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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Samsung 500

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Samsung 500

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Samsung 500

Jeff Gordon
Steve Letarte
April 5, 2009


FORT WORTH, TEXAS

THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined in the Victory Theater by today's race winner and his crew chief. Race winner is Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont/National GED Plus Chevrolet for Rick Hendrick Motorsports. His crew chief is Steve Letarte.
Jeff, congratulations for your victory, today's win. This is your 82nd career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race win, your first at Texas Motor Speedway. You gotta feel very, very happy about this win and just how your season is going right now.
JEFF GORDON: It feels like the very first time I've ever won. It's been a long streak. It's been a lot of ups and downs and tough times, not only here at Texas but just over the past, I don't know -- they keep reminding me -- I think it was 46, 47 races.
And I knew we were going to get one eventually. I feel like we had some missed opportunities last season, even as we didn't have a great year. But there was still times we could have won. And so that just keeps you driving and driving hard and pushing forward.
But at the end of this season, I don't know, I wrote Steve an e-mail and we talked a lot. And I just saw the progress that was being made in the final 10 races with how Steve's restructuring the engineering and the team and his efforts.
And it just fired me up to want to do even more than I already was. And the whole year has just been like that since Daytona. Just see a different look in the guys' eyes. You see a different effort that's being put out.
It's not that you can work any harder, it's just different. The guys are just positive and a bounce in their step. And all of us, including me and Steve. And when you have that, you just have a great team that works well together, believes in one another, and all we were missing was that victory. And I can't believe it happened here today at Texas. But, man, this is just even better than any other place.
I think this is probably the best place we possibly could have won, because it's eluded us for so long, and to break the streak not only here at Texas, but over the last 40-whatever races, it's pretty cool and I'm real proud of this guy.
He's worked his tail off to get us here. And this was an incredible team effort today.
THE MODERATOR: Steve Letarte, congratulations. What are your thoughts about some of the calls, some of the strategy that unfolded and your thoughts in general about today's victory?
STEVE LETARTE: I think Jeff said it the best. To win here is just huge for the team, just for the confidence, kind of for everything. But just the way we won, it was a total team effort.
I know the pit crew has been beating themselves up since California. They felt like they let one slip away. Without that last pit stop I don't think we had that opportunity to win today. I think top to bottom, inside out, driver on down, pit crew, everyone that built the car, it's just a full-team effort and I think that's what makes it so special, is we knew we could win. We know Jeff can win. We knew the team could win, and to come and to win somewhere where we've never won and have truly everybody here today and everybody --
JEFF GORDON: Double point for you.
STEVE LETARTE: And it's just a huge -- it's just a huge momentum builder. Now we just need to make sure we do the right things to keep the momentum going and make all good decisions.
JEFF GORDON: We have a joke around the shop. If we win at Martinsville, then it almost doesn't count. It's like half of a win. But when we go to places where we've never won before like Phoenix, these are double points.
STEVE LETARTE: He told me Sonoma didn't count. We won at Sonoma, that was a half a win. When we won in Chicago he said that was a double win.
THE MODERATOR: You only have one more place you haven't won.
STEVE LETARTE: Just one.
JEFF GORDON: Just one.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. I'd like to point out two pieces of irony. Number one, if Jimmie caught you and passed you it would have been 48. So that's not really --
JEFF GORDON: Tell me about it.

Q. You said when you first sat down this feels like the first time you've won. For a guy who has won 82 times, that's pretty big.
JEFF GORDON: Well, I think that if you're in this sport long enough, whether you've had success or not, you know, and if you have, you're going to go through ups and downs, and we've had from some of the best seasons in history of this sport, you know, some tough, tough moments.
I can't say we've had some of the toughest seasons. For us we were measured against our success. But when you have the high expectations that this team has and you go through what we've gone through with all the wins and then when you don't win and you have to hear it each and every day, every weekend, when are you going to win, when are you going to win, you know, you go long enough and you feel like you've never won a race ever.
And the only thing is that the thing that's gotten me here and the thing that's gotten Steve where he is and this team and Hendrick Motorsports, is that we work hard. We know we have the resources, we know we have a great team. And we all, individually, in that team know that we can do it. It's about putting all the right pieces together at the right time and that's what this team did, showed perfectly today.

Q. Jeff, Steve already alluded to the fact if you don't come out on that last pit stop in the lead you don't win.
JEFF GORDON: I believe that.

