Q. I'm just wondering about the rookies in the Chase this year. In particular, Juan Pablo Montoya started well but he faded the last few races, and then Brian Vickers made it with a three-year-old team and he just never seemed to find his feet anywhere in the Chase. I'm wondering, can you rate these guys and their performance in the first 26 and making the Chase and then in the Chase itself, and what kind of factors do you think played into them not having the success that a team like you did?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, I have to say I was surprised that the 83 team didn't have more luck in the Chase. I know, being friends with Brian, he shared with me a few mechanical issues they had that were unforeseen and led to some bad results. But, in general, they were so hot before – I don't know what went on during the Chase. The team has been dealing with some difficulties, financial difficulties and a merger, and there's a lot of something going on, on top of the fact he's still trying to learn these cars and tracks. So I really think that he and [crew chief] Brian Pattie have done an awesome job. They've shown that they're going to be around for a long time and be a team to worry about.
Q. Is this something that time fixes, do you think?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: It does. Experience is everything. It took us four years to really hit our stride. I look at the 5 car and Mark Martin and look at what those guys did in one year working together. It's hard to think of Mark as a rookie by any means, but he was with a new team, and they did have some growing pains getting started and came on super strong. I think time is going to help the 5, time is going to help the 42, and really all teams for that matter, especially the longer the team can stay together. The years together really make a big difference.
Q. You've been sort of barraged with all these sort of personality questions, so I'm wondering if you're looking forward to the HBO series that you're doing to answer those questions in a first-hand way. And then, secondly, I'm sure you've had to weigh in on the Danica Patrick to NASCAR issue, but I haven't heard your answer, so can you just give me your perspective on how you think she might do if she decides to jump over to NASCAR?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Yeah, the HBO stuff is going to be fun. If anybody has seen their “Hard Knocks” show with the football teams, or the boxing stuff, the “24/7,” it certainly does show what goes on in more of a documentary sense. I have no agenda to show, any different than who I am and what I am and what I'm doing to get ready for the Daytona 500. So it's not a reality TV show by any means, and there are not any agendas. I'm just going to do my thing, and I know that they'll do a great job capturing it and putting it together for TV.
Danica, I'm excited for her to come to our sport, and hopefully she can, full time. I think that she will help our sport. More fans will tune in. It will do great things, there's no doubt. Wherever she goes, there's going to be a following, and I want to see our sport succeed. I think our sport is a big sport, and regardless of race or gender, it'll work great.
She's going to need some seat time. There's only been one guy – one person – who's come from open-wheel who's shown success, and that's been Juan. A lot of guys have tried, and it's been a tough road. So she's going to need some seat time.
Q. One quick follow-up, I was just wondering if you could talk about, a lot of people have talked about the physical demands and differences between driving an open-wheel car and driving a stock car. I'm assuming you agree with that. How much of a challenge do you think that is?
JIMMIE JOHNSON: I have not been in an open-wheel car, so I don't know what they deal with. G forces are higher, there's no doubt about that. But we have copied our cockpit areas, our seats, to mimic what an IndyCar is like because the body is so well supported.
I assume that the arm side with an open-wheel car – I understand that some of them don't have power steering, and in that situation you definitely need some arm strength to muscle that car around.
But our races are longer and there's more of them, so the endurance aspect is probably a little more important in our sport, where potentially kind of strength side for your arms especially would be important, and your core, for IndyCar.