Talladega II: Jeff Gordon pre-event notes

DRIVER STANDINGS: Gordon and the No. 24 Chevrolet team enter the seventh race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ranked fifth in the standings -- 203 points behind leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson. This season, Gordon has scored 11 top-five...

DRIVER STANDINGS: Gordon and the No. 24 Chevrolet team enter the seventh race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ranked fifth in the standings -- 203 points behind leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson. This season, Gordon has scored 11 top-five finishes, 16 top-10s and has led 918 laps.

TALLADEGA CHASSIS: Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24- 576 for Sunday's race at Talladega. Gordon first raced this car to a 10th-place finish at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February for the first Gatorade Duel 150 event. He also raced it last April at Talladega, where he finished 22nd, and in July at Daytona, where he finished third.

JEFF GORDON, DRIVER, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON WORKING WITH THE NATIONAL GUARD.): "It's been a great relationship. I've learned so much about the National Guard and what great opportunities they present to so many, like job opportunities, work skills and the opportunity of representing and protecting our country. It's also been a fantastic relationship from meeting Guardsmen and women, to going to Special Forces training and the Boy Scout Jamboree -- that was so cool. They've been able to really open my eyes up to what the military is all about and those men and women that represent them."

GORDON (ON HAVING A STRATEGY AT TALLADEGA.): "I think it's got to be sort of a strategy that can be adjusted at all times because depending on where you qualify, depending on what happens when the green flag drops -- sometimes your line may move straight to the front and you say 'You know hey I'm going to see how long I can stay up here.' If you get shuffled to the back, then you have to make a decision. Do you want to stay at the back? Do you want to work your way back forward? I'm a believer that at Talladega with the wins that I've had as well as the experience of being in the crash that you've just got kind of play it by ear and try to be smart. If you see something happening, move yourself out of that situation if it's at all possible. It's certainly not worth taking too much risk too early, but you also have to have yourself in position late in the race to get that top-five. It's one of those tracks that if you survive the big one, you're going to have a great shot at getting a good finish."

GORDON (ON NOT BEING HOME WITH HIS FAMILY ON HALLOWEEN.): "There are so many things happening at home. Ella's in school, and she's got parties she's going to so I'm going to get my Skype working in the bus, and I'm sure I'll be getting pictures sent to me constantly. I'm looking forward to the things that happen during the week and then Sunday when I get home. But unfortunately, they're not coming, and I'm going to miss a lot of the fun that's happening at home.

"Ella has several costumes, but primarily, she's going to be Jessie from Toy Story. She's got a fairy outfit like a Tinker-Bell-type fairy, and then she's got an elephant costume, a police officer uniform. She's got several things that she wants to be. And Leo, I'm not sure -- he might be a little lion. We got a couple of those little cute costumes. If I know Ingrid (Vandebosch, wife), he'll be all decked out in something cool."

STEVE LETARTE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 DUPONT/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET (ON HAVING A STRATEGY AT TALLADEGA.): "I think all you try to do there is do your best, stay out of trouble, and it's all about timing. I don't think it could be scripted. It can't be planned. It's kind of like marriage. Everyone thinks there's a script on it -- you've got to grow up, find the right person, have 2.2 kids and 1.2 pets and the world's going to be great. They expect Talladega to go that way -- to run 455 miles, and with 45 miles to go, that guy you talked to on Friday afternoon is right there next to you and you line up with him and you race to the end. That's not how it works at all. All you do is try to survive 450 miles, and the last 50 you push whoever's in front of you or that guy pushes whoever is in front of them. And that's really how it works. It would be great, and if you have the option to go with your teammate and/or another car, I would hope we'd pick our teammate just because we should have confidence in our equipment, in our Hendrick engines and in our Hendrick chassis."

LETARTE (ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RACE AT TALLADEGA.): "I think Talladega is going to be a big development race for the Chase. Even if nothing happens at Talladega, it's the fact that Talladega is then over and then it's very crystal clear because then there are three real races left -- Phoenix, Texas and Homestead. These three racetracks, which are not speedway tracks, are places that you can make your own destiny. So win, lose or draw, when Talladega's over, the Chase will be very clear with what you're going to have to do the last three races."

LETARTE (ON HOW TO APPROACH THE TALLADEGA RACE.): "In my opinion, the best defense at Talladega is a good offense, and that's what we're going to be on. We're not going to tip-toe around. We're not going to ride in the back. We're not going to hide our heads in the sand. We're going to go down there on kill like we would for the Daytona 500 to win the race. I've seen too many times where you try to play defense. It's like how many times in football do you seen the prevent defense give up the winning touchdown. We're not going to play that way. We're going to go down there to win, and that's always how we go to the racetrack."

LETARTE (ON THE RACE BEING ON HALLOWEEN.): "I really hope I miss trick-or-treating because if we miss trick-or-treating that probably means we're in Victory Lane at Talladega, and we have to go to the media center and spend some time down there. Halloween is always fun. It's a good time. Unfortunately for my children it falls in the Chase so we don't get to do a whole lot with it, but it'll be fun."

-source: hendrick motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson