Phoenix II: Jeff Gordon - GM interview

Jeff Gordon -- ...

Jeff Gordon -- #24 DuPont Chevrolet

ON QUALIFYING TOMORROW We haven't even focused on qualifying yet. In the next practice, we will. We drew a real late (qualifying line-up) number, which typically would help you but not with this early qualifying start time. So, we want to be better in the race. Last time, were great in qualifying, but we weren't very good in the race. We want to be good in the race, so we're working on that.

WHAT WOULD ENDING THE SEASON IN 11TH PLACE MEAN TO YOU? I'm really not that interesting in finishing 11th. If we get it, great. We will have made some progress. But I'm really much more determined to be ready for next year.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE PHOENIX TRACK THAT GIVES SOME DRIVERS TROUBLE? This is a tough race track. It's fast enough to where you're carrying a lot of speed in the corners, but it's flat and there is not a lot of grip here, so it makes it really tricky to get the car to hook up right. Both ends of the race track are different. Turns 3 and 4 are real flat; turns 1 and 2 have got some banking. So it's a compromising set-up with driving styles -- it's certainly not easy to get around this place.

ARE YOU MAKING PROGRESS WITH YOUR FOCUS ON 2006? Yeah, I think we've made some progress. We've definitely got some excitement within the team. I'm just excited because I know we're headed in the right direction. We've still got some work to do. From now through the off-season heading into Daytona, I'm just looking forward to our making a lot of progress. I think we're going to be a real strong team next year.

HAVE YOU SEEN A LOT OF CHANGES WITH THE NO. 20 TEAM AND TONY STEWART FROM 2002 UNTIL NOW? Oh yeah. I think he's learned how to maybe handle things better -- whether it be experience and maturity -- it's hard to say what it is. But he's definitely mellowed a bit in just knowing that you've just got to go out there and give it everything you can. You can't pay too much attention to outside critics too much. He's always been a tough competitor on the race track. But off the race track I think sometimes it takes more than it could or should. I also think that the second time you're going for a championship -- after you've won one -- it's always sweeter because you don't feel as much pressure. You feel more relaxed. You feel like you have a better idea of what to expect.

-gm-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon