Tag Archives: STP 400

Jeff Gordon talks Kansas, points

5 Jun

On Saturday Jeff Gordon talked to reporters outside his #24 hauler. Gordon has one win this season, at Phoenix, and he currently sits 16th in the points. Here’s a Q&A snippet of what he had to say.

Q: How has Kansas Speedway changed since you began racing here?

A: To me this track has just gotten better and better every single year. I loved it from the beginning obviously, but like all tracks do, over time as they settle in, you get some different characteristics that come into play, some different bumps, you see the pavement start to wear a little bit. But here in Kansas I think those things really only made the track better because the wear, the way it wears the tires, the grip level, just makes for multiple groups. We already saw yesterday in practice, cars up against the wall, cars on the bottom, cars in the middle. That’s going to make for a great race here.

Q: Having raced here before, how much use do you get out of the notes that your team brings in?

A: Things change so quickly in this sport, especially over the off-season when you get the teams that … in the Chase, gave everything that they had to have fast racecars and then they go in the offseason with that knowledge, and some go in the offseason knowing that what they had wasn’t working and they just go to work.

So it’s amazing how much can change over the offseason. Not to mention Goodyear constantly trying to improve the tires for this racecar, for these racetracks. For some of those teams, definitely make you have to stay on top of things in a big way. So those [notes] from last year, they definitely help us a little bit here, but a lot of things have changed so we can’t go off of that too much, but this race, until the second race, it’ll be interesting to see how accurate [those notes are]. I think they’ll be fairly accurate.

Q: With your position in the points, although you have a win, are you kind of in a nervous area right now?

A: I’m certainly not comfortable with it. It’s not a good place to be. To me, I guess I look at it a little bit different. It’s not just about being in the top 10 in points; it’s about being a threat for the championship. And yeah, you have to be in the top 10 or 12, but in order to do that, and you can improve your program by the time the Chase comes around, and be in there for the championship, so that’s why we can’t give up. We’ve got to work hard to improve all the time.

But I think from a points standpoint right now, what we have to focus on is winning races because if we can win another one or two races, to me that locks us in … Not only locks us in, but gives us momentum to actually be a threat for the championship. And we’ve gotten ourselves behind, and that’s obvious. It shows, where we’re at in the points. We’ve been inconsistent and we haven’t performed the way we need to.

So to me it’s not just about being in the top 12, it’s about being in the top 12 and being a real threat for the championship. And so we definitely have work to do. But I’m excited. This weekend, things have gone really well.

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Clint Bowyer Gets a Happy Homecoming

4 Jun

Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR

Today Clint Bowyer found that there truly is no place like home. With his Saturday afternoon victory in the 400th race of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the Emporia native became the first Kansan to win a NASCAR national series race at Kansas Speedway, which is in its 10th season.

Bowyer had been a runner-up twice at races on his home track, once in the Sprint Cup Series and once in the Nationwide Series, but as fellow racers Johnny Sauter and Todd Bodine (who finished second and third, respectively, in today’s race) pointed out, coming in second place or third place is simply means a driver is the first or second loser. This time would be different for Bowyer.

“We’ve gotten close here, we’ve had good runs here, we’ve just never been able to seal the deal,” Bowyer said. “To finally be able to do a burnout in the homestretch in front of this crowd, this is big, man. That’s a good feeling.”

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR

Though the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 technically had 10 leaders and 15 lead changes, Bowyer’s performance can hardly be described as less than domination. He led 124 of 167 laps, and much of that time it did not even appear to be a close contest for first place. Bowyer did not necessarily feel secure throughout, however, and said getting into position out of the pits during restarts was key to the team’s success today. In a race that had seven cautions, that’s likely a pretty accurate statement.

“There were some nerve-wracking times,” the No. 2 driver said. “Right there at that last pit stop we took four tires. I knew four tires was the right thing to do, but I really thought a lot more people would take four tires, and they just didn’t. It was having to get through a lot of them right in that first corner, and I thought that was key, getting in position.”

Now, Bowyer is in position to be able to sweep the weekend at Kansas Speedway, as he competes in the Sprint Cup Series race tomorrow. He would be the first to do so. Having qualified 27th for Sunday’s STP 400, he will begin the race in the 14th row of drivers.

As previously mentioned, Johnny Sauter and Todd Bodine came in second and third, respectively. James Buescher finished fourth, and Rookie of the Year candidate Joey Coulter crossed the line fifth.