Chicagoland: 2nd, 3rd finishers press conference

Transcripts: Chicagoland Speedway An interview with: CARL EDWARDS - 2nd place finisher JEFF GORDON - 3rd place finisher KERRY THARP: Let's run into our post race here at Chicagoland Speedway. Our race runner-up is Carl Edwards. Carl, you had...

Transcripts: Chicagoland Speedway

An interview with:
CARL EDWARDS - 2nd place finisher
JEFF GORDON - 3rd place finisher

KERRY THARP: Let's run into our post race here at Chicagoland Speedway. Our race runner-up is Carl Edwards.

Carl, you had to feel good about this performance here tonight and you told us here yesterday you thought you had a pretty strong car.

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I did. I felt like we had a great car. That held true for tonight. The car was really good. It's second, you know what I mean. It's okay, but it's not winning.

But the good thing is that we had the fastest car at the end of the race. If you have the fastest car at the end of the race every week, you'll win plenty of races. If we can just do this more often, we will have turned the page and we got a lot of good things to look forward to. Hopefully we can go back, look at what we did tonight and apply it for the races to come.

Man, just kept getting bigger in the windshield and I didn't have enough laps. I was trying so hard to catch him. I want to say a special congratulations to David. He is a class act, a really great guy. You guys know that. It's cool to see how happy he is.

KERRY THARP: You moved up two spots in 10th place now in the Sprint Cup Series points standing.

We'll go to questions.

Q: Could you follow up on what you were saying about Reutimann. He's obviously a popular figure in the garage. Why is that? Why does he have so much respect?

CARL EDWARDS: It's just because he's a nice guy. He's very humble. He's just a nice person. He's the first guy to congratulate you on something and the first to apologize if he feels like he did something wrong.

We all got to hang out with each other every week, but he's the guy you'd hang out with if you had an off weekend. He's a good guy.

Q: Carl, is there ever an asterisk on a win if it's rain shortened? Does it take anything away from a victory or is a victory a victory no matter how many laps you do?

CARL EDWARDS: I know from him, just speaking with him, he has said that there was an asterisk next to that win because of the rain-shortened event. I know this is really special for him.

I know for me personally, my first win was a really big deal, but my second win felt like it kind of galvanized me and my team and put a stamp on the fact we belonged in Victory Lane.

That second win is very important. I can only speak for myself, but that meant a lot to me, that second win.

KERRY THARP: You're 74 points ahead of 13th place.

Q: How does it feel to finally be up at the front where you were so used to running prior to the last 18 races or two years?

CARL EDWARDS: It's nice. It's great to run up front. These guys are so nice and polite up there in front of the race. You can race hard, but everybody -- it's just fun. Good to have a fast racecar. It felt good to be able to focus on little things like my line, how I was driving the car, pushing the pedals, rather than how I was going to stay on lead lap. That's nice.

So hopefully we can apply what we learned tonight, go faster That's a . lot of fun .

KERRY THARP: We're joined by Jeff Gordon. Jeff, talk about your run out there. Certainly you had a car that looked like it could have got into Victory Lane.

JEFF GORDON: Yeah, no, at times I thought we were really, really strong. We struggled earlier in the day with the car being real loose. We seemed to fix that and became a top three or four car. We were able to chase Jamie down that one time when he was leading, get by him. I was pretty optimistic. I noticed in my mirror the 00 was following me and gaining on us. I knew he was the car to beat. He proved it those last hundred laps for sure.

We just didn't have anything for those guys. We tried to make some adjustments on that last pit stop. We got really, really loose. I was just kind of hanging on for third there at the end.

KERRY THARP: We'll continue with questions for Jeff or Carl.

Q: Carl, is this a quantum leap tonight or steady evolution with the car?

CARL EDWARDS: We're definitely on the event horizon. We haven't quite crossed over.

I know we can run that well. We've done it. We did it tonight. We just have to figure out how to do that every week. I hope this is something that we can go back, talk about on Monday, figure out why our car was so much different this week than it has been and maybe apply it. We have some mile-and-a-half's and tracks like this coming up the rest of the season that are going to be really important tracks. So, yeah, I hope so.

Q: Carl, not to rain a little on your parade, but Greg had an engine problem. Were you running the same equipment? Are you concerned about that for the Brickyard?

CARL EDWARDS: I'm not sure what broke. I'm not sure what the differences were in our engines. Jack Roush did come by and tell me, Hey, Greg had that failure, we're going to have to think about what we're doing going forward.

Robert Yates and those guys are very smart guys. Hopefully we can keep that to a minimum. Right now we can't afford it. I've been taking for granted that our engines run so well and don't have any trouble. We can't have that trouble if we want to make the Chase.

Q: Jeff, you made a comment middle of the race, Greg Biffle had lost a cylinder, you said 24 lost a driver, something like that. What did you get behind on that you didn't feel you had control?

JEFF GORDON: I said the 34. Hadn't been there all year, but for some reason he keeps making the races.

Q: What do you take from tonight on what you guys got behind on where you couldn't stay with Reutimann?

JEFF GORDON: We just fought between loose and tight all night long. Early in the race, we were just real loose on throttle on the exit. We tightened the car up. Didn't really help the exit. Seemed to tighten it up everywhere else where it was at least drivable. When that top groove came in, that worked pretty good for me. There at the end, that top groove just wasn't working for me. I had to run around the bottom. Then we got loose everywhere.

The last run, Carl was saying the same thing. They got loose, too. I don't know if the track loosened up, what it was. Everybody seemed like they were really fighting loose at the end.

Q: Wondered if your performance here tonight gives you a lot of confidence that you can go to Indy in a couple weeks and contend there.

JEFF GORDON: I mean, you certainly hope so. I mean, our team's been consistently running up front. A little bit different than Carl where they haven't had the consistency. Tonight he had a fast racecar. We've had the consistency. We just haven't had the car to win or all the pieces as a team to get ourselves into Victory Lane.

At times we've had the car, for whatever reasons, blame it on me, blame it on incidents, I don't like to point fingers, but we haven't gotten to Victory Lane. We're very optimistic. We got a great package going to Indy. We've been working really, really hard on everything that we can to find speed. We think we've got some things up our sleeve for Indy. But I'm sure that's what a lot of guys out there are thinking. It's a place where everybody goes all out and have been probably on their seven-posts and their simulation, wind tunnel and everything else from the Pocono race on to try to get what it's going to take to win at Indy.

CARL EDWARDS: We won't know till the first practice. I hope we're fast. I hope the stuff applies.

Q: Jeff, saw you go to Victory Lane. Carl was talking about what a neat and cool guy David is, how everybody kind of respects him. Can you talk about David, why you decided to visit him. And, Carl, we haven't seen Reutimann in here, haven't seen you much in here after races this year. Is it kind of fun to see some different faces?

JEFF GORDON: I usually have a three or four pole win kind of deal. After they get more than three or four poles, I stop sending them texts. After they get three or four wins in a season, I stop going to Victory Lane (laughter).

CARL EDWARDS: I notice you never text me anymore.

JEFF GORDON: Sorry, Carl (laughter).

David is a neat guy. I just know that that win that he had in Charlotte, you know, while he took it, not going to throw away the trophy, earning it the way he earned it tonight is the way he wants to do it. They've been close at times, just haven't had all the breaks.

You know, I think that he just drove a great race and had a good racecar. I think he deserves to be congratulated.

CARL EDWARDS: I was going to say there's times I don't want to talk to you, David, but I'm glad you're in here and asking me questions. Nice to see all of you (smiling).

Q: Carl, Bob was talking about getting some help from the 9 car, using pieces. He said in the past it hasn't really helped, but tonight it helped. Can you talk about the relationship with those guys, how big it was for you tonight.

CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, these guys are getting a helluva a guy in Kasey. They know that. But he's a very good racecar driver. Kenny Francis is very good at what he does. Their team has been helping us. This week they helped us quite a bit. It paid off.

Right up to the driver intros, I was talking to Kasey about his car, what we thought our cars were going to do, how they worked in practice. He's a very even-keeled guy that has given me a lot of good help. Those parts and that help from Kenny Francis, that's probably what really made the difference tonight for us, I believe.

Q: You both ran well. But there were some big names tonight that were barely in the ballpark. The 18, the 2, the 29, some good teams that really struggled. Knowing this is a track that can be a precursor of the Chase, being a mile-and-a-half speedway, can too much be made of that? Does that mean some good teams are maybe not as good as we thought?

CARL EDWARDS: That's a good question. It looks like some of their teammates ran well, though. I'm not sure about them. If I was in the points position of some of those guys, I might try some different things. That's more than likely what they were doing, trying some stuff. I wouldn't count any of those guys out. Me personally, I wouldn't.

Q: Jeff, does it matter how many laps a driver runs for a victory, his first career victory, or is a win a win? Then talk about your 600th career start tonight, November 15th, 1992 seem like a long time ago?

JEFF GORDON: It sure does, when you put it that way. I was joking with somebody earlier that I was looking at some of the stats because I was being reminded of 600 races, all the things that happened over the years. You know, there was a few years when we were winning every third or fourth race. Now we win three every 100. I'd like to get back to some winning ways.

We've done some amazing things over those 600. I'm proud of it. I'm proud 600 in we're still competitive enough to win races like we were tonight. Put up a heck of a fight.

You know, I mean, I think it matters to a driver when they go home and think about the win, you know, that they didn't just kind of luck into it or lead one lap. I mean, it's great to have a green-white-checkered and win a race by starting third or fourth and driving by guys, that's cool.

But to me the style in which the 00 did it tonight was about as good as it gets. They were solidly in there all night long and when it really counted, man, they picked up the pace and took the lead and never looked back.

CARL EDWARDS: I was at the grocery store in 1993 with my mom, walking beside the cart. Picked up a racing magazine on the rack. I thought, Man, this guy has it made. There you were standing next to your racecar on the cover, cool racecar, driver suit, moustache, a mullet. Man, I can't even grow a moustache. Man, that guy is awesome. Cool to be sitting up here with you.

JEFF GORDON: Thank you, Carl. Appreciate it (smiling).

Q: You said something on the radio about how strong Reutimann was. How strong did he look to you? Is that just engine related? What is that, power?

JEFF GORDON: It wasn't power. We got plenty of power. He could just drive deep in the corner, and he could keep it down on the bottom, he could arc it in the corner.

I felt like there were times when I nailed one and two, and he'd still gain on me. So, like I said, we were trying some things. You know, I'm not sure if what we were trying is the best combination. So, you know, one of the ways we learn, not only with trying things that we're doing, but we go over there and look at them inspect those cars and see what they've got in there. That's part of NASCAR racing, how you learn. When you get beat, you try to see as much of the parts and pieces. That's what the competition does to us. That's what we do to others.

We never feel like we're the best. Every week we got to prove it. You got to look at all the details. That's one of the ways you do it.

Q: Jeff, you've gone from being the kid to the old man. You don't feel like an old man, do you?

JEFF GORDON: Man, I do when I get out of that racecar and everything aches. No, you know, I mean, I'm still enjoying the sport very, very much. I feel like I'm way more comfortable with where I'm at in the sport today. That's fun. I like that. I like all the years of experience that now I get to benefit from.

But, like I said, the only thing I'd change right now is getting some of those wins back. It's tough. It's very competitive. We know we got to pick up the pace. Yeah, 600, that's a lot of races, that's for sure.

KERRY THARP: Guys, congratulations. Enjoy your week off. Thank you.

-source: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Greg Biffle , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Robert Yates