Phoenix II: Pole winner qualifying interview

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS - Pole Sitter: "It was a great day for us from the time we unloaded the DuPont Chevrolet. We made a couple of race runs there early on and felt like we were good and maybe could have been a little bit...

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS - Pole Sitter:

"It was a great day for us from the time we unloaded the DuPont Chevrolet. We made a couple of race runs there early on and felt like we were good and maybe could have been a little bit better. But we'll work on that tomorrow. But then we put it into the qualifying mode and it was just a rocket from that point on. We knew we drew a great number to go out late as well, but we were sweating it pretty good there with Harvick and a couple of other guys that could lay down some great laps. And Harvick knocked me off the pole at Loudon when we thought we had a great lap. So, anything's possible. I felt like it was a good lap. The only thing about going out late is the sun kind of blinds you going into Turn 1. So I missed Turn the first lap because I overshot the corner. And the second lap I felt like I hit my marks pretty good. The car just did everything I wanted to do. It turned good and drove off good and it was just awesome."

YOU HAVEN'T WON HERE BEFORE. IN THE WEEK YOU'VE HAD ALREADY - WINNING THE POLE AND GETTING MARRIED EARLIER THIS WEEK - DO YOU FEEL THINGS ARE TURNING FOR YOU AT PIR?

"We've been on the pole here before. It doesn't guarantee anything but I feel like the progress that our team has made on our set-ups and the way we're working together right now, that we're really capable of winning just about anywhere. And to just feel how good the car has been throughout the day today, I'm very excited about getting out there on the track and making some more race runs tomorrow to really know what kind of car we're going to have on Sunday. But I felt like Jimmie (Johnson) was probably one of the best cars in his race runs today. We'll compare some notes but so far I'm feeling really good. This is a track where we've never really been awesome at, but we have been close to being able to win here. Kenseth took two tires on us one time and beat us out and we just couldn't overcome the track position that we lost by taking four (tires) but I felt like we were good enough to win there. So you don't always have to have the best race car. You've got to have the whole package - the car and the strategy and the pit stops and everything else to go along with it."

YOU ARE 157 POINTS BACK. HOW DO YOU KEEP PUSHING WITH JUST TWO RACES LEFT?

"Our focus is just to go out there and win races. We're just going to get after it as hard as we can and try to lead laps and win the race. We certainly have a lot less pressure on us than the top three or four guys. And so we don't really have anything to lose other than to just try and go out there and win because for us to finish fifth or fourth is not near as important to us as winning it or getting ourselves prepared for next year to try to win it. It's all about winning it for us whether it's the race or the championship. We certainly know mathematically we're not out of it. But we know its going to take us having a perfect couple of races and those other guys are going to have to have some problems at the same time."

WHEN YOU ANNOUNCED YOUR ENGAGEMENT AT SONOMA, YOU WON THE RACE. IS THIS A GOOD VIBE FOR YOU? "So far it's feeling good. It's been a great week I can tell you that. So the vibe has just been carrying on through the weekend and I hope it carries on longer than that. It's just like what happened in Sonoma. We've been holding on to that and excited about telling our families and friends and letting that out of the bag. It's kind of like it with this. We've been planning and preparing and really wanting to get that part of our lives and the excitement and everything that was built up about it, but we couldn't tell anybody. So now that's out there and so it's kind of a relief. And then life is good at the same time and the race team is good too."

IS THERE ANY WAY YOU CAN ANTICIPATE TWO TIRE STOPS? WHEN YOU'RE THE LEADER YOU'RE LIKE A SITTING DUCK OUT THERE

"You'd have to ask Steve Letarte that one. He's making those calls. At tracks like this, being the leader is certainly not the best place to be. And that's why if you're the leader, you've got to hope you have a really awesome race car so that if you do take four tires and they take two, you can overcome it. Or, if you put two tires on, you can overcome the two that you didn't put on. That's what we're going to do is just try to get our car to be the best it possibly can so we don't have to be so dependent on that strategy being absolutely perfect; and then make the best calls we can. I've got to give Steve Letarte as much information as I can to let him know what kind of car we've got."

WHAT'S YOUR HISTORY LIKE IN THE COPPERWORLD?

"I don't know all the statistics but I know I've won the Silver Crown race here and was in a photo finish in the Midget race that same weekend here. I've won here in the Busch Series and in a Silver Crown car. It's kind of the same thing at Homestead when they're in a Busch car as well. So I know we're capable of doing it and we've been good enough to win it here before - not many times, but one that I definitely know of. We've got to put that kind of effort out again this weekend. But so far, to sit on the pole and have the kind of car we've had today definitely encourages me as to what type of weekend we can have."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Teams CIP