Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS talked with media about starting the Chase in second place in the points, focus for the Chase, on the importance of getting a good start early in the Chase, Talladega being the wild card race, on making is...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Impala SS talked with media about starting the Chase in second place in the points, focus for the Chase, on the importance of getting a good start early in the Chase, Talladega being the wild card race, on making is 500th Cup career start, on the opening round of the Chase being at Loudon, on racing at Dover next week, on the Talladega test, on losing the point lead to Jimmie Johnson going into the Chase, on the Chase coming down to consistency, and more.
Selected transcript of the interview follows:
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GET A STRONG START IN THE CHASE RIGHT AWAY? "It's important. You can tell. The intensity level has stepped up. Focus has gotten greater. Everybody wants to make a statement and say we came to play. I think it's important to show early on who is going to rise to the top and who is the team to beat. But it happens moment by moment. One moment's in practice and the next moment is in qualifying and the next is in the race. All that really matters is when you come out of here on Sunday and who scored the best finish."
ON MAKING HIS 500TH CUP CAREER START "It's very cool I'm very proud of that and especially because it's consecutive starts. To me, it's been a great ride and a great team. I've been fortunate to be with the same sponsor in DuPont the entire time. It's hard to believe that we've run 500 Cup races. It tells me I've been racing a lot longer than I thought."
IT USED TO BE THAT WE THOUGHT ONE BAD RACE WOULD KNOCK YOU OUT OF THE CHASE. BUT NOW, WE'VE SEEN THAT YOU CAN HAVE ONE OR TWO BAD RACES AND STILL HAVE A SHOT "The history and stats for the Chase kind of cracks me up. I hear all these stats about nobody has ever done this or that, but they don't compare that to the actual Chase. We're only talking four years here, so it's always being rewritten. Nobody knows what it's going to take each year. It's always something different. I think consistency is the most important thing and not having the big mistakes or one bad finish. And I think if somebody stays consistent, they're going to win it no matter what the other guys do. Jimmie (Johnson) definitely proved last year that you should never give up. You just never know. Somebody could put seven straight races together and than have three that go bad."
ON STARTING THE CHASE AT LOUDON. DO YOU LIKE THIS TRACK? "Yeah, I do. I think action speaks louder than words. We've just got to go out there and make it happen. We can sit here and talk about we're going to do this or we're going to do that at this track or that track. It doesn't matter really. You've just go to the race track. You've got to fight hard. You've got to be a great team and work though every moment you're on the track and fight to be better and better each time. This is a good track for us, but it doesn't mean anything until we come out of here with a great finish on Sunday."
ON THE TALLADEGA TEST "It was pretty good. I was happy. It was a little wild, which is what I expected. That was with about 18 or 16 cars. When you get 43 of them out there, it's going to be highly entertaining, that's for sure."
HAVING LEAD THE POINTS SINCE BRISTOL, AND NOW BEING IN SECOND PLACE WITH THE RE-SETTING OF POINTS, DO YOU THINK YOU GOT THE SHAFT? "If I didn't know what the rules were going into the season, I'd say we got the shaft. But that's not the case. Ever since they've had the Chase, they've said what it is. This year they made the change to the 10 bonus points. It made the regular season more exciting. It made everybody push harder to get those wins. It did what it was supposed to do. But I do think they're going to have to revisit now, going back. If you're going to have incentives for guys to win races, you have to have some kind of incentive for a guy to go out there and be the points leader at that point. I wouldn't be surprised if they revisit that a little bit."
-credit: gm racing