NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Samsung Mobile 500
Topics: Samsung Mobile 500
April 14, 2012
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined in the Samsung Mobile media center by tonight's second‑place finisher Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Cobalt Tools Chevrolet. Jimmie, it's your fifth runner‑up finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Talk about those last laps.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, man, second sucks. I wish we could have won. We were in contention, had a great race car. Pit stops were just amazing all night long. Car was great. You know, at the end the 16‑‑ really probably the last two or three runs the 16 and I were pretty equal, run pretty similar lap times, and right before the last pit stop I got caught in some traffic, he got to me and came out of the pits and was pacing him and had a second half lead and then we caught traffic, some guys were multiple laps down that didn't show much respect to myself, the leader, and before I know it 16 was there on the side of me and got by.
We ran with him for the next eight or ten laps and then I made a mistake into 3 and hit the fence, and at that point just needed to make sure I brought it home.
Great night all in all, certainly wish that we'd be in victory lane, but we'll try again next week.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined tonight by third‑ place finisher Mark Martin, driver of the best of the best Toyota. This is Mark's eighth top 5 finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Mark, talk about your night.
MARK MARTIN: I am just so proud of MWR and all the people there and the teamwork that they have shown there starting with Martin Truex, Jr., who has put so much work into getting the program where it was when we started the season and everybody combined. They really have a lot of great people there with great attitude, great teamwork, and man, have I got one awesome crew chief in Rodney Childers. This is so much fun and such an incredible privilege to drive a race car at this point in my career, to be able to drive a race car for a team like that and in a hot rod like that.
I could see the leader the whole race, and at times we could gain‑‑ when we were at our very best we were making some gains on the leaders, and when we were at our worst we were falling back some, and most of the time we could kind of maintain pace. We don't have much more work to do, and we can get up there and be battling for the win. So I'm really proud of the guys. We've made improvements on our racer every race that we've got to run together, so Rodney and I are starting to figure some things out in the car that I like for the long haul. So it's working well.
Q. Are you running next week's race?
MARK MARTIN: Yeah, you've got to holler at me because I've been racing these cars 35 years. I ain't got much more hearing.
Q. That's a place you've won and had some success. Can you just talk about next week?
MARK MARTIN: After today I'm really excited, but I was excited anyway. I love going to the racetrack. There's nothing else that I find quite as much fun as going to work with a great race team with a great attitude. So it's fun for me to go to every race that I get to go to. But with the great run we had here, we'll be able to roll this logic, setup logic into next week's car, and hopefully‑‑ we're still working. We're still trying to improve on our long haul, getting a little easier on the tires so the thing will stay faster. If we can make any more improvement maybe we can get right up there and make some sparks for those guys.
It's a great place. It's almost like a home track because I raced so much up in Springfield and I‑70 and around there, so we should have a lot of charged‑up fans.
Q. Jimmie, you're such a cool customer behind the wheel, but I don't know what it is, when you and Kurt Busch get together it kind of seems to fall apart. Was he the main reason, the fact that he was holding you up, that just kind of took you off your A game?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: No, I didn't have any issues with Kurt. My issues was with the 39, when I got inside of him. He was already a lap down and proceeded to race me and cost me the lead. Once my car‑‑ once I hit the wall and was wrecked, Kurt was a couple laps down or a lap down, I was just asking for them to get off me and leave me be on the racetrack. Neither one of us have anything to gain there, and he got a little hyper there because I had just put the car in the fence. That was just normal stuff. My issue was not with Kurt, it was with the 39.
Q. With 200 still on the horizon, Martinsville more frustrating or tonight more frustrating?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Martinsville because we're much closer to the end. But they're both frustrating. The racer in me wants to win. We've been really close over the last five or six months. You look through last year even through different points, leading a lot of races and didn't execute at the end for whatever reason. It's nice to be running well. It's nice to be in this position. But I want to get back to our winning ways really soon.
Q. The closer we get‑‑ Rick means so much to you guys, all four of you guys, and the further along this thing goes and it doesn't happen, what impact does that have on you four that it continues to string on?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: To be honest it hasn't played much on my mind because I just want to win and I know winning is what my job is about, winning is what Hendrick Motorsports is about, and if we win we'll take care of the 200th. I seem to think about the 200th after the fact and think, man, Martinsville could have been an amazing one, two, three, this weekend, previous weekends. I think about it more after the fact, not leading up to or during the event.
Q. I'll ask another Kansas question because, number one, that's your last win was there last fall and you've won there twice, and Mr.Hendrick has got a lot of business there. I know how much that meant last year when you won there. Can you talk about how cool that might be for 200 to come there?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, whenever it happens is going to be very special for the company. Again, I just want to win. I don't care where it is, whatever reason. There's 36, 38 of these things a year, and I want to take home a bunch of trophies. Second is nice, but winning is everything.
Martinsville, we had that warm, fuzzy feeling here. It's nice to go to tracks that you know you're going to run well at, and you go down there with high hopes, but unfortunately it doesn't guarantee much.
Q. You and Martin have become quite a potent pair, and tonight at the end your car was better than his. You want to win as much as he does, but how can you guys work together to improve you both?
MARK MARTIN: Martin Truex, Jr., has been phenomenal, phenomenal. The teamwork I'm feeling right now at MWR is second to none I've ever been at, if that answers your question. Martin Truex, Jr., is really, really engaged, and he's working hard to help the whole program. We're racing three cars to put two in the Chase for sure and win races and try to go toe to toe with the likes of Hendrick and Roush and those guys. That's a tall order for right now. I'm very proud of the results we're getting. It's coming from a lot of good attitudes and hard‑working people.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations. Thank you.
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