Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet (Finished 3rd) "We made big gains for sure. I'm real proud of these guys for that effort. We had great pit stops. We just never gave up on it. Early on, I'll tell you what, I wouldn't have given us a shot at...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet (Finished 3rd)
"We made big gains for sure. I'm real proud of these guys for that effort. We had great pit stops. We just never gave up on it. Early on, I'll tell you what, I wouldn't have given us a shot at a top 20. We kept fighting on it and fighting with the car and we finally got it pretty decent there and got some good track position. I'm really proud of Robbie (Loomis, crew chief) and all the guys on this DuPont Chevrolet. That's the type of effort it's going to take for us to win this championship."
HIS THOUGHTS ON THE RACE
"It was a pretty up and down day for us. We started off great. We started off driving to the front. Then the next couple of runs we were way off and were really struggling. I was pretty happy to stay on the lead lap and be able to make some adjustments. Robbie (Loomis) and those guys in the pits did a great job. It was a great fight for us. Team effort wise I couldn't have been more happy with the way things turned out for us to come home third. Because that team effort we did come home third. We weren't as good as we really needed to be. There were times when we were but not consistently enough. I thought that maybe I could give Mark (Martin) a run for his money there at the end on that last re-start. Today was one of the worst I've seen with aeropush here. We had to set the car up so loose to run behind somebody. If you didn't get around somebody or they got away from you, it was just a handful. We fought that most of the day and especially there at the end."
WHAT WILL YOU FOCUS ON NEXT WEEK GOING TO TALLADEGA?
"Obviously we have some momentum from our two restrictor plate runs. As good as our program is and as good as our cars are, we're going to be doing the same thing as Mark is going from the front to the back, front to the back. It's Talladega. That's the nature of Talladega. You can say you're going to try to stay out of trouble but usually it's out of your control anyway. You're just along for the ride there and hope you make that surge to the front there at the end when it really counts. I feel good about our performance and how well our car is going to run but that doesn't guarantee anything."
IT'S BEEN SAID THAT IT TAKES CONSISTENT TOP FIVES TO WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP. WILL YOU DO THAT AND HOW?
"I agree. Top fives, what more can you ask for than top fives every weekend? That would do it. We talked about if you have one bad race , you're out of it. But if Ryan Newman does what he did today anymore then he'll be right back in the thick of things. You can afford to have a bad weekend if you can come back and dominate like that. Other than that, I think it's absolutely about consistency. Ten races are a lot of races believe it or not. We finished seventh last week, third this week and we're leading the points right now. That pretty much says it right there."
EIGHT OUT OF TEN DRIVERS IN THE CHASE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP ARE IN THE TOP TEN FOR TODAYS RACE. IS THERE ANYTHING TO THAT?
"I think so. That's why they're in the top ten in points. I think what you're seeing happen at this point in the season is everybody is in their groove. Everybody's got their stuff together. The guys that are in the top ten should be the best right now going into these last ten races. You normally see that late in the season anyway. The guys that are top ten in points are the guys usually the guys that are battling for the wins. Everybody in the top ten have won a race this year. That says something for itself right there. I would think just about every weekend, other than a couple surprises that will be thrown in there, you're going to see guys in the top ten up there battling for those top ten spots. Then some guys are going to hit on some things and put together a race where they battle those top ten guys. I think that's why they're at where they're at in the points."
HOW BAD IS THE PIT ROAD ENTRANCE?
"I would just comment that it is a very very difficult entrance no matter where those cones are at. It's a tough entrance. It certainly would be nice to make some improvements there but it is the same as it's always been. Now the cones are moved back. I think the cones are moved back for a reason. If they were further up there, guys would still be trying to challenge it. It gives them a little bit more flat area to be able to slow it down. Knowing that they're back there means you've got to be more conservative. You can't take changes there. It's not worth it. Certain tracks you really attack the entrance of pit road. Certain tracks you can't. This is one that I don't even try. I get out of everybody's way. I slow down. I'm like Mark. I'm at granny pace when I get on to pit road. I know I get beat there on the green flag stops but I'd rather get beat there than lose the race or a shot at the championship."
ON LAST WEEK'S SEVENTH PLACE FINISH AND BATTLING BACK TO THIRD PLACE TODAY
"I do feel fortunate. That's for sure because I don't think it's been our best two efforts. I know that we've got to step it up a notch. I'd like to think that we got a notch to step up with. I'm somewhat excited and optimistic about tracks that are coming up that we can do that at. At the same time we recognize that we got beat out there today."
SHOULD ELECTRONIC TIMING BE USED AFTER THE INCIDENT WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON BEING CALLED FOR SPEEDING ON PIT ROAD?
"If you don't have anything nice to say, you're not supposed to say anything at all. Right? Regardless whether there is a championship on the line, they need to go to a totally different system on pit road. I can't believe we're doing it the way we're doing. I've been questioning it for years. I'm not a big fan of it. I sit there and try to hold myself at the pit road speed they tell me I'm supposed to be running or I pace myself on the pace truck and I see guys running 700 rmp over what I'm running and not getting a thing. And then Jimmie gets it today. I have no idea how they're going about that, how they could possibly keep track of all those cars pit road, who's speeding, who's not? I'm certainly not in favor of how it's being done."
"There's no way you can change anything now. The answers that I get are that they don't feel confident in the systems in place to be able to do that. I don't know. I don't know if they're checking into it or what the deal is."
"It is high-tech. I'm hearing that they're concerned with those type of electronics being in the car that there is possible ways to hide traction controls and other things like that. There's got to be a way to do it. There's got to be a better way than we're doing it now. I hope they look into it."