Martinsville II: Pole winner interview

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS ON POLE WINNING RUN AT MARTINSVILLE: "It was a tricky day with the limited practice. Steve Letarte (crew chief), it was a coin flip, but he made the call to put the qualifying trim. With such limited ...

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS

ON POLE WINNING RUN AT MARTINSVILLE:

"It was a tricky day with the limited practice. Steve Letarte (crew chief), it was a coin flip, but he made the call to put the qualifying trim. With such limited practice (due to the weather) those three laps I had on the track today were very important. I felt like we had a great car then and that we had a shot at the pole today. Qualifying, throughout my career, but especially this year, it seems to really contribute greatly to our success. When we qualify well, you can see it in the stats, that it plays a factor in having better runs for us. I am excited that we qualified good today. I was honestly really kinda beating myself up, because I knew what lap we ran in practice. I felt like I had an idea of what it was going to take to be on the pole. I would have guess the high eighties, 19.8, I went out there trying to run in the .80s and over drove it in to turn one and slid up the race track. That was to me, pretty devastating because, to me, that was the best lap as far as the tires, the grip, temperature and everything. I felt like I really blew it, so the last lap, I just make sure I made the entry of the corner, the car was getting through the middle and the exit so good, that I just needed to get it in to the corner, I really just backed the pace down and somehow pulled out a good second lap and good enough for the pole, which I just didn't think it was going to be. Maybe a lot of other guys fought that same thing and that was why it wasn't down in the .80s."

ON ALWAYS KEEPING MARTINSVILLE ON HIS RACE SCHEDULE IF HE EVER WENT TO A SCALED BACK SCHEDULE:

"If that was ever the case, Martinsville would be on my schedule. That is where Mark (Martin) and I differ. I love Martinsville. This is a track like I mentioned earlier, where we just hit on some things early in my career and as much as some guys struggle, it is quite the opposite for me here. I just really like this track and when you like a track and you run well at a track, all you have to do is go fine-tune your setup to make it better each time. I think you can stay towards the front. I wasn't sure with this new car what it was going to be like, but luckily it is fitting well for us."

ON HOW MUCH OF AN ADVANTAGE OF STARTING THE POLE IS IT IN SUNDAY'S RACE:

"That number one pit stall is pretty important here. I think about every time I have sat on the pole here, I have never led the first lap. Can't say that it really contributes to that great track position but it certainly doesn't hurt to be up toward the front. I think the most important part of it is the number one pit stall, because even if you come in a couple of spots behind, you have either have the opportunity to make it out first or make up spots, but more importantly, you stay out of trouble on pit road. Here, pit road can be treacherous. We say incidents last week in Charlotte, you are only going to see more of those here on Sunday. That number one pit stall can be huge as far as just trying to save your fenders and things like that. It doesn't guarantee anything, we have to work hard to get the car working the way we need it to so we can take advantage of that number one stall."

ON THE EFFECT HIS CONTINUED SUCCESS HAS ON THE COMPETITION:

"I look at that a couple of different ways. Yes of course, who wouldn't enjoy being able to get on a streak, especially when it is most important which is during the championship Chase. But at the same time, sometimes that motivates guys and gets them ticked off and makes them push out there even harder. I want to make sure that we don't get complacent in it, but that we just continue to push and run our races the way we have all year. I feel like this team has been consistent because we have been very smart, we haven't tried to exceed the limits of what we are capable of. If we go out there and we have a fifth place car, it is important for us to bring home a fifth place finish. I think that is why we have been able to be very consistent. We when do have the cars capable of winning, we have been able to capitalize on that as well. I just don't want that to change any routine that we are doing. I am not focused on t rying to demoralize anybody, I am just focused on trying to get the most out of our car and our equipment."

-credit: gm racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup