home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
Asaptext.com
ASAPtext.com
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our
e-Brochure

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: BANK OF AMERICA 500


October 11, 2014


Jeff Gordon

Kyle Larson

Jamie McMurray


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

KERRY THARP:¬† Let's roll right into our post‑race for tonight's 55th‑annual Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, race No.2 in the Contender Round, and we're joined by three of our competitors, our second‑place finisher is Jeff Gordon, he drives the No.24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet.¬† Our third‑place finisher is Jamie McMurray, he drives the No.1 McDonald's Monopoly Chevrolet, and our top Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, driving the No.42 Target Chevrolet, finishing sixth tonight, is Kyle Larson.
Let's start with Kyle.  As a rookie out there this evening, certainly a lot of drama, a lot of intensity.  What did you take out of it?
KYLE LARSON:¬† Not much drama with me, so it was a good night.¬† Target Chevy was really good.¬† I know Jamie was upset with how he thought our cars were in practice, and I was really confident in mine.¬† I thought we were going to be really good, even though we were 30th after happy hour, I knew we were going to be fast.¬† Top groove got going, and I was able to run up there and get to the front and lead for a little bit and the yellow came out and we lost some spots on pit road.¬† I was able to get back to second and then got into the wall in 3 and 4 chasing down the 11, and messed up the aerodynamics and was really tight after that and just kind of held on and I was lucky with that green‑white‑checkered, we came down and took four, restarted on the outside and was able to follow the 22 up around the top to get to sixth.
A decent finish, but I thought we could have been a lot better had I not made a mistake and got into the wall, so like I said, a little disappointed myself about that.
KERRY THARP:¬† Jamie, certainly a strong showing tonight, coming back to a place where you won the Sprint All‑Star Race back in May.¬† Talk about your race.
JAMIE McMURRAY:  Yeah, it was a really good night for our whole group.  When I got to second place at one point I looked at my mirror and Kyle was catching me.  We certainly went through a couple of really tough years as our group at Chip Ganassi Racing, and it's so great right now to have both cars run that well every single week at a lot of different type racetracks.  I was not only thrilled for our group but also for the 42 car and just everybody.  This is a big weekend for all the race teams.  There's a lot of crew guys that get to bring their kids here to watch their dads or their moms work that sit in the stands, so that's pretty special I think for Kyle and I to have a good showing.
KERRY THARP:  Jeff Gordon, certainly a strong finish for you in the No.24 Chevrolet.  Talk about how you thought things went from your perspective and just how this whole Chase format is starting to unfold.
JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, we had a great start to the race and got up there and took the lead from Kyle.  I was pretty happy with my car, but rubber was laying down and track conditions were changing.  We were trying to make some adjustments to keep up with it.  I thought we made a really good adjustment, were able to keep the lead, and then we kind of lost a little bit of track position.  We started on the inside there and just lost some positions and kind of fought it from there, tried to make some adjustments to make it better and it made it a little bit worse.  But we stuck with it and finally there at the end we got a little bit out of cycle, some guys on two tires versus four tires.  We put four tires on and made a really good adjustment to the car and were able to drive up through there all the way back to second and kind of closing on Kevin but just couldn't get close enough to him and then that green flag stop, it was kind of disastrous for us from the cars that were pitting and a bunch of other things that went on.  We just didn't have some of the things that we needed to go a little bit better go our way.  But really, really strong finish there to come back second, so I'm really proud of that.

Q.  Jeff, in New Hampshire, you talked a little bit about the danger potentially of having to go into Talladega with all the craziness that can happen there with your fates at hand.  I wanted you to elaborate on that, and I wondered how much or how little the potential to have a huge race in Talladega factored into the way you dealt with the race today?
JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, I think everybody was pushing hard and now how much was on the line, not just this weekend but last weekend.  A win in this particular round, if you want to call it, nobody wants to deal with Talladega.  Everybody would like to take the weekend off there if they could.  Two guys in some ways get to, and the rest of us are going to have to go race there.  We've got a little bit of a cushion but not near enough to be comfortable by any means.  We'll go and race the way we normally do there, which is just try to be smart, try to stay out of the mess and then put ourselves in a good position to get a good finish, hope it works out.
But yeah, the format is definitely creating a lot of drama, a lot of intensity, a lot of pressure, and each round seems to intensify that much more.  Today's performance by us was huge and crucial, I think, because we do at least have a much bigger buffer than some other guys do.  There's going to be some guys that really have to win at that race and that have to maybe get a top 5 or make up a lot of points.  Certainly these last two weeks have shaken things up quite a bit.  I like our chances.  I think we've got an excellent race team, and I really hope we can make it through Talladega because I think the next round suits us very, very well.

Q.  Jeff, the final caution, did that pump you up thinking, okay, I've got another shot at this victory, or was it more pressure, worried that you might lose second place to someone?
JEFF GORDON:  Yeah, I would have liked it if Kevin decided to give me a shot and start on the inside.  That would have got me pumped up.  But I lost positions every single restart on the inside.  I think I started on the outside once and made positions up and every other one I was on the inside and lost positions.  I was thankful to be in that position.  I knew our car was really good right then and I just didn't want to spin the tires, and I knew Jamie was really good on the outside there.  He got by me on the outside on a previous restart.  I was just hoping that that clean air I had on the nose that the car would stick on the bottom, and it stuck pretty good.  I got a good start and was able to fall in behind Kevin.  At that point I was just kind of settling for second because my car just wasn't doing what I needed it to do to make any move on him.

