Q&A With Jeff Gordon

(June 4, 2002)- - Internet users had the opportunity to ask Jeff Gordon a question via the Daytona International Speedway website in mid-May as Gordon prepared for the Pepsil 400 in Daytona on July 6. Following are Jeff's answers to six of the most popular questions.

Jeff, I understand the Lowe's team needed help in getting the race team started, but do you have any frustration that Jimmie Johnson has performed so well using some of the cars and equipment you won the title with last year? It seems to me that you could be higher up in the points standings had you kept the cars Jimmie is doing so well with. -John Navarrete

JG: "No, not at all. That is the way it was structured and I believe that, in the beginning, when putting these teams together, we want to give them every opportunity to be as competitive as they can possibly be and in order to do that we were building new cars for the 24 car and we were able to give some of the older cars to the 48 team. It's whatever that team and those individuals on that team do with that equipment. That they are outperforming us, it's just because we haven't been able to get the most out of our cars. I feel like we've run well, we just haven't been able to get the finishes that we should have. I'm not frustrated with that at all. I think it shows what we're capable of and we should both be able to do that together. That was really the way we structured and intended for it to happen. You hope that both the 24 and 48 are out there running together all the time, but that's not always the case."

Congratulations on a great title season in 2001. Going into a season as defending series champion, what do you think is the greatest challenge for a driver and their team to overcome in order to maintain their winning balance? -PGR

JG: "I think a lot of it is expectations and also keeping up with the competition. Over the off season the competition gets stronger and gets smarter and you've got to continue to stay at a high level and make sure you continue to improve also. When you win the championship you obviously do a lot of things right and you are hesitant to make changes that may make improvements. You're afraid to make those changes because you don't want to mess up a good thing when you've already have things working right for you. Then you've got some other teams out there that take big risks and it pays off for them the next season."

We would like to know if you would like to see all your practices during the same time of day as the race is run? It must be difficult to set up a car practiced during hot sunny daytime, then race at night. -Bill and Judi Thomas, Cocoa, Fla.

JG: "Absolutely. I think that it is a good idea to practice more in the time of day that you're going to be racing. Although there are so many different factors that change the track like track temperature. But it's also the amount of rubber that's on the track like when there are other races like the Busch series racing on it. So, you're never gonna get the absolute perfect conditions to be able to simulate that. As long as it's close to the same time and hour that the race is going to be at, that's all we ask for."

Would you ever like to race a sports car? If so, what series/class would you like to race in? - Sam Berger, age 8, Zionsville, Indiana

JG: "SRP. I don't know if that's Le Mans or 24 Hours of Daytona, I don't know what they consider that. I think it would be fun to drive different types of race cars that are capable of braking and turning at awesome speeds. I'd love to."

I would like to know what you do to relieve stress during the busy race schedule, especially since there are no weekends off between the Pepsi 400 and the end of the season. -Chris Boit, NY

JG: "Go go-karting, play video games and I guess spend time with friends and family."

What do all the feathers on your helmet stand for? -Heather, Tomah, WI

JG: "Goes back to when we were considered the Rainbow Warriors. I always had the feathers on my helmet back then, now that I have the flames I still incorporate a few of the feathers on there just to simulate it being a war."

(Q&A from the DIS website)

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