Q. Okay. Why do you believe that? And is that maybe a little piece that you all are missing to make it to the championship, and that because I can remember a day where it didn't matter where you came out on the last pit stop, you had every chance of winning.
JEFF GORDON: That was long before this car ever was designed. But I think that this track, it's very tough to -- like the thing that impressed me the most today is when we came out 7th and we drove to 2nd. I mean, we were rolling right then. That car was just awesome. And Steve made an incredible adjustment. We kind of took out something that we had done earlier that didn't work and he nailed it.
From that point on we were a contender for the win today, because we could stay up front. We could run with the leaders, and our pit crew was keeping us in the game. But I really think that whoever was sitting here would tell you the same, that if they didn't get out front on that last pit stop, they probably weren't going to win.
While Jimmie was making great gains and they had an incredible pit stop as well, as good of adjustments obviously because I didn't see him in the top five all day, and he was the fastest car there at the end.
At least up in the top three or four. And we were real fast right from the get-go. And then we faded a little bit. But we still got the win. But track position these days is so crucial. And as good as my car was out front there, it wasn't as good behind cars. I saw that happen for a lot of guys. It wasn't just us.

Q. Steve, last year you guys came here, struggled early and basically, if I remember correctly, made the race almost a test session. Is there anything specific from your experiences last year that contributed to the performance today? And then for Jeff, before that last pit stop, Carl Edwards had passed you, and he had a bad pit stop and was way back in the back. If he had come out up in the front of the field, do you think things would have maybe ended differently? Or how was racing with Carl -- how did he perform on the track?
STEVE LETARTE: Well, to the first part of your question, I don't think we learned any specific incentive in the spring when we were that far off that helped us here today. I think we just learned an important lesson to -- we had a very good start the last year. Everyone forgets that. We were very good until we got to here. And then we lost a lot. And struggled through the summer. So I think we came here maybe a little too confident as a team.
I'm speaking more engineering crew guys, crew chief. And I think coming in here and struggling like we did in the race let us all remember how finicky this sport is and how you can kind of go to sleep at night up on top of the world and wake up in the morning on the bottom.
So you need to really focus and put the effort in and not take anything for granted. And you assume you have a company like Hendrick Motorsports and a driver like Jeff Gordon, no matter how bad you are you should run in the top 20. And we proved that awful wrong last spring when we came here. So I think that was a big piece of the puzzle, let us all look inside ourselves and decide how bad you really wanted it.
JEFF GORDON: Races are won a lot of different ways. And sometimes the fastest car wins. Sometimes the best pit crew gets the win.
I mean, in California we came out second and Kenseth won the race, I thought we had the best car, and we came out second and couldn't get by them. You never know how the results would have changed had Carl not had his problems. All I know is our team had a great pit stop.
Tony, he was in -- he came in ahead of us and we went out ahead of him. So we had a good stop. Carl, on the run before that, he was strong, definitely. Earlier in the race I didn't think he was that strong. So they made some good adjustments, got him better.
But on the run before that, when Kyle did his three-wide in the Turn 1 and was being real aggressive to try to get his back, I had him and the 39 ahead of me, and the car just, again, in traffic -- just stopped. I just couldn't go anywhere.
And just those five, six laps running behind them or the 39, it just killed the buildup of the tires and Carl was able to run down and this time we got clean air right from the start and we were able to just set sail, and I laid down some incredible laps. These guys, they tightened the car up and we flew.
And this car just punches such a big box, it has such a big box, punches such a big hole in the air that the old car, when you got behind somebody, that just made you push. This car, when you're behind somebody, it takes all the down -- you're pushing, you're loose, you just have no grip.
So some guys have got better whether they're better in traffic and behind cars than others. You gotta be able to roll the middle and not get loose. And Carl had that working for him. But he wasn't there. We could speculate and say all kinds of things, would've, could've, should've.
But we won the race. That's because we got out front and we had a fast car the first 10, 12 laps of that run. But sometimes when you're that good the beginning of the run you're not as good the latter part of the run, and that's exactly what we showed. Thank goodness it was 25 laps.

