Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Post Race Press Conference Highlights: "I hated It that Jimmie had his problems. It pretty much ruined his night. And for us, at that point, started a long night for us. But they dropped the...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Dupont Chevrolet Monte Carlo - Post Race Press Conference Highlights:
"I hated It that Jimmie had his problems. It pretty much ruined his night. And for us, at that point, started a long night for us. But they dropped the green and we were awesome. And then the thing just went completely away. I couldn't hold onto it. We had brake problems and then we just fought back. This team just never gave up. Robbie (Loomis) just kept telling me not to give up. We got a lap down and he made a gusty call to stay out and luckily the caution fell at the right time for us to stay on the lead lap. We came in and put four tires on it and the next thing I knew we were driving to the front."
YOU JOKED ABOUT STARTING THE NEXT 10 RACES JUST 5 POINTS AHEAD OF JIMMIE, BUT IT MUST BE A GOOD FEELING TO ENTER INTO THE CHASE IN SUCH A STRONG WAY
"It is a good feeling to be up front. I'm more excited about the effort and the fight we put out there tonight more than anything else because I feel like we're going to put that kind of fight up for the next 10 weeks. We're going to give it our best effort. We're going to put everything we have - our best resources, people, race cars, engines, and everything - into it. We've got great race tracks coming up. This team is pumped up. It's going to be interesting. Yes, I wish we had a bigger gap between us and the competition, but it certainly is exciting the way this points championship is unfolding."
WERE YOU SURPRISED AT THE AGGRESSIVE RACING TONIGHT?
"The only thing I noticed was just the hard racing that we typically have here at Richmond. I didn't think it was anything out of the norm. One time Harvick got into the back of me going into Turn 1. I didn't know if he just got in too deep or what. But other than that, I didn't see anything other than the norm."
WHAT MADE IT SO DIFFICULT TO PASS?
"I'm not really sure. I personally think the tire is a little too hard. I had fresh tires behind guys that had stayed out on tire or who had two tires and I was good for about two or three laps and then I really couldn't do much with them. My car wasn't as good at that point as it had been earlier also. But when you look at how many laps we can run on these tires and how much the times drop off, it sure seems to me like maybe the tires are a little bit hard. But to Goodyear's defense, they want to make sure the tires aren't having failures either. The track didn't seem to have the outside groove that we've seen here in the past. A lot of times the bottom is good but then you can go way up to the top and it's almost like a cushion up there and slide up to it and bump against it and really be able to maintain some momentum on the outside."
CAN YOU LOOK AHEAD TO HOW YOU THINK THE DRIVERS ARE GOING TO APPROACH THE FINAL 10? WILL YOU BE CONSERVATIVE OR WILL YOU HAVE TO GO FOR WINS?) "I personally think that 10 races is more than you think. I don't know if we, as a team, know any other way to race. If you're racing in the old points system, the you'd start to change how you approach races. If you were behind a lot, you'd start taking more risks trying to gain those points you need. But the way this system is, I think we just go out there and race the same way we've been racing all year long, which is basically to win. But if you don't have the car to win, you get the best possible finish you can. This team is not going to do any different. Tonight we were a 17th place car at one time and we fought back to finish third somehow. Some nights it's going to be that we have a third place car but finish 17th or 18th. We're just going to really have to roll with it that way every week. We've had some failures here recently and we can't have those. These last 10 races, you're not going to be able to have any failures.
"If you do have some kind of a problem, it's going to be crucial how fast you can react to it and how well you can come back and get as many points as you possibly can. I don't think you can be overly aggressive, but you can't be conservative either."
ARE YOU OKAY WITH THE FACT THAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO RACE AGAINST 42 DRIVERS FOR THE SAME POINTS THEY'RE TRYING TO GET IN THE NEXT 10 RACES? OR, DO YOU FEEL THAT THE TOP 10 SHOULD HAVE YOUR OWN POINTS SYSTEM IF THAT MAKES ANY SENSE?
"It makes perfect sense. And I agree with that. Let's say that a guy who is fifth in points finishes fourth or fifth in a race and the next guy in points finishes 15th, I think he should get the points of like a sixth place guy. I'm confusing it even more. But you know what I'm saying. I wish we were on our own point system. Now the only difficult part of that is that it would be pretty darn confusing and all of us would be trying to figure out what's going on. But kind of like the rookie points used to be done - where it didn't matter where you finished as long as you finished behind guys that you were racing in the points, then you basically got the points right behind them and you didn't have all those gaps and stuff. I would love to see that, but the biggest thing that would make me happier is that it's great we've got those 10 guys in the system. Right now, the 45 points (difference) is nothing. There was a bigger difference in first and second coming into this race tonight than there is now from first to 10th. Personally, I don't think that's enough. It's going to be exciting and entertaining. When the whole thing's over, it's going to be very interesting. I think we're not rewarding the guys that have been up front. I don't think it should be spread out enough to where the guy in 10th and 9th doesn't have a shot at it. But those guys have to go in the streaks that Jeremy (Mayfield) has been on in order to get up there to battle for that championship. And right now, I could go from leading the points right now and very easily finish 10th in these point standings. And I don't know if anybody was in that position if they would think that that is really fair. But it is the way it is. I think we still have a shot to win this thing. But the way you talk about having a separate point system or spreading things out a little bit more between each position - we have five now, and maybe it would be 10 or maybe 15 between each position."