Jeff Gordon: I Can Only Improve in 2009
The Hendrick Motorsports driver reckoned that he faced a tough job getting used to the new Sprint Cup car last year and that led to his worst season in years. He switched from title contender in 2007 to just a regular Top 10 driver in 2008, but insisted that's about to change in 2009. He admitted he has worked a lot with the car's setup during the winter and expects to challenge for the title this year.
“I believe in myself that I still have what it takes. Any veteran that you talk to, if they're honest with you, they'll tell you that sometimes it takes a little longer to transition through new cars, new set-ups, new tires, and so last year was a little bit of an adjustment for me that I think I'm well prepared for this year, but might have got a little behind on it last year,” said Gordon.
“No matter what kind of season we have, (whether we) won 13 races or no races, you always look at what you can do to be better for the next season, and that's the way I'm looking at it this season. I'm not dwelling on the fact that we didn't win. I'm not sitting here saying we're not capable of winning. I think that we are. I felt like we had some races that got away from us last year that we could have won, but you've got to seize those moments and opportunities, especially as competitive as it is these days,” added Gordon.
The Californian ended the last season as the 7th best driver of the Sprint Cup series, having made 13 Top 5 appearances and finishing inside the Top 10 on 19 occasions. This year, he'll have to face the same tough competition from teammate Jimmie Johnson, winner of the last 3 championships in the Sprint Cup series.
“How can you bet against the 48 team? I think that they were just incredible last year because they didn't start out as the best car and the best team, and the way that they stepped up when it came time for the Chase was to me something that's scary for every other competitor out there. There's no doubt that they've got an excellent shot at doing four in a row, and they've got a lot of pressure on them, as well,” concluded Gordon.