Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS met with members of the media and discussed the weekend in general at Indy, what it takes to win the Brickyard 400, how the Brickyard compares in prestige to winning the Daytona 500, if he thinks this is a...
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont Monte Carlo SS met with members of the media and discussed the weekend in general at Indy, what it takes to win the Brickyard 400, how the Brickyard compares in prestige to winning the Daytona 500, if he thinks this is a championship year, on his experience as a NASCAR driver, on any differences he sees in Jimmie Johnson since he won the Brickyard, about the recent changes in his personal life, strategy going into the Chase, women drivers in NASCAR, on the Canada market for NASCAR, and more.
Select quotes from driver interview:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND'S ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD? "Oh, it's an exciting week. It's one of those weekends when everybody really gets fired up about it; especially coming off an off weekend. I think we're rested and relaxed and ready to get back after it and start this long stretch of races that's going to decide the championship for this season. I always love racing here at Indianapolis. It's just such a cool place with so much history. We've had success here so I really look forward to being here this weekend. I felt like we had a strong car here last year and we had some issues early on that got us behind, but I think we made up like three laps last year and had a good car. So it's something that has gotten me excited about what we're going to have this weekend, especially with the type of year we're having."
YOU SEEM TO WIN HERE EVERY THIRD YEAR, SO THIS MIGHT BE YOUR YEAR AGAIN. WHY IS THAT? "I think it is just evolution of set-ups and cars changing and technology changing and other teams becoming more competitive. I think what happens is that we build our team up like the team we have this year and this is a track that really takes a great package. You have to have the total team package here from power to good handling and obviously the driver has to do his part along with the pit crew as well. So you have to have the whole package. The best teams win here. In years where we've won here, they are times when we were really on top of our game. And so that's sort of the coincidence of the past couple of years year with Jimmie (Johnson) winning and then winning the championship and Tony (Stewart) winning and then winning the championship. Those were the best teams at the time."
IN TERMS OF PRESTIGE, CAN YOU COMPARE THE DAYTONA 500 AND THE BRICKYARD 400? "It's a matter of personal preference. The Daytona 500 is our biggest event. There is no doubt about that. But on a personal note, I like Indy. I like the Brickyard. My biggest win, and I don't think I'll ever top it, was the inaugural Brickyard 400. It's always going to be the biggest win to me, personally.
And I don't know how other people rank it, but it's the one that stands out in my mind. I want to win the Daytona 500, but there is just a little something in the back of your mind when you come to Indy and you think, man, I really, really want this one. The other thing is, that's a restrictor plate. A restrictor plate race at Daytona takes a little bit away from your chances. It makes it sort of not that anybody can win it, but a lot more guys can win it. Where here, the driver plays a really big role. The team and the set up play a big role and so that's why I think there is a little bit more consistency with who wins this race. Maybe the driver makes it a little bit more prestigious."
THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF PERSONAL CHANGES FOR YOU WITHIN IN THE LAST YEAR. YOU'VE GOTTEN MARRIED AND NOW YOU ARE A FATHER. DO YOU THINK THIS HAS HELPED YOUR RACING CAREER? "I think what helps you with life and work is being balanced out. I have a great relationship with (his wife) Ingrid and that has certainly helped balance out my life. I'm happy because of that. And work is going well, so I'm happy because of that. I had issues in the past with my family and now my dad is working for me and my mom is a grandma and everything has just really come together. I think all the experiences I've been through, good and bad, have just helped me be a better person and know a little bit more about what I want out of life. And so, I think these days I just appreciate it more and I enjoy coming to the race track probably more than I ever have and having a baby and being married again is only making it that much better."
IF IT WOULD EVEN BE POSSIBLE, WOULD AN ADDITIONAL WEEKEND OFF BETWEEN NOW AND THE END OF THE SEASON BE WELCOME OR WOULD IT BREAK MOMENTUM? "It depends on how the momentum is. If the momentum is good, you don't want to stop it. If the momentum is bad, you hope for change. I think it would be really nice to have a break after Richmond, and before the last 10 Chase races start. I think it makes sense. It would actually allow Nextel and NASCAR to really hype up the start of the Chase and spend a little more time with some marketing and some media and things like that. It would be a nice break in this long stretch at the end. But I don't see that happening anytime soon. So, we'll just take the off weekends when we can get them."
-credit: gm racing