Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 27th): "I thought if we had a perfect lap, I thought we might be able to sneak up into the top 10 or 15, but as late as we drew (last), this Dupont Chevrolet wasn't that bad. I got a...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo (qualified 27th):
"I thought if we had a perfect lap, I thought we might be able to sneak up into the top 10 or 15, but as late as we drew (last), this Dupont Chevrolet wasn't that bad. I got a little wide off of (turn) three. But all in all, it's a good birthday for us (Gordon's 30th). I think we made gains there at the end of practice, but unfortunately we did have a bad draw. But the car's going to race well. We've been racing good everywhere and we know how to get around this place. But starting back there is not where we want to be. You've got to work your way through traffic and it's not easy to pass here. And we saw what happened to us last year back there - we got caught up in a wreck in turn one. So we've got to make sure we use all 400 miles to get there. It's going to make it more difficult. But we've had to come from the back before, but not necessarily here at the Brickyard. They're making me work for it here today.
"I'm real proud of our team. If this was last year and we qualified 27th with the way our team was then, I'd be real worried. But this year, the way this team has been, it's been awesome. They know how to make this car race well and know how to give me what I need out there. And they've been giving us great pit stops. It's an all-around effort and I know we're going to be a factor by the time this thing's over (race for the championship). Right now, what we need to do is just get a good strong finish. We need to work our way to the front. If we can put ourselves in position, I hope we do win it. I'd love to do that."
What do you have to do to win it on Sunday?
"Well, we've got to be patient in the beginning and then start making our way to the front. I know the Dupont team is going to be able to give me a good car and good pit stops all day. It just takes all 400 miles of this race and we need to utilize each lap."
How concerned are you about starting in back where the wrecks happen?
"I was involved in one of those last year, so that's my only concern about being back there. I'm not worried about whether or not we're going to have a fast enough car to get up there. I think we will. We've got a good enough team to make that happen. We've got to stay out of trouble."
How has the heat affected you? "Well, today is a hot day for everybody, no matter where you went out. Ricky Rudd qualified 4th and he was just three cars ahead of me. So I can't blame too much of it on the racetrack. We weren't really too much of a factor to be a threat for the pole. I was disappointed because we haven't been fast today, but I didn't expect to go out there and sit on the pole. I knew we were off a little bit. I just hope that we pick up a little bit of time from practice. This place is tough to pass on, so it's not going to be easy."