2020 is Jeff Gordon’s aboriginal year as advance anchorperson for NASCAR.
This year marks NASCAR fable Jeff Gordon’s fifth year afterwards backward from the action and acceptable a commentator, and his aboriginal year as Fox Sports’ advance broadcaster. Ahead of this weekend’s Daytona 500, the aboriginal and better chase of the season, I hopped on the buzz with Gordon to babble about the approaching of NASCAR and the auto industry as a whole.
I started by allurement what he’s best attractive advanced to activity into the 2020 season, which clearly kicked off beforehand this week. “Every year I try to attending at how I performed the year afore and how can I up my game, how can I advance activity into the analysis that adds added amount to the broadcast,” Gordon says. “And the aboriginal affair you accept to do is accretion as abundant ability as you can about the changes, like what affectionate of updates are accident with the cars or article we ability be bringing to the broadcast.”
But best important, he says, is the accord with his teammates. “You absorb as abundant time as you can in the offseason chatting and accepting accessible and allegory the storylines. I’m actually excited, I don’t feel like at this point my role’s gonna change a lot actuality advance broadcaster. I wanna accumulate accepting fun, but at the aforementioned time I’m gonna advance my teammates actual agnate in the way I did in the accomplished as a driver.”
Since he retired in 2015, NASCAR has afflicted actually a bit. For cool speedways the cars accept aloof 550 application and a new high-downforce bureaucracy that Gordon never had to accord with as a driver, while abbreviate courses and best advance get the complete opposite. “Just like any added anatomy of motorsports, the cars adapt,” he says. “New rules change, or tires change, clue surfaces ability change, competitors change. So those things accept actually gone on back 2015. I anticipate they’re all abundant moves, from area I’m continuing calling the contest and seeing what unfolds from the disciplinarian standpoint and the aggregation standpoint. No doubt, I’ve gotta break affiliated to the drivers and the aggregation chiefs and the engineers to see, ‘Hey, what’s different? How is this altered than back how I aftermost drove?’ It’s about blockage on top of what’s happening.”
Having decades of acquaintance as a disciplinarian helps with how Gordon is as a broadcaster, too. “The affair I focus on best is absent to put myself in the driver’s bench and anticipate like a disciplinarian as I’m accomplishing the advertisement — so what are they ambidextrous with, what challenges are they facing? If they accept emotion, again why? I get it, or I accept it, or can explain why this aloof happened. That’s what I try to do every distinct lap that the chase is activity on, and it’s the allotment that I adore because I can chronicle to that.”
This is actually what actuality a chase car disciplinarian looks like.
The accepted NASCAR Cup Alternation car is the sixth-generation archetypal that has been about back 2013. A seventh-gen car is accepting accessible to admission for the 2021 season, but Gordon has had little acquaintance with it appropriately far. “I anticipate all of us aural the action are focused on the 2020 car and analysis and the agitative things we accept there, befitting the drive from 2019 advancing into 2020,” he says. “Certainly NASCAR abaft the scenes is alive with a few teams that are allowance to advance the new car. But best of the teams are carefully focused and eyes-on what’s currently happening.” A lot added advice about the seventh-gen car will appear out about September or October, abnormally already added drivers accept gotten their easily on the car and teams accept started architecture them.
One of the above trends in the auto industry appropriate now is electrification, and NASCAR’s Senior Vice President for antagonism development John Probst has talked a little about how amalgam technology is article it’s attractive at for the next-gen car in the actual abreast future. I asked Gordon how he thinks NASCAR can or should advance to acclimate to new technologies like electrification, and he says it all depends on what the manufacturers are doing, as it would be difficult for the chase teams to advance things like amalgam systems on their own.
“Our OEMs are abundantly important to our sport,” Gordon says. “We cannot do what we do after Chevrolet, Toyota and Ford, and you appetite to see others appear into the action also. It’s agitative back I go bottomward to the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and I see so abounding altered manufacturers that are accommodating in that race. So of advance you appetite that aforementioned affair aural NASCAR. Listen, we’re an ball sport, we chase on big, fast egg-shaped tracks, and we blast and we blast and we blast and we win and we do these things that are not what your archetypal car is gonna do on the alley every day. But I do anticipate that there are things that the manufacturers wanna accept in antagonism that’s relatable for the customers. If there’s technologies that are out there from the accomplishment standpoint that could be acclimatized to our antagonism that additionally enhances the entertainment, heck yeah, I’m all for it.”
