J. Gordon Charlotte pole interview

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) Wednesday night's pole interview. "We were pretty strong at the end of practice. I thought the speed was going to be a little faster. I thought for sure you'd see the track...

JEFF GORDON (No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Monte Carlo) Wednesday night's pole interview. "We were pretty strong at the end of practice. I thought the speed was going to be a little faster. I thought for sure you'd see the track record. When Bobby put up that lap and it stayed there, I thought that was going to be the number to beat. Then I saw Jerry Nadeau go and I knew how strong he was. I felt like we had a shot at 'em. "The car drove great all day long. It was so easy to drive. The last four times we've been here we've struggled to try to sit on the pole here at Charlotte. Today it seemed like when we unloaded off the truck the car was just great. It was a good lap, that's for sure. The car seemed to roll through the corners so good and carry a lot of speed. It was comfortable and easy to drive. I knew it was a good lap. I didn't know how good, and then they came on the radio and told me we'd beat Bobby but it wasn't by much. I guess it doesn't matter how much you get 'em by as long as you're ahead of 'em, but it was pretty close. "As much as I love to win the pole at Charlotte, it's really not where I want to start. I actually like starting a little bit further back in the field to get a pace and see what my car is doing early in the run. I think Bobby is going to be one of the guys to beat. These days you just never know who is going to be strong, but I definitely think Bobby is going to be one of them. They're running real good, and he runs real well here. Last year we got 'em there at the end, but he had us beat all day long. We were about a third or fourth-place car, but we were so good on the long runs. If we had long green flag runs, we had something for 'em, and we were able to win, but a lot's changed since last October. A different car, a different tire, a lot of competition. It's going to be interesting to see how this thing shakes out. Hopefully we can get that same feel in the car even though the combination of springs and aero might be different than it was last year. Hopefully we can get the same feel that we had last year. "Jerry's been helping me out a lot lately. I'm really happy to have Jerry in that 25 car. I'm happy to have Jerry as an addition to Hendrick Motorsports because he and I drive similar, very aggressive. We're happy to have Tony (25 crew chief Furr) over there, too, because Tony likes to throw some wild stuff at it. We're kind of more on the traditional stuff that has worked for us in the past. It's nice to be able to blend those things together at those high speeds places like Atlanta and here. They've run a lot better than us, especially qualifying. Even in Atlanta, I was talking to him earlier in the year about some things he was doing. I think what it came down to was things we were doing with our body, things we were doing with our chassis, and they did help us out a lot. Jerry and I were having fun today. We were running back and forth. I'd go out and run a little faster than him in practice, and I'd go over there and see him and he'd run a little faster than me. Then he'd come over and see me. Things like this pay off. I'm sure I'll be loaning him some information. Hopefully I've got something to offer him and hopefully I can repay him for helping us out. "Our setups I'd say were as close as they've ever been here. Really, I think when we came, all three cars were pretty close. What springs and shocks and swaybars are underneath the cars is not it. When we were here in May, we tried the same setup they (25 team) had and it wasn't working for us like it was for them. That's why we went to work on our bodies. We got a little bit behind at the beginning of the year at the downforce race tracks like here. Since we were here in May, we've made a lot of changes to our bodies and have been trying some of these different spring and shock and swaybar combinations they've been running well. Since we changed our bodies, those things have been working for us. It's nice to take all those things we've learned since May and incorporate them in here now that we're back here and it's certainly paid off. "We've put a lot of that stuff behind us. The best way to battle that is to go out there and perform, and we've been performing. Even with all the things that happened to us after our win at Richmond, I think that that win has still carried some momentum for us and has improved just the team morale and everything. We know what won that race, and it was a lot of great teamwork and hard work. We haven't let all the other stuff get in the way of that. This certainly takes us to the next level. It's great for Hendrick Motorsports to run well here. This is Hendrick Motorsports backyard. They've always run well here, and they go all out for this place. It's nice when that much effort and hard work is put into it. I don't mean just for the team. We're talking engine shop, R&D, chassis and everybody collectively. It's nice to see it pay off when you go out there. It's a big deal. A pole here at Charlotte is a big deal. It really is. "Our goal right now is to gather as many points as we possibly can. If we can gain some positions, great, we'd like to do that, but I think our goal is to prepare ourselves not for just next year but for the offseason coming up so we really have a game plan, have our goals set for what we need to do to improve. If the first half of this season has gone like the second half has gone, other than August, everything after August and everything a month or two before August, those were really good races for us. We've been very consistent. We've run a lot better than we did at the first of the season. Those are the types of things we're trying to put together for this off season to come out strong at Daytona. We're focusing on next year, what we've got to do to win the championship. "That's a strong team. They've been together a number of years now. They've been in those top three or four positions before going for a championship. They've been on the other side of it. Now, they're at the top. It's a whole lot easier being at the top than it is being second or third. Those guys have to go for broke and put it all on the line. The problem is when you're leading the points, you've got to make sure you don't try to race for points too much. I don't see Bobby and Jimmy doing that. I think they're doing everything they can to run strong and run good and finish races and finish strong and try to win races. I think when they say they're not doing anything different than they did earlier in the year, I believe it. What they've done all year long is what's gotten them to this position. They've been real consistent. Unless something crazy happens, I believe they're going to continue to be consistent and run strong until the end of the season as they showed tonight. I think they're a team that's been knocking on that door, and now they're here. They want to follow through, and I think they've got a great shot at doing it."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jerry Nadeau
Teams Hendrick Motorsports