Jeff Gordon ...
#24 DuPont Chevrolet
ARE WE TO BELIEVE THAT A GUY WHO IS GREAT IN HIS PROFESSION, CAN'T CARRY A TUNE?
Yes, you are absolutely right (laughs). I'd like to think I've got a little bit of rhythm in me. But I cannot sing. I'm horrible. That whole thing came about because we were up there promoting the race for Chicagoland Speedway and they asked me if I wanted to throw out the first pitch. I said I'd love to. I did it for the Dodgers several years ago and it's cool. And then they came back to me and said in order to do that I'd have to sing in the seventh inning stretch. And I thought no, I can't do that. I'm the worst singer in the whole world and there's no way I'm going to do that. But you're going to be embarrassed no matter whether you sing good or bad or whatever, it's just part of the deal. So I thought, yeah, let's do it. What the heck?
What I didn't realize, is that once you start singing, it project out and then there's a delay and the roar of the fans and you can't keep up. So I have a lot of respect for the people who can get up there and do it right. I've been to two baseball games in my life. I knew the words. I had it down pat. I practiced. I knew the words. I was ready to do it. They asked me if I wanted to practice and I said, 'No, let's do it.' I might take that back now. I should have practiced.
The one thing that scares me the most is singing in front of anybody. I was petrified. It definitely was a moment I'm not proud of but it's a moment that's going to haunt me for a long time. It is something I'll be able to laugh at for a long time.
ARE THE CARS GOING TOO FAST HERE?
Well, they're going to fast to put on a good race, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think we're going too fast, safety-wise. Goodyear has put as hard a tire as they can put underneath us. The track has a lot of grip. It's really smooth and it's super fast. I just wish the tires gave up a little more for race conditions. The pace is a little slower than I thought it was going to be the other night for the All-Star event, but there still wasn't much passing. I don't know if grinding the bottom of Turns 1 and 2 would help it or just hurt the racing. But to put on a good race and be able to pass some more, I think the turns are a little bit too fast.
ON JIMMIE JOHNSON'S PAST SUCCESS AT CHARLOTTE
I look at him as one of the teams to beat here. But it's a different race track. You drive it different. You drive a different line. You set the car up different. The tires are different and it takes a different combination. I've felt like all the good stuff Jimmie and Chad have done, that I finally started to get close to them last October but then they changed the track. I'm re-learning this track as well. But I feel like we picked up at this track fairly well when we tested here, when the smoother race track than when it had all the bumps.
WHERE ARE THE DIFFERENCES IN THE TRACK?
The way they ground the track, the bumps are not gone, but it's just smoother and a lot faster. If you take any race track on the circuit, and grind up the track to create more friction and grip to the tires, and then make it smoother, we're going to go a lot faster. One of the reasons we cut the spoilers off the cars and softened the tires up is to try to slow the cars down through the corner to create more passing. And this is doing the exact opposite of that. Goodyear has had to build a really hard tire for this surface because it is so abusive on the tires and it's forced them into a corner and now it puts us into a situation to where we're all just running the same speed. Guys who didn't have this place figured out, it stepped them up a little bit, and guys who did have it figured out it probably backed them up a little bit. It's closed the competition up, but I don't necessarily know if that's going to offer better racing.