14 September 2013
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsport - Q&A
A quick follow-up. I know your fans were just so upset and stood up for you big time, like I've never seen. You were angry, we knew that. Did you contact NASCAR and ask them for anything or you found out about it through the media. But were you that angry that you got involved in saying I want something out of this?
No. I heard from NASCAR about what the penalties were going to be on whatever it was - Monday.
Yeah. As I'm sure that, you know, they were reaching out to probably a lot of individuals, especially those that probably were somehow affected by this. You know, I gave my opinion. Some of it I agreed with; some of it I didn't agree with, and I told them that via text. Then I called Mike Helton on Wednesday to tell him that I know he has tough decisions to make and we might not always agree with them, but I support him and I'm ready to go to Chicago and go race.
We didn't talk about anything else other than that. That's it. That's all I've done this week, and a few Tweets here and there. And my very supportive wife.
That's more than she's tweeted in the last six months too.
My wife is very passionate and supportive. Trust me, I said no to her a lot more than the ones I said yes to. So I'm just glad that these days she seems to at least run it by me before she says it. Not every time, but...
Kind of a follow-up to the previous question. You talked about you guys will probably get reprimanded tomorrow. NASCAR will address with the participants what it expects to see going forward. For the fans mostly and even anyone who follows the sport right now, there seems to be a lot of doubt about what or maybe some growing doubt about what they see on the track, is it legitimate. NASCAR, of course, will address with you guys your actions going forward. How difficult will it be do you think to undo that skepticism that may have creeped in the minds of fans or even kind of casual people who just happen to pay attention?
Yeah, you know, when it comes down to making it in the Chase and it comes down to - it seems like it's the final race where it really comes into play and then the final race of the season for the championship, there is no doubt that for as many years as I've been part of the sport there are circumstances in which a teammate can try to help out. If that is you'll race a guy maybe a little bit hard or move over for somebody. I mean, that's just kind of been standard practice in the sport.
But it continues to get more and more competitive. There is more on the line. There is more prestige, more money, just more competition that is driving the sport all the time. As long as things like that have been acceptable - and I love what Mike said in that press conference, there are times when things need to change. This has probably been coming for a couple years now and needed to change sooner.
But I just liked the fact that some things are going to change because all we all want to do is race our guts out every single lap. None of us want to go out there and give up a spot or race somebody different because our teammate is running for a championship. We want to go out there racing for every position, every lap, as hard as we can.
But anybody in our position as a team owner, when you know what all is on the line, as a driver, as a crew chief, you know there are extreme circumstances where we're in that position to be able to help. That, to me, doesn't necessarily make it right, and there are boundaries still even with those moves. But the boundaries have been continuing to be pushed further and further and lines are being crossed. I'm more looking forward to the future than looking and bringing back things in the past.
You touched on it a little bit, but clearly a lot of this was magnified because it was Richmond, and as you mentioned this type of thing has been going on for a while. How concerned are you that at the meeting tomorrow we may go too far the other direction and not be able to let a teammate pull up on your bumper and get paper off or in the middle of the season not fight so hard for a teammate to get by? Is there a concern this is a very fine line and it needs to be gotten exactly right?
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