Q.  And if I could, please, Kyle, could you define what caused the scrape with the wall on you?
KYLE LARSON:¬† Me getting too high and scraping the wall.¬† Yeah, the 4 was‑‑ I was chasing on the 11 and catching him, and the 4 was catching me.¬† I didn't want to give up second and started driving harder and entering faster, and I just entered a little bit too fast and just rolled too quickly and scraped the wall what felt like barely but must have flattened the right side enough to mess me up and hurt our chances.

Q.  Is this Chase turning into some bizarre psychological experiment?  Seems like people are kind of coming unbolted here as you get down to these rounds.
JEFF GORDON:¬† I mean, there's a lot on the line.¬† It's not an experiment.¬† It's just the new format, I think we all knew would make the emotions get out of whack by who's in, who's out, who's on the bubble, how your races are going.¬† When you have just these three‑race segments and then they clean the slate and start all over, it creates a lot of drama, and I think they knew that going in, and that's why they did it.¬† It's going to shake things up from here on out.¬† It's going to make this championship that much tougher to win.¬† It's going to make it tough to make it to Homestead, and especially because you're not just racing the other guys in the Chase, you're also racing everybody out there, and they're all racing hard, wanting to win races, as well, wanting to get good finishes for many different reasons.¬† Everybody is pushing extremely hard.¬† You throw in a green‑white‑checkered restart, and there's your drama, and there's already a lot on the line and emotions running high, then you do that, and you have guys on four tires, guys on no tires, it's going to make things crazy.¬† It's only going to intensify from here on out.

Q.  Jeff, I'm just curious what is your team's mindset heading to Talladega that you've got two fantastic finishes but you're still not locked into the Chase.  Was it a sense of relief for tonight even though you didn't get the victory?
JEFF GORDON:  Well, I wouldn't have called last week a fantastic finish but this week, I would rank it up there pretty good.  My first question when I got out of the car was how many points did we gain or where are we at, 17 up on ninth, I guess.  That is not what I wanted to hear.  I wanted to hear that we were 35 or 38 or something like that up on ninth.  But we knew that that was going to be tough to do.
You know, we're going to have to just go race Talladega, which isn't a bad thing.  I don't like leaving things up to chance, which happens a lot of times at Talladega, but at the same time if it's meant to be, we go race hard and do what we need to do to try to win that race, and if it's meant to be for us to move on to the next round, we'll find out.  If our team is good enough, if our cars are good enough, which I think we are, we'll go through to the next round.

Q.  Jeff, you're a guy who doesn't lose his temper very often.  How mad would Matt Kenseth have to be to do that?
JEFF GORDON:¬† Yeah, he must have been pretty mad.¬† I think Matt is a pretty calm and collected guy.¬† Over the years he and I have had our incidents but that was because I was mad.¬† I don't think he was mad at me.¬† I can't remember.¬† I wrecked him one time and I don't remember him being mad at me that much.¬† I mean, he was‑‑

Q.  He wrecked you more than once.
JEFF GORDON:¬† Yeah.¬† And he's never come and tried to put a headlock on me.¬† We usually talk it out.¬† Obviously there was some built‑up animosity towards Brad.¬† I'd better hold the rest of my thoughts back to myself.¬† (Laughter.)

Q.  Jamie, I know you were hungry for this victory, right, but what do you think it would have meant to be the driver out of the Chase to get this particular victory?
JAMIE McMURRAY:¬† I mean, I've won a couple of Chase races and not been in the Chase, so I think I won one‑‑ I think Talladega I won last year.¬† I don't view it like that.¬† Kyle and I, when we sit in our team meetings and talk, it's just about trying to win.¬† We have completely different type of pressure on us than what Matt Kenseth and Jeff Gordon and these guys, they're kind of having their own little race, and Kyle and I are just going out every week and trying to win.¬† Very similar to what Jeff said on the last restart, once you get out front, once the 4 car cleared Jeff, he's kind of along for the next two laps.¬† You can't put a pass on a car that's equal to you when it gets out front.¬† When I was leading early in the race, as soon as Kevin passed me and we went into the next corner, it's just unbelievable how much worse your car drives.¬† I really didn't have a chance.¬† I tried to get to the outside of the 4 car and make it three wide, but I went through there wide open and I wasn't able to get to his quarterpanel, so I did all I could.

Q.  Kyle, just your evaluations of the rookie year at this point in the season.  How would you categorize this year at this point?
KYLE LARSON:  I think it's been a good rookie year for me.  I feel like I've definitely gotten better throughout the year and been close to a couple wins.  Aside from missing the Chase, I think it's been about as good a rookie year as you can get without winning a race.  Yeah, it's nice beating Austin.  He was in front of me there and was probably going to beat me unless we got a yellow, and we did.  I definitely want to get up on the wheel and beat him.  Yeah, it's been a really good rookie year battle with Austin and the rest of them, and glad I've been the guy to kind of stand out a little bit in it.
KERRY THARP:  Guys, thank you very much for putting on a great show, and we'll see you at Talladega.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297