Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS met with members of the media and discussed racing at The Glen (including fuel mileage, the new generation car, two-stop strategies, and how he likes road racing), whether or not the Chase should include a road...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS met with members of the media and discussed racing at The Glen (including fuel mileage, the new generation car, two-stop strategies, and how he likes road racing), whether or not the Chase should include a road course race, on his strategy leading into the Chase, on starting the Sonoma road race from the back, Jimmie Johnson's recent performance, how becoming a father has changed his life, Ray Evernham's new business partner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. joining HMS in '08, the threat of Juan Pablo Montoya, and whether or not a single car team can survive with the many recent mergers
Select quotes from driver interview:
DO YOU HAVE THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT WATKINS GLEN IN THE NEW IMPALA SS RACE CAR? "Not necessarily. It's going to be a trial and error. We don't get the chance to test here, so we don't have the exact information that we really truly need. I think a lot of teams tested at either VIR or Road Atlanta but there are definitely some big differences between those tracks and this one that in a short period of time have to tune it in. We definitely weren't where we needed to be in practice for qualifying. So we're going to make the best of it and hopefully get it right tomorrow."
DOES THE COT NEGATE SOME OF THE EXPERIENCE FACTOR? "I think it does a lot of things. With the old car, you had notes and if you had success, you could just go off those notes and build on them trying to make things better. Now, you basically start from scratch. So experience definitely is not going to play as much of a role. I think if you're a good road racer. But I also think that this car really equals out the competition. So, let's say here in the past, I've had some great races with Ron Fellows and Scott Pruett and those guys. In the past, I would say that our cars are probably a little bit better, but in this situation, I think that those guys could possibly really shine because they've got a lot of laps here. They're good here. And the cars don't have as much of an advantage as what maybe we had in the past."
WILL THE SMALLER FUEL CELLS HAVE AN IMPACT ON STRATEGY? "It's just like what we saw at VIR. I think a lot of eyes got opened up at Sonoma as to what the pit strategy can and should be. I would imagine you're going to see a lot of that same thing play out here that you're going to see guys trying to figure out how to do this on a two-stop strategy."
ON RISK VERSUS REWARD GOING INTO THE CHASE, DO YOU CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY? "We've been trying to go for wins ever since the start of the season. It's not that you try to go for wins any harder, you just are in a position to take more risk to maybe get those wins. It's one of those things that its risk versus reward. When you're trying to make it into the Chase, the risk isn't worth it. When you're locked in the Chase, or pretty much into the Chase, they the risk could be worth it. So, yeah, you'll definitely see us, when it comes to pit strategy, taking some bigger risks.
Our goal right now is to get our cars working better and faster and just experimenting and doing things that really take our whole team to the next level. And we're just always looking for more speed. So we've got the ability by going out there and trying a few more things, to try and find that speed."
HOW HAS BECOMING A FATHER CHANGED YOUR LIFE? "I've joined the club. I didn't realize that there is no initiation other than going through childbirth and changing diapers and all that stuff. It's been amazing. I definitely look at the world in a different way than I used to and all for the good. Sure, it has a lot of challenges, but I wouldn't change anything. It's been an amazing experience. And I think in a lot of ways it makes me more excited about being here at the track and doing what I do and (being) more passionate about racing. I'll admit there's been times when racing has burned me out a little bit. And while the schedule is a little hectic with the lack of sleep that I'm getting at home, when I get to the race track I'm more into it and I'm more excited and the drive is probably there more than it's ever been."
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE ROBBY GORDON'S INCIDENT AT THE MONTREAL BUSCH RACE AND SUBSEQUENT PENALTIES "In those situations, there is no perfect scenario. It was unfortunate that things didn't get handled a little bit differently from the beginning of that. And then it was even more unfortunate that Robby handled it the way he handled it. And it put NASCAR in a position to have no choice but to lay down that law and that penalty. I think that the real unfortunate thing is that Marcos Ambrose should have won that race. Here's a guys who has been coming along doing a great job. He's a great guy. The way he handled himself through that situation was as classy as I've ever seen anybody handle a situation. Robby is Robby. None of the things he did surprised me. And he's not going to change. It's just unfortunate that that situation happened the way it did. Call it karma. I don't know. You can call it whatever you want to call it. The penalties didn't have anything to do with what originally happened. And you know what? NASCAR makes judgment calls every weekend. And there are judgme nt calls in baseball, basketball, football; you have referees and those are judgment calls. It's unfortunate that sometimes those can change the outcome of an event or a race. But they've got to make them the best they can. And they make mistakes, but they do a pretty good job the majority of the time. And as competitors, we make mistakes sometimes too. I think that NASCAR pays the penalty in the media when they make a mistake; and we pay the penalty through fines and suspensions and things like that when we make mistakes."
-credit: gm racing