This is an article from the June 27, 2011 issue
DRIVER OF THE NUMBER 24 CHEVY
Gordon moved into a tie for third on NASCAR's alltime win list on June 12 at Pocono Raceway. He is also the voice of Jeff Gorvette in Cars 2.
Dan Patrick:Would it be good for NASCAR if someone other than Jimmie Johnson won the Sprint Cup?
Jeff Gordon: I think people want to see someone who dominates. They want to either love them or hate them because of that. But five in a row? That's enough, Jimmie Johnson. C'mon now. I think he's good for a little while.
DP:People don't hate Johnson the way some fans hated you when you were dominating in the 1990s.
JG: I get asked a lot about rivalries and why Jimmie hasn't resonated as much. The only difference is that when I won my first championship, in '95, I was battling with Dale Earnhardt Sr. That created a rivalry among our fans. A little bit between me and him as well. That rivalry helped grow the sport. It certainly helped grow my fan base. We kind of have that right now with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. If those guys battled for the championship, it would create a new type of entertainment for the sport.
DP:If Harvick and Bush squared off, who would win?
JG: On the race track or fighting?
JG: Definitely Harvick. No doubt about it.
JG: Kyle's a lover, not a fighter.
DP:How about Harvick versus Carl Edwards?
JG: I think Edwards's physical fitness would come into play there. He's a big guy in tremendous shape.
DP:Why did you have a mustache early in your career?
JG: When I was getting into sprint car racing, I was only 13 or 14, and I was racing against guys who were 25, 30, 35. I [wanted] to look older. It certainly didn't hurt that someone like Earnhardt had a mustache as well when I came into NASCAR. I thought the mustache might [help]. Looking back on it, it really did not.
DP:Can you bring it back?
JG: But why, Dan? Why?
DP:Bring back the mullet and the mustache. You'll dominate again.
JG: If that's what will do it, then I'll absolutely do it.
DP:Instead of a burnout after a victory, have you considered celebrating with a nice parallel parking job in Victory Lane?
JG: I'm a good parallel parker, so I think I can make that happen. These kids these days ... they started this whole burnout thing. When I won back in the 1990s, I just drove to Victory Lane. Just tell me where Victory Lane is so I can get there as fast as I can. I'm just glad I finally pulled off a good donut last week, because I've been struggling with them.
DP:I felt bad, your whole family got a Pepsi shower after winning at Pocono.
JG: It just happens to be the way Pocono is. All the team is on the stage, and you're down below. They had the perfect angle to drench all of us. That was a bit of a surprise to my four-year-old daughter, Ella. She was really excited until that happened. She'll know better next time. I told her, Be prepared.
DP:Did she thank her sponsors?
JG: She knows how to hold up her finger for Number 1 for the picture. She hasn't gotten to thanking the sponsors yet.
• Mind Games
Jimmer Fredette told me that the most surprising question he was asked leading up to the NBA draft came during his interview with the Jazz. Fredette was asked what came to mind when he heard the phrase "three and three." Larry Bird? Jimmer's shooting range? A dramatic playoff series leading to Game 7? Fredette scrambled and came up with "three-peats," as in Michael Jordan. Turns out he was overthinking it. Said the Jazz executive, "Usually people just say six."
• Magic of Rory
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are both U.S. Open winners, but CBS's and golf Magazine's David Feherty said that's about all they have in common. "They're polar opposites," said Feherty, who shares the same home course with the 22-year-old McIlroy in Northern Ireland. "Harry Potter on one side [McIlroy] and Lord Voldemort on the other. We know all about one and nothing about the other. They may be equally powerful; we just don't know yet."
• Line of the week
Vancouver Sun columnist Iain MacIntyre on people who rioted after the Stanley Cup finals: "Very few of them paid for a ticket. I would say a lot of them have never been to a hockey game in their lives. I don't think the Canucks' losing the Stanley Cup had much to do with it."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com
1. Kyrie Irving talks about making the transition to the NBA.
2. Shawn Marion on potential alternatives to rings for the Mavs.
THE FINE PRINT: Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned. Apparently, he tweeted graphic photos of the team's performance with runners in scoring position.