Friday, July 26, 2013

Gordon Says Indy Presents Special Challenges

Inaugural Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon said today that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway remains one of the most technically challenging tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

“The shape of the track is unique compared to anything else we race on,” said the Indiana native today. “It’s a real technical track and if you are just looking at it, you would assume that all the corners are relatively similar. What you might be fighting in one corner, you would assume you would fight in all of them.  But to be honest, all the corners are really different. As odd as it is, they are extremely different from each other. 
“Turn One is really tight and feels like… a much tighter and shorter radius corner. Each corner after that appears to be less so, with Turn Four being the largest. That makes it a technical track (and) the car drives differently in each corner. You have to start adjusting on the car and trying to improve at one end of the track without ruining something at the other end.  That makes it a bit of a challenge, trying to get a car that goes fast and doesn’t have trouble at one end of the track to make things difficult.”
The four-time Sprint Cup Series champion said Indianapolis also ranks near the top of the list in terms of prestige.
“There was a time – maybe back in 1994 – where I would have ranked it No. 1,” he said. “But now, looking at the history of our sport, the prestige and all the ingredients that go into making the most prestigious race, you have to rank Daytona first. I would never place anything above the Daytona 500. That is our biggest event, our marquee event. 
“But for someone who always dreamed about coming to Indianapolis as a kid, this one ranks very, very high. Everyone wants to win here. It’s about the trophy; who has won here, how hard it is to win here and the history of the track and race itself. It’s an important race (and), anybody who wins here gets to put their name along a list of legends; not only in the stock car racing realm, but also in open wheel and all kinds of other different series.” 
Gordon said he expects the new Gen-6 race car to perform well at the Brickyard this weekend, adding, “We had an opportunity to tire test here with Goodyear and feel what this car is like.  It feels good and it’s obviously going to be really fast.
“We are back with the same tire we’ve had the last couple of years.  This surface is tough and abrasive, and it’s hard to find a different tire than what we’ve had here for our cars (in the past). Durability is the key, and we certainly have that. The last couple of years have been good for us here, and we’ve been in contention to win races. I’m always excited to get to Indianapolis and this weekend, our team is ready to step it up and get us another win here. We understand how important the next seven races are for us to get ourselves into the Chase.”
Currently 12th in the Sprint Cup Series championship standings, Gordon said he will remain aggressive in the final races of the regular season, in search of his first victory of the 2013 campaign.
“That’s the beauty of where I’m at in points,” he said. “I don’t have to dial back anything. We are in full-on aggressive mode. Do we have to win? No. But do we have to put seven really good races together? Yes.”
He also said he will focus exclusively on racing for the win, rather than counting points.
“Every time I’ve thought about points, it’s cost us more positions than we’ve gained,” he said. “We go out there and race as hard as we can to put the best plan together (and the) best race car together. I try to drive every lap (like) I would if I were trying to win the race. That’s what we’re doing to do this weekend, and that’s what we’re going to do every weekend.”

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