With the double-file restarts, how will your philosophy change in the Chase? Will you go at them a little more conservatively, or will you go after them all like a green-white-checkered finish?
"I'm not where I want to be, I think we need to be faster on the mile-and-a-half and two-mile tracks, but I also know that we respond well to pressure and that we have good tracks in the Chase for us. We also have some time, although we don't get to test on those mile-and-a-half tracks, but we have some time to find what we need. I think we've done that over the last few years. We've entered the Chase hot, we've entered it cold, and either way we've found a way to come out on top. It gives us confidence knowing that we have it in us.
“Yeah there are a couple aspects to the double-file restarts. The first part of it is, you spend the majority of the race worrying about long runs and to have a car that is kind of fast on the long runs means that it's going to be very uncomfortable on the short runs. When you start two by two, you need a comfortable car to make stuff happen and not lose spots. You're left with the question, 'Do I sacrifice the long run for consistency on the short run and track position?' Then you get to the end of the race and we seem to have a lot of cautions, and your entire strategy changes. It's really tough to get a car to respond well for the short run and be good on the long run – we fight that week-in and week-out. It has changed the way we work on the track; I think it has made it very exciting for the fans, but it has changed the game for us in the cars.”
Jeff Gordon said that he'd be just fine with winning a Cup championship without winning a race. How would you feel if you lost your championship to Jeff or to anybody else who hadn't even won a race?
“Man, if you score the most points, you score the most points. I think it's easy to take shots at someone if that did happen. A lot of comments would come out, but at the end of the day, the rules are there and you won the championship the way the rules allow it. I think for the guy who does do that, you don't care. You won it. It's whatever it takes to win the championship and we all have that mentality. It wouldn't stop some cheap shots flying around from people; but when you're sitting there staring at that trophy and that big check they give you, you really don't care what people say.”
In the spring race here at Bristol, you and Kurt Busch basically went at it the entire race, and at the end after you got the win, he said that he'd rather get beat by any driver other than you. You guys have had your run-ins throughout the year since then; coming back to this track under the lights with the position where you're at in points, where it doesn't really matter – you guys are going for the wins. If he's in your rearview mirror, do you need to think twice about that, or are you doing your own deal?
“At the end of the race, you look in your mirror and you form an opinion of who is behind you and how they race. I think that's why I was so shocked at New Hampshire that I got the bump-and-run from him, because we had raced for nine years and I hadn't seen that from him.
"With that in mind; at Bristol, I know the bump-and-run could be coming from the 2. I know it would come from a lot of other drivers as well, so it's not just singling him out. It's short-track racing; the rules kind of change a little bit on these tracks. Although we're in a decent place in the points; I don't feel like I can throw caution to the wind here this weekend. I need a good top-five finish, get some points. Obviously a win would be the way to go.
"I don't want any issues in Richmond; that is my number one goal. I want to get through these next couple races clean and to try to go to Richmond locked in and not have that race determine our fate to get in the Chase or not.”