NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 presented by BigMachineRecords.com
Topics: Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 presented by BigMachineRecords.com
July 27, 2013
KERRY THARP: We're going to go ahead and start here at the Chris Economaki media center. We've got our second and third fastest qualifiers for tomorrow's Crown Royal presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard powered by bigmachinerecords.com here at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Our second fastest was Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. Our third fastest was Carl Edwards, driver of the No.99 Fastenal Ford.
I'm going to start with you, Jimmie. A lot of drama out there this afternoon; the last person out, Ryan Newman, edged you for the pole at the Brickyard. I know you wanted it very badly, but just talk about the speed that that 48 car has as you look to win your fifth Brickyard tomorrow.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, just a very close qualifying session. I think when you look through the top four or five cars, it was very, very tight, and I had some close calls including with Carl and the great lap he had.
But I felt like watching on the lap tracker, the majority of the cars except for Ryan, I didn't have the best 1 and 2, but in 3 and 4 I'd rally back. I started rallying back on Ryan but just didn't have enough front straightaway to really get there the way it looked on the screen that ESPN was showing me.
But very, very good lap for our race team. I did miss Turn 2 a little bit on my turning point, and felt like that I made that mistake and then the lap tracker showed that. But Ryan hit all four corners great and got it done. Happy for him. It's got to be a big day for him, being a hometown boy and all. Very happy for Ryan and very happy for our team.
Starting up front is important here. Hopefully we'll have a good day tomorrow.
KERRY THARP: And Carl Edwards certainly with an excellent lap out there this afternoon in the 99 Fastenal Ford. Talk about your effort and about your aspirations for tomorrow here at the Brickyard.
CARL EDWARDS: I was just really proud of our guys. We brought a brand new car here that everyone worked very hard on, and we were not very good at the beginning of practice. Everybody worked really hard to get the car right, and we had a great 1 and 2 and not so great at 3 and 4, and I thought I was going to be the most disappointed guy in the place until Ryan ran his lap, and I feel bad for Jimmie because I know‑‑
JIMMIE JOHNSON: You feel a lot better than I feel.
CARL EDWARDS: I felt really good. Second is the worst, you guys. It's the worst to qualify second, and nobody wants anybody to go through what Jimmie just had to go through.
We all don't feel too bad for Jimmie, but that was pretty dramatic. I didn't really expect that. I don't know, did Ryan run that in the sun? Was there any shade on the track?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I didn't see really. There was some on the front stretch, but I'm not real sure.
CARL EDWARDS: Very good lap on his part. He deserves it.
Q. Jimmie, have you ever been knocked off the pole by the last driver in your memory?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: My memory is not very good. I don't know. Not that I remember any time recently. But I'm not sure.
Q. Where were you looking? Were you following him or what?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, one of the ESPN crews had a television with the television broadcast on it, and I could see the lap tracker, what ESPN was showing the home audience, the viewing audience. So I was watching that and I became a little uncomfortable watching guys be faster than me through 1 and 2 and then 3 I'd get some back and 4 I'd get a lot back. Ryan had me in 2 and Turn 3, and in Turn 4 I got back a lot. But their screen shows 24 hundredths that I missed. Just didn't have enough front straightaway.
Q. Jimmie, Jeff has said a lot that it's really tough getting beat by teams that have your same equipment. Does it just make it a bigger bite in the butt to have Ryan Newman who has the Hendrick engines and has the Hendrick chassis beat you at your own game?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I hadn't really thought much about it in that respect. For today's qualifying session, knowing Ryan was going last, and Ryan is so good at qualifying, that I knew he was going to be a bullet, a tough bullet to dodge. And when the 14 posted his lap time, I'm like, okay, this is going to be a tough final car to deal with.
It didn't cross my mind at all from a teammate standpoint or equipment side, as well. But there have been other times where, especially the year Tony won the championship, and when we're getting outrun by our equipment week in and week out, that's a hard pill to swallow. We went through some tough times there and figured out how to make our equipment better and catch up‑‑ I should say figure out how to catch up with our own equipment.
Q. Jimmie, Indianapolis always loves seeing you here, obviously loves seeing you win. Shooting for five, the first decade we look at Jeff Gordon, obviously a guy who mentored you and brought you up through the ranks in the first decade; the second decade is you. Do you feel the pressure to maybe do better than what Jeff Gordon has done, or when you're compared side by side, Jeff Gordon to Jimmie Johnson at the Brickyard particularly, how do you feel like you need to perform right here?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: You know, I've not‑‑ I've been more in the moment. I haven't looked at stats, doesn't matter if it's here or Martinsville. I think Dover I had an opportunity this year. I don't know these opportunities that I have until I'm there and I catch the broadcast and hear about it and see it. It's cool to be in that position but it's not something that motivates me. I'm much more in the moment and worried about this weekend's race.
Very proud of the fact that I've won four and understand that, but how I got there and how those stats look next to Jeff's, I don't have a clue.
Of course the competitive spirit in me wants to do it better. It would be foolish to say otherwise. But it's not a motivating factor for me. It's really‑‑ we go week to week, and when you're in the sport 12 or 13 years, you learn how to just, good or bad, what happened the week prior, it just has to go away, and you know up to a new set of challenges and go to work and see what you can do.
Q. Obviously Indianapolis Motor Speedway is looking at putting lights out here. It's probably going to happen, it's probably a matter of not if but when, and your race will be the primetime race that will run at night. What do you think about running under the lights at Indianapolis?
CARL EDWARDS: Well, I think I speak for everyone in the garage: It's an honor to be able to race here. All of us grew up watching races here and idolizing the guys that were successful at this racetrack. If putting lights up and making a night race, if that's what is‑‑ if it's more enjoyable for the fans and it's fun and it fits the schedule and it works for the sport overall, then I think we're all for it. It'll be a blast, and it'll be a neat part of history if we are, in fact, the first series that gets to run under the lights here.
Q. Carl, this has not been your best place as far as qualifying goes. You seem to race a lot better. Qualifying this well, does that give you pretty good hope for tomorrow?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, we were really proud of that. We've worked really hard on qualifying this year. Jimmy Fennig has helped me a lot, and our cars have been‑‑ they've just been getting better and better. Hopefully we can turn this into a good race effort. A year ago we qualified second and had a plug wire or something fall off, so I've been waiting about a year to get to try this again, so hopefully starting up front we can run well.
This track has been very difficult for us as a group. I don't know that we've ever had a real dominant car here at a Roush‑Fenway. I think Greg has run well here once or twice. I've led a couple of laps, but it seems that there maybe were one or two little things that were missing. We've brought the best that we can bring, and hopefully this will be our year to win it.
KERRY THARP: Guys, good job out there today, and certainly a lot of luck to you here tomorrow.
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