|"There are eyes open (in the garage)."|
“No, the Hendrick group and the No. 48 team did not rat out the Penske cars,” said Johnson to reporters. “Everybody has people watching (them). We have been very impressed with the No. 2 cars staff and their ability to have somebody just stand and watch other teams.
“When you have success on your side, the magnifying glass… for everybody -- NASCAR, other teams -- it gets a lot more intense,” he said. “The best officiating in the garage area has always been your neighbor. That has just been part of NASCAR for years and years. That is why NASCAR has the procedures in place that they do in the garage area, and why in F1, they are not allowed to cover their stuff anymore. It’s just part of it.
“There are eyes open (in the garage), but when a team sees something they have two options. One, they go home and try to adapt it to their car, understand it and see if they can make it work. Or they can go in the (NASCAR) truck and say something. We don’t say something.
|"We all know Brad will say things."|
“We are a company built on performance,” said Johnson. “We are a company that tries to understand the rulebook as close as we can to the law. Sure, we have had our issues with it, but that is racing. It has been that way since day one. We go in there and we try to be as smart as we can, conform to the rules and put the best race car on the track.
“There was a lot of activity around the Penske cars during the test day,” admitted Johnson. “Just like all the other cars. Everybody is watching, everybody is looking, but in no way shape or form did anybody from the No. 48 car walk into that truck and say anything.”
Johnson laughed when asked if Penske’s penalties may have stemmed – at least in part – from complaints Keselowski made about questionable parts in the rear of Hendrick Motorsports’ cars last season.
“Brad was talking about my rear end? It sounds like we’ve got bigger issues than race car stuff,” he joked.
“Brad is a huge talent,” said Johnson. “But as we all know, Brad will say things. When you’re in the sport long enough, you learn when you need to be careful. No team is immune to the issues (and) I don’t want the crew chief’s job. Those guys live on the ragged edge, and they have to. If not, they’re going to run 20th every week.
“Over time, I’ve learned (to) just do your thing. There’s no need to spout off what other people are up to. I think there have been a few lessons Brad has learned along the way this year, (about) when to say something.
“I still think Brad is an awesome driver and that team has awesome equipment,” he said. “We’re going to deal with them week-in and week-out. I’ve lived through it, and good teams and drivers will always survive. But it’s going to put a lot of stress in their world (for) the next six, eight, or 10 weeks, depending on how long the appeals last.
“We’ll see how they respond to it. But once they get some normalcy back in their lives, they’re going to be right there at the front of the pack each week, like we’ve seen so far.”