Q) DID YOU GUYS TURN IN PENSKE LAST WEEK? I'M ASSUMING YOU HAVE HEARD BRAD'S (KESELOWSKI) COMMENTS AS FAR AS, THEY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN TARGETED AND UNDER THE MICROSCOPE THE LAST WEEK OR SO. YOU AND CHAD (KNAUS) OBVIOUSLY KNOW HOW THAT FEELS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHEN YOU DO HAVE SUCCESS HOW MUCH CLOSER NASCAR DOES SCRUTINIZE EVERYTHING THAT YOU GUYS DO:
Johnson: "When you have success on your side the magnifying glass the viewpoint for everybody, NASCAR, other teams, it gets a lot more intense. 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 even in F1 today they are not allowed to cover their stuff anymore. It's just part of it. With all that being said, no, the Hendrick group and the #48 team did not rat out the Penske cars. There are two decisions teams are faced with in the garage area. Everybody has people watching. We have been very impressed with the #2 cars staff and their ability to have somebody just stand and watch other teams."
"So this environment does take place in the garage area. Yeah, there are eyes open, but when a team sees something they have two options. One, they go home and try to adapt it to their car and understand it and see if they can make it work or they go in the truck and say something. We don't say something. We are a company built on performance. 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 of racing. We go in there and we try to be as smart as we can and conform to the rules and put the best race car on the track. With all that being said, no, sure there was a lot of activity around the Penske cars during the test day, just like all the other cars and everybody is watching, everybody is looking, but in no way shape or form did anybody from the #48 car walk into that truck and say anything."
Q) WAS THERE ANY PART OF YOU THAT THOUGHT THE PENSKE PENALTY WAS SOMEWHAT JUST IN THE SENSE THAT BRAD KESELOWSKI WAS COMPLAINING OR AT LEAST TALKING ABOUT YOUR REAR END SUSPENSION LAST YEAR?
Johnson: "I've said this before. Brad is a huge talent. But as we all know, Brad will say things. And when you're in the sport long enough, you learn when you need to be careful. And no team is immune to the issues. 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. So, I think over time, I've learned and have also clearly experienced some issues where man, you just do your thing and there's no need to spout off what other people are up to. I think there have been a few lessons that Brad has learned along the way this year as to when to say something. With all that being said, it doesn't take away from the fact that with the penalties and with what Penske is going through right now, doesn't take away the fact that they are champions and they did an awesome job last year. And I still think Brad is an awesome driver and that team has awesome equipment and we're going to deal with them week-in and week-out. Again, I've lived through it and good teams survive. Good teams and drivers will always survive. But it's going to put a lot of stress in their world the next six, eight, or ten weeks, depending on how long the appeals last and all that. And we'll all see how they respond to it. But once they get some normalcy back in their lives at-track, they're going to be right there at the front of the pack each week like we've seen so far."(Team Chevy)(4-19-2013)