Michigan II: Jeff Gordon - Friday media visit

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS met with media and discussed the condition of his back, the strength of Hendrick Motorsports, the Chase, and more. HOW'S YOUR BACK? "It's alright. Couple rough days, but feeling pretty good. So, you know it...

JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS met with media and discussed the condition of his back, the strength of Hendrick Motorsports, the Chase, and more.

HOW'S YOUR BACK? "It's alright. Couple rough days, but feeling pretty good. So, you know it was a hard hit and that's an area that I'm focused and working on for.... moving forward as a safety aspect I feel like we have done a great job with head, neck, shoulders and hips but the last couple hits I have had have really affected my midsection especially my back. So it's something we are going to look into for the future. I took a shot and worked through it the next couple days and am here, ready to go."

YOU GUYS ARE PRETTY MUCH LOCKED IN THE CHASE, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE GOING TO FOCUS ON DIFFERENT? "We are trying out some things today for qualifying, you know, just looking at the competition and seeing who is qualifying good and guys that are running good and finding speed so we are trying some things right now to make some improvements primarily for qualifying."

ARE YOU GOING TO FOCUS ON MORE WINS OR JUST DOING WELL? "I think that is funny. I have been trying to win since Daytona. I mean that is what we do every weekend and you can't try any harder to win because you are already trying as hard as you can. I kind of know what you are saying.........there are guys that are out there that are focused on getting locked into the Chase and we are not concerned about being locked in the Chase. We are only concerned about winning races and getting as best prepared as we can for the Chase."

WOULD YOU BE MORE CONCERNED IN THE OLD CAR LIKE TEN YEARS AGO WITH LESS SAFETY PRECAUTIONS OUT THERE WITHOUT SAFER WALLS, ETC ABOUT YOUR BACK RIGHT NOW? "You know it's just weird because in the old days with the older car I worried way more about my neck and head injuries than anything else. I think what is happened is that as we have gotten better with the technology of the seats and the belts and how we are strapped in the car its created new areas in the car that we have to focus on and you know, that is what happens as you evolve with engineering and safety and the speeds of the cars and everything. You start to narrow down the weaker links and right now the weakest link is that midsection and we don't have a way of isolating that area."

WILL YOU BE TALKING TO NASCAR ABOUT THAT AREA AT WATKINS GLEN WHERE THE INCIDENT OCCURRED? "That's definitely going to be a topic and I think its something that the track needs to focus on and look at. When you have multiple incidents on one weekend its needs to get the attention and its something they need to address and you know, I'm not going to go campaign for anything. I'm just going to hope they go and do their job and look at it and find a better way to make it work in the future. I mean we have been going to Watkins Glen a long time and I have always said 'man I would never want to go off over there and get into that barrier' and I didn't think a whole lot about if someone else went off in there and me getting collected up into it. It's been there a long time and maybe they will look at it a little bit different now."

ABOUT JIMMIE JOHNSON MENTIONING THAT HE DIDN'T THINK ANYONE COULD BEAT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME "I don't think that. I think that these cars are way too competitive and close and I think anybody in the top 12 could win the championship. I think Hendrick is pretty strong and I think that our chances of winning championships are at its best right now and its seems like we do have a bit of an edge on the competition but

JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID EARLIER THAT HE DOESN'T THINK ANYONE CAN BEAT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? "I don't think that. I think these cars are way too competitive and close. Anybody in the top 12 going into the Chase can win the championship. I do think Hendrick is really strong. I think our chances of winning championships are at its best right now. It seems like we do have a bit of an edge on the competition, but I've never seen that guarantee anything. I'm just proud that we've been able to build the organization up to what it is today and that we're making the most of it and that we're able to also see the benefits of our technology and engineering and our hard work going to what Tony (Stewart) and Ryan (Newman) are doing with their teams as well. It obviously says we're heading in the right direction and that's what happens. You pick a direction, whether it be with personnel or engineering or how you're going to set the cars up; build the cars, and sometimes it goes in the right way and you benefit from it, and sometimes it doesn't. And we've had those years where we thought we were doing the right things and went down a path that got us behind and we had to play catch up. Other years, we got ahead of the competition. Seems to me that right now we're a bit ahead."

IS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN YOU WOULD TAKE A WEEKEND OFF TO REST YOUR BACK AT ALL? YOU'RE SAFE IN THE POINTS "Ah, I think right now it's just too important to still get bonus points and chemistry of the team. I think it would take away momentum and chemistry. If I had a diagnosis from a doctor that told me I was in danger of a major injury, then I would consider it, certainly. But I haven't had that. My issues are spasms or something like that. It's not consistent. I was worse at the beginning of the year than I am now and I had the whole off-season (laughs). So no, I haven't considered it."

WITH ALL THE BAD LUCK YOU'VE HAD THIS YEAR, HOW DO YOU PUT THAT OUT OF YOUR MIND OR DOES IT HAUNT YOU? "I don't feel like we've had a lot of bad luck this year. We wouldn't be third in points if we'd had a lot of bad luck. We have had incidents. You know, luck is not really the proper way to put it. I think you create your own luck by preparation and hard work and the dedication that it put into the team like good personnel, and putting yourself in the right position at the right time or wrong position at the wrong time. Anything that's happened to us this year I feel like we were in control of it and it's about learning from it and how we can change the outcome the next time."

DALE EARNHARDT JR. SAID THAT BEFORE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS, THE PRICE OF A TICKET REALLY WASN'T WORTH IT BECAUSE THE RACES WERE BORING. AND HE WANTS NASCAR TO TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT THE COT TO SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING IN TERMS OF DEVELOPMENT TO MAKE IT BETTER FOR THE DRIVERS AND FANS. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HIS COMMENT AND WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS TO BE DONE? "I somewhat agree. I feel like this car is not the best car for giving the drivers comfort and confidence to be able to really do what they need to do. I feel like the teams are in a box. They're not really able to adjust on the car to fix it if the car is tight in the middle or loose in and tight; you're kind of strapped there. We've gotten it better over time, but I still don't think we're ever going to get to where we really need to. The double-file restarts have definitely created a lot of excitement, but if we don't have the cautions, it seems like we're back into the same box. We want to give the fans the best we possibly can and certainly make sure they're getting their money's worth. They're coming out with a new car for the Nationwide Series. I'm hearing a lot of positives about that car. I haven't driven one. I haven't seen one. But I'm anxious to see if maybe there are some things that they've adapted into that car that we can eventually adapt into this car. There is no quick, easy fix, you know. No matter what thing you do to this car, it's going to cost the teams money. It's going to take time to develop it. There's no just one thing that's going to fix the issues that everybody's talking about. So, it's really comes down to whether NASCAR and the team owners really commit to wanting to make a change and what those changes would be."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon
Teams Hendrick Motorsports