JEFF GORDON and ROBBIE LOOMIS -- NO. 24 DUPONT/PEPSI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO Jeff Gordon: "It was pretty exciting. I had no idea what was going to happen those last nine laps. They dropped the green and I just wanted to get the best start I...
JEFF GORDON and ROBBIE LOOMIS -- NO. 24 DUPONT/PEPSI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
"It was pretty exciting. I had no idea what was going to happen those last nine laps. They dropped the green and I just wanted to get the best start I could. Jamie McMurray said he was going to push me as far as he could. He pushed me at turn one and when I went to the outside he left me. Luckily by that time I had so much momentum that I went to the outside and hoped it would carry me. Michael (Waltrip) and Jimmie (Johnson) got together and it stalled everybody up and allowed me to shoot up there. Once I got towards Junior, I was working the momentum the best I could.
Luckily, I had some help. I got a huge push down the back straightaway and I knew there was no way that Junior was going to be able to block the momentum and I got to the inside of him. But we went back and forth and he'd get a shove and I'd get a shove. When we went into turn 3, I knew I'd gotten ahead of him but I wasn't completely ahead of him. When the wreck happened, I knew I was ahead of him but I didn't know when they threw the caution. But he did come back and get ahead of me pretty late off of turn 4. I had no idea how they were going to judge that. You never know when the caution comes out."
WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT THAT IT WAS YOUR SPOT?
"First they said the No. 8 was ahead of the No. 24 and when I got to turn 2 they said the No. 24 was ahead of the No. 8. And I said, 'Really?' Okay (laughs. Cool. He rode next to me because obviously he wanted to fight the call. Neither one of us really knew. They I was waiting for them to drop the green and for us to go back to racing for one lap but they didn't. They kept it under caution. With the breaks we've had lately, I still wasn't going to get excited until we crossed that line. Once we did, it was an amazing feeling."
WHAT WAS YOUR TAKE ON THE WHOLE THING?
"I was watching it on the monitor and I clearly felt that Jeff was ahead of Junior going into turn 3. But it's not only the flag but it's the light. Either one of those dictates that the caution is out. Evidently one of them must have been out when we were in front. I was very thankful. I thought for sure we'd win in Texas or Martinsville, but we didn't. And here we are now. It feels great."
DID YOU TAKE SATISFACTION FROM DOING DONUTS OVER BEER CANS THROWN BY THE FANS?
"I took a lot of satisfaction out of a lot of things from that moment. And that was one of them. Anytime Junior doesn't win here and he has a shot at, I think it's controversial. There are so many people pulling for him. He has a huge fan base. It was controversial because of that and because we didn't go back to racing. I think they wanted to see him have a shot at it. But we've had this Dupont/Pepsi car for a few years not and never gotten it into victory lane. So that was very gratifying. And, it was our first NEXTEL Cup Series win.
"It's not the same if they just stand up and turn around and leave. You want some stuff. You want some action. I don't mind a little controversy either. When they were throwing all that stuff out there, it made me smile and laugh. I wanted to enjoy it. I actually stopped so they could throw it on me and hit the car. And then I did a burnout to spit as many cans out the back of the car that I possibly could."
DALE JR. SAID HE NEVER SAW THE CAUTION. DID YOU?
"I never saw a light. I couldn't tell you where the light is down there. But I wasn't looking for a light. I was trying to stay ahead of him. I don't know how they decide. I went with the decision last week that I didn't necessarily feel was the right one, and I'm going to go with the one this week that happens in my favor and I'm going to say it's the right one."
DO YOU FEEL THE NORMAL JEFF GORDON FAN IS BETTER BEHAVED?
"Well, let's just say this. My fans are drinking Pepsi. They're not drinking Budweiser. So that automatically puts them in a different position when it comes to decision-making."
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE INITIAL CALL?
"I knew I was ahead of him when they said the wreck happened. And then it seemed like there was a long pause before my spotter said they had thrown the caution. I wondered right then why they waited so long to throw the caution. We would have been ahead of him right then. When they went back and reviewed the tape, they must have felt like the caution was thrown right as the wreck was happening or right after. When I first heard that the No. 8 was ahead of the No. 24, it could have gone either way really. With the HANS device and head supports we have, it's hard to look over and know whether you're ahead or not ahead. So I just accepted it and hoped we'd go back green."
ON NASCAR'S FEELINGS THAT ONE-LAP SHOOTOUTS AT DAYTONA AND TALLADEGA ARE DANGEROUS
"I absolutely agree with that. This is a unique place where the restrictor plates are involved and we are three and four-wide. It's nothing but trouble. You saw how hairy it was out there today. We certainly didn't need to add to that."