– When there hasn’t been a big wreck on a restrictor plate track in, I don’t know, more than 70 laps, get ready because it’s probably coming, and it did on Sunday. On the last lap as Logano was trying to make a pass on teammate Brad Keselowski– Kyle Larson into the back of Jimmy Johnson, the pile up ensues. There was some talk about maybe these new cars, the new Chevys, having something to do with it? But here’s what Jimmy and Kyle had to say.
JIMMIE JOHNSON: Larson and I were just talking about that in the care center. Need to go back and look at the video and see if he really did get me center, and if that could have been a contributing factor to it. Half the lap before that, I think the 41 got to me and pushed me pretty hard. And everything was fine, so in my head I kind of cleared that concern. And I was looking out the windshield sitting in a great spot, and unfortunately didn’t make it back.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, you know, that’s the first time I have went to push somebody, and I hit him pretty solid and just turned him into the wall. So obviously I know I’m the one that started that, but I’d just like to see if I did hit him as hard as I think I did, or if our bumpers just don’t line up as well with the new Camaros. But our DC Solar Chevy was a handful. I’ll have a lot of work to do to just get it driving stable enough for me to run 500 miles next Sunday. So tough race I guess, I felt on edge the whole time. So like I said, I’ve got some work to do.
– All right, so both of those guys had questions after the race and we heard both of them mention that maybe it had something to do with the new body style. Casey, you said you talked to Jimmy Johnson today, what has he seen now that he’s had a day to look at the film?
CASEY: Well they’re just understanding how the cars are shaped. The new Camaro has a little bit of a pointed nose which they said in the broadcast, but also the rear bumper cover, as well, has an indention where the license plate would typically be on the vehicle on the road.
So that characteristic, between the point and the indention, they’re thinking that maybe there’s something there that doesn’t marry up quite as nice as the Fords and the Toyotas do. So it’s just a new element that they’ve got to take into consideration. And when you watch Kyle hit Jimmy right there, it was a solid hit, but it looked like he hit him pretty square so it’s surprising that it caused what it did.
– Drew, you’re part of that Chevy family, how concerning is it as we look ahead to Thursday and ultimately the 500 next weekend?
DREW: It’s something else today, maybe to add to your stress level of what might go on. I think it’s a small sample size though. You heard Kyle say how bad his car was driving. I think a lot of these teams, especially the ones that qualified up front, had their cars so trimmed out, they are a handful– you saw that with some of them on Sunday. So it’s a small sample size. I think we’ll learn more on Thursday and then we’ll know whether we just fix something Friday and Saturday to be ready to run the 500.
– If it is something with the license plate area, where that would be, what can you do about that? This is the body style, right?
DREW: Yeah, you just got to know. You gotta know. You can’t hit somebody that you want to keep in front of you. And if you do hit them in front of you, you better be holding on tight.
– And sometimes that’s easier said than done, because you get a big shot from behind, you got nowhere to go in the draft.
CASEY: Yeah, and I agree with Drew a lot. Definitely there’s a different characteristic there, and that might be some of the problem. But there’s way bigger rules that have changed for this class that I think are also causing some of these issues. So it will be interesting see how it all comes down. There is those things to keep in mind, but there’s a bigger picture to there.