Q. Steve, this is a 47-race situation for you, too, you've gone through. You and Chad are good friends. So much good has happened for the 48 team through the years. How have you handled that, having that right next to you with all that success, and is today a day of special meaning because it does end that?
STEVE LETARTE: I think, first, you can look at that two different ways. You can kind of be a little childish about it and get jealous, or you could kind of be a grownup about it and look at all the strength they bring to the company, the direction they've given our team.
That's the beauty of having multiple teams that run well, is when you have a superstar or wonder team and you struggle, it's easy to question the cars and pit crew and engines and everything about your company, and it really eliminates the excuses when there's somebody that -- Chad and I have two offices, they're right next to one another. We have 85 employees that work for both of us.
There's nobody else I'd want to beat than the teammate that has the same equipment that we have. And there's nobody else when we have an off day that I love see win. So it's a very unique relationship. It starts with the personalities. Chad and I are very different people and very good friends.
I truly believe in my heart that I have a hand in every one of his victories and I truly believe he has a hand in every one of ours. It's hard for people to understand that and I don't think it's very hard to write about and it's a mindset, and we have a true team that fields two cars and some people understand it. Some really don't.

Q. Jeff, you had six finishes, six or better leading up to the win. It really can set a team to sail. Can you talk about how infectious, how contagious is that first win? Are they just going to start popping now?
JEFF GORDON: Who knows for sure. But I can say that because it's like getting that first win out of the way. Every season you're looking for that first win. And you get that one off your back and you can breathe and relax. We've been doing that 47 races now. And so this is a huge relief, but also very exciting.
And I think that this team has already shown how strong they are with their consistency and the battles that we've had already, especially in the mile-and-a-half tracks. And if we can win at Texas, I feel like we can win anywhere.
So, yeah, I definitely think there's a confidence in everybody that comes out of this from Steve's calls, the engineers, the pit crew, myself. It's just every win just confirms that you've got what it takes.
And that's what today's certainly going to do, just like any other one. And this is a great thing for this team, and we really needed not only the bonus points but that win, that victory to keep the momentum going.
It's great to be leading the points. But you want to be the guy to beat for the championship. If you're going to win this championship, you've got to show that you're strong, you're consistent and you can win.
And this racetrack is in the Chase. So this is a big day.

Q. Jeff, could you describe what happened on the lap 259 restart with Junior in the lead when it looked like he spun his tires and you took the lead at that point?
JEFF GORDON: I didn't see a whole lot of spinning of the tires. I saw Kyle go three wide in Turn 1 and make a gutsy move. He was pretty desperate at that point, because he was, I think, two laps, one or two laps down. So he wasn't getting the lucky dog. So he knew that he had to be aggressive. And we see that out of Kyle a lot.
And it paid off for him. But it pushed Junior wide going into 1, and we already had some (indiscernible) on the track from a blown engine or whatever had happened prior to that. So Junior got shoved up there and just took him a while to recover.
But I didn't really see any spinning of the tires on the restart. I thought he had a good restart. It's just that obviously came out of nowhere. He just shot up there and there was room for half a car and he made it wide enough for 1. And, like I said, it paid off for him. But it was a big moment that I thought we were going to have a heck of a wreck.

Q. Lee asked the question I wanted to ask, but what was it like driving to Victory Lane here? Did you have any problems trying to find it? Did you need anybody to point it out for you?
JEFF GORDON: Heck, yeah (laughter). It was the coolest. I'm telling you, it's like winning for the very first time. All those emotions and excitement and I wanted to -- I mean, I've been watching -- things have changed since I've won a race. It doesn't take long. A season goes by and guys recreate how they celebrate a victory from getting the checkered flag.
That's the first time I've ever carried a checkered flag around a race win in NASCAR. Used to do it in Quarter Midgets back when I was about eight. But I've never done that before. But I've been watching these other guys do it. I can't do a back flip, so I'm not going to do that. I did a heck of a good burnout, I thought. So I was proud of that. And I did it so good I blew the rear tires off the car, at least one of them, on the back straightaway. I didn't want those fans back there to miss out on the burnout.
And proudly carried that checkered flag. The good thing about these days, you don't have to worry about finding Victory Lane. They'll point you to it. It doesn't matter which direction. You come down Pit Road, you'll find your way there eventually, and we did.

Q. Jeff, if you'll forgive a small personal note, but your rookie year was my rookie year, as long as you went without winning, the older I felt there for a while.
JEFF GORDON: Me too (laughter).

