Jeff Gordon on the thought of winning his final race in Indy: “A victory would only be the icing on the cake. I have had a lot of dreams come true at Indianapolis.”
Rick Hendrick on Gordon’s final Indy race: “It is hard to believe this is it. When you look back at history and this sport, he opened the door for so many guys.”
Dale Jarrett on starting the “kissing the bricks” tradition: “We had no idea that we were going to start something that would be continued through every Brickyard 400 winner after that, and now even the guys that win the Indy 500 kiss the bricks. It is pretty special.”
Tony Stewart to Jeff Burton during his warm-up laps: “I don’t think it’s that hot out here…Maybe some of these guys will fall out in the heat, and we will just keep trucking.”
Indianapolis, Ind. – July 26, 2015 – NBCSN presents Sprint Cup Racing from the Brickyard Presented by Golden Corral this afternoon from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Coverage began with NASCAR America Sunday, followed by the Countdown to Green, Served by Sonic pre-race show. Both were hosted by Krista Voda, alongside NASCAR on NBCSN analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
Inside the NBCSN broadcast booth, race announcer Rick Allen, 21-time Sprint Cup winning driver Jeff Burton, and Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte offered their perspectives. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Mike Massaro reported from pit road leading up to today’s 3:39 p.m. ET green flag.
Sunday’s pre-race show included a feature on five-time Brickyard champion, Jeff Gordon. The all-time winningest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver at Indianapolis, Gordon reflected on growing up in Indiana, winning the inaugural 1994 Brickyard 400, and the emotions surrounding his last race at Indy.
In addition, NBCSN’s Rutledge Wood connected with two-time winner of the Brickyard 400, Tony Stewart. Together they explored the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, and reminisced about the prominent personalities who have contributed to auto racing.
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s NASCAR Sprint Cup pre-race coverage on NBCSN.
Paul Menard to Stavast about the new aerodynamics package: “A lot of unknowns still. The [XFINITY] cars were a handful yesterday. They weren’t horrible, it was just different when you moved in close on somebody….. Track position and clean air are going to be just as important as ever.”
Dale Jarrett on “kissing the bricks” – a Brickyard victory tradition that he started after capturing the checkered flag in 1996: “Todd Parrot and I started talking about doing something different if we could win and came up with the idea of kissing the bricks. We kept it to ourselves. None of our crew knew anything about it. We wanted it to be something special…We had no idea that we were going to start something that would be continued through every Brickyard 400 winner after that, and now even the guys that win the Indy 500 kiss the bricks. It is pretty special.”
Team owner Rick Hendrick joined Voda, Petty and Jarrett on the pre-race set to discuss Jeff Gordon: “This is a special place for Jeff and a special day. I can’t believe it, it feels like yesterday when we showed up in 1994 and he won that race. It is hard to believe this is it. When you look back at history and this sport, he opened the door for so many guys. When I started you had to be about 35 years old and you had to grow up in the south east…He has been such a good ambassador and so good for our company and such a good friend of mine. He is a special person.”
Gordon on the thought of winning his final Brickyard 400: “A victory would only be the icing on the cake. I have had a lot of dreams come true at Indianapolis. That would be a dream come true for me.”
Prior to the green flag, Burton commented on Gordon’s final race: “I have to believe that one of the highlights of his career is winning the inaugural NASCAR race here at the Brickyard. I remember that day vividly— the place was packed, the fans went crazy… he started his short-track racing career just down the street, so the Indiana crowd loved it when he won here.”
Letarte added: “Without a doubt this is going to be an emotional day for Jeff Gordon. He has done so much for people in the garage. The trophies tell one story, and everyone that he has worked with tell another. Jimmy Johnson is here because of Jeff Gordon. Chad Knaus got his start because of Jeff Gordon. I was a garage guy and now on a screen talking to you because Jeff Gordon gave me the opportunity to be his crew chief. His legacy stretches way beyond his trophies.”
Tony Stewart commented on the heat during his on-board chat with Burton before the green flag: “I don’t think it’s that hot out here…Maybe some of these guys will fall out in the heat, and we will just keep trucking.”
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