Random News - May 2001

Fast Paced Existence
OCEAN BEACH, N.Y. (May 31)- - Jeff Gordon's appearance schedule is always heavy during the week. From sponsor events to press conferences, the three-time Winston Cup champion rarely has a free moment. Gordon visited central Indiana on Wednesday, May 30 for a press conference at the Indinapolis Motor Speedway. He was on hand to provide Jay Leno, host of "The Tonight Show," with some driving tips after Leno was announced as the driver of the pace car for the Brickyard 400 on August 5. Leno is no stranger to the track having driven the pace car for the 1999 Indianapolis 500. "Jeff's a nice guy and a great NASCAR driver, but, boy, he needs some help in the joke department,'' Leno said. "I had hoped to give him a tip or two on driving this track, but like a good student, I listened to his advice."
Gordon spent Thursday, May 31 at DuPont headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware for the 8th Annual DuPont Day. Gordon kicked off the event by driving a "victory lap" in the #24 DuPont Chevrolet through Chestnut Run Plaza, Laurel Run Plaza and Barley Mill Plaza. DuPont employees lined the route to greet Gordon. Later in the day, Gordon was joined by crew chief Robbie Loomis for an employee autograph session.

Burgeoning Empire
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 29)- - Nestled on 62 acres just north of Charlotte, Hendrick Motorsports has evolved from a single car team in a 5,000 square foot garage in 1984 to a 360,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility today. From a staff of five in 1984, with crew chief Harry Hyde the highest paid at $500 a week, Hendrick Motorsports now employs 318, with more than a dozen commanding six-figure salaries. Rick Hendrick recently discussed the growth of his organization and the increasing costs associated with running a competitive stock car team.

+NASCAR's Spending Race Is On

Another Round On CNN
GULF STREAM, FLA. (May 25)- - Jeff Gordon appeared on "Larry King Live" on CNN on Tuesday, May 22. From a studio in Miami he discussed a wide range of topics including his racing background, his religious beliefs, and his dramatic victory in The Winston and the first lap crash. Gordon also took live viewer calls where topics centered on his perceived on-track rivalry with Tony Stewart.

+Complete transcript

Hallways To The Past
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 25)- - When Jeff Gordon lined up alongside Ryan Newman to begin the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, he may have flashed back to an afternoon in Memphis, Tennessee in 1999. Newman, then a junior at Purdue University, had put together number of impressive USAC sprint car victories at Winchester Speedway and Indianapolis Raceway Park-- two tracks that Gordon was very familiar with. At the time, Gordon and his then-crew chief Ray Evernham owned a Busch Grand National team. Gordon-Evernham Motorsports had scheduled a test session at Memphis Motorsports Park and invited the young sprint car driver to shake down one of the cars. During the test session, Gordon drove his Winston Cup car and Newman drove the Busch entry. Though Gordon and Evernham were impressed with his talent, Newman remained a racing "free agent" and later signed a developmental contract with Penske Racing.

From Driver To Landlord
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 12)- - Several years ago Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt teamed up with Charlotte businessman Ken Barbee to form Performance Park Partners Inc., a real estate holding company. They bought an undeveloped 123-acre tract next to Lowe's Motor Speedway on Morehead Road in 1997. In May 1998, a 110,000-square-foot warehouse for Action Performance opened in Performance Park. With its ideal location to the track, Sam Bass Illustration and Design Inc. became a tenant as well. Bass' 10,000 square foot studio showcases his work as one of the country's leading designers of racing paint schemes, race programs, and lithographs. The newest tenant on the property will be a six-story, 150-room hotel, restaurant, and convention facility. Beers-Charlotte Group has been granted construction and zoning permits to build the complex. When completed, the complex will likely face immediate competition as Concord and Cabarrus County have contracts with a firm to develop a 10-story, 275-room Embassy Suites hotel and convention center on a 15-acre tract located one mile from Performance Park. (Business Journal of Charlotte)

Precautionary Measures
GULF STREAM, FLA. (May 3)- - Jeff Gordon began wearing a head and neck support (HANS) device in March. He won at Las Vegas but suffered sore shoulders for the remainder of the week as the device was not properly fitted for his body. At Texas he felt like he suffered a broken shoulder even though he didn't hit anything as the device pressed down upon his shoulders throughout the race. Gordon recently began wearing a HANS device specially fitted for his frame. California was the second race where Gordon had on the newly fitted device. "It's still a little sore, but it's definitely the best I've felt," Gordon said of his shoulders after the race. "I'm going to stick with the HANS because it's been tested the most. To me, the HANS is bulky, big, and a little uncomfortable. But I'm willing to take that right now because I definitely believe in and like what it does." Gordon had said in the past that he might not wear it at the short tracks and road courses because he needs to move his head moreso than at the larger tracks. However, he recently said that he intends to wear it at Richmond. "Right now, the big debate for me is the road courses," Gordon said. "It makes me sore right now, and I wish I could get around that. When I get to a place like a road course where I'm turning left and right, I've got to make sure that I have enough flexibility. Road courses are a little bit different than fast ovals-- those are the places we need it the most. I'm not saying that we don't need it everywhere, because I think it's a good idea to wear it everywhere. But if I can be comfortable with it at Sears Point and Watkins Glen, I'll try to run it everywhere."

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