Jeff Gordon says he isn't thinking about his accident last season as the NASCAR Sprint Cup heads to Las Vegas for the third round of the year.
With just four laps remaining, Gordon was involved in a heavy accident coming out of turn two that saw him spin to the infield and make heavy contact with an area of barrier not protected by the SAFER system – severely damaging the front end of the #24 Chevrolet and putting him out of the race.
However the four-time champion, currently second in the standings behind Matt Kenseth, said he wasn't worried about returning to the scene of such a big wreck although he admitted he will probably take a quick glance while passing on track to see what work has been done.
“I can't wait to get to Las Vegas,” he said. “I've heard the track installed a SAFER barrier [where I hit it], but to be honest, I never noticed that area of the track before last year. The first time I noticed it was when I was about to slam into it.
“I'm not so concerned about it going back. Between NASCAR, which mandates that our cars be safe and that we wear head and neck restraining devices, Hendrick Motorsports building fast and safe cars, and my sponsor DuPont which produces materials such as Kevlar which is in my helmet and in the nose of my car to my Nomex driving suit, I feel completely safe in the car.
“I'm sure at some point during the weekend I'll glance over at the new wall when I'm driving down the backstretch to see what they've done. But I'm sure I'll see enough of it watching practice and qualifying on television.”
Until his accident last season, Gordon had run well towards the head of the field and arrives back in Vegas this weekend buoyed by his runner-up finish behind Kenseth in Fontana – a result which lifted him ten places in the championship standings.
With some changes set to be made to the car for the weekend, Gordon said he was confident of a strong result again this time around as he looks to end Kenseth's winning run.
“We ran well here last year, so we have a good baseline,” he said. “But we've learned so much since then that we'll head back – I don't want to say with a drastic setup – but with a much different setup.
“It's a similar setup to what we ran in California over the weekend, and we had a strong car there.”