JEFF GORDON , NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Post-Practice Q&A's with Media DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE TEAM ORDERS COME DOWN DURING THE CHASE? "I hope not. I think team orders really don't exist in the regular series and I'd be surprised if...
, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
Post-Practice Q&A's with Media
DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE TEAM ORDERS COME DOWN DURING THE CHASE?
"I hope not. I think team orders really don't exist in the regular series and I'd be surprised if they play much of a role in the final 10 races. But if that was to be the case, I would hope and I would think that it would be okay that if your running 10th and your teammate is running sixth, if he can get that one position it sure would help him out and maybe you could give him that position. But we need a caution and that's not team orders. That kind of stuff should not be allowed. I think NASCAR is going to be paying close attention to those types of things happening and monitoring radios. Whoever wins this championship, the only way they can feel good about it, is that they did it by racing hard and putting their best effort out there - not because somebody else did something to give it to them."
ON COMPETING WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON AND SHARING INFORMATION
"You've got to understand that Jimmie and I are very close. The teams are very close. We're never going to stop sharing information all the way to the final race as far as I'm concerned. I know I'm not going to stop doing that. But when we get on the race track and they drop that green flag, we're going to race hard and we're going to race smart. When it comes down to the final laps of a race or to the final races, we're going to race one another for the wins and for the championship. I hope it comes down to that. I've never won a race by going in there and doing something completely stupid - especially with my teammate. I feel like I'm always thinking about how I'm going to pass and do it as cleanly as possible. It doesn't always happen clean, but I don't think you've ever seen me wreck a guy to win a race. You may have seen me move a guy to win a race, but never wreck a guy. And I wouldn't do it any different to Jimmie or anybody else."
ON THE STRESS AND PRESSURE PUT ON THE TEAMS DURING THE FINAL 10
"If we say anything to these guys it's to not stop anything they've been doing. It's just another race and we already put every effort out there every weekend to do our best and I don't want those guys to think about anything being any different than anything else from one weekend to the next."
ALL THE ODDS ARE SAYING YOU ARE THE FAVORITE TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP. HOW DO YOU VIEW YOURSELF IN THE CHASE?
"I don't know how you pick a favorite. It's so tight. It's so close. I think anybody can do it. Who knows what's going to happen. But I do feel like our team is strong and the chemistry is there. We're basically racing ourselves. I'm not thinking about what other guys we have to beat. I'm just making sure that we don't try to outdo ourselves and that we just keep doing what we're doing. I think we've gotten better as the year has gone on and that we're really at the top of our game right now, which I'm excited about. We're coming up on 10 race tracks that are good for us. We're just going to focus on our team and our cars and our program and our laps times and not pay particular attention to the rest of the guys."
DO YOU HAVE ANY GOALS IN MIND, LIKE THOSE EXTRA POINTS FOR LEADING THE MOST LAPS OR SOMETHING, THAT COULD BE THE KEY TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
"I do that every weekend. Every weekend, if I have the opportunity to lead a lap, then I try to lead a lap. Every weekend, if I can lead the most laps, I try to lead the most laps. If I can win the race, I try to win the race. So I don't know how you do it any different.
"Is it more critical? Yeah. But can you do anything any more than you already do? No. If you're driving to the limits of the car 10 weeks ago, how do you drive further than that or harder than that this weekend?"
HOW MUCH DID YOUR TEST AT NEW HAMPSHIRE HELP YOU AND HOW'S YOUR CAR THIS WEEKEND? DOES QUALIFYING LOOK GOOD?
"I think testing always helps. You're working on the car and learning things. I certainly feel that our test helped us. That last set that we made helped us. We're already a little bit better in our qualifying mode. We mainly worked on race set-ups while we were here testing, not qualifying set-ups."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THE DRIVERS OUTSIDE OF THE TOP 10 TO RACE THE GUYS THAT ARE IN THE TOP 10?
"I hope they race the same as they always do, which is to try to win. They're out there trying to win as well.
"I race every guy every weekend for that position and trying to move forward and trying to win the race. What do I expect? I think there are some guys who have a little chip on their shoulders because they didn't get into the top 10. I think there are some who will try to make a mark and try to do certain things to stand out. I hope they don't take it too far and I certainly hope it doesn't change the outcome of the championship. But the guys in the top 10 have to respect the fact that those guys are still out there racing their butts off and racing for wins and that shouldn't change. And I hope that they have the same respect for us and the fact that we're racing for wins as well - but we're also racing for a championship."
WHERE'S THE LINE?
"Accidents happen. The line is always drawn when there's anything intentional. That's what makes this thing pretty interesting. Not only are the 10 guys trying to race one another, they're racing the other guys out there on the race track and they don't want to tick any of those guys off because they don't have near as much to lose as you do. So if you go out there and you mess with somebody and you make an enemy, that enemy can cost you the championship - not necessarily because they might wreck you, but just because they might race you different and race extremely hard and not do anything to help you."
ARE YOU DOING ANY EXPERIMENTING DURING YOUR TESTS - MORE THAN YOU NORMALLY WOULD?
"No, not really. We pretty much prepare the same for every test. We take all the knowledge that we have up to that point and try to be creative and think of new ways to get better. About the biggest difference right now is that a lot of tests are one-day tests. So we've been able to test at a lot of tracks this whole year because of the one-day test scenario. Phoenix is the only one that I know of where we're going to do a two-day test."
HOW WAS MARK MARTIN AT YOUR MTV APPEARANCE THIS WEEK?
"I wasn't there. I had to make an appearance for DuPont in Boston. But I know he was jazzed about it. He said he was probably the oldest guy ever on there, but that he was 'down with it' (laughs)."
DO YOU THINK MARK MARTIN IS HAVING FUN WITH THIS?
"Yeah, I think he is. It's an honor to have Mark in this top 10. I think he's a serious threat. He's a well-deserving guy and a deserving talent that belongs not only in this top 10, but belongs in the list of names of drivers who have won championships in this series."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING ON LIVE WITH REGIS & KELLY AGAIN?
"This was a whole different experience. Fall fashion is not exactly a race car driver's forte. We were a little out of our element. Back in the Green Room, what we were agreeing to wear and not agreeing to wear was pretty funny. We had a good time. We made the best of it."
NAME SOMETHING ONE OF THE GUYS WOULDN'T WEAR?
"Jeremy Mayfield was not going to wear that argyle sweater."
MARK MARTIN SAID YOU MIGHT HAVE THE SAME OWNER, BUT THAT YOU CAN'T BE A TEAMMATE AND WIN THIS THING. DO YOU AGREE?
"On the race track, I agree with that. When you're on the race track, you battle for a win and for a championship, the teammate thing goes out the window when you're on the race track in the closing laps. I know Jimmie races me hard and I race him hard, but when we're here in the garage and we're trying to qualify the best we can and we're trying to get our race cars working as best we can, we're constantly talking about what we're doing. And the crew chiefs are doing the same thing."