Martinsville: Jeff Gordon post race interview

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS - FINISHED SECOND ON TODAY'S RACE: "Well, we had an awesome race car. We had one problem there early that put us back and that kind of got us a little bit behind the rest of the day. I'm not exactly sure...

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS - FINISHED SECOND

ON TODAY'S RACE:

"Well, we had an awesome race car. We had one problem there early that put us back and that kind of got us a little bit behind the rest of the day. I'm not exactly sure what went on there, just seemed like maybe a piece of rubber or something fell off the car and got on the tire and it caught it and the car shoved out on me in one but we fought back from that. I had an awesome car. The tires had everything but track position and probably didn't need that last caution, you know just prior to that we had a couple runs on Jimmie and I think his tires were getting a little older and I was just trying to figure out where his weaknesses were and get some runs on him. He was driving extremely hard and aggressive as he should have and it was making it obviously pretty difficult for me and we had to wait til the end to start roughing him up and I didn't want to wreck him so that's why we're second, not first."

ON THE FRUSTRATION OF FINISHING SECOND AND THIRD THE LAST TWO WEEKS AND BATTLING TEAMMATES AND HOW HARD IT IS WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A BETTER CAR:

"Well last week I was just happy to finish third, we didn't have a better car. This week we had an awesome car and I'm really, really upset you know that I'm sitting here talking to you in second. I feel like we should be getting another one of those grandfather clocks but we didn't get it done. Like I said, without wrecking him there was no way I was going to get it done. It's one thing to move a guy and use your bumper and a little bit of it is getting experience with these bumpers. You've got to really nail the guy and you've got to get him in a really bad position like going into the corner, because you can't keep up with him on the exit and on the entry I was trying to get underneath him but to out brake him the car was just losing grip so we're second. I'm happy about the beginning of the season that we've had and leading the points but I wanted to win and that's that."

IF THE CAR YOU WERE RACING AGAINST WAS OWNED BY ANY OTHER MAN THAN RICK HENDRICK, WOULD YOU HAVE WON THIS RACE?

"I had hit him hard, I hit him really hard and got him way out of shape. It was one of those things where I knew I had to wait til the last lap because without putting him all the way up into the wall, I couldn't get clear enough of him where he wasn't going to come back and run into the back of me and that's not how I want to race my teammate. I felt like he did really what he needed to do but I think (if) anybody else had been in second but me, he probably wouldn't have won the race."

ON IF HE WAS BEING CAUTIOUS WITH THE NEW IMPALA SS ON THE LAST FEW LAPS:

"I'm not complaining about the car, we've been good but you can't race the same way that you used to be able to, you can't dive in as deep, you can't get in the gas as early. Hey, we say a great race but it's because I had fresher tires, a better car at that time and basically ran into him as hard as I could into his rear bumper to get just up beside him so I'm really interested to see what happens when we get to Darlington, when we get to Phoenix and some of these other places. This is a one groove race track, maybe one a half today, and there was no way you're going to pass a guy that's just a couple tenths slower than you without roughing him up here at place like Martinsville."

WHEN YOU SAID YOU'RE UPSET, IS SOME OF THAT TOWARDS JIMMIE? IN REGARDS TO YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT IT BEING INTERESTING RACING GOING FORWARD, DOES THAT MEAN YOU'LL RACE JIMMIE DIFFERENT IN THE FUTURE?

"I race everybody the way they race me. Like I said, he did what he needed to do and if roles were reversed obviously I'm going to do what I've got to do to protect that spot as well. He'll probably one day be sitting in here and not happy about it either but we race hard, we race clean, we've been racing one another for years. I can't say we've ever had a battle quite like this down to the finish and we've never had issues on the race track where I didn't feel like we could laugh and talk about it the next day and move on. We're out here to win a championship and by wrecking him or myself or both of us trying to go for that win which Rick Hendrick has seen before and I've heard about those Monday morning meetings and I don't want to be a part of that but I did everything I feel like I could to win the race and in the future if the roles are reversed I'm going to do everything I can to protect the lead."

ON BEING SO CLOSE TO TYING DALE EARNHARDT'S WIN RECORD AND HOW THAT MAY DRIVE HIM TO GET THAT WIN AND THE EMOTION SURROUNDING THAT:

"You know what, there's absolutely zero. I use that as zero motivation. Other than getting asked the question from time to time, I don't even think about it. Once it happens, if it happens then we can talk about it and it'll be cool but there was not at point in my career where a race win or a championship was all about trying to match somebody else or break a record with somebody else. It's always just a motivation to win every single time we're on the track and that's what I use as motivation."

IF NASCAR WERE TO GIVE MORE POINTS FOR WINS, ARE THERE ANY NUMBER OF POINTS THAT YOU MAY RACE HARDER?

