Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Jeff Gordon had to say about his final Daytona 500

   Jeff Gordon, who started from the pole, ended up getting caught in a last-lap wreck in the final Daytona 500 of his distinguished career. Here is what Gordon had to say about his last 500 start:

   WHAT ARE YOU THINKING AND FEELING RIGHT NOW KNOWING THIS IS IT? “For some reason I’m still smiling and enjoying every moment of it.  Obviously, I enjoyed the first half a lot more than the second half.  What an amazing car we had.  Just out there in the front with our Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet just controlling the race.  Had one restart where I started on the outside and just couldn’t get our line going.  We got shuffled back and kind of played catch up from that point on.  This was an amazing week and an amazing day.  I am just in a different place that is so foreign to me, but so incredible.  To just be taking it all in and enjoying every moment.  Yeah, right now I’m a little bit sad this is my final Daytona 500, but I’m more upset we didn’t have a shot at winning there at the end.

   “Congratulations to Joey Logano.  That moment you saw there with his dad that is what it’s all about.  These types of moments, such a big race it means so much to all of us.  You want to share that with the people that you are closest to that have been there along the way.  Congratulations to him and I don’t know what else to say other than I enjoyed it.  I’m not going to miss those final laps. That was just crazy, but certainly would have liked to have had a shot to win.  If you are over there in Victory Lane it is awesome and you enjoy it.  If you are not in Victory Lane you are like ‘oh gosh when is that next restrictor-plate race.” 

   DID YOU ENJOY YOUR FINAL DAYTONA 500? "I enjoyed every moment of it. I enjoyed the pre-race and the race; all the way up to that wreck."

   WHAT PUT YOU OUT OF POSITION BECAUSE THE BOTTOM DIDN'T MOVE? "The biggest thing to me, you saw there weren't a lot of lead changes out there because the leader has such an advantage. We were just dominating and it was really easy in some ways. I was just having to really watch my mirrors.  My pit crew did an amazing job. So it was kind of business as usual, but that one restart, I chose the outside, I was really basing it off who I thought was behind me that could push me. We just didn't go. The inside lane went better. We got shuffled back. And we just never recovered after that. We were doing everything we could. I think we were between fifth and 10th and I could never break through to get any further forward."

   DID THE BOTTOM LINE JUST NOT GO QUICKLY? "The bottom lime was not as organized and then we stacked them in the middle of one and two. The outside line formed and got a little bit of a run. At that point everybody is just trying to shuffle and take their momentum and do something with it. Believe it or not I actually got a good run with Kasey Kahne up the middle. It was hairy. I knew there was high potential of a wreck. I was just following him through that hole and was just holding on tight to get through the corner. I saw where I had a pretty good amount of momentum coming. I think we maybe could have gotten a top-five out of it. Then they started wrecking, or somebody hit me. I don't know."

   WAS THE BOTTOM GROVE GOOD EARLY ON AND THEN THE HIGHER GROOVE?  "It just depends on who is pushing, how you are pushing. Sometimes if you push too hard you actually stall the momentum because the cars start getting out of shape.  If you take five cars and they all go at the same time, you take five cars and their kind of domino affect then the ones on the outside are going to prevail. It wasn't an inside/outside lane thing to me, it was just how the guys restarted."

   HOW TOUGH FOR YOUR LAST DAYTONA 500 TO END LIKE THIS? "It is disappointing because things were going so well, especially that first half. That first half was amazing. I was enjoying that moment very, very much. Just being out front. Being in control of the race. I felt like we were just doing everything perfectly.  The car was amazing. I knew it was going to be crucial to maintain that track position. That one restart I chose the outside and that line just didn't go. From that point on, we were just playing catch up."