JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- POLE WINNER: TALK ABOUT WINNING THE POLE: "I'm very excited. It's a great day. This team just did an awesome job today. The car was fast. Well, actually, the first couple of runs we were off a little...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- POLE WINNER:
TALK ABOUT WINNING THE POLE:
"I'm very excited. It's a great day. This team just did an awesome job today. The car was fast. Well, actually, the first couple of runs we were off a little bit. We made some adjustments and the car just came right to us. Goodyear brought a little bit different tire here this weekend, so we knew we were going to have to adjust a bit. And just great adjustments by Steve Letarte and this DuPont Chevrolet team. We ended practice with a positive note by putting down a good lap and being first on the board. Then we drew a good number and got a nice cloud and were able to capitalize on that and get a pole. Right now, momentum is important and we haven't had it on our side. We're still looking for that win and any positives that we can pull out of this season and get ourselves back into the Chase and this is a great way to do it in the second race of the Chase."
YOU ARE 99 POINTS BACK IN THE STANDINGS. IF YOU HIT SOMETHING, YOU COULD GET A BUNCH OF GOOD RACES. DOES YOUR TEAM HAVE A STREAK LIKE THAT IN YOU?
"I feel like we always have that in us. But when you haven't seen a real glimmer of that up until this point, and not trying to think too big or too far ahead, right now it's just getting the comfort and speed out of the car when we unload it off the truck. Or making adjustments that make improvements as we go through the day and the weekend. That's what I saw today.
"We unloaded in qualifying trim. The car was okay; it was a little loose. We made adjustments and made it better. By the end of practice I felt like we had the best car out there and we were able to back that up. To me, it's all about small victories. Right now for us and this team, we're certainly not out of the championship. We understand that. It's too early to ever count yourself out of that. And we're too good of a team to count ourselves out. We would never do that, mentally. But at the same time, we know that we came in behind and we've been getting out-performed all year long and we need to step it up in a big way to make those gains."
LAST WEEK YOU HAD TROUBLE IN THE PITS WITH ROBBY GORDON. HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT WHEN UNDER CAUTION YOU HAVE ALL THESE LAPPED CARS TO DEAL WITH?
"The Lucky Dog certainly has changed some of that. I'm always town on that subject. On pit road we had a little miscommunication. Well, not really a miscommunication. We were told that the No. 7 was coming in under that green flag run a lap later than us. And in Robby fashion, he decided not to listen to his crew chief and just come in on his own. So you deal with things like that all the time. But those lapped cars are also racing for position. When you take off and you're going, as much as you might not like it as a lead lap car, you understand because you've been in that position before and that those guys are racing for position. So while it's very frustrating, there is really nothing more that you can do except for as you get later in the race, maybe hope they are a little more considerate, or you just blast it down in there three wide and scare the heck out of them and hope they move out of the way. That's about the only option you have. It's frustrating. But I don't see how you do anything about it because there are times when you're on the flip side of that when you are one of those lapped cars trying to get that Lucky Dog or battle for position. And you've got to race hard for the whole race against those guys to get those positions because they are battling for top 35 or whatever it is that's just important to them as it is to the other guys."
DO YOU THINK WE'LL SEE IT GET TO THE POINT WHERE YOU HAVE DOUBLE-FILE RE-STARTS BUT LIKE THE START OF THE RACE WHERE LEADERS ARE UP FRONT AND LAPPED BEHND THEN. DO YOU THINK IT WILL GET TO THAT POINT NOW WHAT WE HAVE THE LUCKY DOG?
"That's wishful thinking. You can present it to NASCAR and see what they think about it. I don't know what to tell you. But I hear you loud and clear. In open-wheel racing like I did before I got to NASCAR, there was no Lucky Dog and if you got a lap down, you were pretty much done (laughs). So the lapped cars were never a part of the lead-lap group, but that's not the way it works in our sport, and for good reason. It's great entertainment. It keeps the cars bunched up. There are positives and negatives to it."
MENTALLY, IN A SEASON LIKE THIS WHEN YOU HAVEN'T WON, AT WHAT POINT DOES IT CHANGE FOR YOU TO BE THE GUY WHO PUMPS THE OTHER GUYS UP?
"It reached it prior to this weekend. I believe actions speak louder than words. You can give all the pep talks in the world. You can have somebody give the greatest speech, or you can give it yourself, but it doesn't make near as big of an impact as just going out there and doing it. I think your attitude plays a role, but I believe hard work in the right direction to get the car to go fast is the most important thing. My role has been how do I show this team how committed I am to getting this team back into victory lane to being in the Chase to being a threat for the championship? We had a test in Kentucky this week. I wasn't scheduled to be there. Brad Keselowski was going to drive the car. I was able to work my schedule around to be there and we tested until 9 p.m. over there on Wednesday night. It's things like that. It's going into the shop and showing up early for practice and then putting a big lap out there like we did today that to me, does a lot more than just going out there and trying to be a leader by saying all the right things. I don't know, maybe I'm just not good at all that. I'm better off just trying to make the car go fast and helping them win races as a team. I can tell you when you win, all of that stuff goes right out the window."
WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT ABOUT TODAY, SHOWING THAT YOU HAVE A FAST CAR OR GETTING THAT FIRST PIT STALL FOR SUNDAY?
"On Sunday it's going to be about the pit stall. But today, what I liked about it was the fact that we had a fast race car. It feels good. It's comfortable. It's doing what I want it to do. We made adjustments and they made the car better. That's just a great group team effort where the results speak for themselves. Tomorrow will be another step and test for the weekend to see what we are like for the race. We only made qualifying runs today. Tomorrow will be the big test to see what we're like for Sunday."
-credit: gm racing