JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON RECENT PERFORMANCES: "I think we're actually probably better than what we've shown but we haven't been qualifying good. That's probably the thing that I'm disappointed about the most. After...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
ON RECENT PERFORMANCES:
"I think we're actually probably better than what we've shown but we haven't been qualifying good. That's probably the thing that I'm disappointed about the most. After the chassis dyno test in Indy, I have a pretty good idea of why. We're way off on horsepower and that's hurting us and we're trying to overcome that. That inch kick in the nose (rules change for Chevrolet for this race) is not going to do much for us in qualifying, but I think it might do something for us in the race."
WHEN YOU DON'T QUALIFY WELL, HOW MUCH DOES THAT AFFECT THE RACE?
"It makes for a much harder day. It's almost impossible to pass. You have to do so many different tactics and strategies. If you can qualify good, it helps so much. We've got to qualify better. Qualifying 15th and 20th is just not cutting it."
ON NOT LEADING A LAP SINCE DAYTONA IN JULY:
"There's not much I can say about it. It's just like Watkins Glen last week. We drove up to 6th or 7th and we had a good car but then got extremely loose. And then we had a tire that was going down on us. I don't know how to do anything any different than what we're doing."
ON HIS 30-RACE WINLESS STREAK:
"It's a number for the media, but for me it's just going to the next race. I don't really think of it that way. I know that if we're going to win, we've got to start qualifying better. We can't make it happen just because we want it really bad."
ON BEING 5TH IN THE POINTS STANDINGS DESPITE NOT WINNING ANY RACES SO FAR THIS YEAR:
"I don't know how. It's a miracle. I'm more focused right now on getting our program better so we can be a serious threat to this thing (championship) at the end of the season. We need to start leading laps and winning races. That's what's going to help us overcome that."
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO WITH THE TEAM TO TAKE OVER THE LEAD?
"We need to qualify better. That would be the start of it. If we could qualify better, we could start maybe going about our races a little bit differently by not having to take so many risks and chances and just play the race out the way we normally do."
IS MIS THE TRACK WHERE YOU CAN GET THE WIN?
"I love this track, and we've got a lot of good tracks coming up. We've got here, Bristol, Darlington. I'm looking forward to getting back to the short tracks where we don't have to worry about aerodynamics and horsepower."
ON THE NIGHT RACES AT BRISTOL ELUDING HIM:
"I'm excited about going back to Bristol because of how well we ran there last time (qualified 1st, finished 31st) and make sure I don't spin out this time (laughs). The night race does seem to be a little bit faster pace. The set-up is just all that much more crucial. We've been successful at the day races in the past because as the set-up in the tires would go away - and maybe physically too -- we seemed to be able to be strong toward the end of the race. At the night race, it's not like that. The tires don't give up as much. These days, the tires don't give up much at all anyway. We've just always been a little too tight during the night race. I'm hoping we can go back and get a pretty good balance."
REGARDING THE RULES CHANGE FOR THE CHEVROLET NOSE, COULD YOU TELL ANY DIFFERENCE RUNNING BY YOURSELF IN PRACTICE?)
"We took the car to the wind tunnel and really, it added a tiny bit to the front but it actually took away downforce from the rear and didn't do a thing for us for drag. We're still up against the wall. If it's going to help us anywhere, it's going to help us more in traffic in the race once you take the tape off the front. But right now, it's not really helping us."
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
"We need less drag. If you look at the Dodge, which is supposed to be identical to the Ford; or the Ford is supposed to be identical to the Dodge, they've just got huge amounts of total downforce with very little drag compared to us (the Chevrolets). Bill Elliott (Dodge) had the least amount of horsepower at Indianapolis of anybody, and yet he was going the straight-aways and through the corners probably faster than anybody. That tells you something right there."
ON HOW WELL THE ROOKIES ARE DOING THIS SEASON:
"Yeah, they've been doing extremely well. They've been struggling here lately (No. 48 team, Jimmie Johnson), but that's just making them stronger and bringing the team together. I couldn't be more proud of those guys and what they've done this year. Jimmie and I are good friends and great teammates. We try to help one another out as much as we possibly can. Sometimes things relate to each other and some times they don't. But we're communicating all the time and sharing information as much as we can."