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RECAP: Jimmie Johnson rolled off the grid 21st on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway and improved three spots by the Lap 13 caution. During a stop for right-side tires and fuel, Johnson reported that his No. 48 Lowe’s/Valspar Reserve Chevrolet SS was handling really well. Johnson began to battle for the lead and paced the field shortly after.
Despite the draft, Johnson maintained his footing inside the top 15. On Lap 60, crew chief Chad Knaus told Johnson the inside lane definitely was the strongest, so Johnson – then running second – gave it a shot. Johnson tried various lines as the race unfolded, often reporting that the handling of the No. 48 was neutral. On Lap 134, Johnson was running 10th when a multi-car incident unfolded in front of him. Johnson got hit from behind and incurred some bumper damage that his No. 48 team addressed under caution. After two trips down pit road to fix the damage and another one for extra fuel, Johnson lined back up in 28th. Johnson was working on track position when his car got loose and turned around, and he was involved in a multicar incident on Lap 174. He stopped for four tires and damage repair. In the closing laps the racing got wild – as it often does at Talladega. On the white flag lap Johnson dodged another multi-car accident and drove the No. 48 to the checkered flag in the 23rdposition.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/VALSPAR CHEVROLET SS
“We all did a nice job of being patient out there and managing the race itself until it was time to go. I got caught-up in the first wreck and that did some damage; and I don’t know what happened when I spun out. I just went out in front of everybody. The car just got real loose going into Turn 3 and turned around and collected a bunch of guys, unfortunately. And then after that, I think I got in two more wrecks and somehow still came home in the twenties. So, we definitely have a beat-up race car which was unfortunate because we had a very fast Lowe’s/Valspar Chevrolet today.”
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU SPUN?
“We just got turned around. I’m not really sure why. I know I had some damage to the right rear quarter panel and I had a great-driving race car with no issues and then as I was coming through Turn 3, the back end just slid out from under me. So, I don’t know where cars were around me and what could have created it, but it just took a big lazy slide and the back came around. I don’t know if the damage to the car played into it because I didn’t have any handling issues all day long. The car drove great.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE HOW THE AGGRESSIVENESS INCREASES THROUGHOUT THE DAY?
“As the day progresses throughout the day, you just try to wedge yourself into holes. You don’t lift when you might normally lift. When you have a big run on somebody, instead of dragging the brake a little and avoiding making contact, you just let it roll up in there and hit their bumper; and that energy there creates a lot of that action.”
HOW DOES THIS RACE COMPARE TO OTHER TALLADEGA RACES?
“It’s ‘Dega. Stuff happens.”
TEAM HENDRICK FINISHES:Kasey Kahne (8th), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (26th), Jeff Gordon (39th).
NEXT UP:Kansas Speedway, Saturday May 9that 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN Radio
VALSPAR RESERVE PIT CREW VIDEO:http://www.hendrickmotorsports.com/news/video/2014/05/04/Jimmie-Johnsons-pit-crew-puts-Valspar-Reserve-paint-to-the-test