ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: NOTE: Gordon will start second in Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350, his best starting position of the season. YOU KNOW THIS TRACK WELL. HOW DID YOUR LAP GO? "We came here to try to qualify on...
ROBBY GORDON, NO. 31 CINGULAR CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
NOTE: Gordon will start second in Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350, his best starting position of the season.
YOU KNOW THIS TRACK WELL. HOW DID YOUR LAP GO?
"We came here to try to qualify on the pole and we let it slip away. At this place you have to be careful not to be too conservative. On the other side, you have to be careful that you don't drop two tires off the track, lose three or four tenths of a second and wind up 11th or 12th. It's real hard to pass here during the race. Last year we probably had the fastest car most of the race, but we had bad pit strategy and never recovered from it. So this year, qualifying was one of the most important things, but a good consistent race car for the whole distance of the race is going to be more important than just one lap."
HOW WILL YOUR STARTING SPOT PLAY IN THE RACE?
"I'm very happy with where we qualified. How is it going to play in the race? Obviously, the inside line going into Turn 1, I need to give that to Boris. It's going to be give and take for a couple of laps, and I'll try not to burn the tires off it. If we can stay there, great. If we need to let a couple of guys go early, we will, so we can tune on the car during the next pit stop. I really think we're going to be in good shape. I think the car is going to be really strong in race trim. We could not get enough rear weight in the car. But once we put fuel in the car for the race, it's going to help out our situation."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ROAD RACERS WHO ARE HIRED TO RACE IN WINSTON CUP?
"I think they shouldn't be allowed to. If they weren't allowed, I'd have about four or five tenths on the field. They come out and keep me honest. All joking aside, those guys are both really good racing drivers, and they should be able to come here and race with us. If they get in good cars, like both these guys are with MB2 and DEI, I see no reason they can't come here and play. Obviously, they do a lot of road racing, and they can come and test. A lot of us are afraid to use a test for a road course. We can go test at VIR and places like that."
COULD YOU HAVE BEATEN BORIS IF YOU'D RUN THE PERFECT LAP?
"We had him all the way until the last two turns. To be honest, I got through everything else as good as we could, but I kind of backed off a little bit because I didn't want to make a mistake in Turn 10 like Jimmie Johnson did. There's not a lot of room there for error. I probably lost a tenth and a half there and coming off Turn 11. It's a good lap. We don't have a problem with wheelspin, and the car hooks up real good and goes forward. I think we'll be in good shape when it comes time to go racing."
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM IN TURN 10 AND HOW DID YOU AVOID IT?
"I think what happened is, there used to be a bridge there and markers where you have to get on the brakes and where you have to turn. Now it's all flat there because they took the wall down, and I think a lot of the guys are missing those reference points and drove in a little too deep. I drove in a little conservative because the rest of the lap was so good and I didn't want to throw it away. The pole was what we came here for and we got beat today. But at the same time, we haven't put a mark on the car all weekend, haven't been off in the gravel and we only did four laps before qualifying. We only focused on half-laps in qualifying. We didn't really work on doing a whole, complete banzai lap because we didn't want to show what we had. I was really surprised that Boris picked up as much as he did. We picked up six tenths and I think we were ahead of him."