Team Monte Carlo driver, Jeff Gordon, became the first three-time Brickyard 400 winner in just the eighth running of the race. It was Gordon's 56th career win and fourth NASCAR Winston Cup victory of the season. He leads the series with a 160...
Team Monte Carlo driver, Jeff Gordon, became the first three-time Brickyard 400 winner in just the eighth running of the race. It was Gordon's 56th career win and fourth NASCAR Winston Cup victory of the season. He leads the series with a 160 point advantage over second-place driver, Dale Jarrett.
Robbie Loomis, crew chief, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "It's exciting, I'll tell you what. This team is something else - you can't say enough about them. The guys give us all the tools to work with. They make it really enjoyable. Early on, the car was really, really bad. Jeff was really getting aggravated with us and finally it started coming around a little bit and we got towards the front. When you get Jeff Gordon towards the front, it's going to be a beautiful sight."
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "Well, I had to win it because my crew chief was going to wring my neck if I didn't because I was chewing him out so bad at the beginning of the race. We were so far off at the beginning, but I think most of it was just traffic. I think the car was pretty good, but we made some major adjustments. And you know, when things go your way, they go your way. They certainly did with this Dupont Chevrolet team today. I want to thank God. We have so many blessings and are really glad for a safe race today. At the end, we only took two tires and the rest of them took four. So what can I say?"
On the re-start and getting by Sterling Marlin
"It was pretty key. I wanted to get by him quick. And as fast as he was and as good as he was all the way to the finish, I don't know if I could have passed him if I'd have stayed behind him. But I got an amazing restart. We had some great power under the hood with these Hendrick engines. And I got a great restart and got up underneath him and from then on we just set sail. I got a little bit loose those last few laps and if I'd made a mistake, he would have had me and we would have seen a Dodge win this race. We're just thrilled to be able to pull our Chevrolet into Victory Lane."
On being a three-time winner at the Brickyard
"Its amazing to be a one-time winner, let alone to be a three-time winner. I dreamed as a kid to be like AJ Foyt and Rick Mears and Bobby Unser and Al Unser and be able to come here. It's a thrill. I never dreamed it would be in a stock car and I certainly never thought I'd win here. This is amazing to do it three times."
"We started to make some adjustments early in the race and I realized that the adjustments really weren't doing much. I told Robbie that I wanted to be careful not to get us too far out of whack on our set-up because I thought all we really needed to do was to get up front. I believed that if we got good track position, we'd be pretty good.
"One of those times, the caution came out and we had just come into pit. We didn't loose a lap. Guys had to come in - they had been out there for about 15 laps - and we were in the top five. After that, the car just drove great. It wasn't that we made these huge adjustments. We did make some big adjustments, but the track position allowed the car to get some clean air and it started driving for me and I could feel what it was doing then. When you get that far back, you can't tell what the car is doing. There's so much dirty air going over the car. I thought I had the slowest car out there at one time."
The last three winners of the Brickyard 400 have gone on to win the Winston Cup championship. Does that speak to the driver's ability?
"Yesterday, I thought it was a coincidence. Today, I hope it's true. It's hard to say. I really believe that this race today was all about the team and all about some good luck and good fortune. Things went our way just like they've been going our way this year toward the championship. Nothing guarantees a championship at this point in the season. I think this is definitely going to give us some momentum. It's going to do a lot for our team. To be able to come from 27th and win today, I think that's an indication that we can do just about anything."
Starting from 27th, what did you think your chances were of winning?
"Not good. Not good at all. I was falling back at times at the beginning. And the closer I got to other cars, the more the car started to really slip and slide around. The problem is that when you're in a situation like that, you don't know what to tell the team what kind of adjustments to make. I didn't know. The car was sideways going in the corners) and pushing coming off (the corners). It was just all over the place. Robbie was pulling his hair out at the beginning of the race. He was going through a lot of stress this weekend, so that one was for him."
Steve Park, No. 1 Pennzoil Chevrolet Monte Carlo:
"I'm a little disappointed. The Pennzoil Chevrolet ran great all day long today. It seems like when we have such a big lead, there's always a debris caution. For some reason, the leader of the race never sees it. It's just disappointing. Track position was everything. My hats off to Jeff Gordon. They made the right call. They came in the pits and took two tires and they got him out first. The last pit stop just got us a little bit behind and with only 20 laps to go and a bunch of cautions there was not enough time to work our way back up front."
Do you wish you had used different pit strategy?
"We don't second-guess after the race. It would be easy to sit here and say this is what we should have done. We win races as a team and we lose races as a team. We led a bunch of laps and I feel like we're back on track. We're consistently up in the top 10 again. That's what we need to do to get back in the top 10 in points. I'm just real proud of this whole Pennzoil Chevrolet team. We've got a great race team. Races are sometimes won and lost in the pits and we lost it there today. Strategy kind of hurt us and got us too far back with so few laps left in the race."
On losing one of the biggest races of the year?
"Yeah, it's gut-wrenching. What can I say? To be able to dominate the race and run as good as we did and then lose it in the last 30 laps is really hard. You work all day to try to win it and then give it away at the end. Fortunately I'm young and I'll race a lot more of these races in the years to come.
"We had a good car and again it showed you that track position was key. We needed to be up front. We needed to pit in the lead and we needed to come out in the lead. I think we could have continued to dominate the race. To come out as far back as we did and still work our way back to the top 10 showed we had a good racecar. But with 30 laps to go and two or three cautions thrown in there, you don't get enough green flag lap to work your way to the front. Jeff Gordon and the Dupont team made a good call and got themselves up front."
What was that piece of debris out there?a
"I think it was the yellow Pennzoil car so far out front."
Did the heat bother you?) "My feet were burned up pretty good. The cars run so low here that it keeps the air from circulating underneath the car and the floorboards get real hot. But I guess that's the reason why we eat right and work out."