SCR: Brian France is the new head of NASCAR, and apparently he was behind the points change. What do you read into his decision to do that?
JOHNSON: "Well, I don't think Brian France [made] the decision to change it. It will be Mike Helton's and Jim Hunter's advice that we need to do something in that manner and France is basically taking their advice. I don't think he has a fight in that one way or the other, because knowing his position in the sport, somebody has to tell him all this stuff, and I think that's where's it come from."
SCR: Brian was involved in the sport while you were still racing. What is your impression of him?
JOHNSON: Well, he's very aggressive as far as trying to bring to the plate good sponsors, good people, like NEXTEL taking over Winston's deal. I think he's solely the head of that deal.
"He's bringing a lot of big sponsorships to the sport. That could be what's escalating the sport's dollar value, because once you raise the bar on the sport, you're going to raise the bar on all the companies that get into the sport and run a race team, because they got to step up to the plate and try to keep up. That's what you're seeing right now."
SCR: What type of leader do you think Brian France will be.
JOHNSON: "I think he'll be fine.
No Cup team owners today weld...
No Cup team owners today weld a jack during pit stops--a Johnsontrademark during his heyday.
"I've known him ever since he was a kid. He's grown up in the sport and he should be able to lead it."
SCR: What advice would you offer him?
JOHNSON: "I don't know that I could give him any good advice, because he's in a different category than I am. I would be a competitor of him, you might say, because I'd be going after the same people for sponsorship. I'd be trying to beat the rules.
Commenting on his position would be opposite of mine. I don't think I could give him any advice, to tell you the truth."