News


Early Season Highs and Lows


LAS VEGAS, NV.- - Following a season-opening victory in the Daytona 500, Jeff Gordon came crashing down to earth with a 30th place finish at California Speedway. Gordon was in the top-ten for the balance of the day, but engine problems with less than 15 laps to go sealed his fate. Following are Gordon's comments during the Las Vegas race weekend. He posted a fourth place finish in the event.


Sunday Post-Race Comments

HOW WAS THE RACE FOR YOU TODAY?
"It was good. Iíve got to go find out whatís wrong with Ryan Newman, but I guess a bunch of other guys do, too. We had a heck of a run going there. The car was so good on new tires that I just wanted to get up there and get a shot at Jimmy. I donít know if we could have won there or not since we had some tires issues there where we fell off. I had a great run and I felt like I passed Ryan pretty good. We were being aggressive and everything and I donít know, he just drove down into the back of me."

IT SEEMS LIKE THIS IS A DAY WHERE YOU REALLY EARNED YOUR FINISH
"Yeah, Iím just proud for the team. You know, we went back and forth every time we were up in the top-five. Somebody would take two tires and weíd have problems or something would happen. Weíd get shuffled back. It was just a great effort on the car because we just kept tuning to make it better and better. I wanted to get up there and give my teammate Jimmie Johnson a run for his money and also Kyle Busch, what a great run for him today. I hate what happened to Brian Vickers today, if he hadnít have had his trouble he might be up there today. The overall effort for Hendrick Motorsports is a nice bounce back from Fontana. I had a little trouble with Ryan Newman there so I have to find out what thatís about. But, it costs us a shot at getting a win. I donít know if we could have gotten up there with Jimmie or not but it certainly took all of our chances away."

WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU AND RYAN?
"I worked on him, worked on him and worked on him. I raced him clean, he kept fighting me and I was doing everything I could to get by him. I finally did get by him. He got a big push from behind him and got a pretty good draft going into Turn 1 and I just took my normal line in there. And, he got on me and got me loose and then he just hit me. Iím just fortunateÖI feel fortunate that weíve got a car in one piece and a top 5 finish."

IT SEEMS LIKE ITíS SHAKEN OUT TO BE BETWEEN HENDRICK AND ROUSH HERE IN THIS PART OF THE SEASON
"Yeah, definitely. In winter testing that looked to be the case as well. Iím really happy with the way things are going. Weíve got to qualify a little bit better, but other than that weíve got a great race team and great race cars. The Roush cars do as well."


Sunday Pre-Race Comments

HOW IS YOUR CAR?
"Weíll find out really soon. I think weíre better than where we qualified at. Iím really proud of this team, theyíve been performing on race day and in the pits and communication and chemistry is there. You know, we want to redeem ourselves a little bit from the tough luck we had with the engine in California. I feel very confident that weíve got that all behind us and I look forward to putting it out there."

HOW IS THE WIND A FACTOR HERE?
"The biggest issue is it looks there might be a bit of a crosswind down the middle of turns 1 and 2. It is going to make it challenging for us to get the car turned in the middle of the corner. It really helps us going into turn 3 because itís a headwind and we can drive in there really deep, really hard and just use the wind to brake the car and turn the car as well. We should be in good shape there. Other than that the wind is not that much of a factor. Itís really all about track temperature more than anything else."


Saturday Comments

HOW DID FINAL PRACTICE GO FOR YOU TODAY?
"I was pretty happy in the first practice. I though the balance was good. We knew the track temperature was going to warm up for the second practice and the track was going to be a bit slicker. And it did. That definitely threw us off. Weíve got a lot of notes to go over and weíll put our heads together to get better. I think weíll be in good shape tomorrow."

YOUíVE GOT SOME GOOD TRACKS COMING UP, WITH ATLANTA AND MARTINSVILLE. WHAT ARE YOU THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT WEíLL SEE AT ATLANTA?
"Jimmie Johnson went testing with Goodyear there. He said it was a handful, so Iím expecting Atlanta to be one of our biggest challenges with these new rules. Itís one of those places where itís hard to go there and test to get good information from. I think that youíre going to see a lot of people struggling there and hopefully weíll get it figured out."

