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Jimmie Johnson's Chase Diary: Atlanta

 

By Jimmie Johnson

What a great day.

Sunday at Martinsville we had a great race car. At the beginning of the race I took my time. Once the long run came in I was able to work my way through to traffic, get up to the lead and really race with the Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon. It got exciting there at the end when Denny Hamlin and I were trading paint with Bobby Labonte lurking right behind us.

It was nice to have such a great car, great pit stops and we kept good track position all day long and were able to win the race. I’m very, very proud of the race team. It came at a good time. I’m happy the last two weeks we’ve been able to finish where we should have, towards the front. It’s hard to not look back and think of Talladega and Kansas where we could really be in the points if we could have got through those. I know every team has one or two of those they wish they could have back. I’m just very proud of the race team. The victory meant a lot to Hendrick Motorsports as well with the tragedy that happened there two years ago. We weren’t able to celebrate then and it’s a bittersweet celebration now but we’re definitely excited to be in victory lane.

As for the “Chase” well, things certainly got interesting. It seems like everyone is back in it now. I think the excitement for the fans is just beginning.

Everybody is still going to have trouble from here on out. It is going to be the headlines every Monday morning.  It has been a crazy year and everybody is pushing as hard as they can. I don’t see anybody in the Chase points racing and I don’t think anybody has from the start of this.  Maybe that is why it has been as unpredictable as it has been. It is still isn’t anyone’s yet, it is going to go all the way down to Homestead.

We have been in the hunt for championships every year since this Lowe’s team has been around.  Sooner or later we are going to get one. We just aren’t going to put to much pressure on ourselves this year, it is just another year.  We got off to a slow start, we are coming back, we hate that it starts off slow and we come back, but we are just out there going and we will see where it finishes out.

Now it is on to Atlanta. I guess we aren’t flying under the radar any more.

That is the challenge. Where we have been, that has been nice.  There hasn’t been a lot of questions and attention pushing us about the “Chase.”  We have been just doing our thing and going racing.  And if we have anything to do with it, we are going to try and keep that up even with the newfound excitement and questioning that is probably going to take place.  We just need to go out and race.  I have looked at Jeff Burton’s attitude and the way that team has raced and the way he has driven the car.  I have a lot of respect for him and his team, to go out and race and do what they know how to do. They had some back luck, but they have done a good job and set a very good example of how you should compete for a championship.

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