Gordon talks new sponsorship, Dale Earnhardt's legacy, more
CONCORD, N.C. -- Jeff Gordon is enduring what may be just his second winless season since his rookie campaign in 1993. And though he is in the Chase, he understands that with a 203 deficit in points with four races to go, he isn't going to win a fifth Cup title in 2010. But don't expect to see Gordon slowing down any time soon. Earlier this week it was announced that the "Drive to End Hunger" -- an effort of AARP and AARP Foundation -- will be the primary sponsor on his Chevrolet Impala for 22 races in each of the next three seasons. Afterward, Gordon discussed this new phase of his career as well as a variety of other topics.
"I'm really focusing on what we need to do to be better next year. We really haven't shown the strength to be championship caliber this year, but that didn't mean we didn't think we could still win it. It's trying to make ourselves stronger."
"I feel for Jimmie in a way -- not too much -- just because the points are really tight and he hasn't had to experience it this tight before, but he can still go in there and win the race. If it is meant to be for those guys to win the championship, they will come out of Talladega in a position to win the championship. If it is meant to happen because they are the best team, they will still win this championship, regardless of what happens at Talladega."
"I can remember testing at Indianapolis and I went up in his hauler. It's so funny because where did that time go when you could go into another driver's hauler during a test and talk to another driver? We don't do that anymore. We didn't talk racing very often. We talked about the business, the sport and life in general. It was really cool to me to have that experience. He was genuine and open to me in a way that I greatly appreciated. But we would go onto the race track and five minutes later he would run into me. Those memories stand out to me. I still feel that I have a lot to learn from him and what he gave to this sport."
"The racing was harder 10 years ago. The day Dale passed all those cars (18 in the final four laps), he absolutely amazed me to this day because it was hard to pass that day. Today, it's too easy to pass. That's the problem. You are sitting there not wanting to pass somebody because you want to wait, wait, wait and wait. The guy that is 10th in line gets impatient because we can all just pull out and go at any time, but you have to have somebody to go with you when you pull out of line. Under the old format you would sit there and plan it out lap after lap and use the car in front of you and behind you with the air. To me it's easier to pass today but harder to win."
"I've been very successful. I've made a lot of money; won a lot of trophies, but there is a lot more to life than just that and you have to balance it out. These days, I'm not winning like I was in the mid- to late-90s. I think back to those days when all you thought about was racing and winning and going to victory lane and popping the Champagne and hold up the trophy and smile for the cameras. That's not really who you are and there is so much more you have to have to back that up to make you happy.
If you are waiting for that next win you are going to be a pretty unhappy person because life has its own way of balancing life out. I think getting behind an important cause like this is a way to balance life out and I think a lot of people will resonate with that."