Friday, March 21, 2014

Tire problem at Bristol not "our fault," Jimmie Johnson says

   Jimmie Johnson’s chance at a victory or good finish in last weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol, Tenn., was cut short after his left-front tire shred and came apart midway early in the event, putting him several laps down.
   Goodyear officials said at the time the car setup contributed to the problem. Johnson discussed the issue Friday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
   Q: Last week, (crew chief) Chad Knaus made the comment on the radio, something like 'I suppose that is our fault, too.' What was that about?
   Johnson: “Definitely frustrated and then if you look at how things transpired from there when Goodyear had a chance to respond it was our fault. That is what Chad was preparing us for. That of course it was going to be our fault. I went in the truck and sat down and talked with (Goodyear's) Rick Campbell and I get along with Rick great and we had a great conversation about the wear on the tire and what potentially could have happened. From a team standpoint we are still very adamant that the wear on the tire was not the issue. A lot of guys had left-front wear and issues with the left-front and some stuff going on there. We are very confident, and the tire was still intact. Just a half inch strip came unwound from the inside corner of the tire and it was some 60 feet long. We laid it out from the front of the truck all the way to the back of the trailer. We could see every wear hole on it. It wasn’t worn out. That is all Chad was kind of referencing is that it would be our fault in the end and it was blamed as our fault.”
   Q: Did you get any answers that made you feel better about it from Goodyear?
   Johnson: “At that point there is not a lot that you can do. We just try to learn from it and try to give them the tire and all the information we can so they can make a better product. They tested there in October or something last year and the temperatures were far different. It became apparent to everybody early in practice that the temps weren’t the same and the tire wasn’t acting the same. It’s not an easy job that they have, but I think we can come back with a little better tire there.”