ROBBY GORDON -- No. 7 Monster Energy Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) "How do you say it? The lap was pretty good. I think turn 9 I gave up some there. I locked up the left-front getting into turn 10 and had to wait for it a little while and once...
ROBBY GORDON -- No. 7 Monster Energy Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd)
"How do you say it? The lap was pretty good. I think turn 9 I gave up some there. I locked up the left-front getting into turn 10 and had to wait for it a little while and once it turned it got sideways on me so we gave up a little bit. We had a good car right out of the box. All race car drivers have excuses, right? And we got beat by the luck of the draw today, period. When Jamie went out, it was 25 degrees cooler. When Dale went out it was 35 degrees cooler than when we went as far as track temperature, and it just makes a big difference. We do a graph every week and you get to watch it and it's just that luck of the draw. It makes a difference at places like this, Indy and other places just because of track temperature."
DO YOU WORRY ABOUT BUSTING THE SPLITTER AT ALL?
"He's done the first half of what it takes and that's run toward the front. If you can qualify inside the top 10, you can ride along and save your equipment and save something for the end of the race. If you qualify back in the twenties, you use your stuff up getting there and that's what kind of happened to us last year. We got together with Boris trying to get by him and knocked the toe out and we were done from there. Qualifying was an important part of it for us. Now we took a bigger effort at it and it's gonna pay off, I'm sure, come late in the race. As far as the splitter, like Dale said, from the middle of the corner the car rides back up and the other thing is we have, what I'll call bump stops, on the shocks, so we can control where that ride height is, so you just take into consideration the angle of the curbs. I ran over the curb in turn 6 all the way -- probably four tires on the other side of it like I always do and it didn't seem to hurt us and it's not torn up."
YOU HAVE TWO TOP ROAD RACERS STARTING FROM THE BACK, INCLUDING A FIVE-TIME WINNER. DO YOU WORRY ABOUT THEM OR JUST RACE THE TRACK?
"Obviously Jeff and Tony, for the last three to four years here as we've raced at Sonoma, have been our toughest competitors to win the race -- maybe even five years or seven years back -- those are the two toughest and Tony's not that far back. Jimmie, obviously, his results on the road course -- he's fast, but I think Jeff is the one it's gonna penalize more than anything as far as an opportunity to win. But, as I've said, I've blown these things so many times by pit strategy or not pit and a caution comes out and everybody pits and I find myself sitting 30th. I'm pretty confident that when it comes down to the last 10 laps of the race that Jeff Gordon will find himself to the front of the pack again."
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER YOUR LAP?
"I spun on purpose. With our cars, yes, by design, but with our cars if you put steering angle into them that much and try to do a u-turn like that, what's the right word, it gets into the brake ducts and sliding sideways just isn't a big deal for me, so it's easier just to clutch it and slide around."
IS THERE ANYTHING GOING ON WITH THE FORD'S BECAUSE THEY SEEM TO BE GETTING CAUGHT UP TO THE CHEVY'S WITH THE NEW CAR.
"I have my own reasons why I think it is and I think road courses power doesn't come into play quite as much. Chevrolet has that new engine out now and I think when you go to qualify on an oval race track, I think they might have us on horsepower right now because they do have a new spec engine. The Yateses I'm sure are working hard, but the lap times show up more on new tires than they do any other time. Once the tires are worn off like they were at Michigan, heck, you were almost all the way straight on the straightaway before you could even mash the gas pedal. I think the horsepower issue shows up for qualifying more than racing. I don't think they struggle. We get good gas mileage. They drive good. The drivability is good with them, it's just that optimum peak power for qualifying for one lap."
-credit: ford racing