On the biggest difference between INDY and NASCAR.
“The cars are just so much different. An IndyCar is about 1,500 lbs, with the engine behind the driver and front and rear wings that create massive amounts of downforce. A stock car is 3500 lbs., with the engine in front and not as much downforce. They just drive so much different and that’s why moving from one to the other is such a challenge.”
On how the female role in professional racing has changed.
“I think you’re seeing more and more females in racing either as drivers or mechanics. And I think you’ll see that number get higher in the future. When I was growing up, I competed against a lot of girls in go karts and there’s just as many, if not more competing in go karts today.
On being a role model.
“I think awesome that young girls look up to me. And I always tell them don’t try to be me – be better than me. Reach for the stars. Don’t try to be the next me. Try to be the first you.”
On being one of the few females in a male-dominated sport.
“I’ve always wanted to be the best driver, not the best female driver. And I’m fortunate that I have teammates like Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman who look at me as a teammate, not a female teammate. They don’t treat me any differently.”
From the Archives: Interview with 2006 Daytona 500 Champ Jimmie Johnson
Photos: Speed-Loving Stars