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A Few Questions For Tuesday


DAYTONA BEACH, FLA.- - Following a disappointing qualifying lap on Sunday afternoon, Jeff Gordon returned to the Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday for two practice sessions. He was 37th in the first session, but topped the speed chart in the second session. He chatted briefly after the on-track activity concluded.


WHAT DO YOU WORK ON BETWEEN NOW AND SUNDAY'S RACE?
"The first thing was just to see where the speed was lost and if we could find it and make sure that this car has the speed that it had at one time and it does. We changed a lot of things, but we still don't know exactly happened on Sunday. All I know is that I have a fast race car and I'm having fun with it now. We're just working on handling now. The tires definitely go away fast. Getting the car to work well in the draft and the handling of it is going to be important."

DID YOU FIND THE SPEED YOU NEEDED IN THIS LAST PRACTICE?
"We were fast in the first practice. You can't pay attention to any speed charts during drafting. We didn't do a single thing to it. In one practice we're 37th and in the next practice we're first. Being first on the board didn't mean any more or less. It just depends on the draft that you're in. The car has been fine all day - just like it was prior to qualifying. So I'm really not sure what happened."

ARE YOU WORKING ON JUST GETTING THE HANDLING DIALED IN BETWEEN NOW AND SUNDAY?
"Yeah, because it's now not just necessarily just a speed thing anymore. With the tires we've had the last couple of years, it's really just been all about speed. Now there's a lot more strategy that goes into the handling of the car and making sure that you've got a car that you can run wide-open with and run in front with. A lot of guys- probably most of them- are not going to be able to run wide-open. You're going to have to lift after about 15 or 18 laps. And that's a good thing because we normally have really good handling cars here and the driver comes back into play. It's not just all about horsepower and drag."

ON WHERE HE IS IN HIS CAREER
"I'm definitely very comfortable with where I am right now. I like being 32. I'll be 33 this year. I like our race team. I like the chances we have for a championship. When you're at Hendrick Motorsports, and you have all the resources that we have, you go into every year thinking that you've got a shot at the championship and I feel very confident and good about that."

ARE THE CHANCES FOR A BIG CRASH AT DAYTONA ANY DIFFERENT NOW?
"It's probably worse now. With the tires the way they are, it's easier to make mistakes and easier for your car to slip and slide around and get into other cars out there. It's definitely going to happen. It's just when and where. Hopefully it's something minor. We saw the other day in the Bud Shootout more wrecks than we've seen in a long time in a short race like that."

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500?
"You do have to have a lot of things on your side. You've got to have a fast race car, a good driver, a heck of a pit crew, great communications, staying cool all day, and having some good luck on your side. You have to have one of those days where- I don't want to say perfect, because I think you can come back from small things- but it's going to be the team that makes the fewest mistakes that wins."




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