JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – FINISHED 27TH:
ON THE PUSHING ISSUE WITH TREVOR BAYNE AT THE END OF THE RACE
“We worked together pretty well in February; him pushing me and me pushing him. We worked together well. But I think everybody knew coming into the weekend, the Fords made it very clear about what they were doing in working with one another and helping one another out and all those things. So I didn’t expect him to commit to me on the radio. I expected him to say, ‘Man, I’m sorry; I can’t.’ And when he said, ‘Yeah, I’m pushing you; we’re good’; I believed him. But I think they had a different plan.”
WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RCR TEAMMATES SPLITTING UP THERE AT THE END OF THE RACE AND CLINT BOWYER AND JEFF BURTON RACING FOR THE WIN?
“You know, I don’t think there’s a guy in this garage area that’s a teammate in a situation like that where if he thought he could get to the finish line first, without costing both of them the win, is he going to take that opportunity? I’ve run that through my head many times. I’m sure many other guys have. We’re programmed to go for the win. And if you see that checkered flag, when you’re a racer, you’re going for it.”
ON THE RACE
“We lost Mark (Martin) as our partner in that last wreck and he got a piece of it. We had to make a decision whether to keep our good track position and work with somebody around us and we made that decision to do that. Unfortunately it cost us and we fell way back by not having Mark.”
DO YOU THINK YOU WERE A PRODUCT OF ANY LATE-RACE FORD DIRECTIVE FROM TREVOR BAYNE’S CAMP?
“Well I just find it odd. We talked on the radio a good bit and agreed that he was going to push me. I came on there and I said, ‘Hey, what’s your deal? You got anybody you’re working with?’ And he said, ‘No, man, I’m pushing you.’ And I went off my radio and talked to my guys and went back to his radio and we talked through it and he said, ‘Yep, yep, yep’. So, Trevor came over to me (after the race in the garage) and said ‘Hey, it wasn’t me; it wasn’t me. That’s what I’m being told to do.’ But I’m surprised that somebody didn’t come back over (the radio). I just think it could have been handled better. If somebody is going to screw you, you’d like them to say it to your face you know? Or, at least on the radio (laughs). I would have been fine with that but I’m sorry; I would have been totally fine with that and understood.”
DID YOU TAKE HIM UNDER YOUR WING IN DAYTONA?
“Yeah, but politics play out sometimes. He feels terrible about it. Listen, at that point you work with anybody that you can when you lose your partner then you’re desperate to find somebody. I was going to go with the No. 13 but Trevor lined up behind me and when he agreed to it and I said hey, we can’t go with a better person than that. He’s got a fast race car; we already have history of working well together and I thought it was a no-brainer. But I probably should have known better.”
WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU SAW IN HIM AT DAYTONA THAT MADE YOU WANT TO WORK WITH HIM?
“Yeah, he had a fast race car (laughter).’
WHEN YOU SAY HE CAME OVER AND TALKED TO YOU, WAS THAT AFTER THE RACE?
“Yeah, right here. He came over to the car after the race.”
SO IS THAT TEAM ORDERS AND/OR MANUFACTURER ORDERS?
“It would seem to me like that’s it.”
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