JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed significance of the All-Star race, upcoming races on the schedule, NASCAR's drug policy and other topics. HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN PRACTICE?...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed significance of the All-Star race, upcoming races on the schedule, NASCAR's drug policy and other topics.
HOW WAS YOUR CAR IN PRACTICE? "We struggled a little bit in practice. The track was slick. This is as much about the All-Star event as it is experimenting and getting ready for next weekend's 600. We weren't great but we learned a lot. I feel confident we are a good team and the setups and how things have been going for us plus being able to bounce ideas off of our teammates to see what they are doing that we will be in good shape for the race. In qualifying trim I thought we were really good."
HOW MUCH FUN IS THIS EVENT? "Well, I think it is cool for several reasons. I think it is important for us to have an All-Star event. You race against the top guys in the sport, the top teams. It is for the fans. The fan support for our sport, to me is unlike any other. They are just so avid. So to give back to them is important. Plus, we are here in Charlotte in our home town. We get to spend time in our own bed, see our families and friends; it is just great for so many reasons."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IS POCONO PUTS ON AN ENTERTAINING RACE? "It does and it doesn't. That track is one of the toughest to drive. For the driver, you are always on the edge. It is always entertaining. Sometimes you get a little bit spread out so for the fans there are some moments that are maybe not the best racing we have. But it always seems like at the end it comes down to some kind of pit strategy, some type of caution. That place with five to go is one of the most incredible racing experiences you will ever have."
IS INFINEON ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TRACKS? "It is. You know we have struggled a little bit the last couple of years on the road courses with this new car. Not so much at Infineon as at Watkins Glen. It is definitely something that is on our radar. We want to make improvements. There aren't any road courses in the Chase so we're putting effort in to it but I can't say we are putting as much effort in to it as we are for others. But I love going out there to see family. I love going out there because I just like changing it up on a road course which is fun. The wine country and I have my own wine so I love going out there for that. And it is my daughter's second birthday, so that is really special."
WILL YOU GUYS TRY SOME CRAZY THINGS IN THE ALL-STAR? "I certainly wouldn't consider it crazy. It only things we would look at on our computer simulation. On our seven-post, maybe things that our teammates have tried. Jimmie (Johnson) did the tire test here so we got a little bit of information from that. It is just things that we think are in a direction that we need to possibly be heading but we haven't been able to really make it work for me. I would say it is real risky."
CAN YOU APPLY ANYTHING YOU LEARNED FROM WINNING AT TEXAS TO THIS TRACK? "Well, the basics are there, but this place is quite a bit different than Texas. I feel like the radius of the turns are bigger. I feel like the speeds are more, the tire wear is less I think in a lot of ways it is different even though it is a mile and a half race track. But we can start with some basic setups that might still work here as well as it works in Texas."
IN REGARDS TO THE DRUG TESTING POLICY PEOPLE ARE SAYING THEY SHOULD HAVE MORE INFORMATION OUT, WHAT'S YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT WHOLE PROCESS? "Well I think we all know that this is a learning process and there's going to be things that are going to come up that are going to be a question for us. I feel like we're so far ahead of where we've been in the past with our sport as it relates to the drug testing and I think that's a very big positive for our sport. I definitely have heard guys talking about what about this prescription or what about this over-the-counter, it's really about what can create sort of a false positive. It's our job to work with our doctors as well as work with Dr. Black and some of the liaisons to make sure they know like I have bad allergies so I take Allegra every day. It's important for us to share all of that information with them. If something comes up where you have a little cold you've just got to stay on top of them and let them know what you're doing so that they are aware of what might show up in a test. I think what they're doing is setting a new standard and precedent and there's going to be some time to learn how it works but to me it's pretty clear. It's just whether or not you make the mistake or not that is on that line. I feel confident what I'm doing. I feel confident what they're doing."
DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT YOU KNOW WHERE THE LINE IS? "I feel pretty confident, yeah."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO DR. BLACK BEFORE ABOUT YOUR ALLEGRA? "I have not talked to him personally. I talked to the liaison about it."
SO THEY'RE UP TO SPEED ON IT? "Every time I've told them this is what I'm taking, this is everything in my system they're like you're fine. Now, I haven't been randomly tested yet either so I might be the random and they might find something different I don't know we'll see."
A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE INDY TIRES, SOME PEOPLE HAVE SAID THEY'VE MADE SOME GAINS BUT NOT AS MUCH AS THEY WOULD LIKE, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GET THAT RIGHT THIS TIME? "Extremely important. We can't go back there and have the same type of race that we had last year. That's not really a race. I'm concerned, very concerned. I'm concerned from two points. My big concern is the "This car definitely uses up right side tires more, we all know that and I think that that pavement we've now worked the tops of that grinding and made it more abrasive. So I think there's a couple of different issues going on and I know they're working hard on it. I think that this car at that track with that surface is the hardest car in the world to build a tire for."
HOW IS THE GRINDING THAT THEY DID THERE (INDY) SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THEY DID HERE (LOWE'S) A FEW YEARS AGO? "It's really not that much different but because it's a flat race track we're sliding through the corners instead of being pushed down into the banking. We had some issues here but you have to ask Humpy (Wheeler) and he might be able to tell you or somebody from the track they might be able to tell you how deep they went verses how deep Indy went and what the difference in that actual surface is. From what I'm hearing from the tire test, guys are going out there and you put your hand on it, it about cuts your hand. It's that abrasive and sharp so you can imagine what it can do to a rubber tire."
DO YOU THINK NASCAR NEEDS TO PUBLICLY SAY WHAT JEREMY (MAYFIELD) TESTED POSITIVE FOR OR IS THAT A PRIVATE MATTER? "I think that's a private matter. I don't need to know that. Certainly not publicly. If there were some kind of prescriptions that were mixed or over-the-counter something that is out there that can be mixed with something else that caused a false positive yes I want to know about that. I don't think that needs to be made to the public."
WHAT ABOUT THE APPEALS PROCESS? "I think it just depends on what it is. They know what all is going on there. I don't. I'm not a doctor. I'm not involved with that decision but I think that they're policy is strict and harsh and I think that it should be whether it's me or anybody else that it happens to. I think that's the only way you can make it work."
HOW ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO OR NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO THE 600 WITH YOUR BACK ISSUES? "I'm going for my treatment on Monday so I'm hoping that I have a lot relief by the 600. I'll be able to tell you more by Monday."
-credit: gm racing