Jimmie Johnson says end of his NASCAR winning streak prompted new approach
|Saturday, February 18th 2012, 13:13 GMT|
Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson says he and his Hendrick team have totally re-evaluated every aspect of their approach since their title streak was ended last year.
Johnson claimed every Cup championship from 2006 to '10, but finished third in the standings behind Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards last year. He admits that an element of complacency had crept in.
"I didn't realise that over the five years or six years that we didn't change as much maybe as we needed to and evolve," he said.
"It's tough to leave a successful road map and [crew chief] Chad [Knaus] and the team and I have been good at reinventing ourselves each year. But until the streak was broken, looking back at this off season what we have been through and trying to rebuild the team and make sure we are looking at everything we can, we have a different depth.
"I'm focusing on my interaction with the team, how I provide information with the team, what information I'm looking at, there are a lot of things I haven't done in the past and I felt like I was one of the most in depth drivers out there. I'm trying to even take that steps further now, so because of the loss we have been able to dig deeper and get away from the road map we've built and challenge ourselves more.
"At the same time the garage area has been extremely focused on everything the #48 car has done over the last six years, so maybe years three or four a lot of guys came our direction and really paid attention to what we were doing and they caught us and we got beat. We have to reinvent ourselves in some ways this year and we are ready for it."
Johnson feels that he let last year's title slip through his fingers, rather than being purely outperformed.
"I'm just upset at the way we lost the championship last year," he said. "At points within the Chase we had momentum and things going our way.
"When I look back on it I find the way in which we lost it is the tough thing. If we get beaten, we get beaten and I just don't want to, we beat ourselves, and I just don't want to do that again."