Could Jeff Gordon give up driving if he won his fifth Sprint Cup Series championship? He raised the possibility on Thursday.
"I mean, if I win the championship this year, I’ve put in, you know, 20 plus great years," Gordon said at NASCAR's media day. "I do this now because I love it, because I like being competitive, and because I want another championship. I want to get a Sprint Cup championship.
"I go home, you know, and I look at my trophy room. I see four trophies, championship trophies. But they say Winston Cup on them. You can name me a four-time Sprint Cup champion for technical reasons all you want, but to me I’m still not. I want that before my career’s over.
"If that happened, that would be all the reasons I need to say, 'This is it, I’m done. Go out on a high note, start playing baseball.'"
Oh no, that just means Gordon is going to come back to NASCAR after a few years of hitting around .200 in the minor leagues.
We're kidding, we think. As long as Gordon isn't giving baseball a serious thought, anyway. (And we're pretty sure he isn't.)
Gordon won his first Cup title in 1995 as a 23-year-old. After going back-to-back in 1997 and 1998, his last was in 2001. Since then, he's finished in the top 10 every season but one, though he's only finished second once, which was in 2007.
His crew chief for the first three championships was Ray Evernham, who has returned to Hendrick Motorsports in an advisory role. Evernham was an analyst for ESPN and after leaving Hendrick, was one of Dodge's flagship owners when the automaker re-entered NASCAR in 2001.
"Ray is experienced in a lot of things; as a crew chief, as a car owner, as a businessman, TV producer," Gordon said. "It can enhance what we do at Hendrick. I think it’s important to have someone that has been in that position as a crew chief, maybe doesn’t understand the engineering to the level today that some of our engineers go through, but he’s a quick study, he gets it."
"I think that anything that Ray can do to help bridge that gap of communication between crew chiefs, engineers, the engine shop, the chassis shop, the team aspect from pit crews, all these things, he just has a great way of looking at things, analyzing them and giving good opinions to make it stronger."
And once again, no, Evernham is not returning to Hendrick to be a crew chief. He's not replacing Steve Letarte as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief in 2015, nor is he a candidate to take over for Gordon. Assuming, you know, Gordon doesn't win the 2014 title and ride off into the sunset.
"Yeah, it’s not even a thought," Gordon said about Evernham returning to atop his pit box. "It’s not on the radar in any way, shape or form. Yeah, you can just put that to rest."
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- Motor Racing
- Jeff Gordon
- Ray Evernham