Las Vegas: Jeff Gordon post-race interview

JEFF GORDON , NO. 24 DUPONT MONTE CARLO SS PRESS CONFERENCE: ON TRACK CHANGING TODAY AT ALL OR GET ANY BETTER: "My car was pretty good in one and two. I would get down there and get in to the banking. For some reason the banking in one and two...



"My car was pretty good in one and two. I would get down there and get in to the banking. For some reason the banking in one and two would hold me better than three and four. Three and four I felt like I was on ice from lap one to the last lap. The last lap I made running there behind Jimmie, I was just trying not to spin out coming off the corner. That is how it was for me all day. I been hearing or somebody said that Goodyear might bring a harder left side tire to Charlotte and I am doing their tire test at Darlington this week, I am going to have a long talk with those guys or take them to dinner or something. I am not totally putting them at fault here, we are all in this thing together. But we have to find a solution together as well. There is no reason for us to show up at race tracks and go through a white knuckle experience throughout a whole weekend like we were this weekend. They have too smart of people, they have been doing this too long and we have smart people and NASCAR has been doing this too long that we have got to figure out how not to bring tires like this to the race track. And again, I am not blaming them 100% because we fed the camber to it, we have lowered the air pressure on the tires and we've blown the tires out. We have made these cars go faster with downforce. We have got to be able to figure something that the teams can contribute, Goodyear can contribute, NASCAR, the race tracks, to make sure we don't come back like this."


"Yup, but that would be too smart wouldn't it? That would make too much sense; I don't know why we would want to do that. I will say, I give a lot of credit to Bruton Smith's folks, they have come to me and I think they have come to a lot of drivers every time every time they have talked about redoing or building race tracks. This is not the track's fault. Would it have helped if they didn't put quite as much banking? Yes. Maybe, but the track is not the problem here. We gotta to be able to figure out how to either come back on the car so we don't abuse the tire so much or they have to be able to figure out a left side tire that will work. The only reason they brought this tire was to slow us down - period. Because we were just killing the right front tire and the right rear. So would a little less banking and keeping variable banking be a better solution? Yes, maybe. We are saying that now, but who knew that before. But I will say, they have come to me and I know the have come to other drivers, and I am not saying I should be on that committee, I am just saying drivers input, somebody from a team that is like a crew chief, somebody from NASCAR, somebody from the track, here is no doubt about that. We don't have a lot of time. We are trying to build race cars and do sponsor commitments and everything else. I remember when they came to me for some stuff about Bristol and I had an hour to give them and that is unfortunate. I do think that we have to get more people involved just to get as many thoughts out there as possible. When need Goodyear involved when these things are happening."


"I think I would have won the race today if I didn't have a baby on the way because...LOUD LAUGHTER...because I guess that was my distraction out there, I just lost concentration out there thinking about that baby and what I am going to name her and didn't win the race today. LAUGHS There is nothing that is going to take away from what we do as race car drivers when we get inside that car. Honestly I have got so many distractions all ready, I don't see how it could get a whole lot worse. I feel like I am lacking in sleep now, and I know that is going to get worse, but you just deal with it once you get to the race track. There is nothing that is going to be more exciting or more motivating than to actually have an addition to my family. That is something that I am very proud of. I would have to go back today and tell my daughter why I didn't win the race so I want to take her to victory lane. It is a great start to the season. I feel like we are a much different team than we were last year at this time and even the team we had in 2005. I am excited about what we have in store for ourselves. We are bringing great race cars, having a lot of fun no matter where we start in the field. Steve Latarte has really stepped up as a leader, it is making it a lot of fun for me as a driver."


"I don't want to make excuses because we just basically got beat. We all had an equal opportunity to come in and get tires and fuel and adjust on our race cars and we had the position. I will say that I think it would have been a lot different had Jimmie been behind me and not Jeff Burton because he was the only one who could make the outside of turn four work. When he got that little bit of bumper, just like yesterday in the Busch race, when he got that little bit of bumper to the outside of me, when he got to the outside of me, I was so loose up underneath him, I was just kinda stuck on the bottom and Jimmie just took advantage of that. Jimmie deserves a lot of credit, he drove from the back, he had a fast race car, he saw an opportunity to get by us and he did, then he went up and passed Burton. You have to give him credit for that too. Burton seemed like he could take off for about four or five laps and then he faded pretty bad after than, even though he had some engine trouble earlier, he did that same thing. That is where we got beat."

ON WHAT IS THE KEY TO GETTING THE RIGHT TIRE AT THE BRISTOL RACE TRACK: "I agree that what should happen is getting input from Goodyear, NASCAR, competitors and the tracks. Like I said, I trying to fit things in my schedule, if they come and request, hey could you come and spend some time with our engineers and look at some things, then I am going to try and give them my time because I do feel like multiple driver's input is important because we are the ones running 500 miles out here and we know a lot about these race tracks. But we don't know everything, we don't know about paving and drainage and grading and all that stuff. It takes a group of people together. I wish if that request came in, it was a group meeting and we had more time and we had representatives from Goodyear, NASCAR and other teams and drivers. I don't know their process; you can talk to those guys about it.

"I am pretty excited about some of the things they are going to be doing at Bristol and I hope my input helps. I don't know if it is going to help Goodyear out any but, one thing for sure they don't need to have the amount of banking at a lot of these tracks that we do. Short tracks I think are a little bit different and concrete is a little bit different too. Concrete can work on a short track, they can keep it fairly smooth and if it is rough, we can get away with it. Tracks like this it is very, very tough to have a concrete race track. But the nice thing about concrete is you can form it a lot different than you can pavement. With pavement you have a machine that lays it flat and even the variable banking is very difficult to do. Other than the bumps in one, I thought they did a nice job. We are just running so fast, it made the cars grippy, that we are really abusing the tires."


"He and that team are fighters, they don't give up. They proved that today and they prove that every win they have here and other tracks as well. Jimmie is an excellent driver, 100% every time he is on the track. Those guys click well together, that is why they won the championship last year. That is why they will be a threat this year to win more races and the championship as well. It is funny, even with the changes in the race track and the changes in the tire, you drove the track kind of similar. There were times in three and four when I felt having similar characteristics to what it had before which I thought was kind of strange. But three and four wasn't that much different. So maybe past setups could have contributed. But I think mainly those guys are really a solid team and they did their jobs well."


"I would take a long vacation and man I would enjoy it while it lasts and say I went out on top, that is what I would do. LAUGHS. I don't know, you know he made a decision and I think when he made that decision there are things that come along with making that decision that could be more rewarding and more positive to him than even leading the points. I think it might be a little bit different if we didn't have the Chase, he might stick around a little bit longer. But with that Chase format in there, everything changes when you go in to the last 10 races and not saying that they still wouldn't be a factor and be strong because he has done a fantastic job, it is just showcasing his talent. To move to a different team has kind of been exciting, I know it has been exciting for that team. I know we are all going to be curious when we show up at Bristol.

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon