JEFF GORDON , NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS: "It was pretty good. Any time you come here to Bristol and you improve your practice time, it is usually a good day. The track temperature went up, so the track was pretty slick. I don't think anybody was...
JEFF GORDON , NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS:
"It was pretty good. Any time you come here to Bristol and you improve your practice time, it is usually a good day. The track temperature went up, so the track was pretty slick. I don't think anybody was going to touch Carl (Edwards), that was one heck of a lap he put up there. All the things we were fighting in practice, we adjusted on. The DuPont Chevrolet team did a great job with that. To make our lap perfect, I probably got just a little bit greedy on the throttle down in three and four. The car rotated for me better than it had in practice and I tried to get a little bit too much of it and the backend started to come around so I had to ease out of it a little bit. But a great run, top three, that is always a great way to start the weekend here at Bristol."
ARE WE GOING TO START SEE MORE BUMPING AGAIN HERE AT BRISTOL?
"No, I think we need to get used to having great racing being side-by-side racing not wreck-one-another racing. To me, the racing is way better now here than it has ever been. There is not as many guys losing their patience and running over the top of guys or guys trying to block and chop a guy from getting a run, which is part of the excitement that has built over the years here at Bristol. I think it is just a little bit different mindset. Now we have more room to race on. I think that getting your car working right is tough because you can get inside of a guy, you might even be able to get outside a guy, but to complete the pass is really tricky. To get the car to feel right is tough. I think there is going to be action and there is still going to be bumping and banging, but you aren't going to see it like it was before because it isn't a one groove race track anymore. To me that was the problem with the track before, but, maybe the fans like that. I think the fans like to see a great race. I think it was a Nationwide race here and even the first Cup race here, to me I saw some of the greatest battles in racing that I have ever seen. And yet, people were still complaining that there wasn't enough action meaning I guess that there wasn't enough sparks flying and tempers flaring. Who knows, every race is going to bring something different. Sometimes there might be more of those things happen, we'll see. I think you are going to see more of the same, great racing."
IS THE NEW CAR GETTING EASIER TO SETUP AND DRIVE HERE?
"Yes, I think we are always making improvements to the car. We are always learning. But you have to understand, the tire is different this week. I don't know if people know that, but it is. It has got more grip. I have never seen this much rubber laid down on the track this early in the weekend as we have now, which is a good thing! This tire runs really good for the first few laps, but really falls off. I definitely like that, as long as we don't have any wear issues, which I don't think we are going to have that, especially with as much rubber is on the track. Yes, give me as much grip and fall off as possible. I think that only brings our team and our types of setups and my style of driving to the front, hopefully anyway."
CAN YOU DESCRIBE IF YOU ARE DRIVING A LOOSER CAR THAN THE OLD CAR WAS?
"The biggest thing we are challenged with this car is getting it to rotate the middle of the corner. It just sits on those front bump stops and the front end just doesn't work quite as good dealing with less front downforce, so you really have to free the car up. That is why you see the cars dog tracking and all these funky things that we are doing in the rear to try to get the car to rotate. The only way to run fast with this car is to be pretty free through the middle of the corners. When you do that, you aren't going to have a real comfortable car in or on the exit. With the old car, we had some more tools where you could have a pretty significant amount of grip in the car in the rear and get the front end to turn. That is what we don't have and what we have all been challenged with this car. Those are the things we are learning and trying to make better, to figure out how to get the speed, just not going to be as comfortable, but that is how you go faster."
-credit: gm racing