Phoenix: Qualifying Notes
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 PEPSI MAX CHEVROLET SS – Qualified 17th
NOW THAT THE FIRST QUALIFYING OF THE NEW FORMAT IS OVER, WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS?
“I think it’s awesome. I love it. It didn’t go very well for us. We were just real tight ever since we put the car in qualifying trim. We didn’t get enough of it out there and drew a late number. A lot of guys got that cloud early on that we weren’t able to get. The biggest thing for us is that it’s all learning as we go through this. We have to figure out a way to cool the cars. You shouldn’t have to go ride around the track and try to cool it. You shouldn’t have to sit there with the engine fan on because it just doesn’t do the job. All we need is a way to cool the engines and we’ll go out there and make multiple runs and continue to make adjustments to try and improve the lap time. Unfortunately we had to sit there and try to get it cooled down to make one last attempt at it. We just didn’t quite free the car up enough. I needed one more run to free it up and I think we would have had a shot of getting in. What’s interesting about it is playing the clouds and trying to get a clean lap. I kind of expected those things. They are all really fascinating elements to this.”
ON HIS RUN:
“We drew a late number, so we weren’t able to go out early and catch that cloud like some guys, but we were just too tight. The cool down thing, they need to adjust that. To just sit there on pit road and run your fan and not getting any cool down. The only thing is eliminating us from going out and making more runs at it is the temperature of the engine. So, that’s what we knew would happen is that we’d go through it and we’d all learn. And so, I think it’s exciting, though. I think it’s very, very cool. It certainly was intense for us, the competitors out there, and it’s only going to get more intense for the guys who made it in the top 12. It obviously wasn’t easy to do. Some guys did a great job. We just didn’t do a good job today getting our car balanced for qualifying, but I have a lot of confidence in our Pepsi MAX Chevrolet for Sunday.”