JEFF GORDON NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET, MET WITH THE MEDIA FRIDAY AT DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY TO DISCUSS THE PASSING OF CHRIS ECONOMAKI, TALLADEGA, AND DOVER EXPECTATIONS.
JEFF, NOT SURE IF YOU HEARD THIS MORNING BUT CHRIS ECONOMAKI PASSED AWAY THIS MORNING. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HE MEANT TO THE RACING COMMUNITY? “It’s a huge loss, as well as Bob Newton who passed about three or four days ago. Both of these gentlemen….when I think about my early racing career, you know…..what an impact that they made. I mean Speed Sport News is something that I read religiously. Chris did a lot for that newspaper and for motorsports and he was passionate about all of it. The last time I saw him was earlier this year and still, that is all he thought about was racing. And he cared so much about what was happening in this sport and wanted to make a difference and wanted to get those stories out there. It’s just not very often that you come across somebody that puts their heart and soul and entire life mission into that. So it’s a big loss as well as Bob Newton with Hoosier Tire who really changed what short track racing is today. His efforts and that family certainly made a big impact on my life, and racing, and what I raced on for years before I ever got to the Cup series. So two big losses this week.”
MOST PEOPLE LOOK AT TALLADEGA AND JUST WANT TO ESCAPE, BUT WHERE YOU ARE IN THE STANDINGS, ARE YOU LOOKING AT IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY? “I mean, if we are going to have any shot at moving up in the points and have any shot at the championship then we are going to have to have things go well for us at Talladega and there is no doubt about that so we do look at Talladega as an opportunity. You know, everybody knows they can win there, like we can and we have always had fast race cars there and I have won there before. So yes, for us we hope that this is the time where we survive the big one.”
TALKING ABOUT POINTS AND MOVING UP, THE LAST TIME YOU GUYS WERE HERE YOU GUYS RAN REALLY WELL, BUT HAD SOME BAD LUCK. TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS OF COMING IN HERE THIS WEEKEND “I’m excited about being here but we haven’t been as strong as I have been in the past here at Dover, until this last race here. We really made some great improvements on the car and this tire suits my driving style and it’s kind of got us back to old Dover. I was having a lot of fun here last time and I think that has given us a lot of confidence for this weekend to step it up and have a good finish.”
WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE KNOWING ULTIMATELY YOU HAVE TO MAKE UP POINTS ON JIMMIE OR CHASE HIM DOWN AND KNOW THAT HE IS AS STRONG AS ANYBODY HERE AND ITS TOUGH TO CLOSE ANY GROUND “The strategy and thought process doesn’t change. We go out to win races and we can’t control what any of our competitors do. It’s important for us to be aggressive and put pressure on them by being up front and running good. Right now we are not really on anybody’s radar. They know we run good and know we can win races and yet, they know we are really far back in points. So right now it’s all on us to go do what we are capable of doing.”
SO NEXT YEAR WITH QUALIFYING ON FRIDAYS PREDOMINANTLY WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THAT COMPARED TO WHAT WE ARE DOING NOW? “Yeah, I like consistency and knowing what to expect for the competitors as well as the viewers and the media to kind of set that schedule and that tone for the weekend. I also like as a competitor practicing that day and that last run you make on the track being your qualifying mock up run and then the next time you are on the track you are going to qualifying. So that is what we have done in the past that has worked well for us. The Saturday qualifying has not worked as well for me so I am certainly happy to see it happen on Friday.”
Source: Team Chevy Racing