Jeff Gordon's Comments After Finishing 2nd in the Duck Commander 500

Jerry Markland

After finishing second in the Duck Commander 500, Jeff Gordon took some time to visit with the media.

POST RACE INTERVIEW ON FOX

Jeff Gordon finished second. A two tire call put you up there for the win on that last lap.

"That was a great call. We lost the handling a little bit when the sun came out. We were looking at about a sixth place finish there. We were really happy to see that caution and I think we learned a lesson in California when we took four (tires) there that maybe we would have been better off taking two (tires). Alan (Gustafson) and the guys they were great in the pits all day long. Man I so badly wanted to get this Texas A&M maroon in Victory Lane today.

"I have to thank Axalta Coating Systems for being such a great coating company, one of the largest in the world for supporting us and for making this Texas A&M thing happen. Of course I want to thank AARP and Drive to End Hunger as well as Pepsi Max and all of our great sponsors, Chevy, everybody and for the fans for coming out on a Monday. That was a heck of a race."

Did you have anything for Logano at the end?

"No, we didn't. We were really strong the first half of the race; then when the sun came out and some guys kind of lost the handle and got real tight. Great call by Alan Gustafson (crew chief). Everybody on this No. 24 crew did an awesome job today. I so badly wanted to get this Texas A & M Engineering maroon...get those Aggies a win here today. Have to thank the fans for coming out and watching, and the ones at home. That was a great battle. At one point I thought we had a shot at it. We got a pretty good restart. Joey was right on me and I was pretty loose in one and two, and I wish I had gone a little bit higher in three and four. But, he got that run off of four and he got in the back of me, and I thought I was going to wreck, so at that point I was like second would be good."

POST RACE MEDIA CENTER PRESS CONFERENCE

MODERATOR: We're joined by today's second‑place finisher, Jeff Gordon. Ninth career top‑five finish at Texas Motor Speedway. You gambled, took two tires at the end. Talk about the strategy.

"It was a great call. I think Alan learned a lot in California when we took four. We felt like that didn't go so well for us. I mean, I think coming in sixth, you're in that position that you can gamble. You're not going to win it with four; you're not going to win it with none. I think that was a good call.
I feel very fortunate to finish second. Joey was the class of the field there the second half of the race. I knew it was going to be hard to hold those guys off. I got a pretty good restart, so I was happy about that. Got through one and two. I was shocked I was leading off of two, to be honest. I wish I would have run a little bit higher down three and four. I'm sure Joey was going to go wherever I didn't. Probably would have been a little bit better off on the top. Then he crossed over and got into the back of me pretty good.
At that point I was just thinking, I just want to finish. Looked out my mirror, those guys were racing hard behind me. A great second‑place finish for me."

Jeff, I don't know if you know, there were some odd occurrences earlier in the race from a jet dryer harming some cars, two of your teammates having some misfortune. Were you conscious of that?

"That was odd. When we left pit road at the beginning of the race, we drove by the two jet dryers, casually going by it. The last one about blew all of us over. I mean, I thought it damaged my car, as well. It got my attention. When I heard that the two had trouble, I told my guys, I'm not surprised. I thought it about tore the flap off of mine or pushed in the right side. I was concerned. We all started avoiding that one. I told them to mark that one, let us know if that one was on the track from that point forward.
I'm not sure what's more odd, if that happened or NASCAR allowed those guys to repair that thing. Had a piece of concrete fly through my car once at Martinsville. I don't ever remember them letting me repair the car.
I hate that happened with Junior and that Jimmie got caught up with that. I'm not sure, I haven't spoken with either one of those guys to know what happened there."

Jeff, you were joking a couple weeks ago about your restarts being weaker of late. Can you take some solace in the fact that that restart was pretty good, it was more about tires?

"Yeah, no, I was very happy with it. I mean, it's something that we're focused on. I'm focused on trying to do a better job. California didn't go so well. But I feel all year long our restarts have been really good other than that. Some of it's in the car, some of it's in the setup, but most of it's on me.
Today on that particular one, it was just all about not spinning the tires too much. So I tried to carry a little bit more speed to the line because I knew that those guys had an advantage with the newer tires. Got a pretty good start.
Like I said, I was surprised we weren't four wide going into one because it was just so easy with those old left sides to spin the rears."

Jeff, the guy on the end said he's excited to go to Darlington next week. Do you share that feeling with him? Have you talked to him about this track at all?

"That tells you what kind of talent he has, when a guy looks forward to going to Darlington, rim rides up on the top. Joey is not young. He's young. Joey is like a veteran now compared to this guy.
Yeah, I mean, I think the top guys in the sport, whether it's when they first come in or still today, they look at Darlington as a challenging racetrack, but one they look forward to because of the skills it takes to run good there, run up against the wall. I'm sure this Kyle would say the same thing. I'm not surprised, no."

Jeff, there's still 19 more chances to get the win in the regular season. Is all the pressure very small rising or is it too early to look at that?

"I mean, the pressure's always there to win. You always want to win. Winning benefits you whether it's this points system or any other points system. Winning is the ultimate. That's what we are all out there to do.
It's important to be consistent because that helps get you in a position more often to win. Every race that goes by that there's a different winner, the pressure gets more intense. You just got to go look at that next opportunity and try to put yourself in that position to go win it.
I'm real happy with the way our team's performing this year. Feel like we missed a couple opportunities. But we're also running really strong, and we're consistently running strong, I know that opportunity's going to come for us."

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