2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Richmond


"Really solid effort all weekend long. When it counted most, the team stepped up. I am really, really proud of and excited for these next 10 weeks. We just didn't have what Brad (Keselowski) had on the short runs. He was able to take off and get away from us, but we were better than he was on the long runs. We gave it a heck of an effort. It's been a great season so far, we are excited to get that Chase started next week in Chicago. It is Hunger Awareness month, that is why this car is orange for our Drive to End Hunger folks. You want to win every race. If you don't win every race. If you are not able to win every race, you go to work to figure out what you need to do to be better. There are certain tracks that we go to that you know you are really, really good. And there are some that we go to that we have to work on a little bit. All in all we are just a solid, consistent team that also knows how to win. You can't ask for better than that. Now, if we can make ourselves a little bit better at some of these places, watch out."

KERRY THARP: Jeff Gordon has joined us. Jeff was tonight's race runner up. He is also the number two seed in the 2014 Chase grid.

Jeff, just talk about your run out there tonight. Certainly another strong performance by the 24 team. Maybe just your thoughts about being seeded second as we embark on the challenger round next week at Chicago.

JEFF GORDON: Yeah, it was a solid night. We really struggled in practice yesterday and we had some concerns. I thought that Alan again just showed what a great crew chief he is by working with his engineers. We go into our debrief with our teammates, share a lot of information. I think the information we gathered, as well as just the communication, we really made our car better.

I think also tonight, you don't think of Richmond as a track position type of race, but as little grip that was in this tire, it seemed like aerodynamics did play a big role. So I was happy we started up front. We were able to stay up front all night. Didn't have to come up through traffic.

We were good. We just weren't quite as good as Brad on the short runs. He could really get away from me and stretch it out, then we could pull him back in. We just didn't have enough laps.

We were closing. Sliding around. Didn't feel like it was going anywhere, but we were catching him. That's all that matters.

So another solid effort. Proud of the team. We're excited to get this thing started. This is the most fun I've had in a long time, and it's because of this race team and the racecars we've had.

Q. Is it you guys and the 4 car and the two Penske cars?

JEFF GORDON: Everybody is in it.

Q. They just showed Jimmie Johnson being taken away with dehydration. What causes that? Long green runs? Do you have any idea?

JEFF GORDON: I'm not really sure. I just saw that. I know there's a couple times throughout the race when I felt like I was kind of cramping a little bit, as well.

It was hot out there. We were losing a lot of fluids. They were long green flag runs. It was hard to keep your fluids going.

I know I run a system that I can drink in the car. On these short tracks...

I'm assuming, if that's what it is, dehydration, probably just somehow wasn't able to get the fluids in him throughout the race.

Q. Jeff, you've been a champion four times. This 10 race run, do you think this will be the most intense run you've ever had to make to win a championship?

JEFF GORDON: I believe so. You know, just the structure of the points, how it pays winning, how competitive the top teams are right now, how it's going to come down to just four, then those four going to battle at Homestead.

If you make it to Homestead, you've really had to be on top of your game and have things go your way at the right times.

I believe, no matter what the structure is, I still believe the best team wins. I've always believed that and I still believe that. If it's meant to be because you've prepared and you have the strong cars, the best team, I think you're going to make it to Homestead and you're going to win the championship.

But it's going to be intense. Oh, yeah, it's going to be really, really intense. I think you actually have to try to balance out that intensity to try to make it not too intense for yourself.

Certainly the first two rounds, everybody has this focus on you got to win, you got to win. That's not true. You got to be solid. It would be nice to win. We're going to be going out there to win. You still don't want to have a big problem. In the past, the problem has taken you completely out of it and it still can in this format.

Put solid races together, you're going to move forward. Each segment you go into, the challenger round, all that, if you can make it to that third round, you're going to have to really start stepping up at that point and maybe pushing a little bit harder because competition's only going to get tougher.

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