JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD FACEBOOK CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 2ND: ON HIS LAP "I'm really excited. This team is on a roll. They are putting awesome race cars out on the track for me every weekend and making it a joy. And I'm...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD FACEBOOK CHEVROLET -- QUALIFIED 2ND:
ON HIS LAP
"I'm really excited. This team is on a roll. They are putting awesome race cars out on the track for me every weekend and making it a joy. And I'm looking forward to going to every race, you know and every track. That was the case today.
"We made a bunch of race runs like everybody else did in that first practice. We put it into qualifying trim and the car was pretty good. We made some really great adjustments for qualifying and a little bit of extra grip. We drew a great number and laid down a great lap. There were a couple of little things I felt like I could have done. The car was better than I was, so I think I could have done a couple of things to maybe have gotten Jamie (McMurray, poll winner). When you're that close, within a hundredth of a second, then you start looking at things you could do better. But I'm very pleased to be second."
IS THE TRACK WITH THE NEW PAVEMENT ACTUALLY TOUGHER THAN WITH THE OLD PAVEMENT?
"The old track had a tremendous amount of grip for one lap. So when you went out to qualify, you picked up so much speed based on practice because you could just really go for it for one lap. Here, even today in qualifying you're going for it but you know that edge is right there. And it makes it pretty hairy when you are trying to make qualifying runs in the heat of the day or you're making these race runs, that edge is just so close and it's such a fine line that it's a lot easier to go over and we're carrying a lot more speed as well. So, it's certainly nothing like it used to be. And the pace used to just drop, drop, drop, and drop. Now, the pace doesn't really drop."
DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PRIZE AT THE END, OR IS EVERY RACE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING AND YOU DON'T REALLY THINK ABOUT IT?
"In the old point system you thought about it race to race. But with the new system, you're trying to get bonus points. You're just trying to get wins and then salvage what you can if you can't get the win because you know you've got to be in the top 12. In a way, you're always thinking about the championship. But I think you think a lot more about being more aggressive with the type of racing we have now. Cars are closer than they've ever been so track position is important. You've got green-white-checkered and double-file restarts and then you've got the bonus points to win for the championship. And you've got to be in the top 12. So it's quite a bit different. In the past, I wouldn't mind just a top five. Right now, we want and need wins to be where we really feel like we need to be to go win the championship."
HAS THERE BEEN ANY PROGRESS ON (CREW CHIEF) STEVE LETARTE'S CONTRACT YET?
"Oh, would you guys (the media) settle down! It was a week ago that Chad (Knaus) and Alan (Gustafson) signed and nobody was asking any questions about Stevie. And now all of a sudden it's like they are signed so why isn't Steve signed? He's going to be signed. Everything is going really good. He and I are getting along and doing better than we ever have and his commitment to this team is showing every weekend just how good he is and that's not going to change. So, if I was trying to get him signed he would have been signed already. It's a process that goes on at Hendrick Motorsports and I'm not really involved with it."
ON COMMUNICATING WITH STEVE LETARTE
"It's confidence in one another and seeing the commitment from one another. It's important for me to step up and show my commitment from how much time I spend with him talking about things and the engineers and the team as well as being in the gym and doing all the things that you have to do to show that you're going to give as much as the team is giving and that Steve is giving, and vice-versa with him as well. And that's what builds your communication because that is ultimately the most important thing."
-source: gm racing