NASCAR » 14 September 2013
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsport - Q&A
I found out when you guys found out. Well, maybe not. Maybe you guys found out before me. I was watching on FOX Sports One. That's when I found out. You know, we haven't had the best of seasons, and I think that's not an unknown thing. We all know what we've gone through this year. But we went through a lot last year, and we got to play it out to the final lap of the race last year and we made it in. This year we had that same scenario being played out and were fighting to the chequered flag and basically doing the similar thing to somebody else's misfortune. The #22 was just having a bad day and we were going to make it in.
So to me, the previous races, this team really started to turn the corner and started putting a string of races together that really put us in that position as well as taking advantage of that opportunity that was there Saturday night. Even though we got two laps down and had our issues and had to fight back from it, we were still doing what we needed to do. That, right now, is the thing that stands out the most to me of how proud I am that this team just never, ever gives up. That's what we did in the race on Saturday.
I'll be honest, by Tuesday of this week, I was letting go of my anger and the things that I felt like kept us from being in it and was ready to move on. I had the most unbelievable support from my fans this week.
That's the beauty of Twitter. We all know Twitter can work both ways on you, and in this case what I love about social media is years ago back when I won my last championship, I had no connection to the fans to this level other than being at the racetrack, going to an autograph session, going to an event for sponsors. And now I'm able to see what everybody was thinking and what they're saying and it's unbelievable. I never felt so much support that I did. And also anger as well.
Like our fans were feeling it right along with me, and it was pretty wild and crazy to watch how that was all playing out this week. I was ready to move on and when I saw the stuff with the #22 and the #38, I was like, hmm, what's going to come of this? And it brought some new hope.
Where do you think the integrity of the sport stands and what do you want to find out tomorrow at that meeting and how vocal will you be?
One thing I want to bring up on this is I'm excited about that meeting tomorrow. I am. Even though I think we're going to get reprimanded a little bit because it doesn't all lie on NASCAR. We all have a responsibility in this. But we are fierce competitors. I don't think a fierce competitor can ever be torn down by trying to do everything they possibly can to win a race, to be in a championship battle, to win the championship and in some ways even to help out their teammates who helped them get to that point.
That is what you've got to understand. It's not just giving up something for a friend or something like that. You work as a team.
In our situation, it's one of the most unique because of the multi-car teams. It is one of the most unique. So because of that competitive drive, it pushes us sometimes to do things that even we question. I think that through all of this I think that, yes, the integrity of the sport has been put at question. I think we have one of the greatest sports that exists. To see our integrity get questioned is very upsetting to me, and I think we, along with NASCAR, have to solve this. I'm glad that we are going to get this opportunity to do this.
I wish it had not happened under these circumstances. I really do wish we could have come to this conclusion sooner, but sometimes that's just not the case. But we are going to move forward and we are going to be a better sport tomorrow and on Sunday and in the future because of this circumstance.
You've got to take a negative and turn it into a positive, and I believe that's what's going to happen.
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