Second Place Finish at Richmond Earns Wild Card Spot in 2012 NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET - 12TH SEED IN THE CHASE - IS THE 2ND WILD CARD MAKING INTO THE CHASE
THE MODERATOR: We have Jeff Gordon who raced his way into the Chase. Congratulations, Jeff.
THE MODERATOR: Jeff Gordon, congratulations getting into this Chase. Your thoughts now that you will be competing for a championship.
JEFF GORDON: I went from last week to being the most disappointed I've ever been to finish second to the most excited I've ever been to finish second.
Wow, what a race for us. We just flat out missed the setup at the beginning. Luckily, Alan and the engineers got together and found the tools that we could utilize to make the car better. The biggest thing is that rear bar, we just had to get rid of it. We did that. We cut the chain. Our car really started coming to us right then. We finally got some drive off.
You can look at this race. All the things that have gone for us this year, everything went right for us tonight. We had some guys stay out there on tires on basically that last caution that really cost them good finishing positions. We came in and got tires at that time. We were able to drive up through there. Had a good racecar.
Alan called a great timing for that last pit stop because Tony was ahead of us. We short pitted it, and it worked us getting out ahead of Tony and run Mark down at the end.
It was amazing. I still can't believe we actually did it. I know how proud Rick is to have all four teams into this Chase. That was a big goal of ours. Pretty amazing to know we accomplished that.
Q. Did you have anybody on your team calculating right down to the position where you needed to be?
JEFF GORDON: I'm sure there was. We discussed prior to the race that we weren't going to talk about it till that final run. Even in that final run, they just kept saying, Go get that next one, all right, go get that next one. We were going through a bunch of cars there because there were guys on old tires. We were passing cars.
I didn't know what position we were in. I didn't know what was going on. I knew that it looked like some guys were staying out because of how slow they were running. Alan got pretty animated when he said, You got to get the 55, you have to get the 55, and there was 10 to go.
I kind of had an idea that that would get us in, but he didn't ever say it.
I'm assuming, yes, they were calculating it some way, somehow.
Q. Jeff, you seemed to be smiling and at ease during the rain delay. Were you confident this could happen? Was it Alan at the end that said (indiscernible)?
JEFF GORDON: You weren't standing at the car when I got out of the car obviously because I was not very smiling and happy at that rain delay, the one red flag. I was pretty ticked off that we got that far behind.
I'll be honest. I don't know about Tony, but for me as a racecar driver, when you have that kind of start to the race, you don't have a lot of hope you're going to get it turned around.
I went to Alan. He never wavered. He was confident. They were looking at the data from what we had, to our teammates, even Tony. We had just done the rear bar. They were pretty confident that was going to get us close to our teammates. He was right. I still had a little doubt in him, though.
I felt like I won the race tonight. When it was over, they told me I was in the Chase, we made it, I mean, I was ecstatic. I was going nuts. To me, after you have that kind of effort, fall back, then come up there and finish second, almost win the race, make it in by one point, man, I don't see any reason why we can't go over these next 10 races and be a real threat for the championship.
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