HOW ARE YOU FARING OFF THE TRACK IN VEGAS?
"Iím faring extremely well and I usually do because I donít go to the tables when Iím here, so I know Iím going to leave with all my money."


Friday Press Conference

IS THIS A TRACK A LOT OF FUN FOR DRIVERS?
"I think everybody is a big fan, not only of the town but also of the race track. It just seems to be a popular venue for obvious reasons. But at the race track, I think they did a great job of designing it so we put on a good race here. I think that this is a destination for a lot of people to vacation and come and have fun. I think having a Cup race here is a perfect match. For the competitors, you donít see every single team testing here in the off season for no reason."

SOMEONE ELSE SAID THEY MIGHT HAVE FOUND A COMMON THREAD IN THE ENGINE PROBLEM FROM LAST WEEKEND. ARE YOU CONFIDENT?
"Yeah, I think weíre real confident. I feel like we know where the issue was. We did a lot of testing on the dyno and stuff, here in this past week and a half. I was in the engine shop before I went on vacation and I know that they feel confident and I feel confident that weíve got it figured out. Jimmieís motor would have only gone maybe one more lap if that. So, weíve had a better way to diagnose what was going on there because it didnít tear up all the parts and pieces. But, yeah, I feel good."

WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM AT FONTANA?
"Well, I donít want to give all the technical terms because Iíll mess it up. But from what Iíve heard it was a retainer. It was a part that we had tested, maybe not quite under the same RPM range because of the new gear rule. We may have gotten ourselves caught with that a little bit. But, you know, weíre back to a proven product that we ran last year and we should be fine."

HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU FOR THIS WEEKEND?
"I feel that weíve got the best engine department there is out here. They guys work so hard that when we do find a problem, we diagnose it and fix it. I feel like weíre going to be in good shape engine-wise this weekend. I just approach it just like any other engine, itís not an issueóitís just about making sure we get the power out of it and making the car work well."

IS IT ALMOST BETTER THAT A PROBLEM LIKE THAT WOULD MAKE ITSELF EVIDENT EARLY IN THE YEAR RATHER THAN LATER?
"Definitely. Every race is crucial, I feel like. But Iíd much rather have it happen early in the season or in the first 26 races than in those last 10."

HOW DO YOU FEEL IT AFFECTED YOUR MOMENTUM AFTER COMING OUT OF DAYTONA WITH A VICTORY?
"I feel like we had a great run going at Fontana. We started deep in the field and worked our way up there. We got ourselves into second, pit stops were really coming on strong there. So, weíre still carrying momentum. We had a good run even though we didnít finish it out."

YOUíRE ONE OF ONLY TWO NON-ROUSCH GUYS TO HAVE WON AT THIS TRACK, ARE YOU SURPRISED AT ALL OR DO YOU EXPECT THAT OUT OF A TEAM LIKE THAT?
"Well, theyíre good. Theyíre going to be good this time around as well. They showed how strong they are at Fontana. I think theyíre going to show again this weekend. When it comes to a 36-race schedule or a 26-race schedule if you kind of want to look at it that way, youíve got to look at the ones youíre best at and do your best to make up ground in the ones youíre not. And those guys are good here, we know they are the cars to beat and itís our job to catch them or beat them. And then we need to take advantage of the tracks where we feel are our best: Atlanta, Texas, tracks like that."

THERE IS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT MAYBE NASCAR GOING TO CANADA, POSSIBLY MONTREAL. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THAT AND DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE CIRCUIT AT MONTREAL?
"Iím a big fan of Formula 1, so I know the course, certainly from television and thatís about it. Iíd love to see us in Canada. I think that staying in North America is extremely important. Canada to me seems like the next natural place for us to go. Obviously, Mexico went well for the Busch carsóthat might be a good option as well. But I want to see us on an oval. I donít want to see us on a road course in Canada. I think we can put on such a better show for the fans, and I know there are a lot of fans in Canada who follow NASCAR. I wish we had an oval track up there. If weíre going to go there, we need to start that process."




News Archives



Jeff Gordon Online




Copyright ©2005 Jeff Gordon Online.
All rights reserved.