JEFF GORDON , NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (finished second): HOW WOULD YOU RATE BOBBY'S PASS ON YOU AT THE END? "I don't normally rate passes. I figure if they make it and they win the race, then it must be pretty darn good. That's what...
JEFF GORDON , NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (finished second):
HOW WOULD YOU RATE BOBBY'S PASS ON YOU AT THE END? "I don't normally rate passes. I figure if they make it and they win the race, then it must be pretty darn good. That's what happened. He didn't do anything I wouldn't have done, that's for sure. I thought it was a great move."
AFTER FOUR RACES WHAT KINDS OF TRENDS DO YOU SEE DEVELOPING? "It's hard to tell with what happened today because guys that have run good here in the past ran good today, I feel like. A lot of them just happened to be in Chevrolets. But, Kenseth has been real strong everywhere and so he ran good today. I don't really see a trend, yet. I think it's maybe a little bit too early to tell. I'm looking forward to the cars going to the wind tunnel and see what they find there. I always like to look at the facts instead of what just happens on the racetrack. Obviously, I was happy with the car today. I've been happy with it every weekend and just haven't had the good fortune to get up there and battle for wins like we were able to today. But, I haven't really put my finger on the trend yet because Kenseth was so strong last weekend and then the Chevrolets seemed to be pretty good today."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR. , NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (finished third):
ON THIS BEING A 'DIFFERENT' CAR TODAY "I was just saying that the setup we had underneath the car was something really crazy. I didn't have a lot of confidence in it. I don't think anybody has ever won a race in the history of NASCAR with the setup we had under there. I kept joking with Tony [Eury] Jr. that 'it wasn't going to work, it wasn't going to work.'
"But, it ended up working out all right. Everything we had in the car from last year and the previous top fives and top 10s we'd got - this has always been a good track for us; we've always led and run good here - but, it wouldn't work. All that other stuff wouldn't work. I don't know why. But, we got it driving really good. I was really happy with it all day long. I was just a little too tight in the center."
ARE YOU SURPRISED WITH YOUR FINISH AFTER A TOUGH COUPLE DAYS? "I am. Like I said, I didn't have no confidence in what we were going to do today. What we had in the car for qualifying is what we qualified second with many times here and won the pole before, and it was awful. The bodies on the car are just so much different now that we had to just really to several extremes.
"It runs along the lines of what we've heard a lot of the Fords and Dodges have run here in the past - some of the stuff that we just couldn't imagine running or couldn't run under our cars in the past. We're able to put those under our cars now and just see better results. But, I'm real surprised. It was a good effort for us all day. I thought Matt was going to beat us there at the end. We were able to get him there on that restart and kind of just hung out there in third, best I could."
WHO MADE THE FINAL CALL ON THE SETUP?) "You get to a point where nothing seems to be working. We changed a lot of things in practice. It just gets to the point where you're frustrated. You keep putting things in there and they don't seem to help the car. But, I still knew that practice and the race were two different things. It was sunny today. It was cool yesterday. You've got the Hoosier rubber from the ARCA race - all these things that make the cars run a little different. So, I was definitely counting on the car to spin out getting off into one on the first lap, but it drove pretty good."
DO YOU FEEL YOU'RE BACK ON TRACK THIS SEASON? "At four races into the season, if there is a person that's on track at this point they're a pretty damn good team. But, I feel like these are the finishes we need. It sure helps us in the points and get a lot of people off my back, I'll tell you that."
DOES THIS GET YOU BACK ON TRACK? "Absolutely. The first have been disappointing for us, not in the way we've run, not in the way we've performed - just in the way we've finished. I know how good this team and I know if we just keep our heads up high and keep digging, working hard, that the good finishes will come. I'm just thankful that it came now and not too far down the road. This will definitely give us some momentum to go into Darlington."
ON THE PROGRESS OF THE TEAM AND ITS PERFORMANCE "The cars are really driving good. They started driving a lot better the middle part of last year."
"We found some things and built some new cars that really were a lot better than the things we were driving. I look forward to running really good all year long, for the majority of the season. Hopefully, that will be enough to win a championship. The guys on pit road are very good. They're very fast. They've shown that on several occasions. They've just still have a little bit of 'getting used to each other' to do and a little bit of gelling, and I think they'll be really on top of their game."
WAS YOUR SETUP TODAY SOMETHING THAT YOUR TEAM FIGURED OUT BY JUST THROWING THINGS AT IT? "There is a formula that the engineers use that will tell you about the current setup that you have and you shoot for certain numbers and equations and percentages through that formula that tells you that your setup shouldn't be too bad. What we had under the car today was really something we had never run before. Jeff [Gordon] just told me he was running it, too, today so I don't know if it was something that we had just never run before. But, it was just really, really big front bars and stuff like that, that I wouldn't have put a lot of faith in. But, it drove good. I was really surprised. The staying power is the biggest thing. What we've always had trouble with was being consistent for a long run and being fast for a long run. We've really been that way here in the past and we were today. I thought we had a really good car on long runs."
MOST DRIVERS SAY THAT THEIR CONFIDENCE COMES FROM THEIR BUTT - WHAT THEY FEEL...HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOUR BUTT TO FEEL CONFIDENT TODAY? "My butt was feeling pretty confident after about two laps and it took about another lap for it to register in my brain.
"When you drive down into that first corner you get the message right away whether you've got a great car, a loose car, a tight car. You can feel it in the car - wherever you're touching the seat - your back and everything. You're not driving with just your eyes and thoughts. Your driving with touch and feel, too, so it didn't take too long for me to get confident in the car. But, the thing is I didn't think it would stay. I thought it would maybe be fast for a few laps and then it would plow, start pushing, go away and go backwards. We saw a lot of cars do that today."
DOES YOUR PIT CREW STILL NEED SOME IMPROVEMENT? "No, not really. We've got really good guys. We've made wholesale changes over the winter and you can't go changing anything now. And, I don't think anything happened today that warrants even any kind of discussion about it. People make mistakes. I make mistakes. I make mistakes on the track all the time. They're going to have falters on pit road, but I think when it comes down to it they're going to be able to get the job done. Tony [Eury] Jr. was a really good tire changer and he retired, and he's doing a better job on top of the pit box. Mine and his relationship is a lot more at ease because he is not under so much pressure in the pits. He's able to kind of see the whole race unfold. He's a little more understanding toward me and he's a little more easier to get along with myself.
"The guys going over the wall are great. I've got a lot of confidence in them. We had good stops, we had bad stops, but we didn't have any terrible ones like we've had in the past."