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Friday, June 15, 2012

Jeff Gordon not obsessing about points; says he's glad NASCAR isn't bringing restrictor plates to Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- To be kind, It has not been Jeff Gordon’s year. Chances are that barring a huge turnaround, the 4-time champion will not make the Chase.

Still, the veteran is not spending his time obsessing over where he sits in the points, as it doesn’t do him much good.

“Not when you’re 22nd. I don’t look at the standings where I’m at. And I even rarely do that. Unless you’re kind of right there in 8th to 11th or 12th that to me is the highest pressure place to be in the points because if you don’t have the wins, you could fall out,” he said. “When you’re back where I’m at, you just have to win. It’s the only chance you have. And so, it’s like this is it. Probably unlikely that we’re going to make it but we’re good enough and running good enough that we can win races. So, if we finally start to put it together, we’ll make it in. And if we don’t, we’ll start working on it next year.”

He says he is not too upset about this season – they are still running well; just finishing poorly due to a variety of circumstances.

“If we were running 25th every weekend, I would not be real happy. But when we’re up-front leading and top five and tires and blown engines and silly crazy things that we’ve had happen to us, some of that is self-inflicted and those are the ones that are the hardest ones to accept are the ones that we put ourselves in that position,” Gordon said. “And it’s not been a fun year. It’s not something that we’re used to being that far back in the points, but we also know we’re a lot better than that.”

In regard to the fast 200+ mph laps at Michigan Speedway, Gordon said it’s ridiculous that the thought of using plates to slow the cars down was ever mentioned (it’s not happening, by the way).

“What’s the plate talk? I don’t understand. What, because we can’t go 220 miles an hour on a straightaway? We’re not doing 220 through the corner. That’s the difference between Daytona and Talladega, you do 220 through the corner. And while 220 is definitely fast, I think by Sunday that pace is going to drop,” Gordon said. “I think you’re going to have moments and blips of those types of speeds, but it’s going to be hot. There’s going to be more rubber on the track, just like we saw at Pocono. It’s going to be similar to that pace. To me, that pace was almost like a second off immediately on Sunday at Pocono. And I think you’re going to see something similar to here where the pace is going to be down enough where I think we’re going to be fine with the speeds.”

And if NASCAR ever did put plates on here, Gordon wisely said: “It would be the worst racing we’ve ever had.”
Amen, Jeff.
“We’ll go faster through the corners. And then they haven’t done anything. It would be a huge mistake,” he explained. “I think Daytona and Talladega are the only places that should ever have plates and I question them there. So, we certainly don’t want them here.”

Gordon was asked if the kind of extra testing time we’ve seen this week and at Pocono helps and he would like more of it.

His another: definitely don’t add more testing.

“We spend so few days at home as it is now. We’re learning so much at the shop with simulation and 7-post and wind tunnel that I feel like we’re very well prepared when we get to the race track, more so than we ever have been. I don’t think we’re lacking in testing.”

Not quite flat-out in Cup

The Nationwide drivers were saying that at Michigan Speedway’s newly repaved track, they are going flat-out, not letting off the gas at all. Gordon said it’s not quite there in Cup, but it’s close.

I think qualifying is going to be extremely fast. And you’re going to need to be as close to flat as we’ll ever come to this place. Some guys might not get all the way out of the throttle, but no; I think you’re going to have to lift a little. But it’s extremely fast. It’s fun to drive, but at the same time it’s a little hair-raising at times when you realize how fast you’re going.”

Gordon said the speeds here at MIS are on the edge of too fast, but not to that level.

“It’s right there on the edge of being too fast right now. It’s very, very fast. But too fast for what? For safety? We’ll find out this weekend. Only time will tell. We’re out there running single-car runs. Nobody has lost control or had any kind of a problem or failure, so at this point we’re all good. But until that happens, we won’t really know.”

And in case you were wondering, bump-drafting aren’t in Gordon’s plans at MIS.

“Somebody ‘tweeted’ me yesterday about bump-drafting. I had to laugh about that. We will not be doing any bump-drafting.”

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