Talks Candidly About Changing His Approach as He Grows Older
Charlotte, N.C. – Four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon sat down with NASCAR RACE HUB host Danielle Trotta to talk about his career, and what big opportunity existed early on that car owner Rick Hendrick may not have known about.
Here is what Gordon had to say on Thursday’s (10/14) edition of the show.
Jeff Gordon on pursuing other forms of racing early in his career: “When I first started to come into the NASCAR Nationwide Series – I did both (sprint cars & stock cars) because I was still competing for championships in other series. Once I became more established in the Cup Series with (Rick) Hendrick, it really wasn’t something I thought about. I’ve always enjoyed all forms of racing, if I can get the opportunity and drive another car; have a new experience, like I did with the F1 car and the 24 Hours of Daytona. The one thing that went through my head that I don’t think Hendrick even knew about was that I had a potential Formula One offer at one time. But, it was going to race in lower series – maybe even IndyCar. I was established in Cup; very happy with where I was at, things were going extremely well and that was a whole career change for me, in a racing series I knew very little about from a driving stand point, I was always an oval track driver. But that conversation never happened with Hendrick, that was behind the scenes and I made the choice and the decision on my own. We were coming up on some contracts and I chose to stay with Hendrick and won the championship the next year. It was a good choice.”
Gordon’s response to former crew chief Ray Evernham’s claim that he may want a different feel (in the car) now: “I think that when he and I were together, I was so young and super aggressive. I knew so little about the cars; all I knew was whatever he said, ‘Yep. That’s right.’ Just go out there and drive the wheels off the car. It’s not that, all of a sudden, I’ve started to drive different – the competition is different. What edge we had over the competition is a lot different. I give Ray a lot of credit for that. Have I changed? Absolutely, I’m 42 years old now. I drive using my head a little bit more… a little bit too much at times. I think that’s what happens over time. When you are younger, you’re more aggressive. When your older, you think about when to be aggressive, when to be patient. And as you get older and older, you start to think about patience, and less about the aggressiveness.
On his children’s level of understanding: “For (daughter) Ella, she has a pretty good understanding being six. For (son) Leo, every day I come home and if I was testing, or if I had just went to the race shop, did you win? I love having them at the race track. That also brings a lot of pride, joy and motivation for me to go out there and represent my team, my family and be the best driver that I can be out there – and also try to go to victory lane more often.