ROBBY GORDON , NO. 7 HARRAH'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO PRESS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS (CAN YOU COMMENT ON QUALIFYING FOR THIS WEEKEND?) "Everybody's pretty aware of--we're starting to learn this top 36 thing. What there's trying to do is protect...
, NO. 7 HARRAH'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO
PRESS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
(CAN YOU COMMENT ON QUALIFYING FOR THIS WEEKEND?)
"Everybody's pretty aware of--we're starting to learn this top 36 thing. What there's trying to do is protect people that compete with them week in and week out. Unfortunately we got hung out on that down in Daytona. It's not that we weren't competitive and didn't make the show. We ran third for 25 or 30 laps of the 150, finished 7th and we loaded up our stuff and went home. To be honest with you, as tough as it was, when we missed the show there, the guys went straight back and started getting ready for here. We came out and we tested Las Vegas and California and had very good tests at both those places. I believe we were about seven tenths off the quickest time here at California and Menard Engineering has gone back to work and we're bringing 55 more horsepower here than we had before. So, we're pretty confident that we'll be in good shape. I could have won either one of these two California races last year driving the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet for RCR, and obviously I paid attention to what they did, what we did, and still have a lot of that stuff that we can build on. We can be competitive when we roll out here in a couple of hours."
(CAN YOU ADDRESS SPECIFICALLY THE ISSUE OF QUALIFYING SETUP FOR YOUR CAR?)
"I did miss that a little bit. And when we were here testing, we worked on race setup. And, we just put tape on it and made our one-turn-at-each-corner adjustments that we could, and that's what we ran when we were here testing.
"So, we did that a lot in the Busch Series last year, which was the Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet. We won races and were very competitive with that. We're used to this rule already and we found things that we can do to make the car comfortable when you put tape on it, and then pull the tape off and have it still be comfortable in race trim. You know, they allow you--I think it's a one and one in each corner. Or one in each corner and one and a half in the rears and one in the fronts. You can raise the trackbar two rounds, you can do air pressure and you can pull tape off. The biggest thing is that when you go from race setups into qualifying setups, you put tape on it and the thing usually gains a lot of front downforce. So, it's just trying to find out where the wedge is and how to get the car comfortable so you can get through the corner. But then, be able to change back with just a few adjustments to be a race car as well. That will help us, being in a Busch car that did those type of things last year. I think we impounded at five events that we competed in last year in the Busch Series, so we've got a little bit of a head start on that."
(YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL GETTING LARGE SPONSORS WHILE SOME TEAMS STRUGGLE TO GET A SPONSOR FOR THE SEASON. DO YOU SELL YOURSELF CHEAP?)
"I think the first thing, when we go to sell sponsorship, like the situation with Harrah's, there's a certain expense that we have to operate and compete at the top level. And I can tell you, the sponsorship from Harrah's and the ones that we're going to announce next weekend, and then we're going to announce another one in a couple more weeks. We have about five or six big companies that support us, and we are not cheap. You get what you pay for and that's the way when we go out to sell these things, we present it to the sponsor (like that) as well. One thing about it, any way you look at it over the past three years, we've been able to generate a lot of exposure. We've been a top-seven guy for the past three years in exposure ratings and performance; we've won races and been competitive. And John's been doing a good job of getting me all teed up. When I step up to the plate I can knock one out of the park."
(CAN YOU ADDRESS THE PENALTY YOU GOT FOR THE INTAKE MANIFOLD?)
"The intake manifold penalty was really why we missed the whole Daytona 500. When we got that intake taken away, the heads were made to a spec that matched that intake manifold and when we had a legal one that we tried to put on, there was not a smooth transition under the heads. And we missed it by maybe 10 horsespower with the non-smooth transition in there. I was fortunate enough that Dale Jr. and the guys at DEI helped me out and got me a motor that was very good. I can look back at it and say that I had an opportunity to win the 150, but I was content running third, I was so happy that we were just able to stay there and stick to Jeff Burton like we did. I never anticipated to be getting loosened up in the middle of the corner and have to save the car.
"And that's all it took, three laps from the end, he got to my back bumper, moved me up the race track, when you move up the race track, the line closed up on the bottom, I couldn't get moved back down and I finished seventh. I think the team's good, I think the cars are good and we'll find out in the next three weeks when we start heading to different race tracks besides speedways."