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Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsport - Q&A

"I found out when you guys found out. Well, maybe not. Maybe you guys found out before me. I was watching on FOX Sports One. That's when I found out."
Q:
Joining us now is Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. He qualified sixth out here today for the 13th Annual Geico 400.

But, certainly, Jeff, it's been an eventful day for you, just talk a little bit about that and your outlook for Sunday's race here at Chicagoland Speedway?

Jeff Gordon:
Well, I mean, we came into the day really just focused on doing what we do. This is actually a really - had a really great race going here last year and had our issues. So, to me, that was all we were focused on doing was putting together another solid race regardless of what was going on. Of course, it was hard to not hear rumblings about what may occur, what may not occur. We just tried not to get our hopes up or get our mind focused on that.

But I'll admit, it's been a rough week. It was a lot of up-and-downs of emotions for this entire team this week. They've been through a lot. They never gave up. Not only Saturday night, but this entire week, and I'm proud of that. I'm very appreciative, very thankful to be in, and I know it's under the most unbelievable circumstances I've ever been a part of in my racing career, and I wish that all of this hadn't happened. I wish that we could have just raced for it on Saturday night, but that wasn't the case.

Now here we are as a 13th car and in. Now we just try to take that opportunity and make the most of it.

Q:
Number one, you've seen a lot of things in NASCAR, but I imagine you've never seen anything like this before. So did you at any point think you had a shot at getting this overturned this way and getting into the Chase? Two, earlier this week you tweeted that you felt bad for Martin, so in any sense do you kind of wish there had been a ruling that maybe he could have gone into the Chase?

Jeff Gordon:
Well, what I felt bad about with Martin was the circumstances which he got in under then for that to be taken away. To be on that stage after the race is over, to feel like that pressure was off, that they made it in. I know what that's like. He drove his butt off. I raced with him in the closing laps and he raced hard. You could tell what he was racing for. The guy didn't do anything wrong. For that, I felt bad for him.

But we didn't get to see the race play out. We don't know what the results were going to be because of the circumstances of that spin changed everything. That, to me, is the only reason I'm accepting being in in the 13th, because under normal circumstances I would say no, that's not right.

But under these circumstances, I feel there is enough reason for us to be in. I know how hard we worked and that we earned the right to be in.

Q:
When did you find out and what were your emotions? I talked to Alan Gustafson earlier, and he said that he felt even to the closing laps that you guys were Chase contenders and should have been in and expected that to be the case.

Jeff Gordon:



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Brian France, chairman & CEO of NASCAR, and Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, speak during a press conference following practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2013 in Joliet, Illinois. NASCAR announced that Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, would be added as a 13th driver in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  (Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, signs autographs during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2013 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS qualified 6th Friday, September 13, 2013 for Sunday`s Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Gordon is 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings and is in the Chase. (Picture Credit: Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, speaks at a press conference during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Geico 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2013 in Joliet, Illinois. Gordon was awarded a 13th spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup by NASCAR.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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