Weekly Top 10 with Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS answered questions from the media today at Martinsville Speedway during the weekly "Behind the Hauler" Q&A session. Gordon is currently...
Weekly Top 10 with Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS
Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS answered questions from the media today at Martinsville Speedway during the weekly "Behind the Hauler" Q&A session. Gordon is currently 7th in the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE ON PROBATION? "I don't think I've ever been on probation but I don't think I've ever pushed anybody on pit road either."
ON THE FINE AND PROBATION: "I thought it was what I expected. Just because I showed my emotion doesn't mean that I didn't think it was inappropriate. At that moment you're not thinking a whole lot about what's the right thing and the wrong thing. I showed my anger. I probably would do about the same thing every time. I definitely don't feel like I did anything that somebody didn't feel or want to do. I also know you're going to get fined and be on probation when that happens. I guess it fits the crime."
WERE YOU SO MAD THAT YOU DIDN'T TAKE YOUR HELMET OFF? "I was in such a hurry to get out of the car. It didn't have anything to do with I'm going to get in a fight. I had no idea what was going to happen. I was just so angry I just wanted to get out of the car as fast I could. The way to do that is to leave your helmet on. Then I saw Matt (Kenseth) walking towards me as I was going to take my helmet off."
WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR YOUR IMAGE? "There are some people that maybe have gotten caught up thinking I'm just a guy that lets things go. I feel like it takes a lot to make me mad but I still get mad. Lately I haven't been afraid to show it."
ON THE POTENTAIL FOR PAYBACKS THIS WEEKEND WITH THIS BEING A SHORT-TRACK: "I think the smartest thing for anybody to do is try to put that behind you and go racing because to pay somebody back means you're probably going to get paid back again somewhere down the road. It will keep going and linger. You got your team that has put a lot of hard work and effort into building your race car. You need to go out there and get finishes to be in the Chase, win the Championship and win races. If you're out there knocking guys out of your way because somebody hit you the week before, you're just heading in a bad direction. I called Martin (Truex Jr.) this week and I apologized to him. I already talked to Matt (Kenseth) in Bristol and I'm ready to go racing Martinsville."
ON HIS IMAGE: "I think there have been times when I've been a little bit too cautious to keep that image and not be myself. I have emotions like everybody else and they go up and they down and sometimes I'm happy and sometimes I'm angry. I've realized over the years that I need to not be afraid to show that. I want my fans to be proud of what I do on and off the race track but I also want them to know I'm human."
WHAT DOES PROBATION MEAN? "It means you don't get out of the car after the race and go push somebody. When I talked to Mike Helton about the probation I wanted to make sure that this isn't something where other people could take advantage of me in that situation. He assured me that it's not. They want people to go out there and race and they expect that. Every single race is an isolated situation. I guarantee if somebody goes out there and pushes me out of the way, I'm going to push them back on the race track. I'm going to try and keep it on the race track."
ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARTINSVILLE AND BRISTOL: "It's very slow. The only difference is that this place isn't quite as fast of a pace. At Bristol we are going so fast it's so much easier to get caught up in it. Here I think it takes a little bit more of a conscious effort for it happen."
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH WAS MADE OF ALL THIS? "Well it wasn't necessarily my typical character. At Bristol I think people expect to see a lot of things happen. I guess maybe they didn't expect to see it from me."
ARE YOU SURPRISED WITH THE FINE? "No. I knew something was going to happen. A very similar situation happened with Tony Stewart and myself a couple of years ago. I got into him on the last lap and he spun. Afterwards he spun me out on pit road and he got fined. I look at that as very similar to what happened except it was me physically pushing somebody and it wasn't a bumper."
WHY CAN'T EVERYONE JUST GET ALONG? "We're all trying to win races and we're all out trying to occupy the same amount of real estate. As competitive as it these days, it's just so hard to get those opportunities, to keep those positions and win races. I would expect we're going to see more and more of it. It's good for everybody to see how competitive everybody is but we also have to have our limits and keep things in check."
ON SEEING THE REPLAY: "I laughed at myself because I was almost not believing that was me as well. I was like 'Wow, did I do that?' It was just a subconscious reaction (with) the way the race unfolded there and it put me in the position to react."
HAVE PEOPLE GIVEN YOU A HARD TIME ABOUT STILL HAVING YOUR HELMET ON? "A little bit. Some people look at me like I knew I was going to fight. Some people are just laughing at me. I just didn't take it off because I was in a hurry to get out of the car. I was that angry."
"I'm sure Ray did get a kick out of it. Ray and I are still good friends. Anytime something like that happens, we have a good chuckle about it. I'm glad we can laugh about it now."
ON USED TO BEING CALLED SCRAPPY: "There's sides of me people that people don't see because I don't allow them to see it. I'm not a fighter. Trust me, I'm not. I'm not a guy that likes to do that. I am somebody that can get angry. I have a temper at times. I think you're best as a competitor on the race track to keep your temper calm and not let it flare up. But sometimes it gets the best of you no matter how good you are at managing it."
ON DRIVERS POSSIBLY BEING UPSET WITH HIM AND IF THAT'S THE ONE THING THAT COULD BEAT HIM THIS WEEKEND: "I hope not. I think we have to go out and run our race and hope that nobody feels a grudge or is carrying something. Like I said, I talked to Martin and Matt last week. I guess the only other person that I got to talk to is Jeff Burton. For some reason he is mad at me because he thinks I intentionally wreck cars which wasn't the case. You know what, I can't make everybody happy all the time. We're going to go out there and focus on our race. If somebody has it out for me, that's something that is out of my control. Hopefully we can keep everything clean. I know if we put a strong race car out there, we qualify good and hopefully we can stay away from some of the trouble out there."
DO YOU NEED TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE? "I know that my team has done a lot to make us better. I want to do everything I can to make us better as well. There can be times where I can be aggressive but it's not so much about being aggressive it's just getting everything out of the car that I can for the team. I'm really excited with what's going on with the team. I want them to know that my passion is just as strong to win the championship."
WHAT MAKES YOU SO GOOD AT THIS RACE TRACK? "I like to roll the car through the corner but everybody is different. I think me and (Tony) Stewart drive this place very similar. I'm not sure how he does it but I know for me I try to be off the brakes and roll the car through the center of the corner, not a lot of throttle early. It's just the way it works for me. Everybody has their own technique."
DO YOU COME HERE WITH MORE CONFIDENCE AFTER ALL YOUR WINS HERE? "I feel like this is one of the tracks that I'm comfortable with. I know how good our cars are here. I know how to get into a rhythm of what I'm looking for here. A lot of times one of things that holds you back the most is that you're always searching. We don't search here. We just attack. We got out there with exactly what we need."
DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A CAUTION LAST WEEK? "I do think there should have been a caution. I'm a little disappointed in that. That's something that hasn't been talked about much. I'm really surprised that the caution didn't come out. I've seen replays but not enough to try to understand why it didn't come out. Honestly I haven't asked NASCAR. We spent too much time on other things. I wished I would have talked to them about that."
"We would have finished sixth I think. That's one of the other reasons why I wish it would have come out. I have reasons why I wish it would have come out and I have reasons why I think it should have come out."