Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Impala SS, NASCAR Nextel Cup Point Leader, And Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Impala SS, Finished 3rd: TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY: GORDON: "Well, it was certainly very eventful. In typical Dover style ...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Impala SS, NASCAR Nextel Cup Point Leader, And Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Budweiser Impala SS, Finished 3rd:
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY:
GORDON: "Well, it was certainly very eventful. In typical Dover style and fashion for us, we took off and the car was awesome. And I thought maybe we were going to have a good day here. And then it just went downhill from there. We just got real loose and we just fought it. But it wasn't pretty, but it was effective because we survived and I think we came out 11th. So to me, that's what this race is all about is survival and putting up a great team effort. We certainly didn't have the car that we were hoping for today. But we fought through to a decent finish and missed some accidents and it was a crazy Dover day and somehow we've come out of it with the points lead."
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RUN:
JUNIOR: "Well we had a good car at the start of the race. We marched up into the top 10. I was real proud of that and thought we would be able to run hard in the top 10 all day. And we did. We got higher than fifth and fell back to seventh and eighth at times. The car was up and down. It seemed like everybody was having a real hard time getting consistency in each set of tires. It was like you'd bolt on one set and the car would drive good and the next set, with no changes, you'd just be wrecking loose. And so there at the end of the race, I was way too tight to make any runs at them guys. But I was real happy. It was just a weird race how it ended up. We should have finished about eighth and we got third, so I'll take it."
IF NOT FOR THE LUCKY DOG, IT LOOKED LIKE THE WHOLE FIELD MIGHT HAVE BEEN LAPPED. WITH ALL THOSE RED FLAGS AND EVERYTHING, WHAT WAS GOING THROUGH YOUR MINDS DURING THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE WHEN THE NO. 17 OF MATT KENSETH WAS DOMINATING?
GORDON: "I'm still looking for that debris, by the way, because that was not working. Our pit strategy was going to be pretty awesome and I knew better than to think that it was going to go green all the way to the end. But it's hard for me to really say because there are guys out there making this car work. I think I need to hold back whatever I want to say. I just don't see how we're going to get it done under the current conditions of this car and put on the kind of races that we need to put on. And we haven't even gotten to the 1.5-miles yet. So I think that at Talladega, we're going to put on a spectacular race, but if we keep going the way we're going, you're going to see okay, if a guy hits it, all he's got to do is maintain track position. But the No. 99 (Edwards, race winner) was in a whole other league. So like I say, I can't really comment much because my car just wouldn't do anything I wanted it to do. That No. 99 went to the back twice and drove up through there. So obviously they've got something figured out at this track, that we don't."
JUNIOR: "I was real surprised that they were running as good. I was running fifth and I was real, real tight and I had a bunch of cars behind me. I was holding them way up. Instead of putting myself in an opportunity to get spun out, I let a couple of guys go and one of them was the leader. I didn't know he was behind me. So yeah, I'm sitting there like, damn, all right. Now, not only am I a lap down, but I'm not the lucky dog because the guy I let go is now the lucky dog and the leader passed me. So I thought I had half a track on the guy because I was running fifth. But that's Dover. Every time you come here, somebody does hit it and just straight-away's the field; every race here. And you have, every once in a while, where two guys will battle it out for the finish or whatever.
"But we need better front-ends. The cars don't have any downforce on the front when you try to really get the car low and seal it off get it to where it gets maximum downforce on the front, your car won't stay consistent all day and it's either hitting the ground or it's too high and you can't really get it perfected. The CoT and the concrete surface has made it difficult today to race."
WOULD YOU BE ABLE OR WILLING TO GIVE THE CAR OF TOMORROW A LETTER GRADE ON THE ASPECT OF IS IT MAKING FOR A BETTER OR MORE INTERESTING SHOW?
JUNIOR: "We all, as drivers, talk about the car amongst ourselves and there are a lot of things that we do like about the car and there are a lot of things that we do not like. And the car is really, really tight, or really, really loose. There is no middle ground. We had engineered for 30 years to get to one point and this wasn't so much as going to the new body style or anything like you normally see in the sport, this is a totally new car. This is going to take a long time to really figure out what this car likes. I know 15 years from now, they'll have it figured out and they'll probably have massaged on the car and fixed a lot of things that they're going to hopefully assume or become aware of that we already know. Hopefully they fix the nose. The car don't have enough downforce in the front and we get real, real tight. If the car had more downforce, we wouldn't have to ride around on bump stops and things like that to get the car to turn. And when you run on bump stops, it's such a small window to get the car right and it's very frustrating.
"But it's fun to run third. But I don't think the fastest car out there; I don't think the guy was satisfied with his handling and how his car drove - the best car, and that's pretty much been the case in every one of the CoT races. The only thing is, they're going to make a CoT car for the Busch Series. They'll know how to make it better. And hopefully they won't stay in a box with the Cup car. Hopefully once they learn and improve on the car, they'll be willing to change and mold this car into a better car."
GORDON: "I agree with everything you said."
WE'VE SAID A MILLION TIMES THAT IT'S A WONDER THEY DON'T HAVE A WRECK ON THIS TRACK AND BLOCK UP THE STRAIGHTAWAY. WHAT HAPPENED TODAY? DID 10 YEARS OF LAW OF AVERAGES FINALLY CATCH UP OR WAS IT THE COT?
GORDON: "I think today is a perfect example of cautions breed cautions, you know. That caution came at a time that stacked a lot of cars up and everybody finally got down to the end of the race where they really started having to push and battle for position. So guys are pushing the limits of the car. And then on top of that, between this race track and this car, it just made it very difficult to keep the car in your lane. You'd get underneath a guy and you'd shove out into him and you're on the outside and you've got a run on a guy and the guy comes sliding up from the bottom. These are already tight racing quarters but with this car, it does make it that much more challenging. So you bunch us up and say all right, you've got 30 or 40 (laps) to go, it's going to get pretty interesting. And those types of things are going to happen."
JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID HE FEELS LIKE HMS HAS EXHAUSTED EVERY AVENUE WITH THE CAR OF TOMORROW. DO YOU FEEL THE SAME? OR, HAVE YOU GUYS PLAYED THIS THING OUT AS FAR AS YOU CAN?
GORDON: "I don't think that's possible. How can you do everything? You're constantly learning. There are guys out there who have figured it out. Obviously the Roush cars are really strong today. And if they've gotten it figured out, it's our job to get it figured out ourselves; especially that No. 99 (Edwards). They've really found out something here and at Bristol and sometimes those things can work at both places and obviously we haven't. So we've got some work to do. I still feel good about our CoT program at places like Phoenix and a lot of tracks that we go to. But I'm thankful we squeezed through this one today in the Chase and have come out of here with a decent finish and we can move on and go to some tracks that are much better for us."
-credit: gm racing