BEHIND THE HAULER TALK WITH JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO SS:
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THINGS RIGHT NOW? I'm real happy right now. We had a great race run this morning. The car feels awesome. It's a brand new race car. We tested here. We were okay at the test. We weren't awesome and we went back and went to work on some areas and built a brand new car for here. We felt like our run in California was pretty good. We were too good on the long runs and not good enough on the short runs. Everything we're doing we're learning from, and I think we've definitely made some big improvements here.
AFTER LAST YEAR EVERYTHING YOU WENT THROUGH GOING TO DOWNFORCE TRACKS. WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING BACK HERE? I guess there's some anxiousness and excitement. We're making changes to get better. When you do that, you look for results and if you don't see it, you know you've got to go in a different direction. We're just happy right now where we seem to be seeing results, and we're real comfortable. I feel like the car's got good grip underneath me. Now it's got to get the balance where last year it didn't matter if we got the balance, we didn't have the grip or the comfort.
WHAT ARE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS? We still go out to win. I feel like it's so competitive right now that you know you can go out there one week and be off a tenth or two and you know you're a 15th place start. But you get that one-tenth or two-tenths back, and you've got a car that's capable of winning. That's just how tight it is. You know, I think right now we've got a really strong car and we're feeling good. I feel like we've got a car that's capable of winning right now.
HOW WAS THE MONTE CARLO SS DURING PRACTICE? The Monte Carlo SS was good. We made a 10-lap run, and we're real happy with that. Of course the track was green-the track was cold-but I felt like we were as good as anybody or better than most. We struggled a little bit with our qualifying runs when we first got out there we were a little bit tight and we finally got a little bit better at the end. We got to make some more adjustments. We do have a great number and hopefully we can put up a good number for later this afternoon.
DID YOU CHANGE YOUR PRACTICE STRATEGY DUE TO COLD WEATHER AND NOT GETTING PRACTICE TOMORROW? We didn't do a whole lot different based on the weather. We did things different based on how California went.
What they've done is we're back to a non-impound, but they've changed the amount of time they give us and the time they give us between practices on Saturday where we went to California and we just did qualifying runs on Friday and race runs on Saturday. We felt like this would be a good weekend to do just the opposite the thing and do some more race runs and do a couple qualifying runs and then be really better prepared on Saturday because they just really don't give you enough time. They only give you 30 minutes between the practices. That's not enough time to try things in the practice and get the car changed over for the second practice. That's the only thing that influenced us.
WILL YOU BE FINE IF THERE ISN'T PRACTICE TOMORROW? Yeah, because we've made a run there and felt good about it and felt that we learned what we needed to learn.