.

Q. What are you going to do in South Beach?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Watch the sun come up and smile.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, guys.



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