Round 15 of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series takes place on Sunday, June 16th, which is Father's Day. Team Monte Carlo drivers share some thoughts about their dads: Robby Gordon, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I have some great...
Round 15 of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series takes place on Sunday, June 16th, which is Father's Day. Team Monte Carlo drivers share some thoughts about their dads:
Robby Gordon, No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I have some great Father's Day stories. When I was four years old, I wanted to race real bad. That's all I wanted to do. My dad said that if I'd stop sucking my thumb, he'd get me a motorcycle so I could race."
"My father raced and so I wanted to race. He was more of an amateur racer. He did a lot of off-road desert racing. Many times we raced together and shared the same car (Class 1 buggy in SCORE Off-Road racing). We won championships together in '95 and '96. I remember my first race with him when he raced one car and I raced another in the Vegas to Reno race. He was really scared that I was going to crash. He was always really worried about me.
"About half-way through the race when my dad stopped to pit, he asked everybody where I was on the course. I had started the race after him and he hadn't seen me. He didn't know where I was. He was all worried that I had gotten a flat tire, or that my car had broken down, or that I had gotten stuck in a ditch somewhere. Boy was he surprised when they told him I had already passed through that section of the course more than a half-hour before he'd gotten there. Even so, we ended up finishing first and second."
"My dad is very much a part of our racing every week. On Sunday nights, he'll call and ask me why Gil (Martin, crew chief) did this or why Kevin (Hamlin, crew chief) did that - things like why we took two tires instead of four. He always has an opinion on what we should have done. Last week, I told him that if he thought this was so easy, he could come on down and sit on the box and help us make the calls."
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I started racing motorcycles when I was five years old and from the very beginning I knew I wanted to race. My dad was very supportive of my racing but he got tired of taking me to the hospital. Eventually he started looking for something with a roll cage.
"When I was going to school and racing at the same time, my dad and Dan Newsome (off-road racing director with BF Goodrich), always told me that I had to maintain a B-average or they would take away my 'driving' privileges.
"But one of the best things about my dad has always been is his belief in me. I can remember when he tried to help me get a ride in Superlites (a class in the Mickey Thompson Stadium Racing Series). I'll never forget the time when I was riding in the semi-truck with my dad on the way to a desert race. Dad stopped in Corona, California, where the Superlite shop was, and they let me test a car. It was pouring rain and muddy. That was the first racecar I'd ever driven. We got back in the truck and continued on and I wondered the whole time if I was going to get to drive. When we got home, I was told I could drive in the next race at the Rose Bowl. That was so awesome. I never would have gotten that chance if it weren't for my dad. He stopped on his way to the job to help me chase my dream." Note: At the age of 15, Johnson became the youngest driver ever to compete in the sport of stadium racing.
"When we won our first race in California, I was really disappointed that my dad wasn't there. He had stayed at home (North Carolina) because it was such a long drive out west. I really wanted to share that time with him and you never know when you're going to win again. But we backed it up in Dover and he was able to be there and be a part of that one. That meant a lot to me.
"We were third in Happy Hour today and I really like this Monte Carlo. It's the same car we won with in California and we brought it here because the Michigan track is similar to Fontana. My dad is here with me this weekend, and to have a strong finish - maybe even a win - would be a neat way to celebrate Father's Day."
Jeff Green, No. 30 AOL Chevrolet Monte Carlo: "I give my dad a shirt and a card for Father's Day. What more could he want? After all, he's got me, doesn't he?"