Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, qualified second for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and met with members of the media following the conclusion of qualifing: Jeff Gordon , No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, Qualified 2nd: "We...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, qualified second for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and met with members of the media following the conclusion of qualifing:
Jeff Gordon , No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS, Qualified 2nd:
"We were strong in practice and we knew we had a shot at it. It just came down to the adjustments going late like that. The track has some great grip and unfortunately to run at the pace we needed to beat Martin (Truex, Jr.), we needed to be just a little bit freer, outside front row, very happy with that. It was a very solid day for us. Front row starting position, good place on pit road, a car that is driving very well, so I am very happy."
ON BEING HIS OWN BIGGEST CRITIC:
"Definitely and you get reminded of it when you come back to a track that you haven't won at and you think back two or three races at that track that you felt like you had a car that could win the race. It is never good to know that you made a mistake that cost you the win. I am always my harshest critic and I am going to admit when I am wrong and make mistakes and try not to do the same thing twice. This is a very easy track for that mistake to made, you carry a lot of speed off the corners here, the walls come up on you in a hurry. The track narrows up there and you just have got to make sure, what I beat myself up the most about that deal here in the spring, is I didn't need to be pushing quite that hard. I had quite a good lead, it is very difficult to pass here and we were in the driver's seat on that situation. I am not saying that guaranteed a victory but certainly had the makings of it. Mistakes are going to be made whether it is by me or anybody else. The great thing is that nobody sits there and beats me up, I am usually beating myself up over those types of things."
ON HAVING ANY ADVANTAGE GOING INTO SUNDAY'S RACE BY OUTQUALIFYING JIMMIE JOHNSON:
"I think it is too early to tell. I think tomorrow's practice will tell more. The difference is that at Atlanta, track position is not near as important as it is here. Last time we were here, we started on the pole and I felt like that contributed to our performance that day of being strong and putting ourself in position to win that race. A front row start is great. I think also, it gives you more of an opportunity to lead a lap and get those five bonus points. I was a little bit disappointed last week that we weren't able to lead a lap and get five bonus points and that is what cut that margin down even more so. Hopefully we will be able to put ourselves in position here early to pull that off. We are all going out every weekend just pushing the car to the limit. The team, I will say, deserves a lot of credit, for really stepping up their game. The cars are just driving great , the engines are performing well, and every body just seems to be together. When that is happening in the shop that builds both of those cars, it is like identical things are coming out of there, so you know that the cars are capable of doing it. Last weekend when Jimmie was faster than us, I knew we were capable of getting it to that point. I am sure he probably feels the same thing this weekend. It is just that constant search in the way that this season has kind of gone with us pushing one another within our own organization. "
ON SITUATION OF HOW UNIQUE IT IS TO HAVE TWO TEAMMATES BATTLING FOR CHAMPIONSHIP;
"It is and it is probably one of the things I have beat myself up the most about the last three or four years is the fact that I have pretty much known that we are getting our butts beat by the No. 48 team. You can have the exact same equipment and if you don't have the chemistry of the team and the confidence and support surrounding you and vice versa, then you are not going to get the full benefits of that. Right now, these two teams are as tight and as close to having all those ingredients that I have ever seen since we have had both cars under one roof. Anything coming out of Hendrick Motorsports, it is pretty incredible what we have been able to achieve there, we are having a lot of fun and enjoying this success and this type of chemistry and I think it has made for a great - call it rivalry or whatever- it is just competitiveness among the cars and teams at Hendrick that is fantastic and exciting. Kind of reminds me of the '96 season when Terry (Labonte) won it but the cars were the same. There was enough differences with Gary Dehart in the way he was building the cars. We know these things are pretty much identical.
"Although, I will say that because Jimmie's driving style is different enough, they play with this car only, because you can't do it on the Car of Tomorrow, to make differences for Jimmie that is different from what we do. So each car is still, the capabilities are there, but they are a little bit different in the setups, which is typical for us."
-credit: gm racing