September 9, 2017
Q. Kyle Busch, tough competition out there tonight. Where were you lacking?
KYLE BUSCH: Everywhere. I don't know. We were tight early on in the night. We keep freeing our car up. Was getting tighter. Then at the end we decided to tighten it up and it got better. Just weird.
But we were kind of lost. Overall we were going to end up sixth. I thought that he was just going to be decent. That shows how fast our cars were for as bad of a night as we were going to have.
Got that last yellow. That just mixed everything up, threw us all for a loop. We just didn't get the best of restarts, got plugged up on the top. Couldn't get going anywhere. We struggled into a ninth.
Overall, real proud of our team. We've been real fast all year long. Arguably the 78‑‑ not arguably. The 78 has been the best car all year long. Then arguably it's Kyle or myself for P2 depending on the week. Fourth on back, it's pretty much everybody else.
Hopefully we can keep it that way through these next nine weeks and make it to the last one at Homestead.
Q. How long of a discussion and how deep do you need to have to beat that 78?
KYLE BUSCH: We've been having those talks for two years. We're not quite sure. I'm going to Denver this week. Maybe watching a Broncos game will fix everything.
Q. Are you going to stop by the shop there?
KYLE BUSCH: I probably ought to, go by there, get underneath a couple cars.
Don't matter. They're pitted next to us in the garage, our teammates. They've elevated our game, which has reelevated their game. We keep playing cat and mouse with those guys. They're really good. We know they're going to be the best ones to beat.
Q. Jimmie Johnson, you managed to come away with an eighth‑place finish. Given the summer you've had, how successful is this as you head to the Playoffs?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, to finish just outside the top 10 the last couple weeks, then get a top 10 now, directionally it's correct. We have much higher expectations for ourselves. Definitely putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to be better than this.
We're working really hard. It's not easy. It's not fun. But this is pro sports. It's not easy to go out there and win. It's not easy to stay on top.
But we do have some good news. Fall is here. Winter is coming. Put a Game of Thrones on it. We're excited to get back to tracks that we run really well at. Chicago is a great place for us. I think if we get the momentum to swing in the right direction, get one good race under your belts, we can get hot. We did it last year.
I know we're very capable of it again.
Q. You say it's not easy. It's not fun. It's also not new. You had to do it last year. Been through these slumps many times. How is it that you and this team are able to turn the light switch when you need to?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I wish I knew where that switch was. It would be nice to flip it at will.
Honestly, over the years and through the various challenges we've faced, I just think the tracks in the spring, the tracks in the fall work the best for us, the same places.
Nothing like Chicago for me or Dover, Charlotte, Martinsville. Those are just great tracks. Texas. Just can't wait to get back to those tracks, hopefully get this 48 in Victory Lane.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports