JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 3M CHEVROLET SS – Sidelined in multi-car accident on lap 256.
“I saw the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) going sideways. I had him cleared. I stood on the gas and went by him; but I guess he might have clipped the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) and it turned the No. 1 back into me. After that I was just along for the ride. It looks like maybe the No. 31 (Ryan Newman) came down in trying to avoid the No. 11 and got into the No. 1 and then he clipped me in the left rear and sent me down the back straightaway. It wouldn’t have been too bad except that I found that one spot where there’s no SAFER barrier. I can’t believe it. That’s amazing to me. Anyway, hopefully soon that will get fixed. It was a pretty big impact. I hate it for this team. We were struggling. We didn’t have the 3M Chevrolet that I thought we were going to have, but we weren’t giving up on it. We were going to make gains and we finally got ourselves in the top 10 and I think we had a shot of getting into the top five. But obviously it’s not the way we want to start our season.”
WAS IT THE INTENSITY OF THE RACE YOU THINK THAT CAUSED THAT INCIDENT?
“He (Denny Hamlin) was loose before that. He looked like he struggled on the restarts. He would go up the race track. I think he was just real loose in the beginning of a run. Guys, yeah, they are getting aggressive. I don’t know if somebody got into the back of him, but they may have. He went around and at that point everybody is just trying to avoid him. You know how on those restarts it gets pretty wild down there in (turns) one and two. The later you get in the race like everywhere it gets more intense and guys start pushing harder and giving a lot less.”
IS IT TIME FOR DRIVERS TO DO MORE TO MAKE SURE SAFER BARRIERS ARE ALL OVER EVERY TRACK?
“I am very frustrated with the fact there are no SAFER barriers down there. I knew it was a hard hit. I was like ‘man I can’t believe…’ I didn’t expect it to be that hard. Then I got out and I looked and I saw ‘oh wow big surprise I found the one wall here on the back straightaway that doesn’t have a SAFER barrier. I don’t think we can say any more after Kyle’s (Busch) incident at Daytona. Everybody knows we have to do something and it should have been done a long time ago. All we can do now is hope they do it as fast as they possibly can.”
ON WHAT HAPPENED:
"I saw the No. 11 (Denny Hamlin) get loose and come around. He was just trying to save it, and guys were trying to avoid him, and got collected. I went by the No.11 on the outside and cleared him. I thought I was in good shape then I saw the No. 1 (Jamie McMurray) coming fast. I tried to get by him and he clipped me in the left rear and spun us around and sent us into the wall on the back straightaway. We weren't having a great day, I thought we would be better than that. We were struggling but I'm proud of the way we were fighting through. We had gotten ourselves into the top-10 right there. We might have had a shot at a top-five but we won't know now. It's unfortunate way to start the season. We just have to dig ourselves out of this hole."