JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Homestead Miami Speedway and discussed working with Jimmie Johnson, preparing for 2011 and other topics. HOW IS YOUR DAY AT HOMESTEAD GOING? "Going pretty ...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Homestead Miami Speedway and discussed working with Jimmie Johnson, preparing for 2011 and other topics.
HOW IS YOUR DAY AT HOMESTEAD GOING? "Going pretty good. Surprisingly actually we're up toward the top of the time sheet, which I was pretty happy about. I hope we can keep it that way. We drew an early number, but we just focus on qualifying so far. We've got a new car here with a few new ideas that we're trying out and so far, so good."
WHAT KIND OF THINGS CAN YOU DO TO HELP JIMMIE JOHNSON? "I think the best thing we can do to contribute is have a fast race car so we can tell them the things that we're doing that are working well and help them have a better race car for the race. They seem to be running pretty good as well. There's very little we can do other than that. Obviously if we're running in 10th or 12th position and they need a position or two, then you do what you can there to help them. Not a whole lot other than that. We've done quite a bit already and we'll do what we can. I don't know if there's a whole lot more we can do."
DO YOU THINK IT WILL PLAY INTO THE RACE THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON HAS ALWAYS HAD A COMFORTABLE LEAD COMING TO THIS RACE? "It could. I think the fact that they're trailing and they're going to have to push hard, they're going to have to be smart and it starts here on qualifying day. Those guys are incredible at getting results when they need them most. I would never count them out."
IS THERE A LEVEL OF DIPLOMACY AMONG DRIVERS IN A RACE LIKE THIS? "I don't think anybody wants to go to victory lane or win a championship or finish further up in the points by doing something stupid and something that you're going to wish you hadn't done. If that's what you're talking about. Other than that, I think it's about racing hard, working hard to get the positions on and off pit road and having a fast race car and earning those spots and those points."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ALL THREE CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS SAYING THEY WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO WIN? "I think that those guys are hoping that they don't get put to the full challenge of finding out what whatever is because the definition of whatever in my book might be different than theirs. I think that you've got a lot of people out here still trying to win races, still have their own agenda to try to get as high up in the points as they can. A championship is a lot on the line and I don't think too many guys out there want to get in the way of that, but if you're talking about winning a race, guys are going to work hard to win a race. We're one of those guys. We're going to do everything we can to stay out of the middle of the championship and do our job and be the best we can to try to win the race. We will evaluate each situation as we go throughout the race."
WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU WANT TO THE SPORT? "You tell me what the fans want changed and I'll tell you if I agree with it or not."
DO YOU THINK EXPERIENCE IN THE CHASE IS HELPFUL? "We haven't won it so I can't say that we've really got a strategy that works for us. I look at the 48 (Jimmie Johnson) and the guys that have won it and they've just been fast and are a great race team. The strategy that works in my opinion is have a great race team and go out there and win races."
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER ADVENTURE? "Trying to travel across the country with a three year old is an adventure, I can tell you that. I guess I look at racing as my job, it's adventurous so when I'm being adventurous, probably scuba diving or looking at doing something I've never done before whether it be skydiving or rock climbing or trying to run a marathon or a bike race. A lot of things out there that I would love to do that I never get the chance or opportunity to do and maybe one day that will happen."
DO YOU THINK DRIVERS SHOULD LEARN TO NOT PANIC? "I think none of us should ever panic. It doesn't matter whether you're a race car driver or not -- panic is the first thing that gets you in trouble. Staying calm and cool under pressure, that's how you handle adversity in situations and get through them. You don't have to be a race car driver to do that."
DO YOU REACH A POINT AS A DRIVER TO SCALE BACK THINGS IN YOUR LIFE? "Especially when you start to have a family, I think it really kicks in because you look at how valuable your time is and how important it is to spend time with your family. You can go out there and work, work, work, work and work to try to capitalize on the opportunities while they're there, but there becomes a point where peace of mind and enjoying and relaxing and enjoying your time becomes important. I think when you're young like most of us, we feel like, let's take advantage of it. As you get a little bit older, you start thinking about which ones are important and just being a little more efficient with your time and enjoying your time to yourself or with your family more."
CAN REDUCING THE CLUTTER IMPROVE YOUR RACING? "It can. I think sometimes it's important to have distractions to keep you from over thinking things. Shoot, I've built houses, I've had projects and gotten myself into business situations. I think those kinds of distractions can be good and positive, but being well-rested, I think that's probably the best thing you can have and those are things that I cherish these days is really getting my rest. I feel like I'm healthier, I feel like I make better decisions."
HOW HARD IS IT TO GET BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL AFTER SOME TIME OFF? "I'm interested to see what happens because the off season gets shorter and shorter all the time. We've got a new sponsor, we're going to be working hard with them to get prepared for next year. You want your team to get some rest, they're going to be working hard to get ready for next year. We already had some other sort of straight line testing plans so I'm not sure what's going on with Daytona, they moved their dates a couple times. I thought we were going to be tire testing or something there for sure and now I think we're just planning for January. We're going to try to get that rest in there as well as all the busy things that are going to be coming along outside of any testing that right now is kind of not conclusive. We don't really know what is going on so we have to make our plans and plan ourselves out. Championships are won the day we leave Homestead. It's rest, it's preparation, it's personnel changes, things to do with our race cars, all those things happen the day we leave Homestead. We've got to focus on winning a championship and while we want to help Daytona get ready for the Daytona 500, we've got to weigh out our options as well as to how that plays into our schedule."
HOW WILL A SMOOTH DAYTONA GOING TO CHANGE HOW THAT RACE IS RUN? "It's all about the transitions in my opinion. I still think that the size and shape and transitions from the straightaway to the corners at Daytona are just different enough from Talladega that I just have to believe that the bump drafting, while we'll be trying to do it like we do it at Talladega, I just still believe that it's going to be harder for it to be possible. I know we're going to be bump drafting, but pushing two cars around there like we see at Talladega, that's what we'll be interested to find out when we get to Daytona testing in January is whether or not we can do that. If so, then it's going to drastically change that race."
DO YOU THINK BUMP DRAFTING WITH THE NEW NOSE ON THE CAR WILL BE DIFFERENT? "Every time we're on the track, like you watch us at Talladega, every time we go and practice, we get better at it. You get more cars that are going two-by-two out there because you know that's how you can win the race. If we can pull that off at Daytona, we want to find out in January and we're going to start trying in January. We'll try to perfect it by February."
-source: gm racing