JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at the Charlotte Spoiler Test and discussed the feel of the wing, track speeds, the success of the No. 48 team, and more. TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR TESTING WENT TODAY: "This is a...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at the Charlotte Spoiler Test and discussed the feel of the wing, track speeds, the success of the No. 48 team, and more.
TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR TESTING WENT TODAY: "This is a great opportunity for all the teams to be able to come here and everybody really came well prepared because we don't get this opportunity to have a test like this these days. Of course, you throw in the spoiler, it was a very important day for us as well as tomorrow. I felt like it went really well. I like the way the cars look with the spoiler so that is definitely a plus. There were no big surprises so the car drove really good. Didn't get in traffic a whole lot but maybe we can do some of that tomorrow. But all in all it was a great day for us and we certainly gathered a lot of information that is valuable to us. Not only as you mentioned here at Charlotte, but a lot of other mile-and-a-half tracks that we are going to be going to soon. Felt like it was a good day, a lot of testing going on. Just trying new things and base lining things that we have had in the past. Feel like we learned a lot."
THE SPEEDS WERE DOWN THIS AFTERNOON, IS THERE A PARTICULAR REASON FOR THAT? "Compared to what, this morning? Just track temperature, rubber on the track, track temp. It was very fast this morning, it was very cool conditions. We actually made a gear change, I know everybody did for this afternoon because we weren't seeing much RPM. Which is not that surprising considering the amount of drag that we've added with the spoiler. But I feel like we have increased some speed through the corners so I feel like, I guess we weren't really expecting that, but it did happen and it wasn't a huge surprise. But as far as the speeds, I think if we continued to test, you'd see the speeds come back just because the track temp would go back down."
IS THERE A DIFFERENT FEEL FOR YOU FROM THE WING TO THE SPOILER? "This morning it just felt like there was just a little bit of extra grip. It has been a lot time since we tested under those cool conditions here at Charlotte, so it really isn't any major feel in change in the car which to me is good. I don't want to have some big surprise thrown now when we are getting ready to go Martinsville with the spoiler. Based on things we saw in the test, in our data that we have gathered, we thought the cars would drive pretty good and not be that much different and that is pretty much what we felt. The cars don't have as much side force with the spoiler, so we've started getting into, for the last several years, is down force, drag and then side force. You see skewing the cars. What we learned with the wing is that by running the car sideways as it entered the corner, that side force made up for even some of the drag and down force that it took away. So now, we still have a lot of those things, but with the spoiler we just noticed where we lost a little bit of that side force but yet we have made up for it on total down force on the car. I feel like some of it's a wash as far as what the car is going to drive like and feel like, but again, I think it looks a lot better. I am anxious to see what it is going to be in race conditions around other cars."
WERE YOU ABLE TO GET OUT SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH ANY CARS AND WHAT WAS A FUEL RUN LOOKING LIKE? "We didn't get in to fuel mileage. I mean they have all the information but I didn't talk to the team much about it. I know we were playing around a lot with carburetors and intake manifolds and stuff as well today. It is certainly on our minds but I don't have the information. Maybe Steve (Letarte, crew chief) can give you some information tomorrow or this weekend at Martinsville.
"Like we do at any test, other than a Daytona or Talladega test, we were working on pure speed in our runs and doing the things that we do to try to see how the car drives and making changes and bringing a new car and doing all those things we typically do at a test given that opportunity. So that is what we were doing today. We talked a little bit about it. It wouldn't be bad to go find out what it would drive like around other cars. I'm not so sure there is anything we can do about it. It is kind of one of those things where it is what it is other than knowledge. Which we will learn that real fast at a high speed track like this once we put the spoiler on it and go there. Other than that I don't think that there is a whole lot of valuable information that we are going to get right here right now. I do think they are going to drive a little different in the draft. But like I said, I don't think there is a whole lot you can do about it."
IS THE DECK LID FIN INTENDED TO PUT SOME OF THAT SIDE FORCE BACK IN IT BUT IS ADJUSTABLE, ARE YOU GUYS WORKING ON THAT? "I think the reason they have done that is because it doesn't do anything in those last inches. If you learn about how the air moves around a spoiler, it packs up and it basically doesn't do anything in the eight or 10 inches in front of the spoiler. It is a strange thing the way the air moves at that speed and what type of pressure and how it swirls and all the things it does. I think they learned that there is nothing going on there so you can take it away or have it if you want it. That fin definitely did give us a little bit of the side force back but not all of what we had before."
