NASCAR Race Weekend Central

A view from the top – 12

Once again the 12 drivers eligible for the Chase were available to the media at the race track, this week in Atlanta. Here is a little something gleaned from their press conferences on Friday and Saturday.

Jimmie Johnson – When you go visit the President next week are you going to talk politics or just general things?

Years past up there, there really wasn’t a chance to do more than shake a hand and say hello and stuff like that. I can attempt to talk politics if you had anything you wanted me to talk to him about. I can go up there…I’ve seen a lot of opinions of late, especially through Social Media. So, it is obviously a huge honor to go up. I look forward to D.C. and going through what we do there.

Jeff Gordon – We’re coming up on the ten year anniversary of 9/11. What do you remember about that week that followed and what was the atmosphere like when everyone went to Dover to finally get back on the track and race?

It was just such disbelief and still shock I think. From the day of and days to follow, just trying to understand it, why this happened and how it happened and how does it get prevented, where is our safety at. I think it was obviously a smart call to not race that weekend but to go to Dover. What was amazing that when we got to Dover, was the American Spirit, everyone showing support for our country and how proud we are to be Americans, how we’re going to stand up, we’re going to push back, we’re going to show everybody what we are made of. To go from a sporting standpoint and an entertainment standpoint and go and perform with all those things happening to me was important and it felt great.

Denny Hamlin – Would you prefer to have tires that would not last an entire fuel run?

Yes I would. I was thinking about it this morning actually is that watching some of those old races back in the days, the cars made a little down force, the tires were soft and it was about who could time their tire cycles to fuel and over taking another car was much easier. It’s just so hard nowadays to do that because honestly the tires are better. I know that what Goodyear wants and what NASCAR wants and drivers want as far as safety is concerned, but nowadays drivers don’t pay any price for over driving a race car. In the last year guys are driving corner entry way harder than what they should be allowed to and I think that is some of the reason why you see some of the more successful drivers and new drivers winning this year that you have is that you just don’t pay a price anymore for over driving your race car because everything is so good now. The drivers like Mark Martin that you’ve seen for years and years be so good at saving his equipment, it’s not as big of an advantage anymore because the tires are so much better. I would like to see in the future tires that we run fast for a lap or two, but then drop tremendously off. It forces us to come in and take tires and these races are not going to be won on some sort of fuel strategy or some kind of gamble in the pits. I like that part of it. It’s all part of racing and I understand that, but you like to see fast cars win races.

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