Q. I have more reason for that. But I wanted to ask you, everything -- you know, before you went on the track, you sort of have to say the upbeat thing, be positive. Now that you have one, was this always -- this track, was there anything about this track that got under your skin or was difficult? Was there a reason you didn't win here or was it just a coincidence?
JEFF GORDON: No, it's no coincidence. Steve can tell you, I mean, just in our debrief yesterday, I mean, I sat down -- I would say 90 percent of the tracks we go to I've got pretty good idea what I need in the car and what I need to do as a driver to get around that track and be fast.
And I think that's what's helped contribute to our success. And then you have to have a guy like Steve who listens to you, believes in what you're saying and then goes to the engineers and finds those key things.
And I'm telling you at Texas I'm just lost. This is just one of the toughest racetracks out there. The transitions getting into the corner, off the corner are unlike any other. Yet the corners are extremely fast. There's some pretty good bumps out there.
I believe for me personally, as well as a lot of other guys who will probably back it up, this is the most challenging mile-and-a-half track that we go to.
I mean, yesterday after practice I didn't have anything to contribute. I said I don't know. I'm lost. I have no idea what to tell you to do to it. I don't know if we're good or if we're bad.
You know, we made one thing that I thought was a positive, and they dropped the green flag and things stuck like glue and I was like, wow, cool! And I was able to pass Reutimann and get the lead. Five laps I'm like here comes old Texas right back. I mean, I was sideways. You get frustrated. You're like, is this me? Why is this happening over and over and over again? And we faded.
And I felt like it's because we were loose. But Steve, all he had to go off of is me. And I really just think this is not my best track. And I'm really -- I feel like we've had moments where we could win here in the past. And I hit the wall and we had electrical problems. Just lap cars, we've had issues.
But even though this is not our best track and I feel like it's probably one of my worst tracks, I still feel like we've been capable winning, and we proved it today. And there's no coincidence. There's a reason for it. And it's just not a track for me.
And maybe this will help change that a little bit.
THE MODERATOR: Jeff, let me help interrupt. See if this helps a little bit: $541,874 for first place.
JEFF GORDON: That helps a lot. That's what makes it that much more upsetting when you don't win here (laughter).
Thank you, Eddie. Fantastic. Appreciate it.

Q. As you know, there have been people in the last couple years or so that have questioned whether or not your better days are behind you: Maybe his championship years are done, is he going to win again, is he capable of doing the things he's done in the past to become one of the all-time greats. I know you never bought into that.
JEFF GORDON: I thought about it a couple times.

Q. Is this, though, a little bit of I told you so for the people who doubted you the last year or so?
JEFF GORDON: Never looked at it that way. I mean, I learned a long time ago you've got to be careful what you read. I mean, the media and I have a fantastic relationship, have for many years. And it's because I have respect for their job. They have to tell a story and with as much facts as they have presented to them.
And the facts are the facts. We just -- we had opportunities. We didn't win, sometimes it was my fault. Sometimes there were other circumstances. And so it doesn't surprise me that that was written, and it's okay.
It's our job as a team to come together and prove that wrong for ourselves, not for anybody else. I mean, trust me, it doesn't beat me up any more than it beats us up when we go to a track and we're not competitive, we don't win and we're not bound for the championship and we go through our season like we did last year. Nobody does it eat up more than this guy and myself and this team.
And we just never, I think, lost sight of that and gave up. Honestly, I think it inspired us to go through that. It made us angry, not because things are being written about it, because we know we're better than that. And we know we're capable of it. And especially, like Steve said, you've got our teammate right there in our shop that's going out there and not only winning but he's winning the championship.
And that's also inspiring, because you know that it's there, the tools are there. And I'm so proud of Steve. I mean, he stepped up and made some crucial changes in our team at the end of last year, as well as continued with that road over the off-season. And I saw that effort being put in and that's when I decided, you know, to start training more, to make sure that my family had the opportunity to come to the race but not necessarily Friday and Saturday, so that I could give this team 100 percent of my focus as well as any time they need to test or do anything that I'm there 100 percent for him.
And I don't know how many more years I do have left. So when you know that the cars are there and the team's there and you still think you've got it or you want to prove to yourself, I wanted to make sure there were no excuses, just like Steve says no excuses.
And so I'm giving these guys everything that I've got and we're just -- we're doing things a little different, and it's all paying off. We're not doing a lot different. It's just the cars are right. The team is on. Our communication's good. I feel great because I've been working out a lot more, and that's positive mental and physical energy that's happening. And I don't know, it's working. That's all I know.

