“I want this day to go on forever.” – Jeff Gordon Before His Final Race
“The things that he has done on the race track are just a small percentage of what he has done for our sport. He has changed the idea and the perception of what this sport is really about.” – Dale Jarrett on Jeff Gordon
“He is one of the icons that made a difference in this sport.” – World Champion Racing Driver Mario Andretti on Jeff Gordon
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Nov. 22, 2015 – NBC Sports presents Jeff Gordon’s final ride and the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship from Homestead-Miami Speedway this afternoon. Before Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. faced off for the Sprint Cup trophy, each connected with the NASCAR on NBC team before climbing into their cars. Rutledge Wood introduced a special pre-race performance by Tim McGraw, and Ken Squier voiced a sentimental essay on Gordon’s career.
Sunday afternoon’s Championship coverage from Homestead-Miami Speedway began with the Countdown to Green pre-race show hosted by Krista Voda, Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett. Marty Snider, Mike Massaro, Kelli Stavast and Dave Burns reported from pit road.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s Sprint Cup pre-race Championship coverage on NBC.
Jarrett on Championship Sunday: “Our sport is going to be a winner at the end of this day, regardless of who is standing on the Championship stage.”
Jarrett on Gordon: “It is an end of another era…The things that he has done on the race track are just a small percentage of what he has done for our sport. He has changed the idea and the perception of what this sport is really about. Every driver that is out here, they can thank Jeff Gordon for the things that they are able to do and the money that they are able to make.”
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Harvick in a pre-race feature: “Our biggest goal when we left the Championship banquet last year was not to be a flop. We came out with more determination to prove to everybody we could continue our (success).”
Harvick on the Countdown to Green set: “It has been a lot less stressful (than last year), because you do know what to expect, you know this is going to be a disruptive day, you know your schedule is not going to be the same…I’m glad to be sitting out here, this is the type of situation that you ask for.”
Find Harvick’s pre-race interview here.
Truex Jr. on his Pocono win in a pre-race feature: “It is almost like the first time we could see the light at the end of the tunnel, personally and professionally.”
Truex Jr. on the Countdown to Green set: “As much tough times and bad stuff as we have been through, I feel like that is what makes us who we are. That is part of the reason I am here today.”
Find Truex’s pre-race feature and interview here.
Jarrett on Harvick taking a pre-race picture with the No. 24 car: “If I could get there now, I would go get my photo taken too.”
Kyle Busch in a pre-race feature on his injury earlier in the year: “I have never been through anything that traumatic before in my racing career…To be honest, I think this injury was a blessing in disguise.”
Kyle Busch on the Countdown to Green set: “We are looking forward to today. It is a day that we didn’t think was ever going to be possible given the outcome eight months ago.”
Find Busch’s pre-race interview here.
Squier’s pre-race essay on Jeff Gordon’s impactful career can be accessed here.
Gordon to Snider on his final race: “It has been absolutely an incredible day. I want this day to go on forever…It is absolutely incredible to be in my shoes right now…I try not to read too much because it does get me choked up…I still can’t believe I got here, it has been one heck of a ride.”
Gordon on Harvick taking a photo with his car before the race: “It is certainly great, from your peers and competitors to have that kind of support.”
Find Gordon’s final pre-race interview here.
Gordon on his Martinsville win during a pre-race feature: “To see the joy in Ingrid and those kids, and for them to see it in me…nothing can top that.”
IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe to Wood: “I am a big fan of racing and I am a big fan of Jeff Gordon, and there was just no way I was not going to be at his last race.”
World Champion driver, Mario Andretti to Massaro: “He is one of the icons that made a difference in this sport. No question about it.”
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–