JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 NICORETTE/DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW LAS VEGAS TRACK SURFACE, TIRES, THE IMPALA SS CAR OF TOMORROW AND MORE ON NEW SURFACE OF LVMS: "The new surface is pretty nice, yes it has a few bumps in it...
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 NICORETTE/DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW LAS VEGAS TRACK SURFACE, TIRES, THE IMPALA SS CAR OF TOMORROW AND MORE
ON NEW SURFACE OF LVMS: "The new surface is pretty nice, yes it has a few bumps in it going in to one which are going to be a challenge, but all-in-all, I am really happy with the surface. Obviously none of us are going to be happy with the grip level out there right now because Goodyear had to change a tire up to keep from blowing tires. It has been a real challenge to slow us down over a second from where we were here at testing. It has been one of those things where everybody is pretty frustrated with trying to get some grip and get some comfort back in the car."
ON NEW TIRE COMPOUND: "Obviously you don't want to see failures in the tires and problems, so in that sense we are better with this tire. But at the same time, you don't want to see Goodyear have to build a harder tire like this. You don't want to see NASCAR make us go to smaller fuel cells. I think we always lean toward the conservative side and again, we have gone way to far. The tire is a little too hard on the left side, I think the fuel cell being smaller isn't necessary, but I guess, better to be safe than sorry. Once you get a few laps on the tire, its not so bad when you get some heat in them. We should see a pretty decent race. It is really about holding on until you get some heat in the tires."
ON ADVANTAGE HIS TEAM MIGHT HAVE WITH MORE PIT STOPS: "I think our team is really solid right now. I am really happy with the performance and the pit crew, the calls that Steve Latarte is making in the pits. This will certainly come down to a lot of strategy, because you might not need to take tires because as hard as these tires are, I don't think we are going to wear them out."
ON MORE PIT STOPS PRESENTING MORE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A MISTAKE IN THE PITS: "That is true, but it is the same for all of us. I know we try to pride ourselves on not making mistakes and I do hope that falls more in to our hands with the caliber of team that we have."
ON RACE BEING SIMILAR TO CHARLOTTE A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO: "Yes, I think so. The only thing is that this track has variable banking so I think we will definitely have a couple of grooves but it is going to be tough to pass because the tire is so, so hard. This isn't something that any of us want. Some way we have to figure out as a collective group because we are all trying to build our cars to go faster. You have a track that wanted to change up its banking and its surface and that is great but, they have created so much grip that now the tire can't handle it. So Goodyear it has to go in and change the tire, then NASCAR has to make a move on the fuel cell and all that. It is not what any of us want, we all want a track that wears out and is old and doesn't have a lot of grip so Goodyear can build the right tire and we can go out there and race. It is something you wish you could get around but it is nobody's fault, we are all in this together. You kind of a wish there was another way around it, but it just doesn't seem like there is right now.
ON VARIABLE BANKING BEING ALOT LIKE HOMESTEAD: "Yes very much so and I love it, I think it is great. I look at Homestead now that has had its surface for a few years, it is worn out and the way it has aged, it is great. We have a lot of different grooves there to race on, kind of the way this track was. But any time you put a new surface on, it is going to take time. It is going to be a pain for all of us and you hope it doesn't affect the racing too much and there in no guarantee it is going to affect the racing in any way. It iust affecting the drivers and the teams and how they get the grip into the car to make the drivers happy."
ON HOW HARD IT WILL BE FOR JUNIOR TO REBOUND FROM START TO SEASON: "It all depends on the kind of team that you have and the driver. Those guys are capable of rebounding and getting back in to it. If it continues much longer, confidence starts deteriorating. Those guys were running were good at California so I think that is what is holding their heads up high and getting them through the weekend. If they can come out of here solid, then I don't think it is an issue. If they have problems here, then it is only going to make it that much tougher next weekend. "
ON MONTOYA'S BUSCH RACE IN MEXICO: "I didn't see it. We were on vacation! I heard about it and that is about it. I can't comment on it because I didn't see it. Did he take out a teammate or did a teammate not give him enough room? I can't comment because I didn't see it. Obviously you don't want to make contact with your teammate no matter which side of it you are on. If anything, I just think it shows that Juan knew he was on a road course, knew he had to be aggressive and knew how bad he wanted that win. There is no doubt about it that he will be someone we have to worry about at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. I think there are going to be some ovals that he is going to be tough on as well. I don't think there is any doubt that if Ganassi gives him a good race car, on a road course he is going to be a threat to win. I think it will be fun and exciting but I don't want anymore challenges, I have enough of them out there now as it is (Laughs). I don't feel like we have it all wrapped up by any means trust me. Stewart has been so strong there. I didn't think we had the fasted car last year when we won but we made some good moves and had a fast car at the right time to get track position.
"I think he is an aggressive driver and that is what makes him fast. The thing about the ovals if you have to know when to be aggressive and when not to be. It is just something that is going to take time, but as he gets more confidence and more laps you'll see that same driving style he has on the road course on the ovals."
ON WHAT WOULD HAPPEN AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS IF THAT SITUATION OCCURED: "We would definitely have a sit down talk and I am sure Rick (Hendrick) would get involved and we would do whatever it takes to make sure things like that didn't happen again. I am sure we would try to find out who was at fault as well. There are times when you have to give way and there are other times when you should not be so aggressive and poke your nose in there! You have got to be able to work together as teammates, that is the only way you can grow as a team. I think it is probably hard for Juan to look at Scott (Pruett) as a teammate when they are just running together in the Busch Series in a few road races."
ON BEING PREPARED FOR BRISTOL RACE WITH CAR OF TOMORROW: "I can't say we were too great at Bristol. The only thing we had coming out of there was Jimmie felt good about it so we can look at their notes and see what they are doing and maybe make some gains. You know I love Bristol, it is one of my favorite race tracks. We are going to get it but that car has definitely presented some new challenges that we have to work around."
ON DIFFICULTING GOING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN CURRENT CAR AND NEW IMPALA SS: "It is more challenging for the team in preparation and building cars. For the driver, in one lap you know what you have and then you just work around it. It is just another race car. What makes a race car go fast is getting it balanced correctly, getting it comfortable and find turning on all those things. It is just different tools we have with the COT that we have with this current car, which is what makes it so challenging. We just don't have as much to work with to get the car to do what you want it to do."
ON ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY: "I love Atlanta. It is one of my very favorite tracks we go to right now. I love the surface there, everything about it. It has multiple grooves and we have run really good there the last couple of races. I am looking forward to going back there. That is one of the things about coming here with the new surface and all the challenges, the new tire, the smaller fuel cell. Then you get to go back to Atlanta where we get to go back to the way you wish we could be every weekend where you have a worn out surface. You have a tire that wears out bur doesn't seem to blow out, You have long runs, the regular fuel cell in the current car, everything I love about this sport is what is going to happen next weekend at Atlanta."
ON NEW FAN AREA AT LVMS: "Anything you can do to get the fans more interaction get them more involved, let them see more of the action is good. It is always that fine line between entertaining and racing and we always seem to push the limits but over time, you get used to it. I will admit that it is challenging for the team to have that many hands and faces glued to the glass watching every moment, At the same time, this is a sport of accessibility and based on their commitment and their involvement is something we all have to understand and really balance out. You want to entertain the fans but you always want to concentrate and focus on your job."
-credit: gm racing