New Hampshire: Post-Qualifying Transcript
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS - QUALIFIED THIRD
POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
YOUR RACE TEAM IS KIND OF PICKING UP WHERE YOU LEFT OFF LAST WEEK AT CHICAGOLAND THAT HAS TO FEEL PRETTY GOOD:
"Well it just feels good that we are picking things up. It's been an up and down season for us there is no question about that. If you ever want to peak you want to do it when the Chase comes around. Just sneaking our way into it and now having the type of performance we had last week and today has been a great day from practice to backing that up with qualifying. This is a great way for us to not only get this weekend started, but to get the Chase started. We are pretty excited right now."
THERE WAS A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR FIRST AND SECOND LAPS WAS THAT BY DESIGN?
"No, I really was planning on when I went into the run and took off from pit road I was really going to try to get it done on the first lap. I came off of turn four just wiggling, sliding and I thought 'okay well maybe I can make up for it in (turns) one and two'. Then I got off of (turn) two really bad and at that point it was just all about regrouping and trying to put a second lap together. The last time we were here we did it on lap one. All day today I've not been able to get it done on lap one. It's a strange thing.
"Maybe it's just a slight change in our set-up. I'm not really sure what it is. The car is good it just takes that first lap for the temps to get up and the grip to be there. We struggled with that today. I was really nervous. I was shaking when I got out of the car just because that first lap was so hairy and on the edge. The second lap I just had to really try to get the car to run really straight and not make any mistakes, but knew we had a lot of ground to make up.
"When they said I was third, boy, I was really excited because I knew we certainly weren't anywhere close to that on the first lap. I wish now I would have designed it that way though because I wouldn't be shaking as much right now. I wish that I would have just thrown away the first lap you know that is something I like to do and we do that a lot of places. But it's not something I've typically done here."
IS THAT A CONCERN IN RACE TRIM TOO IN TERMS OF RESTARTS AND THINGS LIKE THAT OF GETTING UP TO SPEED ON LAP ONE?
"Always, it's always a concern here at New Hampshire. This place is very tricky on restarts because of the lack of grip. You just don't have the banking to get the grip and get the car into the race track the way you need it to when those tires are cold. Yeah, it's something that we worked on a little bit when we were here testing. It's something we will be working on tomorrow as well. As fast as the times were qualifying I thought that the grip must be there so I thought it would be there right away, but it wasn't. I'm just glad it was there on the second one."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR IMPROVEMENT ON QUALIFYING? OVER THE LAST FOUR RACES YOU HAVE QUALIFIED IN THE TOP 10. ARE CERTAIN THINGS CLICKING?
"I would say it's a combination of I think that earlier in the year with the new car we made some adjustments or tried to guess which direction to go in for qualifying. It seemed to bite us a little bit. We were getting extremely loose going to qualify from practice. I think we have just found that we need to tighten the car up a little bit more than what we anticipate. I think some of it is this car and just the balance change when you tape the grill up and go put it into qualifying trim and the cooler track and tires. Then I think the other thing is we have been to some tracks that are not only good tracks for us racing, but qualifying. Atlanta, here, Richmond, so like I said if you are ever going to get the momentum and get things rolling this is the time to do it. Pretty excited things are going the way they are going for us right now."
HOW BENEFICIAL WAS TESTING HERE?
"I will let you know on Sunday when the race is over. I mean testing is always beneficial, but it can give you some false sense of security or some information that can lead you down the wrong path. What typically happens when we come here and test, I did the tire test this year here and did our Hendrick test and it's amazing just how much grip there is when we are here testing. Then you go out to practice and there is no grip. A lot of it is the other different series that are here putting different rubber on the track just makes for different conditions. I think we learned some good things that are going to benefit us in the race. But we didn't do any qualifying runs when we were here. I didn't expect it to impact our qualifying."
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