JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET – FINISHED 5TH
ON HIS RACE:
“I don’t think we could have passed him (Jimmie Johnson). Those guys were definitely the class of the field today and had the track position. They’re a strong team. They deserve that win today. They did everything. Jimmie did his job on the track and the team did their job in the pits. And they had a good car.”
YOU CAME HERE TO WIN, BUT IS THERE ANY SATISFACTION IN FINISHING 5TH?
“I’m pretty disappointed really. It’s always nice to finish in the top five but at this point in the season, the way our season has gone with so many missed opportunities that we’ve had, I feel like it was a little bit of a missed opportunity today. We needed track position there at the end and we didn’t get it when it counted most and it cost us.”
TALK ABOUT THAT LAST PIT STOP. WAS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFICALLY THAT HAPPENED OR WAS IT JUST SLOW?
“I have no idea. I have to review it. The one thing about this pit road is that if you get a little bit behind, once you get up here, you’re way behind because they pull out in front of you and the next one pulls out in front of you and that’s what happened. We lost more than we should have but that wasn’t so bad. The worst thing was when you start on the outside lane; my car would just not go on that outside lane. And then they got all jumbled up and we lost even more spots. And then we had another caution on the outside lane again, so it just wasn’t our day.”
YOUR TEAMMATE DALE EARNHARDT JR. TOOK OVER THE POINT LEAD TODAY.
“I give them a lot of credit. It’s really awesome that they’re out front. They’ve been consistent and if they can keep that consistency up and maybe even take it up a notch when the Chase starts, they’re going to be a real threat for the championship. So, they’re running good. It’s good to see it. I’m happy to see it for Junior. I’m really happy to see it for (crew chief) Stevie (Letarte) and that whole team. They’ve put a lot of effort into it.”
WHERE DO YOU RANK YOUR CAR?
“I thought we were as good as or better than Jimmie (Johnson). We just never could get in front of him. That’s what it takes to win. You’ve got to get out front. Track position is very important here. We showed that we could run their pace, but we were always coming from behind.”
WHEN YOU FIRST MET JIMMIE JOHNSON, DID YOU THINK HE WOULD BE THIS GOOD?
“I knew he was special and talented. The type of equipment he was in was not the best equipment out there. It was good equipment, but not the best. I knew if you took a guy who had worked that hard and has raced that long with his talents, and put him with a good team, that he’d be able to do something special. I had no idea he was going to do what he has done, that’s way beyond any of our imagination, including his. He’s a great guy and a great driver. He has a great team. They deserve it.
YOU MADE UP A LOT OF SPOTS IN THE LAST HANDFUL OF LAPS. DO YOU THINK IF YOU HAD A RESTART A LITTLE CLOSER TO THE FRONT, THAT YOU WOULD HAVE AT LEAST FINISHED 2ND?
“I think we were a second-place car really, all day. We could pass everybody but Jimmie. That clean air is really important. So, yeah I think we were good enough to be second, but we weren’t going to pass Jimmie under green flag conditions.”
THE FANS CHEERED REALLY LOUD FOR YOU AT THE END OF THE RACE. WERE YOU HAPPY WITH THE CAR AT THE END OF THE RACE?
“I was happy with the car. Other than the first run, I was happy with the car all day. Or, maybe the second run. We were a little bit too tight. We freed it up and from that point on, I thought we had the car to beat. We just never could quite get that track position and get close enough to that No. 48 to try to make a pass on him. But it was a good solid day for us. You know I love this place.”
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