PRESS CONFERENCE EXCERPTS Infineon Raceway Jeff Gordon ...
PRESS CONFERENCE EXCERPTS
#24 DuPont Chevrolet
Pole Position winner
Yeah, this is definitely a place we enjoy coming to, no matter if we're coming off a win or a horrible day like we had at Michigan. You know, I hate that we've come in here with that kind of pressure. We do need to get some things turned around. This is a track where we can get some things turned around, but you want to come in here just focusing on the race and that's what we've been trying to do all day. Just putting laps together, working on the car, getting our mindset on just getting a solid effort. Step one was just putting a lap together like we just put up. The guys made improvements on the car all day, I made a nice smooth, not too aggressive lap and we were able to pull off a pole. It's a great day.
IT SEEMED THAT YOU MADE MORE TIME UP ON THE SECOND HALF OF THE LAP. DID IT FEEL THAT WAY?
Well, you want to get into a rhythm and kind of feel the car out. I got in the first turn a little bit too easy and I think I had to make up a little bit of time there. I could just really feel the car accelerating up off the corner well so I felt I could lay the gas down a little bit harder, each step of the way. I felt that we got through 10 really good and wanted to make sure I didn't overdrive 11, so I just got in there really solid, got the car turned and got back through the gas really hard. I felt it was going to be around a 16 flat, so I knew it was going to be really close.
YOU'VE HAD SOME PROBLEMS WITH THE HEAT IN THE CAR AT THIS RACE. HAVE YOU MADE ANY IMPROVEMENTS TO THE CAR FOR THIS RACE?
We just constantly try to improve. I don't think we had any problems last year, you know I think a couple years ago we had a major problem. Yeah, last year it was hot. The weather is supposed to be better this year. We made some improvements in our air system and we've got the carbon fiber seat, which I did not have last year. Oh, that's right. I did have the issue here last year. Had the carbon seat at Watkins Glen. It makes a huge difference. And I've been working with some programs on hydration, electrolytes and stuff like that to get me hydrated. Hopefully will allow me to sweat more.
COMMENT ON THIS IS A FINESSE TRACK
I think a lot of guys get in the mindset that when you go to a road course it's about braking really deep and hard. And you know, really bouncing the car off the curves. In my opinion it's the exact opposite of that. If you looked at, I think Mark Martin is third. I watched Mark's run and I watched a lot of the guys that qualified up front. They were all really smooth, made no mistakes and almost looked very slow. And yet, those are the fast laps. I think this is a track where not being aggressive and trying to attack the race track too much is a big plus. I think that's why you see a lot of different guys run good at this track than you do at Watkins Glen, because there you can attack. You can really push hard and it's a much faster track. Two different styles. I'm old, so I like the slow, finesse tracks.
DO YOU THINK TIRES WILL BE MORE OF AN ISSUE THIS YEAR?
I think that we have the same tire this year here. They haven't changed it for this particular track. They've changed it for other tracks. I don't think they've changed it here. The only concern is that the track was newly paved here last year. Had a good amount of grip, you could run a little bit more aggressive setup here than I think you're going to be able to run this year, probably. Probably going to see guys slipping and sliding more on the race runs. That's the thing we're going to be thinking of-conserving the tires and tire management and how we do that with the setup.
WITH ALL THE LOOSE CARS YOU'VE BEEN DEALING WITH, IS IT GOOD TO GET IN A CAR THAT IS GOOD RIGHT OFF THE TRUCK?
Well, even though we were good off the truck, it was still pretty loose most of the day. When we started practice we ran after the Soutwest Tour or whoever was out there on Hoosier tires. The track had no grip. Until we laid down some of our rubber on the track, then the track started coming to us. It wasn't a lot of fun at the beginning, but then it was a lot of fun. The car did what I wanted to do. Road courses are fun in general. Seeing our name on the top of the board was good, too.
ANY CONCERNS GOING UP AGAINST A TEAMMATE INTO TURN 1 OR 2?
Yeah, I don't even think about that left hander as turn 1-I think of the right hander as turn 1. Because, that little slight bend doesn't really mean anything. It's about getting to that turn. You know, I'll talk to Jimmie a little bit. Usually the deal that Jimmie and I have is that, whoever is on the pole, if they get a good solid start, then we're going to work with them. If I'm on the pole and I get a decent start and I'm not lagging behind, then he'll work with me. And vice versa. I'd do the same to him. And we get out there and get racing. Races aren't going to be won on the first turn, not even at a road course. It's going to be a long day, no reason for us to get crazy in the first couple of turns. I haven't talked to him about that, but that's usually our understanding. We'll be talking before Sunday, because I always talk to him.