JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: - finished 2nd TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY. "It was real good. The car was awesome right from the beginning. We drove by cars and drove up to the front. It was pretty frustrating at the beginning. We...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: - finished 2nd
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DAY.
"It was real good. The car was awesome right from the beginning. We drove by cars and drove up to the front. It was pretty frustrating at the beginning. We didn't pick a very good place on pit road. I was behind my teammate, Terry Labonte, who was running good, and in front of Tony Stewart, who was leading the race most of the day. I had to come in around Tony and then Terry would come in in front of me. That wasn't any fault of anyone, but it's just such a tight, narrow pit road that it was impossible for us to gain any positions on pit road. I hated to see Tony have his problems, but it certainly made my day come to life. We were able to get that track positions and those pit stops that we're capable of making. We were real good. There were times when we were better than Ryan, there were times when he was better than us. Jimmie [Johnson] ran well at times. Tony by far was the class of the field and was blowing everyone away. I thought we had a shot at winning, and I certainly took it on that last restart, but I got real, real tight on that last set of tires."
ANY COMMENTS ON THE WEATHER AND THE SLOW START?
"It was a little frustrating. The track was just changing constantly, because we were laying rubber down and guys were running all over the track trying to find a fast way around and move forward. You saw the track changing constantly, and trying to stay up with those conditions is tough. The rain was frustrating. Riding around and around under caution, once they drop the green, you want to keep going."
IS IT GREAT
TO WIN HERE IN DELAWARE, THE HOME OF DuPONT?
"Every time we come up here for this race, we have a big NASCAR Day up at Wilmington for DuPont and their employees. They're great and they have such a great group of employees and people that support us and provide us with everything we need to go out there and perform at this level. We didn't get a win, but we got the next best thing for them, so hopefully they're proud of that."
COMMENT ON RYAN NEWMAN'S DRIVING
"Ryan is very smooth and runs a great line. He has a great team behind him and he deserves to be in Victory Lane today. He did a good job. I feel like I made a mistake. My car was real tight, and I tried to go to the bottom when I could have gone to the top and possibly gone around him on the outside. Jeff Burton, I don't know what he was doing, but he was kind of holding both of us up. Ryan was sort of fighting with Jeff, and then we both got to fighting with him, and I chose the bottom. It was a mistake. My car was so tight, I just slid up into him with the front end. I couldn't really get on the gas and drive by him. If I had gone to the outside, I think I may have been able to get in front of him. I really believe if I had gotten in front of him, I don't think he could have gotten back by me."
IS IT SATISFYING TO HAVE SUCH A CLOSE BATTLE
AT THE END OF THE RACE?
"I race for those moments except when I'd be sitting in Victory Lane. I love battles like that, down to the finish. You have to realize, when you're sitting in my position, I'm in second and I'm looking at one car in front of me that I have to pass to try to win. I need to get the best restart I can, possibly get inside or outside of him, but I almost lost a position by doing that. I dived in there underneath Ryan and then Stewart got a run on both of us and almost got inside of me. It cost him a position. You're kind of protecting your position and at the same time you're trying to advance your position. It's a tough place to be. I would have much rather they just continued to go green and let the two of us battle it out with the traffic."
THOUGHTS ON JIMMIE JOHNSON'S EXIT?
"I knew he wasn't on the leader board, and I hadn't seen him. I knew I would see him if he was out there, because he runs so well here. He was loose all day long. Nobody drives a loose race car better than that guy. I don't know what happened. Somebody said he got sideways. There was a lot of different stuff on the track at that time, so it's hard to say what happened. I hate it for him because they were on a streak there."
BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE NARROW PIT ROAD. YOUR THOUGHTS?
"You would think that a track this size and with as much width as this track has, we would find a way to have a lot more room on pit road. It's not only narrow for us, it's dangerous for the guys who are pitting the cars. That's the only complaint I could see from today's race. I had a fit with pit road. I just think in today's world, it's not necessary for us to have these small pit roads, especially on a 1-mile race track."
YOU HAD A LITTLE BUMP WITH STERLING MARLIN. WHAT
"I definitely got into him, no doubt about it. I certainly didn't mean to. I don't know if I caught the apron or just got a big push. We were racing hard for position, and the front end just took off on me. I tried to stay out of him, but I just couldn't and I clipped him in the left rear. I'm sure he's mad, and I was mad when I got hit by him one time at Richmond. Hopefully, we'll get past it and move forward. He's not a guy that I really talk to a lot and he doesn't talk to me a lot, so I imagine we'll see each other on the race track again soon."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON TONY STEWART'S PENALTY?
"I don't know exactly what happened. If the right sides are outside the box, then it's a lap penalty. A penalty is a penalty. I didn't see the pit stop, and I don't know how he was out of the box. It's a shame, because he definitely had the car to beat today. For him to come back up there and still have a shot at winning after everything that happened to him tells you that he was by far the class of the field. I am much more concerned about how we get our car better to compete with him than I am about how he got a penalty."