Q. Jeff and for Steve, you guys have to be so precise at your pit stops. Jeff, have you to make sure you hit Pit Road. You have to make sure you get in your box right and get into Pit Road and Steve has to be precise in his decisions as far as what he's going to do as far as adjustments to the race car. When you're doing that late in the race after 300 laps out there all day, how difficult is it for you all to maintain the momentum and not make mistakes at that point?
JEFF GORDON: Well, I mean, that's when the races are won. And that's when you've got to be on your game. That's when you absolutely can't make mistakes. That's when the good teams rise to the top, in my opinion. And, you know, we were solid all day long. We fought a great fight. But just like that pit stop that got away from us at California and these boys made up for it this weekend.
And I'm really proud of them. And he had an adjustment to make on the car at the same time. I tried to do my part. And I think each one of the guys on the team thought the same way, and they all did it.
I got in the box a little bit hotter than I did all day long. They like it when I slide the front tires in the box, did that. And it looked like they were just on it. I hit the mark. They hit their lugs and the jack hit the post and it seemed like everything went perfect with that stop.
And then on the racetrack, I'm sure Steve can talk more about his decisions and the pit crew, but on the racetrack, the first five or six laps the car was so stuck to the racetrack I didn't have to worry about making mistakes. I couldn't. I couldn't mess it up. But after that the bounce started going away and I kept telling myself don't make a mistake. Don't overdrive it.
I did a couple times but recovered. And then it was just hitting my marks, not making mistakes, especially when I had Jimmie running me down, I knew it was going to be really easy. And I made a couple. I mean, it's hard not to. But the wind was playing a lot of havoc on things. That wind was blowing me around. And I'd get into one just like I did the lap before and all of a sudden, whewww, the car would just jump three feet. And I'd look up down the back straightaway to see if Jimmie had the same gust of wind I had. And sometimes he did and sometimes he didn't.
But that's what I focused on, and I'm just glad that I didn't hit the wall on 4 and make the mistake I had in the past.
STEVE LETARTE: I guess to follow-up, I mean, that's what we do. That's what it's all about. That's why you work seven days a week all winter long to come here to race is the first 300 laps are fun but there's nothing like the last pit stop or last adjustment.
That's why I race. That's why I've always raced. The races are a little longer than what I grew up with, but that last fuel and that last pit stop I always tell my guys and I can always tell -- when I was on pit crew I noticed this. There are guys that belong on a pit crew and there are guys that aren't. And you need guys that they want the ball. They want to be play makers, they want to make the difference. We have seven of those guys who go over the wall, and we have a good group of them behind the wall. When I was looking for suggestions while we were running there before the caution came out, no one was afraid to speak up. Everyone had an idea.
I guess to go to your point, actually a little bit harder to stay focused early in a race, because if you can't get focused on the last pit stop, then you're in the wrong business.

Q. Did you sense during this losing streak, the nine losing streak, 47 races, as that's going on, some fans who weren't necessarily Jeff Gordon fans were maybe rooting for you to win again, because when Jeff Gordon wins it's good for NASCAR, it's good for the sport.
JEFF GORDON: I can't say I ever saw that (laughter). I kept telling NASCAR that, you know. Tried to.
STEVE LETARTE: Now they're rooting for me.
JEFF GORDON: Yeah (laughter). If you read any of the blogs online, they weren't rooting for Steve. That's what makes it all the better, in my opinion. I know this is a big day for my true core fans, the Jeff Gordon fans out there are celebrating right now and having a great day and they're going to have a great week. They're already having a pretty good year. But this takes it over the top.
And I have so often, people -- so positive: Today's your day. You're going to win this one. And it doesn't matter where we go, what kind of day or weekend we're having, they say that to me. And that's so encouraging and awesome to have somebody that believes in you like that.
I think that people are -- all fans, and I'm a fan of other sports and I do the same thing, when somebody dominates, you want to see them get beaten. And when somebody is a winner, or are good at what they do, you want to see them struggle a little bit, but you also like to see them do good when they struggle.
I don't think that's been any different in our case. And so I'm sure there's probably some people out there that maybe weren't big Jeff Gordon fans that saw us struggle enough and said, hey, it would be good to see them win, but I also know there's some that are just loving it that we were never winning.
That's what makes this sport so great is that we have that kind of personal group and then those type of avid fans. But as long as you have fans out there that are supporting you like we do, it's a great sport. It's a great thing. And good to be me, good to be us, especially today.

