Jimmie Johnson: “I certainly miss camaraderie, friendships and the history I’ve had with the other veteran teammates.”
Hendrick Motorsports made the switch the the new Chevy Camaro over the winter. The team is also a rookie-filled camp with Johnson being the sole NASCAR veteran at Hendrick Motorsports. Overall, there’s been a lot of change.
Jimmie Johnson has been on a bit of a run through the short track swing. Short tracks aside, the #48 team has a best finish of 9th which came at Auto Club Speedway.
The trolls have surfaced to point that out. At the same time, so has the media. For most, it’s a decent start to the season. However, Johnson is held to a higher standard by himself and the fans.
Is Jimmie Johnson facing similar struggles with the new Chevy? Or is he struggling with something else?
“I don’t know. The first mark is to be the top Chevy. At that point, my opinion could shift or would be allowed to shift,” Johnson said ahead of Bristol.
“Until then, I feel like it’s something we’re not doing right. We’re not working in the right areas to yield a big chunk of speed that we want to be in that dominant space.”
“We are improving. We’re making it better, each and every week. We’re just stacking pennies, we need to start stacking some quarters.”
“But, the effort is there. We are such a united team and we’re working as close together as ever.”
“I know in time, we’ll get there. I wanna be there right now. I think we’re seeing some good steps and good strides.”
“Until I’m the lead Chevy I just need to keep my blinders on.”
Those struggles mostly disappeared at the short tracks. He claimed his best finish of the season at Bristol, 3rd. Last weekend, he claimed his second best finish of the season at Richmond, 6th.
Jimmie Johnson is still a badass. Yet, with a few months of struggles the negatives have been pointed out.
Is that justified or are you a victim of your success?
“It’s defiantly a story. We have high exception for ourself, first and foremost.”
“We think that we should be in a position to win races every year and compete for race wins each weekend. Within that, there’s a lot of fair questions being asked.”
“But, I think there is overreaction by fans and media. Especially all the very kind and wonderful people on social media and the things that they have to say.”
“People underestimate how tough this garage area is. Many of the people that are so kind on social media aren’t a pro at anything and don’t understand what it takes to exist at the pro level.”
“It’s tough. And it’s small increments from good to great. Right now, we’ve just been in that good category. We need to be great. We wanna be great.”
“Most of it’s fair but some of it’s unfair.”
83 wins and counting
Jimmie Johnson sits 6th on the all-time NASCAR wins list. He’s currently tied with Carl Yarborough. One more win would make him tied for 4th with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.
“To be here with 83 wins and have a chance to move into 84 — I was thinking about this the other day on my bike ride, just how special it is to be in this position.”
“Where I sat is just an unbelievable mark in it’s own. I certainly hope to move past that and move on. But, time will tell.”
“For Hendrick Motorsports, it’s very similar but on a larger scale. We have a big wall with all the Hendrick logos that represent a win. To stare at 249 victories at our team center is spectacular.”
“Before I had my full cup ride, I was there and watched them celebrate the 100th win. Just from afar at the back of the room. To see the pride and everyone, it just sucked me in. I just want to get a win for the company. I want to be a part of this legacy and a part of this history. Little did I know I’d be sitting here with 83.”
Jimmie Johnson on working with his new younger teammates…
It’s Johnson and the kids at Hendrick Motorsports. The shift took place almost overnight. Kasey kahne, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr all left the team within a 2 year time period. In their place: Alex Bowman; William Byron; Chase Elliott.
“I certainly miss camaraderie, friendships and the history I’ve had with the other veteran teammates. You also learn setup styles. When Jeff Gordon thought his car was perfect I knew I needed two or three more changes to get my car to where I loved it. Same with Dale and Kasey and so on,” Jimmie Johnson explains.
“That part I am developing and trying to get my arms around. It’s going well. I’ve just been really amazed with the sense of feel that my three teammates have with their race car and can describe that.”
“I look at William and how young he is. I don’t know if I’d be that calm in the car to sense those minor details and be able to articulate that to the team.”
“I do miss my friends and I do miss aspects of the work process. But, these guys, they’re doing a great job.”
The last two seasons…
“I can’t put blame in one place. It would be unfair to say it’s the manufactures fault and responsibility.”
“I think there’s responsibility in all areas. I think we can all bring more to the table. If we knew what button to push we would have kept that 5 in a row streak and kept going.”
“On top of the things that we can control, within our own walls as a race team… The product has changed. We’re in different cars. Tires change. What other teams do. There’s just a lot going on.”
“By no means am I content with where I’m at and where this team is at and where our performance is. But, we can’t work any harder. We are literally working around the clock.”
“We just need time. We’ll get there. We need more from everywhere right now, is our approach. There’s not just a silver bullet.”
Jimmie Johnson has ben using Babe Ruth quotes on social media. Instead of attacking the trolls, he’s been responding with positivity.
“Google search is my friend. I’ve had a fun aprouch in the past of finding trolls, singling them out and having fun with that.”
“But, I was like, ‘Man, there’s enough damn negatively in the world.’ I’m gunna take a little shift on it.”
“I thought it would be best to find some inspirational quotes to kinda reflect where I’m at and what’s going on.”
“I think that’s been a more mature approach in a sense. I’ve seen a couple recently where I drafted and worked on and saved where I was just gunna go back to my old ways.”
“And I’m not saying that I won’t. If I have enough drinks on the flight home I might. I’ve just been trying to project positive vibes instead of falling into that trap of negatively.”