Chevy Racing–Jeff Gordon

MARCH 15, 2013
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DRIVE TO END HUNGER CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed filming the Pepsi Max video, racing at Bristol and other topics.  Full transcript:
SCARE ANYONE IN A CAR LATELY? (REFERRING TO PEPSI MAX VIDEO RELEASED THIS WEEK) (LAUGHS) “When you are at Bristol, you are just scaring yourself every other corner. That is what makes this place so much fun.”
TALK ABOUT MAKING THAT VIDEO: “What a fun experience this has been. I’ve never been a part of anything like this; a viral video that’s gone to this level.  Of course we did the Harlem Shake. We actually did that around the same time.  I never dreamed that this would surpass that in views, and get this much attention. I give Pepsi Max a lot of credit for thinking outside the box, and being bold in how they go about their creative advertising and marketing. Had a lot of fun doing it. And I’ve had a lot of fun seeing all the things on Twitter and everywhere else, as well as, every time I watch it, I still laugh.”
HOW MANY TAKES DID YOU HAVE TO DO, GETTING IN THE CAR, AND OUT OF THE CAR? THINGS LIKE THAT: “That’s the thing we might not ever see. I’ve been pushing Pepsi Max saying ‘Hey, let’s show more of the out-takes, and more of what goes on’.  Because people don’t realize it takes two hours to get into that makeup. It takes not just takes, but there is so much more that we did that gets edited out. It is very time consuming, that’s why we had to use a stunt driver. You only have so much time over a two day period as to what you can do.  That was something I would have like to have done, and I think I could have pulled off 90% of it, but, it’s pretty standard practice to have a stunt driver fill in for you.”
WAS THE PASSENGER ACTING, OR WERE THOSE REACTIONS REAL? “Those reactions were real. I mean, this guy was terrified. It was so much fun with me interacting with him. But then to get to see his reactions in that car when it is sliding sideways…  If you aren’t somebody…even if you are a race car driver, being in the passenger seat is uncomfortable when somebody is doing things like that. That is what makes it so great. It is like everyone is debating “is it real”, “is it fake”.  I can tell you, those reactions; there was nothing fake about that.”
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU FIRST SAW THE EDITED PIECE? “I just laughed. When I did that, I knew I was putting myself out there quite a bit, and that’s sort of unfamiliar territory. You look at yourself and you go ‘okay, I’m either going to look really dumb here, or this is going to be a hit, and people are going to laugh’. I know how much fun I had doing it, but after watching, I thought they did an awesome job editing it I, making the whole thing really come together and be a lot of fun. I laughed my butt off to be honest. I’ve watched it probably six or eight times, and every time I’ve just cracked up.”
IT SEEMS THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO WATCH IT TWO OR THREE TIMES, INCLUDING ME, TO TAKE IT ALL IN. IS THAT THE GREAT THING ABOUT THIS? “Absolutely. Certainly, I’m finding out through this experience, that what makes something go viral is when people are debating what’s real, what’s not. When people are watching it going I don’t care what it is, this is funny. The guy just did such an awesome job with those reactions. Then the way they edited everything. Doing the stunts, my part of getting into the car with the test drive, with the guy, that is all ad-libbed. You are just sitting there going with the way it feels. It’s not scripted to that level. I have no idea what I might just say at that time. Just trying different things the whole time. I knew what my goal was. Just getting in the car, then having that experience getting out of the car, you are putting yourself out there in such a way that you really don’t know if people are going to react positively or negatively.  It feels good when people are reacting they way that they are.”
TALK ABOUT PRACTICE TODAY: “The car is good. I’m really happy with how well it’s driving, and the grip level in the car. We have to work on the balance a little bit. I feel like we’re just a little bit away from really making the car a winning car. In practice, this early in the weekend, you’re not really going to take for the race. New car, rubber being laid down and everything. The left side tire is slightly different in stagger. We saw this race change the last time we were here with moving up to the talk. I expect a lot of those things to be the same. I thought we had a good day. We are not as fast I would like us to be. I think we can definitely qualify a faster speed than we ran in practice. “
CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENT SORT OF MECHANICAL GRIP IN THIS CAR? “I’m feeling a lot of mechanical grip, so they’ve done a great job. I’m impressed with how good the front is gripping and cutting through the corners. And, how the back is stuck right there with it.  It looks like everybody, when you look at the times, and consistency, and how hard guys are having to push the car, the car definitely has more grip than we’ve had in the past.”
HOW DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENT GROOVES PLAYING OUT IN THE RACE THIS YEAR? “When you look at the rubber already ¾ of the way up the track, I think we are definitely going to see that type of groove coming in eventually.  Once you get on a long run, most guys are running 10, maybe 15 laps; you have got to go 60 to 80 laps on a set of tires on a run, or more. That’s when you are going to have to start really searching around the race track. We saw in the Nationwide race last time we were here, that groove moved up slightly in the Nationwide race. If it moves up in the Nationwide race, there’s no doubt it will in the Cup race.”
DO YOU SEE MORE BUMP AND RUN, SLIDE JOBS LIKE WE DID LAST FALL? “The bump and run happens when it’s single file and you have a faster race car than the guy in front of you. So, the thing about that groove moving up, is it opens up that inside for you to at least have room to pass. But, because of the speed and momentum that outside groove carries, you’ve got to be creative in how you make that pass. So, you have to find the weakness in the car in front of you, or push them to try and make a mistake. Sometimes that might be with your bumper, or that might just be riding an inch off of them. Other times, it is just kind of when they least expect it – do that slide job. But, you better complete that slide job. Because if you don’t, you are going to go back a lot of positions.”
DOES IT TAKE YOU BACK TO YOUR DIRT TRACK DAYS WHEN YOU DO THAT? “It does. I have a lot of fun here last fall doing those slide jobs and making them stick. It does take you back to the dirt track days, even though you aren’t completely sliding it sideways, you are still very committed to that move. You are carrying so much momentum to make it work to get ahead of that car; you have no choice but to take it all the way to the wall.”