Q. Jeff, if you go with the theory that as we get older we learn from our experiences, what did you learn from this experience the last year and a half? How did it impact you, whether it was either in subtle ways or something in a greater sense? I get a sense some of how it is. But can you explain further a little bit about what you've learned from this?
JEFF GORDON: Like I said, it was motivation. It was motivation because it really, it makes you question how bad do you really want it, how hard are you willing to work to get back to Victory Lane and how hard are you willing to drive, what's your physical condition, where are you at mentally. Then you throw in being a new dad thing and that throws a whole 'nother twist into it, because that's a lot of work in itself.
And then there's the pride and the joy of being part of this team, being a father, being a husband, being a son and wanting to make them proud of what you're doing. And I realized through last year that I didn't want to just be somebody out there riding around. I didn't want to be somebody that never won again.
And I only can play a certain role. Sure, I can be somewhat of a leader to the team because I've been around as long as I have and won the races and championships. But I'm just a tool to Steve and the team and I just want to be the best tool and asset to them that I can be. And I was real honest with Steve over the off-season and last year to say, man, you tell me what I need to do. You tell me what we're missing and how I can help, whether it be from my role at Hendrick to get him something that he feels like he's missing, or as a driver, committing myself to being the best that I can be.
And I read all the stuff about can't drive a loose race car. Can't drive the Car of Tomorrow. It's got nothing to do with that. There's a certain way I drive. I can't change that. I've been in a lot of different types of race cars, and when the car fits what I need, we go fast. And we've proven that this year. And Steve -- again, I give him a lot of credit, because he looked at everything all the other teams were doing and what Jimmie and Chad and that 48 were doing to have success and other teams out there.
And he's not afraid to say that won't work for us, because Jeff just drives a little bit different. But what could work in that that I think is really making them go fast that would work and make us go faster is this. And he dissects it down. And it's just when you back that up and we're proving it this year it only builds momentum and confidence in what we're doing that we're doing it right. And I believe we're really just, you know, just getting there.
I think we can even get better.

Q. I noticed that Ingrid and Ella weren't here, was that because they had something else to do or because you didn't think you were going to win?
JEFF GORDON: We went through a pretty tough time in Texas last year at this race, and we kind of made a decision at that time that they were mainly going to come on Sundays, they were here all weekend. And I was having a rough time on the track because we weren't very good.
And then I love going back to see Ella and Ingrid in the bus, but Ella was not sleeping too good. So I was up all night and stressed out and, again, it was no coincidence to me that we had the race that we had at this time last year. Because it was just a miserable weekend all the way around.

Q. So you're telling me you passed your hatred for this track down to Ella?
JEFF GORDON: Exactly. (Laughter) she was crying for me all night. But we just made a decision that this is a tough sport. You gotta take it serious, and you gotta be committed. And this is my job. And they come every chance that they can. And when it doesn't work out, you know, it doesn't work out.
I really hate that they weren't able to celebrate with me today. But I think because of this win we're going to win more races this year and they're going to be there for those.

Q. And the other thing is that, let me call you on it, you whiffed on your sponsors. You had to actually go to the crib sheet and read them on the side of the car --
JEFF GORDON: First win. I got the important ones. But you know what happens, maybe it doesn't happen when you just win the first race of the season. But it haunts me at night when we won a few races several years ago and I missed one sponsor and that's all I heard for the next week was, well, you didn't get them.
So I just didn't want to miss anybody. So I'm just going back to the car, going to the patches, I want to make sure I take advantage of this moment. It's been a long time. And luckily they beared with me and hopefully the sponsors appreciated it.

Q. Jimmie talked about the win. You talked about it a little bit. It was discussed all weekend. Do you think that the Car of Tomorrow is harder to drive in conditions like this and how confident are you coming back in November with what you learned today?
JEFF GORDON: I mean, there's no car that's designed to get through this kind of condition. I mean, those were strong gusts that we had today. And it was challenging, because it was really a cross-wind that was coming from Turn 4 over to Turn 2.
And so you get in the middle of the turn, you know, one lap, no problem. Actually, you could use some of that wind to help you if your car was loose, it would tighten it up.
But then you'd get a gust and the whole car jumps or slides in 1 and 2 then you go down to 3 and 4 and you have a headwind and you have all kinds of grip, but when you cross over to where the grandstands were is blocking the wind so you lose the wind. It was treacherous.
But this car, it's big. The roof is taller, and everything is going to catch the air a little bit more. And that's why it punches a bigger hole, why when we're behind other cars it doesn't grip as good. And so I'm sure in a small way it is going, the wind's maybe going to affect this car a little bit more.
THE MODERATOR: Jeff, congratulations.

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