"It's got to be enough to offset whatever, however many races later when that guy wrecks you, so how does that work? They can put a million points on winning and it doesn't matter because you can't race people like that and just knock 'em out of the way. You can race hard, you can bump, you can bang, we're trying to win and trying to put on a heck of a race and we got that today. I'm sitting here mad about it because I'm second and I wanted to win but it was still a heck of a race and a battle and I don't think that anybody thought that I didn't try as hard as I possibly could, understand I'm racing my teammate. But I'll be honest, had it been anybody else I don't know if I could have hit him any harder so I don't know if it would have turned out any different really. Maybe me and Jeff Burton are softies, I don't know. But we're up in the points, we're doing what we need to do and until it gets down to the Chase for the Championship, to me having some bonus points for winning right now is not what it's all about. I'm more motivated just to want to win. I think we're too good, everything is going so awesome with this race team and I know we're going to win and that's got me really excited and that's about the only good thing I'll take with me out of here - a great run and potential to win more races."

ON WHAT HE'LL SAY TO JIMMIE ABOUT THE WAY THIS RACE FINISHED:

"Well I'm going to congratulate him and tell him he did exactly what he needed to do and jokingly say something to him about good thing I was behind him (laughs). There's not going to be a whole lot that's going to be said. I'm mad but I'm not really mad at him. He didn't do anything wrong. Had I hit him any harder and wrecked them then the blame would have been put on me and we would have had an issue. We don't need that as teammates, we don't need that as competitors going forward trying to win a championship and I just hope we get our share of wins by continuing to race the way we've been racing."

ON IF HE CAN GET CARS IN FRONT OF HIM SQUIRRELLY AND GETTING COMFORTABLE IN THE IMPALA SS AFTER THE FIRST TWO SHORT TRACK RACES AND THE UPCOMING IMPALA SS RACES:

"We're wasting our time even trying to comment on the Car of Tomorrow at Martinsville and Bristol. You can't tell anything really about this car right now until we go to those race tracks. Yeah, it was a little bit harder to pass. Yeah, I couldn't drive in as deep but those are all the things you expect with this car. We just got to get used it. I was still able to pass certain guys but just wasn't able to pass the leader. Honestly most of the passes I made today, guys gave me the pass, maybe some lapped cars in traffic a little bit. Most of the passes I made to day, a guy saw me run him and down and when I got to him I put enough pressure on him that he just let me go. I didn't really feel like the air was moving the cars around a whole lot but we're not going fast enough here to really feel that anyway. When we get to Darlington, we definitely. We learned nothing about Bristol and Martinsville from the Darlington test but we did learn something about this car, the Impala, at Darlington and that's about it."

ON HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS SUCCESS THIS SEASON AND WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO HAVE THIS SUCCESS:

"I think we're just building on momentum from last year's success - Jimmie winning the championship, three of us being in the Chase. I think as far as losing people and change within the organization and we're still working on the Car of Tomorrow at a very early stage and I think we're just doing our homework. We're taking advantage of the people and the resources that we have and I think the driver crew chief combinations are very strong right now. I can't wait to get Casey Mears and Darian Grubb A little bit more experience and get the cars working the way they want them to because I think they're capable of being right up there too but it's going to take some time. I think we've seen it throughout the history of this sport, when you get a group of guys together that work well together and you keep them together they usually continue on to have success and I think that's what we've done so far."

ON HIM SHARING INFORMATION WITH JIMMIE AFTER THE FIRST PRACTICE ON SATURDAY AND IF HE REGRETS IT:

"No, that's what we do as teammates, we share information. This is one of my best tracks. I think that they recognize that. We were running good and they were off a little bit, no different than other places that we've gone. It doesn't always work for you, it doesn't always transfer but in this case it did and they did the most with it. We had the car to beat til we had that problem going into one and once we lost that valuable track position that to me is where the race is really lost not really there at the end."

ON PLANS FOR OFF WEEKEND:

"We're going to test at Richmond for a couple of days, have a little fun there and then head down to somewhere in the Caribbean and enjoy what will probably be Ingrid and I's last vacation before we have an addition to the family. We're going to enjoy the time together and look forward to the upcoming races and the baby on the way."

IF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN THE OLDER CAR, WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN ABLE TO EASILY LIFT HIM UP OFF THE ROAD?

"Easier, you know with the way the bumpers matched up before you get underneath the rear bumper and it lifts the back of the car up. With this car the bumpers are pretty squared up, I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, it's probably a good thing. We saw a lot of guys get wrecked with the old bumpers and it was definitely easier. If you just got close to the guy and just gave him a little nudge, it picked the back of the car up and you could do it right in the center of the corner and he's just holding on trying to save the car, slide up the race track and you go on. It's not the case with these bumpers. We don't know what's going to happen on the bigger tracks. Other than Michigan last year and early tests, I haven't run really nose to tail with anybody on a faster track to see what that's going to do aerodynamically."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Casey Mears