Jeff Gordon Watkins Glen race notes

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "This is great. The car felt great. There at the beginning I wore the brakes out on it and I was really fighting that. But these guys and this Dupont Chevrolet are just doing an awesome job....

Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"This is great. The car felt great. There at the beginning I wore the brakes out on it and I was really fighting that. But these guys and this Dupont Chevrolet are just doing an awesome job. It's just phenomenal. We're having a lot of fun out there. I tell you what; you can't beat the level of confidence right now. And we've got to make sure we don't get over-confident."

On the battle between Gordon and Jeff Burton and the pass for the lead: "I snuck inside of him on the restart and that probably wasn't a very smart move. I had to fight pretty hard to get back underneath him. I knew he didn't have as fresh tires as we did. But he was running pretty good and I knew I had to get by him early. We got by him and he was all over me. And then, there at the end with Elliott Sadler crashed, he was just rolling around there and right in the line and throwing oil all over the place. I was trying to be cautious and Jeff (Burton) wasn't being cautious. He wanted that win. And he could have had the win. He got into my rear bumper on that last corner just to tell me he was there."

Jeff Gordon: "Unfortunately I think I overdrove the car in qualifying. We freed the car up a little too much. Some guys came up here and tested. We didn't test. And I think they really got ahead of us as far as qualifying was concerned. We had to make up for it in our race package. We've got a really strong race package and it showed today. We wanted to use every single lap of this race and get it done. We slowly worked our way up. I think that allows you not to panic and get ahead of yourself. We had a good enough car that I knew if we could get up there we'd have a shot at this thing."

Robbie Loomis: "This is great. Last year we got in that trouble early in the race. I felt largely responsible for breaking his (winning) streak on the road courses and that was terrible. We had great pit strategy today and every guy on the team looks over that car so close every week. They worked real hard on our aerodynamics and the body and we felt like we needed that better here for The Glen. And then Jeff - you throw him on of it all those last 20 laps and it was pretty exciting."

Rick Hendrick, Owner, Hendrick Motorsports: "This team is clicking. We're enjoying every one of these deals. Hopefully we'll have no bad luck and finish out the year."

For Jeff Gordon How does it feel to be the all-time road course winning driver: "It's great. I've really enjoyed the road courses over the last few years - especially here at Watkins Glen. This was our first road course win. This place is a lot of fun to race. I've always liked road courses - even when I was racing go-karts. I went to some Skip Barber schools. I always enjoyed it. But I never really saw myself doing it because all the types of cars that I raced were mainly on ovals until I got into NASCAR and the Busch Series and the Winston Cup series. We just went to work on our road course program after getting beaten a few times. The first time you come to a road course, you think you'll never be able to win one. And then all of a sudden you start clicking and getting comfortable with shifting and braking and all those types of things. And all of a sudden you find yourself going to Victory Lane."

What did you do to compensate for having brake problems?: "That's one of the biggest problems of starting 13th. Aero push means that basically you're not getting air to the front of the car to help it to turn. And that means you're not allowing it to get air to the brake ducts to cool the brakes or the radiator either. So the water temperature was running a little bit hot. The brakes were running a little bit hot. The pedal kept going really far down to the floor and I kept having to pump them. I had to pump them for the rest of the day after that. We tried a little bit different brake package and they worked really good when they were working. I had to be real careful and cautious with them - especially when I saw other guys having trouble getting into the corners - wheel hopping and locking tires up. You had to be pretty cautious getting into the corners anyway today. It allowed me to cool the brakes and have something there at the end."

More on the battle with Jeff Burton: "It got kind of crazy there, just trying to pass him on that one restart. I almost made a really big mistake. I tried to get in the inside of him going into (turn) one and when I did it, it really lugged the car down. Rudd got run on me, got inside of me. I knew I had to race him really hard. I knew that side-by-side does not work up through the esses. I learned that last year. But I was on the other side this time. I just stayed right on his bumper and he got a little bit loose through there and I was able to get back by him. I felt like I could get Burton because his tires were older. But I didn't know if I could get by Rudd if he got in front of me. So I ran Burton back down. But he really had a good car there. He was getting after it. It was going to be tough to get by him. We finally made some moves and got a couple runs on him and finally got by him. He didn't let up. He was all over me. That last lap, I heard about the 21 car (Elliott Sadler) hitting the wall somewhere but they didn't throw a caution. So I knew we were going to have to race back. When there is a problem out there and somebody is putting down fluids, you never know and you're a little extra cautious. When I came down that back straightaway, Elliott Sadler's car was sideways but going straight. And he was driving as hard in the corner as I was. It wasn't very smart. It didn't leave me a whole lot of options or room and so I gave up a lot of time to Burton. He closed up on me and I knew he didn't have enough space to run to the inside of me. But I knew he could get to me. He gave me a little tap down there right in the middle of the corner and got me a little sideways. But I was able to get back on the gas and beat him back to the line. It's fun racing with Jeff. He's a great competitor. He's aggressive, but he's smooth. He's a clean driver. He'll let you know he's there, but he's not going to take you out. We had a great time out there."

On the good restarts: "My car has been re-starting good all year. These guys really focus hard on every aspect of our race team, even ratios to take off on the re-starts. Burton kept hanging back, and I kept slowing down. I didn't want him to get a run at me. He kept hanging back so far that finally, I'd just take off and he was still back there. I was afraid that NASCAR was going to say I was jumping the start, but I wasn't. I don't know, maybe he was as concerned about getting passed as he was about passing me on the re-starts."

On Burton's comment that you drove in the corner so deep that he didn't think you were going to make it: "I wasn't sure either. I drove in there real deep and that's not my favorite place to pass. But I saw Rudd behind me decided that I couldn't waste time there. I had to get it done as fast as I could and get Burton between me and Rudd. I didn't want Rudd to follow me through there because I knew he had a strong car. I had a run on him and I was going to take advantage of it. At that time, I was able to pump those brakes up and they were working pretty good for me into that section of the track. I kept pumping those brakes all the way down that back straightaway, as soon as it was time I went in just a little bit further and got on the brakes real hard. That's a corner that you can overdrive it in and compensate. I clipped the curb and the car jumped up and down a little bit and got a little sideways. Burton jumped back on my bumper. But you've just got to take advantage of your momentum and I had a little momentum going there."

-GM Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Skip Barber , Elliott Sadler , Robbie Loomis
Teams Hendrick Motorsports