GM Racing News--Gordon Post-Practice Quotes with Ken Howes
Saturday practice #2 quotes
Dover International Speedway
Vice President of Competition
COMMENTS ON THE TRACK CONDITIONS
The track will change here a lot because it was so green from the rain. It will change and you have to figure that in when you make decisions for tomorrow. And, some will make better decisions than others.
ALTHOUGH THERE WAS SOME BAD LUCK, ALL THE HENDRICK CARS SHOWED GOOD PERFORMANCE LAST WEEK IN CHARLOTTE
Yeah, you're always concerned because it comes and it goes and it cycles in and out. You have good days and bad. You want to have good days all the time, but it's not always going to happen. You just have to keep working and keep going and some days are better than others.
#24 DuPont Chevrolet
HOW IS THE TRACK TODAY?
Well, you know, it's a tough place to read when you have a track like this, where it's been raining for a day and it's a green track. When we go out there and start laying down rubber, the track changes a lot throughout the day. Even more rubber gets laid down, the more it's going to be like the race tomorrow. I thought we were decent. We need to make some more gains, but we're chasing the track quite a bit there. It will change a lot tomorrow and I know the guys have a good car underneath me. You know, it's just going to be about keeping up with it.
DRIVERS LOVE RACING HERE
Yeah, it is a cool race track. You know, how you approach the turns and you can play with the throttle and the brake. Entry speed and different things you do here can make the car work better for you. Try different lines, run up the race track, run down the bottom of the race track. It's a tough place to pass on. When the groove moves out wide here, it's a great place to race. I'm hoping that we get that tomorrow.
IS THIS TRACK DIFFERENT?
Well, every place is. Tires are different, aero is different, but you know, I feel like this team is so amazing about how they learn. Just every weekend how to make the cars work better and go faster. I'm really not feeling that much of a difference in speed right now than I did here last year.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE MEETING WITH QUARTERBACK DONOVAN MCNABB?
It was cool. He's a real nice guy and I certainly respect his talents on the football field. I was at the Super Bowl this year and it was a great game. It's neat to be able to get a chance to meet him and I think it's great what he's able to do with the Urban Racing League and I support what they're doing. To have someone of his stature involved in it and supporting it will do well.
DID YOU LIKE HAVING TWO PRACTICE SESSIONS TODAY, INSTEAD OF JUST ONE THAT WAS PLANNED?
Yeah, that was great. The more time we have on the track, the better. It was definitely a big plus.
DID YOU TALK TO MCNABB ABOUT ANY OF THE TRADE SPECULATION?
I didn't. Right now it's about fantasy football. I talked to him how he's going to be for my fantasy football next year and whether or not I need to pick him.
He said I need to pick him!
A LOT OF CAUTIONS. DO YOU THINK IT'S DUE TO RULE CHANGES OR COMPETIION?
I think it's a little bit of both. We've been seeing more cautions over the past few years just because the competition's tougher. The speeds have increased through the corners in past years, which makes it harder to pass. You know, you take some downforce away from the cars this year and it might make the cars a little bit more difficult to drive or not give you quite that security as it did in the past. Anytime you do something like that, it's an adjustment. I've liked it. Some guys haven't. You know, every place is different. Every weekend is different as to why there are more cautions.
GOING TO POCONO, WHY IS THAT ONE OF THE PLACES NOT MANY PEOPLE TEST AT, SINCE IT'S SO UNUSUAL?
That's a good question. You know, I don't know. I guess because it's nothing like any of the other tracks that we go to, that we're testing primarily just for that race track. Whereas when we go testing at Vegas and Charlotte and Texas and Atlanta, I feel like we're getting something that's going to help us on all 1.5-mile race tracks. Instead of just one race track.
DO YOU KNOW THE TALLY ON THE CARS YOU WRECKED IN YOUR ROOKIE YEAR?
I don't know. It was a lot. Ray Evernham would know better than I would, or Brian Whitesell or somebody like that, but it was quite a few.
CAN YOU IMAGINE COMING INTO THE SPORT NOW WITH THE TYPES OF PRESSURE YOUNG DRIVERS HAVE?
Well, the difference is, I always wrecked by myself! I didn't seem to take many other guys out with me, and that was just getting a feel for the cars. I know that there's a lot of pressure. As a rookie, when I came in, the pressure wasn't that you had to go win. This year, or nowadays, as a rookie, you're expected to win your first year. And that's tough to do. We're seeing rookies get in good race cars and good opportunites to have that chance at winning. I don't think it matters what is going on. When you're a rookie, there is an extreme amount of pressure-whether it really is there, or whether you just make it up. You just feel like all eyes are on you. That every mistake you make, that it's the biggest mistake you've ever made in your life. And that there's just extreme pressure to perform at a high level. To me, there's nothing better than getting past that rookie season. Just to have that comfort level and get that behind you.
WHAT SORT OF RACE DO YOU THINK WE'LL SEE HERE AT DOVER?
You know, I'm hoping to see the groove move up. Because if it does, I think it will be great. That's why I'm saying that with the track as green as it was, laying down rubber, that we really didn't see the groove widening out like I'd like to see it. If it does widen out, we're going to see a great race with side-by-side racing. If it doesn't, we're going to see a lot more cautions.
THOUGHTS ON BUMP DRAFTING ON NON-RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS
I tell you what, anybody that bump drafts at Charlotte is a complete idiot. I'll tell you that right now. And, if anybody is out there thinking that you can do that at any other place other than Daytona and Talladega, I'll tell it right to their face. Because that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. You don't bump draft on the straightaways on any race track except for those tracks. And even at those tracks, I wish we did it less. Anytime passing is harder to do, guys get more aggressive and start using their bumpers. Now, what we're seeing on the straightaways, I think it's just guys not using their head. Usually when you crash somebody on the straightaway, it's going to collect you as well. You have to think about that before you take that measure.
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