Galore V-Day Crush: Jeff Gordon
You remember the 12 days of Christmas, right? Great in theory, but in reality; who really wants 3 french hens or 6 geese a laying? In preparation for Valentine’s Day, Galore is giving you 8 days of sexy dudes! Because hot guys are always better than ovulating birds, am I right?
To mix it up on the 4th day of V-day, we talked to a legendary hottie, race car driver Jeff Gordon. Even if you’re not a die-hard Nascar fan, you’re sure to have heard of Jeff Gordon, right?! Not only is he one of the most successful drivers in America, but he’s also recently partnered with The American Dental Foundation and 3M to “Give Kids a Smile.” A cute guy who drives fast and loves kids? Sign us up!
Once your final year is over, what are you going to miss most about racing?
Race day. Getting in the car and going out there and competing is what I’ve always loved to do. I’m definitely going to miss that, that’s why I wanted to leave it open so that I can go out and drive a race-car and get some of that time. I don’t have a plan of that yet, but I know I’m going to be busy. I might step out of that last race and say “I don’t miss that at all anymore.” There’s a lot of work and stress that goes into creating that and being competitive at that level that I certainly will not miss. I think knowing that you’re part of something, and working with a team to help it go faster, there’s something really cool about that. That’s something I’ve always loved.
How did you change as a driver from your start through now?
I appreciate it a lot more now than I used to. When you’re on that fast climb and rise like I was through the eighties, it’s hard not to take some of those things for granted and fully appreciate the moment. I think I appreciate the moment a lot more, I’m more patient. Obviously that comes with age. I’m just more calm and collected, but I’m also more stubborn in my old age so things sort of balance themselves out. I think I have probably worked harder in the last couple of years, and what I bring to the team and how I can be involved to be more competitive than I ever have been before.
When you’re preparing for a race is there a certain routine or music that gets you hyped up?
Routine, yes. Music.. I like music, it’s not something that I’ve used on race day in the past. We’re so busy, that’s what I love about introducing people to Nascar. Other athlete friends of mine will say, “I can’t believe you did _____ an hour before the race” or “I can’t believe you did this five minutes before you got in the car.” Our sport is about access that the fans have, that interaction, that experience. We have a lot of sponsors that are involved and we’re constantly taking care of them and their customers as well. My routine is finding those little small moments, making sure I eat the proper breakfast, making sure I know what my schedule is, hit everything on that time. I do a quick warm-up and stretch routine that takes about thirty minutes before I actually start my day. Once I get to the car after driver introductions and all the mayhem, I’m “there” and I’m smiling and I’m friendly- but I’m not there. I’m already in the car, my mind is already focused there.
Were your own kids an inspiration to your work with “Give Kids A Smile?”
Yeah, I think 3M recognized how important pediatric health is for me with my own foundation and to tie the two together is amazing and I’m looking forward to working with them. It’s easy for me to get behind because I have two young kids and everyday I’m brushing their teeth and taking them to the dentist. I think a lot of it for me is the neglect I gave myself as a kid that I don’t want to see them go through. I had two route canals before I was 11 or 12, not a good experience. I don’t want to see them go through that.
Competing in a sport like racing, how do you balance success with safety?
It’s like most things in life, risk vs. reward. As a race-car driver there are certain split-second decisions that you’re making, but everything slows down when you’re on the track. Going that fast, lap after lap after lap. The good drivers are able to relax their mind and look at every situation and make calculated decisions. Sometimes you make instintive decisions, but most of the time I am thinking; “Okay, I want to pass this car, but do I just want to dive in there and make contact and move the car out of the way? Or do I want to put pressure on him? Or maybe just wait ten laps?” I think that process that I’ve gone through has helped me make cleaner passes, better decisions which ultimately have the car in one piece at the end of the race so that you can get a top five or top ten or maybe even a win.