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Speaking of Toyota, it shockingly jumped into NASCAR in 2007, and now NASCAR is a above allotment of its antagonism analysis TRD’s efforts — hell, the Supra contest in the Xfinity alternation now. “What Toyota did to get into NASCAR is unprecedented,” Gordon says. “They had to actually advance the block and the assimilation and the active and aggregate accurately for NASCAR. The car architecture and anatomy is clashing any added blazon of antagonism alternation that they attempt in, there’s annihilation in their assembly band that is based on a 350 small-block V8 engine. So you gotta acclaim them for that.”
But he thinks it would be difficult for addition architect to get into the action in the future, as it’s a massive adventure and money-sink. “I adulation the actuality that appropriate now in NASCAR we accept a Mustang, we accept a Camaro and we accept a Supra, but you gotta be astute that there apparently aren’t gonna be abounding that can do it like that,” he says. “So I anticipate that’s why NASCAR is attractive at afterlight the ability plant. The accepted manufacturers are attractive at that as their approaching too. The stars may adjust there and abide to abound how abounding OEMs are in the sport.”
Jeff Gordon raced for Hendrick Motorsports for 23 seasons, acceptable three Daytona 500s.
Gordon collection for Hendrick Motorsports for 23 seasons and is now a top controlling at the company, and will acceptable booty on a administration role in the abreast future. Aggregation buyer Rick Hendrick happens to be the buyer of the aboriginal assembly C8 Corvette, so I asked Gordon for his thoughts on the mid-engined ‘Vette and whether he had gotten to acquaintance one yet. “There was a car that was activity about to altered dealerships so we had one at Jeff Gordon Chevrolet in Wilmington, North Carolina,” he says. “It’s alarming to be able to sit in the car and feel what the interior’s like, and they’ve got a abundant affectation for acclimation your car area you can attending at the altered finishes and colors and leathers. I was a little bit abject I didn’t get to drive the car though, I would accept admired to. I’m attractive advanced to that.”
On the Corvette assuredly affective to a mid-engine layout, Gordon is all for it. “I’ve been a Corvette lover for abounding abounding years and accept endemic a lot of them, so this footfall that they’re demography I anticipate is a amazing one,” he says. “It seems to be activity over actually able-bodied with the barter and Corvette enthusiasts and I anticipate for acceptable reasons. I anticipate the best amazing thing, and I don’t apperceive how they’ve done it, is how Chevrolet priced that car with all that it’s able of doing.”
Pivoting abroad from NASCAR, I had to booty the befalling to ask a chase car driver’s assessment on free vehicles, abnormally now that they’re acceptable hardly added boilerplate and we’re seeing added brands developing semiautonomous technology. “There’s actually a abode for it from a busline standpoint, whether it’s aggravating to get burden confused beyond the country or demography over a abode of an Uber disciplinarian or article like that or accumulation transportation,” Gordon says, acquainted that we already see agnate tech back we go to airports and we accept abuse systems that move us about and are in some way autonomous.
“Computers are alteration the apple in every way that we live, and there’s no agnosticism that they’ll change the way we drive or acquaintance a vehicle. There’s times I would adulation to be on a alley cruise and be able to duke over the car to a computer while I eat or I beddy-bye or I can acknowledgment emails. From that standpoint, I actually apprehend it to appear and I abutment it back it’s accessible and it’s safe enough. But from a achievement standpoint, I’m consistently gonna angular appear the animal aspect of active a car to its banned and activity up adjoin a computer.”
Expanding on how car activity ability change with technologies like autonomy, Gordon hopes the antagonism spirit doesn’t get absent in approaching generations. “As a chase car disciplinarian and a car guy in general, there’s article that’s aloof so advantageous about actuality able to get abaft the caster of a car and ascendancy that vehicle,” he says. “And again of course, to get to booty a car on a chase clue and advance it to its limits, that to me is the ultimate, abnormally if you can attempt with it. I achievement that no amount what happens in the approaching with technology, that’s article bodies are gonna consistently appetite to accept as a allotment of their life.”
Finally, I had to ask Gordon which of his accomplished antagonism liveries is his favorite. His signature blaze acrylic arrangement was aboriginal to mind. “The bonfire came from a helmet that I had corrective back I was a adolescent kid, so to me the atramentous car with the orange and chicken bonfire on it was consistently article appropriate to me.” But his absolute admired happened to be a left-field answer, and one that happens to be my admired as well. “We did do one car one year back we had a advance with Looney Tunes, and it had this Axalta acrylic that’s alleged chrome apparition and all these cogitating aspects to it area altered colors pop out.” The abject of the car had a animation mural with grass, and the car was covered in Looney Tunes characters. “I performed angrily on the clue in it, but I aloof adulation that car still to this day.”
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