JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO: ON QUALIFYING: "I didn't want anything to break at all. It's going to be interesting to see what happened to it. I'm just hoping it's not a motor 'cause that will mean we'll start in the back...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"I didn't want anything to break at all. It's going to be interesting to see what happened to it. I'm just hoping it's not a motor 'cause that will mean we'll start in the back of the field, which certainly wouldn't be where we would choose to. We haven't really been super fast with our qualifying setup. We've got some work to do anyway, but I think we've got a good race car."
CAN YOU WIN THIS RACE FROM 21ST?
"You can win it from anywhere; it just depends on how the cautions fall and the pit strategy that you use. Certainly it's possible and we hope that the right things work in our favor. We've got a good race car and a great race team. That being said, I think that we certainly can win this race, but we're going to have our work cut out for us."
ANY PROBLEM IN ANY OF THE CORNERS?
"I got a little bit tight off of turn 3 that hurt my momentum. It's the difference between a 49.90 and a 50.14. I don't know how much that would have improved our position, but certainly it wouldn't have put us anywhere near the top."
ANOTHER HOOSIER ON THE POLE:
"Tony, he knows how to get around this place. They've been fast, but I didn't think he was that fast. That's not going to be beat. Nobody is going to touch that; that's a heck of a lap."
ON QUALIFYING EARLY IN THE DAY:
"As hot as it is right now it's about the same conditions as we had yesterday so it ended up working out. If I was doing the schedule I'd probably do it a little bit different, but it certainly seems to be in a lot of people's favor to go early, but at the same time this track hasn't been as temperature sensitive as it has in the past, with the diamond grinding that they've done. I think guys that go later will still have a pretty good shot. An early number, I think, is beneficial today, just not as much as it used to be. It doesn't matter, nobody is going to beat Tony."
WILL A WIN BE A BIRTHDAY PRESENT?
"Birthday is tomorrow; hopefully the birthday presents are waiting for tomorrow. We've got a great race car, great race team; we just don't have the speed for qualifying and we saw the same thing last year and we've been seeing it this year. We'll give it our best shot. I just hope that whatever we broke that it's not something where we've got to change the motor, 'cause then we'll go all the way to the back."
"Something just snapped in the motor when I crossed the start/finish line to complete the first lap. It could have happened during the lap, so we were lucky. I probably wasn't going to make a second lap anyway. You could hear it. It's something in the rear end gear or the transmission or the driveline. It just shut completely off. Something just snapped. It's stuck in gear right now. It won't go very far. I'm hoping it's not the motor. I'm hoping that it's something in the driveline. We'll just have to wait and see.
"We had a good car. That's definitely the best that we've run. We're not even close to what those guys are running up front there. We went into (turn) three and it felt like I had a decent lap going. I got a little bit tight. That hurt the lap a little bit but all in all it was a good effort. Obviously I wanted to go faster than that.We definitely brought the right car. It's a great racecar for us. It just has a good feel through the corners and I'm real happy with that."
ON THE BUILDING PRESSURE OF NOT HAVING WON A RACE YET THIS SEASON
"We certainly know that there is pressure on us, but we put more pressure on ourselves and we always have. This group is very good at not paying a lot of attention to outside pressures and just focusing on our own program. I'd like to know exactly what it is so I could be more precise on what we're talking about here.
"But if we have to start at the back of the field, it just depends on how the cars come through traffic. If we can pass cars, then we'll probably stay on our strategy, and if we can't, then obviously we'll change our strategy and try to play opposite of that and hope the cautions fall the right way. Last year, we started 27th and we went backyards at the beginning of the race. We did some two-tire stops and did some things that got us some track position and we were able to hold onto it. Actually, we had a very fast racecar if we could just get it up towards the front. I think we have the same thing this year. We kind of found that out last week in Pocono where the further through the field we could get our car, the better it handles and the more we realize that we've got a good enough racecar to run up front and that is capable of winning if we could just get it in the right position. But the way we're qualifying is not helping anything.
"For whatever reason - we've sat on three poles here at Indy - the last few races here have not been very good in qualifying. It's changed so much and what combination it takes to go faster. It's just crazy - these set-ups and things that we have in these cars these days to go out there and qualify. We haven't been able to get on it or I haven't been able to get comfortable enough with those set-ups to make it work."
ON THE TIRE STOPS
"I think the tires are pretty much the same. They're probably better this year as far as hardness and how well they wear. There will be more guys making two tire stops, which does make it more difficult. There's still going to be a number of guys who will do four tires (stops). That's why when you're far back and you don't find yourself moving forward, sometimes the best thing to do is to get completely out of sync with everybody else and kind of get on your own strategy. When you do that, you take a risk and hope that the cautions fall the right way. For us to come from 27th last year, that tells us we can do it. But we also remember how everything just fell completely in place for that to happen. You can't expect that to happen every time."
ON FAN SUPPORT IN INDIANA
"It always feels good to get more cheers than boos (laughs). I've always taken the approach that as long as they're making noise, that's important and that means something. That's usually something good. It's very nice to come here and hear the number of supporters and cheers out there. There are still boos, but there are a lot more cheers. I think that's very refreshing. I don't look at that as pressure; I look at it as incentive. It makes you feel good about what you're doing out there and I know how proud I am to have grown up in this area. And I know how proud they are when we go out there and perform - especially when we run well. So you've got a real Hoosier on the pole (Tony Stewart) and an adopted Hoosier who hopefully will work his way up there and race with him on Sunday."
UPDATE: The crew reported that Gordon's car problem was in the rear end gear and an engine change will not be necessary.