NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: AAA 400
Topics: AAA 400, Penske Racing
September 30, 2012
KERRY THARP: Let's roll into our post race for today's race here at Dover International Speedway. Our race runner‑up was Jeff Gordon.
Jeff, certainly a good showing out there for you this afternoon. Another strong showing as you are working your way trying to claw back into this thing.
JEFF GORDON: Yeah, thank you. I thought it was a solid effort. Our car was pretty good right from the start. We struggled a little bit on the shorter runs. But we got it going. The car was a good top three or four car.
Then we started really struggling on restarts. Front tires, really no grip the first 10 laps. So we started losing positions on restarts. That probably played to our favor because we lost track position and then we ended up coming in and topping off there at the end.
We had a good racecar. Once we got going, then we were good. Gave us the opportunity to not have to save fuel, keep the pressure on those other guys so couldn't conserve as much.
The 2 made it. Got a little bit tight at the end. I thought it was going to be a race between me and Mark. I saw him back there. We had a little bit of a gap. My car was working pretty good right there. Started getting tight. Boy, here he come. We knew it could turn out to come down to a fuel mileage race.
Still a great finish. Come home second. This is nice to follow up with what we had last week. We're running good. We were running good at Chicago when we had the issue. I'm proud of this team. Just taking a few steps in the points each week. We got seven more weeks to get it done.
KERRY THARP: Mark Martin, a strong third‑place finish out there today.
Mark, it was fun to watch you race out there this afternoon. Congratulations on a really strong showing.
MARK MARTIN: Thank you. I don't know, with all the show that was going on, if everybody really noticed or not, but we had a rocket ship, super fast car. Start of the race, green flag, we were passing cars left and right. It was awesome. It was great on restarts. We were making our way up from deep in the pack start qualifying spot. Just about to get into the race, pitted under the green. Came back out, as soon as we got on the track, a caution came out.
It had us trapped two laps down. So we had to continue to fight from being buried and had a fast racecar, passed a lot of cars, eventually got ourselves into the hunt. But the race was just about over.
I just want to really commend Rodney Childers, underrated, a brilliant crew chief. I have a fantastic race team and I love being part of MWR. We are just having a blast. Putting great stuff on the racetrack for us.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions now for either Jeff or Mark.
Q. Jeff, it seems like no matter how well you do, your increase in points is incremental. How frustrating is that?
JEFF GORDON: Yeah, you guys focus too much on the top guy and not enough on fifth place. We have to look very realistically at this point. It's only been two weeks since we had our incident in Chicago. We've gained a tremendous amount of points on fifth place, sixth place. We did that again today.
We're not going to continue this championship against those guys up front if they keep running the way they're running. The only way we're going to get a chance at them is if they have a problem like we had.
I think our focus is top fives, try to win. If we keep running like this, we'll get the wins. We can't control what the other guys do, we can only control what we do.
To me, the only thing that's frustrating is what happened to us at Chicago. Other than that, looking at the points, it doesn't even phase us.
KERRY THARP: 16 points now out of fourth place.
MARK MARTIN: By the way, it feels really good, regardless of the points, to run good. It's real easy to get your back end handed to you out there. Those guys are tough. Everybody's tough on the racetrack. So when you run good, it feels good.
KERRY THARP: Guys, thank you. See you at Talladega.
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