Friday, May 08, 2015

Gordon Optimistic About Kansas Chances

Jeff Gordon is still seeking his first win of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and Kansas Speedway seems like a perfect place to get it.

“This has been a great track for us ever since we started coming here,” said Gordon, who won the first two Cup races held at the Kansas City oval. “I’ve always enjoyed this race track. It has suited my driving style. The transitions are kind of forgiving and well-laid out. With the repave, I’m always concerned with how competitive we’re going to be on a track where we’ve been so competitive when things change. But I think we proved last year that we can still be very competitive. We had a great race. Kevin (Harvick) was extremely strong but we were right there with him.

“So this year, we’re optimistic about coming back here. We’re certainly excited about the weekend.”

Gordon said this weekend’s pessimistic weather forecast is a cause for concern, however.

“In these conditions, we just want to get on the track,” he said. “That’s the most important thing. We have a different package with the aero and engine, (and) slightly different tires. The most important thing is just getting laps on the track, so I’m pretty excited and optimistic that this rain has let up.

“Obviously, the track is going to change a lot from the first lap to the 50th lap,” said the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion. “That’s all about rubber being laid down. Any information we can get is going to be good information. We’ll take that, but also understand that things are going to evolve.”

Gordon is a two-time Kansas winner
Gordon also discussed Goodyear’s new tire, saying the tire company has made “a slight adjustment” to avoid the extreme tire wear that punctuated last year’s event. “We saw a couple of issues last year,” he said. “We personally did not have issues, but you never know how close you are to the edge. Even with less downforce on the cars, the amount of power that’s been reduced has made the cars a lot faster through the center of the corner… and that’s a reason for concern. Goodyear understands what we’re up against… what we’re doing corner-speed wise and how comfortable they are with this tire this weekend.

“In talking to my team, we feel confident in it.”

Despite Hendrick Motorsports’ struggles on 1.5-mile tracks this season, Gordon said, “I think our chances are always good when we come to Kansas. I’m the first one to admit that our mile-and-a-half program is not up to par with a couple of other teams that seem to be beating us every weekend on these types of tracks. No one’s working hard than Alan Gustafson and our group to find that extra speed and get ourselves in position to win races more consistently. There are a lot of ways to win, so it’s not always guaranteed that you have to have the fastest car. But we pride ourselves on having the fastest car and we’re not going to settle for anything other than that.

“Right now, I just want to make sure I’m home on Sunday,” he laughed. “We have plans with my mom and our family, Ingrid and the kids. We want to spend that special day together.”

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