NOW THAT THE BOOK IS CLOSED ON THE 'WING' ERA, THERE WERE 93 RACES, THREE DRIVERS, JIMMIE, CARL, AND KYLE, COMBINED TO WIN 46 OF THOSE. IS THERE ANYTHING WITH THIS CHANGE THAT SUGGESTS TO YOU THAT THE SPOILER MAY OPEN THINGS UP A BIT AND PUT MORE PLAYERS BACK IN THE GAME? "I think all of us besides Jimmie, Carl, and Kyle are really hopeful of that. I think the strong teams and the strong cars, you know; wins come from great teams. They don't come from a spoiler or a wing combination. Jimmie and Chad and that No. 48 team have already shown this year, they're beatable. Harvick, I feel like, really had something for them at California. We had something for them at Vegas. The No. 2 (Kurt Busch) had something for them at Bristol. But they're just such a good team that they win because they keep themselves in position and Chad makes good calls. Jimmie really gets after it when he needs to. And that's just a sign of a great combination. I don't think that's going to change whether you put a spoiler or a wing on there."
CAN YOU TELL WITH EVERYTHING YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT THIS CAR IN THE LAST THREE YEARS, WHAT PERCENTAGE IS OBSOLETE NOW THAT THERE IS A SPOILER INSTEAD OF A WING? "I think it's too early to tell. Based on what I saw today, I don't think it's obsolete. Other than being around other cars, I really didn't feel a big change. Most of what we've been learning with this car is in the front end with the splitter and the bump stops and shocks. There are a couple of little things that I can't tell you about that we feel like we learned with the spoiler with the old car before that we tried to back up with this car that we do feel like is something that can be a gain here that was not with the wing. So, I think that again, the information we've been gathering over the last several years is certainly not obsolete by any means. But it is slightly different now and we'll learn as we go. The more time we put on it, the more obsolete that wing information might be. But at this point, I can't say that it is."
HOW DO YOU MENTALLY GO INTO ANY RACE AS FAR AS BEATING THE NO. 48 TEAM? "I feel like we showed at Vegas that we can beat them. We keep that confidence in ourselves. I think we're so focused right now on our own stuff and what we're doing and we're really in kind of test mode, which is different than we've approached this point in the season in the past. We just feel like what we've been doing in the past has not been working. We came out of the box strong last year and felt like we were the best team the first ten races and we just flat lined. We just didn't improve and get better. It's because we're bringing our absolute best stuff to the track, but we weren't bringing anything that was going to make us better 20 or 30 races into the schedule; and we saw that the No. 48 was doing that. So while you see them doing extremely well this year, and I expect them to be strong throughout the entire season.
"For us, we're more focused on what we're going to do to compete with those guys later in the season. We're not getting too caught up in the fact that they have three wins and 30 bonus points right now; and also taking the runs that we've had that have been good, and taking something from those, and not focusing too much on the results. And that's what the Chase offers you. While you don't want to give those guys a 100-point bonus lead, if they keep on this streak they're going to win a lot of races. We feel like we're going to get our share, and there are still a lot of bonus points left to get before that Chase starts. If we stay on the path that we're on, we're going to get our share and our momentum is going to be there when it really counts and not right now."
THE POLE SPEED HERE IN THE FALL WAS A 28.0 BY JIMMIE JOHNSON, AT NIGHT, THE FAST TIME THIS MORNING WAS IN THE .29 RANGE, AND THIS AFTERNOON THE TOP SPEED WAS A 29.5. THE CONDITIONS MAKE A BIG IMPACT, BUT ARE THESE SPEEDS ON PACE FOR A QUALIFYING LAP WHEN WE RETURN TO CMS OR IS IT GOING TO BE SLOWER? "That's a good question. We were thinking about making some qualifying runs tomorrow, so I don't know if that's going to still happen or not. I thought this morning everything felt pretty good. We were pushing pretty hard and everything felt quick. But there might be enough drag in the car; while we might go faster through the corners, we might not see the speeds down the straightaway. So it's hard to really say. When the conditions were the best today, we also didn't have the 89 gear in there, which would have added a little bit of speed I believe. And nobody was making qualifying runs. So, I think that 28.0 is do-able when we come back here to qualify."
IS THE NO. 48 TEAM, SPECIFICALLY CHAD KNAUS, STARTING TO GET INSIDE PEOPLE'S HEADS IN THE GARAGE? AS A FOUR-TIME CUP CHAMPION YOURSELF, DO YOU BELIEVE YOUR TEAM EVER GOT INSIDE PEOPLE'S HEADS AND DID THAT EVER GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE? "I think any team that wins a bunch gets inside people's heads. I can just tell you that we never intentionally tried to get into people's heads and mess with them. But when you go to a race track and you're fast every time you're on the track and you get the wins, it's pretty discouraging to the competition. When I came along, guys like Earnhardt and a few other guys; they liked to play the mind games. That was never us. We never did that. And I don't know if that's how the No. 48 does it or not. I think that they like to put up fast times on the board and they like to go out there and win races. I think that's pretty much what everybody is trying to do out there. So I don't see how that's somebody trying to get in somebody's head, that's just trying to beat the competition."
-source: gm racing