Thursday, May 21, 2015

Johnson Speaks On NASCAR Warning, 2016 Rules

Jimmie Johnson commented today on the written warning his team received from NASCAR for modifications to the rear fender flares on his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in last weekend’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
“We were very shocked to hear that there was an issue with the side skirts,” said Johnson. “Leaving the racetrack, NASCAR was upset and thought there was a lot more intent and something going wrong with the side skirt being pulled out. Then, as video became available and they looked through it and saw what was done, it calmed down. We were shocked to hear that there was an issue and (that) we had crash damage on the right-side of the car.  It certainly turned out that way.”
Johnson said he looks forward to this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, saying, “It’s always great to come to a track that you have a great past (and) great history at. Unfortunately, the showing we had in the All-Star race was less than stellar. The confidence we would normally walk in (to Charlotte) with has been diluted with the lack of speed we had. 
“We brought back a different car and are certainly trying to do things differently with the set-up. The 600-mile race has always been good for us. Chad and I seem to fix our racecar as the night goes on, be aggressive with adjustments, chase the racetrack well and I do a nice job searching for a line. The distance of the race doesn’t bother me.  I think we will have a strong night, but based on what we learned and what we saw during the All-Star Race, we have a few things to sort out today and even into Saturday’s practice sessions.”
Johnson also commented on the aerodynamic issues that continue to provide a competitive advantage to the leader of a race, saying, “Passing an equal car is really tough, especially from second to first.  We keep working on a variety of rule packages to try to make it better, (but) I don’t think we have made it better at some tracks.  It is so hard to get around the brutal truth; the car leading has the best aero situation and the rest don’t. 
“It’s very difficult to get around that,” he said. “I feel like there was a (rules) direction that had a lot of the drivers encouraged about creating more off throttle time. But this rules package has not done that.”
The six-time Sprint Cup Series champion said he is still hopeful that additional changes will be made to the 2016 rules, despite recent reports that NASCAR may leave the rulebook alone for a year.
“For 2016 there was a lot of hope that we were going that direction,” Johnson said. “(But) it looks like that stuff has been tabled for now.”

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