One night after being in the most terrifying crash of his career and walking away without a scratch, Jeff Gordon was back behind the wheel for the Daytona 500 Qualifying on Sunday. If he was still feeling any effects from the crash, it certainly didn't show, as he finished sixth in the qualifying and didn't miss out on the pole positions by much.
PaddockTalk collected some comments from Gordon regarding his crash and his performance in the qualifier.
Oh, I was having a lot of fun right up until that crash happened last night. And as safe as these cars are, and with the Hendrick carbon-fiber seat that we put in the car, I'm pretty amazed how I feel today considering. Yeah, we were certainly hoping for a little bit more. The Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet...we gave it our best effort. The wind is howling out there pretty good and we'll see where we end up with that. The wind can help you. But the wind is not going to help you by two or two and a half tenths; that lap Carl (Edwards) put up there is really spectacular.
Gordon had a lot of praise for the safety changes that NASCAR has put in place over the last decade.
Yeah, we’ve definitely made huge strides. That’s the first time I’ve been upside down and you always worry about when you’re rolling like that, what it’s going to be like. And that was the easiest part of the entire event. The big hit into the wall was much more severe; and that is a true testament to the safer barrier and the Hans device and the structure of the cars and the seatbelts that we’re running. It’s pretty impressive. I hate that it happened altogether, but we sure were having fun up until that point.
It certainly does say a lot about the level of effectiveness in the current safety equipment that Gordon was able to walk away from the crash at all, let alone be in such high spirits and racing again right afterward.