Chevy MENCS at Daytona 500: Jeff Gordon Pace Car Driver for the Daytona 500 – Press Conf. Transcript

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

DAYTONA 500 PACE CAR DRIVER NOTES AND QUOTES
FEBRUARY 24, 2017

JEFF GORDON, WILL SERVE AS THE PACE CAR DRIVER OF THE CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 IN THIS WEEKEND’S 59TH RUNNING OF THE DAYTONA 500.  HE MET WITH A GROUP OF MEDIA MEMBERS FOLLOWING THE ANNOUNCEMENT TO DISCUSS HIS THOUGHTS ON DRIVING THE PACE CAR, CHASE ELLIOTT BEING THE POLE SITTER AND OTHER TOPICS. FULL TRANSCRIPT:

HOW SURPRISED ARE YOU THAT CHEVROLET HAS A STREET CAR WITH THAT KIND OF HORSEPOWER? “It is unbelievable.  I can remember when 300 horsepower was a lot for a street car. We are double that with this new ZL1 Camaro.  I love how Chevrolet is pushing the envelope with that kind of performance to the street. But to learn what they do from racing, and marry those two together.”

HAVE YOU DRIVEN A ZL1 ON THE STREET? “I have a Zl1, but I don’t have this Zl1! I can’t wait to get one of this version.  Did you hear that thing fire-up? WOW! What a sound.  I can’t wait to get on the gas.  I haven’t had a chance to drive it, but looking forward to pacing the field.”

WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE LIKE FOR YOU STARTING THE DAYTONA 500 IN THIS CAR AND NOT A RACE CAR? “Certainly a lot changed for me being up in the broadcast booth last year. That is going to be taken to a whole other level because not only am I going to be focused on pacing – I am honored. This is truly an honor to be asked to drive the pace car for the Daytona 500.  I remember years ago, I think it was 2005 when I last won this race, Mathew McConaughey was the pace car driver, or was an honorary starter here. To me, you go down the list of prestigious things I have done, this is right at the top of the list.  Very, very cool. Yes, it is going to be unique because not only am I going to be doing the job I am supposed to do pacing the field, there is a responsibility as well because the drivers rely on that pace car and that speed to get their pit road speed accurately.  Also, I will be interacting with Mike (Joy) and DW (Darrell Waltrip) up in the booth and the broadcast to get the Daytona 500 started off right.”

HOW DO YOU SEE CHASE ELLIOTT’S CHANCES FOR SUNDAY’S RACE? “The pole was exciting, but seeing what he did in the Duel last night, that was incredible.  I think when you talk to Chase I think that there has been a little bit of hesitancy and doubt of what he is doing on a restrictor plate track.  He gained a lot of knowledge and experience last year and now it is paying off.  He is a quick study. We have seen him do this in other races. He learns very, very fast. What he did last night was one of the most impressive things I have seen him do yet.  To see him be able to go from last year and unsure of what he was capable of doing on a restrictor plate track, to taking control of that race last night. Making some bold moves.”

DOES IT MAKE IT MORE SPECIAL TO DRIVE THE PACE CAR KNOWING HE IS BEHIND YOU IN YOUR OLD RIDE?   “I think that is what makes this even more special. Driving for Hendrick Motorsports for 23 years as a driver, to be able to lead this field in a Chevrolet Camaro but also have two Chevrolets in my rearview mirror, that makes it even more special.”

DID LAST NIGHT BRING BACK MEMORIES OF YOUR FIRST POLE? “
“It did! It did.  Here is what is interesting.  My very first Cup win was in a Duel.  Chase’s first NASCAR Cup win – in a Duel.  I hope that is going to lead to Daytona 500 wins; Brickyard 400 wins and championships soon.”

WHEN DID YOU STOP GIVING JIMMIE (JOHNSON) ADVICE? 
(Laughs) I think it was not only did I stop giving him advice, I started going to him for advice.  I don’t know what year that would be. Probably about 2006, or 2007 when he won his first championship.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED HE HAS BEEN ABLE TO BE SO COMPETITIVE FOR SO LONG? “Impressed, but not surprised.  What makes Jimmie, Chad (Knaus) and that No. 48 team so impressive is their work ethic. They are the best, they don’t believe they are the best so they never stop working.”

 

 

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About Chevrolet:
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.


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