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Jimmie Johnson's Chase Diary: Martinsville

By Jimmie Johnson

That’s more like it. Finally, we get a finish worthy of the way we raced. Second place isn’t winning, but it’s better than everything else. The only disappointing thing is Jeff Burton finished third so we only made up ten points on him which means we are now 146 points out of first place. But we can’t control what others do. We ran well and that is all we can be concerned about.

It’s going to be tough to overcome that big of points lead, but it can be done. When we left Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 2004 we were eighth in points and 227 points behind Kurt Busch. We finished just eight points behind him at the end of the “Chase.”

I think about that.  I think that we’re in a much better situation now than we were then.  And I think this Lowe’s team keeps 2004 in the back of our minds. I even hear other teams reference what we were able to do a couple years ago in coming back and getting right in the middle of things. So we’ll just keep fighting.  This thing isn’t over until it’s over at Homestead. I know this 48 team is going to work as hard as they can to keep giving me great race cars.  I’ll go out there and drive my butt off and hopefully we can be in contention.

This week is Martinsville and that is one of our most demanding tracks. Your equipment takes a beating. The demands on your brakes and your equipment is unbelievable. If you listen to our radio on Sunday you will hear Chad remind me to take care of my brakes about every 50 laps. At Martinsville, it isn’t just the car that takes a beating. It’s tough for the drivers as well. Think about it. Five hundred laps with two very difficult turns means you make a thousand turns. That’s a lot.

The place is also mentally demanding.  Really you have to be able to stay calm and keep your emotions in check. When a guy is beating on your bumper or there is a car in front of you slowing you down, it is real easy to lose your patience or get mad. If you get too emotional you can use up your brakes too fast and it can make your day even worse.

The way this Chase has started and the way every year the Chase has been that I’ve been a part of it, it’s so unpredictable. Anything can happen. Just when somebody looks like they’re safe and secure, something crazy happens and they lose a lot of points. So I’m just going to do all that I can and see what happens.