JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Post Happy Hour comments: HOW IS YOUR CAR? "Real good. Real good. We're obviously very happy with looking at the times and the way the car feels. We're excited about it." WHO LOOKS GOOD OUT...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO - Post Happy Hour comments:
HOW IS YOUR CAR?
"Real good. Real good. We're obviously very happy with looking at the times and the way the car feels. We're excited about it."
WHO LOOKS GOOD OUT THERE?
"Man, I don't know. The times are close. There are a lot of good cars. I really wasn't too focused on other guys. I was more focused on what our car was doing and how we can make it better. I haven't really looked at the times from that last practice, so I don't know."
ON THE IMPLICATIONS THAT TALLADEGA COULD HAVE ON THE POINTS RACE?
"That's always the case when we go to Talladega. There's always the risk of that big accident. With this new fuel cell, hopefully we can get to some green flag stops and get spread out a little bit. I think that's the intent of why they (NASCAR) are doing that. It makes some sense. I just hope that if it comes down to a fuel mileage race that we've got decent fuel mileage. If we all use our heads and play it smart and do what we're capable of doing, we can put on one heck of a race there - one that the fans will enjoy and that we'll enjoy - and come out with an exciting finish."
DOES YOUR WIN HERE LAST YEAR HELP YOU IN ANY WAY?
"I think any time that you've won at a track and you go back, especially at a new track like this, it gives you some confidence and makes you feel good. We also did a tire test for Goodyear here earlier in the year. That went well. There's just something about this place that we have a good feel for and a good set-up underneath the race car. The guys brought good horsepower too, so we're real happy with the combination that we've got right now."
HOW IS THE TRACK?
"I don't know if we'll necessarily have two lanes that are fast. I think it's going to be a little bit harder to stay on the bottom of the race track, which should make for some passing and some good racing. But I don't think you're going to see a lot of side-by-side racing. It's still a bit early yet. The grip is going way. The Busch race will help and then we get into the Cup race tomorrow there's a potential for it. We hope for it anyway."
IN THE POINTS CHASE, HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS RACE FOR YOU?
"I do think it's important for us to have a good race - especially if the guys that are ahead of us in points have a good race. If we don't, we're going to find ourselves falling too far back.
"That's why we're coming here with everything we've got. We're kind of in the position right now where we pretty much have to be the risk-takers, the ones that are going for it, if we're going to make up any points on these guys."
WHAT CONTRIBUTES TO THE SUCCESS OF THE YOUNG DRIVERS COMING INTO THE SPORT?
"It's good talent and good equipment. The tires that Goodyear has and the amount of downforce that we have in these cars compliments those guys' driving styles. I know that experience means a lot in the championship. It means a lot in these big heavy cars. We have a lot of young and talented guys that are coming up and doing a heck of a job. And because of that, it creates more opportunity for other younger guys because they're getting in good equipment, showcasing their talents, and we've even got Jimmie (Johnson) battling for a championship. That's going to open the door for other guys to get in good quality equipment also."
ON THE CHEVYS AND PONTIACS HAVING FAST PRACTICE & QUALIFYING TIMES
"I haven't felt it much anywhere else, but here it seems that we're closing that gap on the Dodges and Fords a little bit. We've been lacking. It's always the case for the first week or two when they give you something like that (nose kickout) you do what you think is the best. And then as you experiment and you get more used to it, you start to find the benefits of it more and more each weekend."
DID YOU KNOW THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID HE WATCHES THE NUMBER OF CLIPS YOU TORE UP IN YOUR ROOKIE SEASON COMPARED TO HIS?
"He's got a long way to go to catch me on that one. He needs to be keeping track of how many wins he has compared to how many wins I had in my rookie year."
HOW DO JIMMIE JOHNSON'S AND RYAN NEWMAN'S DRIVING STYLES COMPARE?
"I don't know, it's hard to say. They're both aggressive and smooth and yet there's something different about them. I think they both use their heads. I like the way Jimmie thinks in the race. It's not that Ryan doesn't, it's just that they think differently about the way they approach the race."
WHICH ONE OF THEM IS MORE LIKELY TO HAVE LONGEVITIY IN THE SERIES?) "Obviously I'm biased to Jimmie. But I think they both will because of the teams that are behind them and how well they've done. They both have heads on their shoulders. If there is any one thing that maybe Jimmie has over Ryan it's maybe just his personality and pizzazz and what he brings to the sport, to the fans, and to the sponsors.
"Ryan is much more low-key and quiet - he's still just as great of a guy - but he goes about it a little bit differently than Jimmie does."
ON THE UPCOMING TEST AT ROCKINGHAM WITH RICKY HENDRICK
"We're looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to giving him some horsepower under the rear wheels. The Busch cars have less horsepower, so I'm interested to see how he'll do with all the horsepower. I think it'll be fun and exciting for him."
DO YOU THINK HE'S READY FOR CUP?
"I think he's ready to run a race or two. I think it's one of those things where sometimes you put guys out there and they do better in a Cup car than they do in a Busch car. Other guys do better in a Busch car than they do in a Cup car. I think it's worth just taking a shot at it for a try. I don't think he's ready to go full Winston Cup any time soon."
IS HE GOING TO JUMP IN YOUR CAR - IS THAT HOW IT'S GOING TO WORK?
"That's what he thinks (laughs). I don't know what they've planned."
-team monte carlo-