Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet (On the pole) (ON BREAKING THE TRACK QUALIFYING RECORD) "Goodyear changes tires. Teams increase power and increase downforce every year. We pretty much knew the track record would go to the wayside. I say...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet (On the pole)
(ON BREAKING THE TRACK QUALIFYING RECORD) "Goodyear changes tires. Teams increase power and increase downforce every year. We pretty much knew the track record would go to the wayside. I say this every weekend how shocked I am to be here, but I am. We were putting out our best effort today like we do every weekend and were the fourth or fifth place car. It was by a few tenths. I didn't know how we would find that speed. We never stopped focusing on what we could do to get the balance of the car a little better, to get the car a little bit more comfortable. I was struggling a little bit through three and four all day today. I had one and two down pretty good. The late number certainly helped up especially with the delays. The track temperature came down. The adjustments that Robbie (Loomis) and these guys made after we talked were great adjustments. I went into three coming to the green and the car stuck like glue. I really put the gas pedal down fast and hard and it did what I wanted it to do. I knew that it was one of those laps that you hold on tight and hope that sticks because you know you get a car that is capable of getting the pole if you can hit your marks. We hit our marks. We got through one and two and followed that up by getting the car really good through three and four. I knew it was a good lap and I hoped that it was since I couldn't make a second one. I shut the engine off and came in. I knew we had to watch out for a few more laps."
(ON WHAT THE TEAM IS DOING TO PERFORM SO CONSISTENTLY) "It's no secret that our engine department has really picked up. We had our problem at Michigan but they feel very confident. With each week that we sit on another pole, that we win another race, the confidence level continues to get higher and higher. When the driver comes in, he is the computer and information to the team. The team is the fix and the ones to make the adjustments to make it do what you need it to do. All they can go off of is what you say. All you can go off of is what they do to it. Whatever I say the car is doing, they look at me an say 'absolutely.' They don't question. My confidence level in them goes right back up. The results are showing."
(ON DRIVERS PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME) "I'm certainly a little bit concerned with that right now. We needed to get on this type of streak to keep ourselves in the top ten in points. We were falling back and found ourselves sixth in points. We needed to get on this type of run to do that. It kind of exceeded our expectations. I knew we were capable of winning races, top fives and consistently finishing up there, but I had no idea we were getting on to this kind of streak. I wanted to be on this kind of streak coming into the last ten races, but I don't know if there's any reason why we shouldn't be able to maintain. It goes further than good cars and confidence with one another. You've got to have the good fortune and the good karma. I hope we can have this type of run in the last ten. This is what it's going to take to win the championship and it's what we we're doing right now. Right now it doesn't matter whether we do this other than staying in the top ten and having a lot of fun."
(ON HIM AND ROBBIE PERFECTING COMMUNICATION OVER TIME) "From the first time that I talked to Robbie on the phone about the job, there was something that I liked about him. We talked at length on the phone before we hired Robbie about how I go about analyzing or giving information on the car and how he goes about making the adjustments. I liked the answers that he had. I think he liked the way I described the car. What Ray (Everham) and I had, we had from the Busch Series and we transferred over to the Cup Series and it was very good. I think it did take a little bit of time for Robbie and I to get to that level. Even with Ray it was easy to break down at times. Robbie and I go through the same things. I think the one thing that Robbie and I have that Ray and I had is respect for one another. That is what keeps the longevity of it together is when you respect one another. You know you're going to go through good times and tough times and you're always going to be there for one another and working hard to get it back or maintain it."
(WERE YOU EVER ON A STREAK LIKE THIS?) "I know it's the first time I've ever won four poles in a row. I've been very fortunate to have some good streaks along the way. This one is pretty amazing right now. I look at this sport and how competitive it is and how difficult it is to win. I was talking with Dave Burns (NBC) and he said I remember this time last year we were trying to figure out when you were going to win a race. It's pretty funny how things go up and down. I just want to try and maintain this one as long as I can."
(ON CHEERS FROM THE FANS) "We have a huge fan base but you don't always see it depending on where in the country we are. Out in Sonoma I've never heard so many people cheer for me but I'm from there. I can win the pole in Charlotte or Talladega and probably not get that kind of applause. I can't hear them. I can only hear from crew chief tell me how good I am. It's the look in the eyes of the guys on the team that you really focus and strive on. Those are the heart and soul and what goes on week in and week out. You learn how to respect to their opinion because they're entitled to that, but you don't always put everything into what they're reaction is because in a lot of ways they're on the outside looking in."
(ON A PREVIOUS COMMENT FROM DARRELL WALTRIP) "I don't pay too much attention to what Darrell says. I love him. I think he does a great job. A lot of times I hear Darrell saying what he thinks what people want to hear or whatever kind of mood he's in. I know what motivates me and that's winning. I feel like I'm on top of my game but I don't think there's been any lighting bolt strike that has changed that."
(AS A TEAM OWNER DO YOU EXPECT THE SAME CONSISTENCY OF THE 48?) "You build expectations based on what you do out there. Because of great performances and the great team work and job that Jimmie and Chad have done, people expect more out of them. It's no surprise to me they've had the year they had but anything less would be a disappointment. It's the greatest way to be a car owner. You don't have to get involved. You just pat them on the back, say great job and they do."
(WOULD AN F1 CHAMPIONSHIP BE THE PINNACLE OF YOUR CAREER?) "Formula One is an amazing thing. I'm a big fan. It's know as the worldest greatest championship. The more that I've learned about racing, the more I realized the more far away that is. I've gotten myself into a position with Hendrick Motorsports that is very difficult to walk away from. I've made a commitment to Rick Hendrick as a partner, as an equity owner in the 24/48. I love where I'm at. I've got a group of guys that work extremely hard. They look up to me and I look up to them. I've had talks and interests there, but I've had no offers. Going to Formula One is one thing. Going to a competitive that can win is another thing. Winning the championship is whole different thing. The steps that it takes is beyond what anybody can imagine. I think that it's too late for that. I don't know if the opportunity is really even there because it hasn't been presented to me. Even if it was, me and Rick and would have blows over it. He and I have never fought in our entire 11 years we've been together. I really don't think it's a realistic thing."
(HAVE YOU REACHED YOUR PRIME?) "I don't know if I've reached my prime or not. I'm very comfortable with where I'm at in racing and life. I'm enjoying life. I'm enjoying driving the cars. There are times when youth can really pay off. I try to learn from that. It's hard to say. It comes and goes. There's time when I think I've reached my prime. There's time I think I'm passed my prime. There's times like today when I think I haven't gotten there yet."