Sunday, March 07, 2010


I enjoy -- in the more relaxed and less time-pressured atmosphere of away-from-the-track gatherings -- asking questions beyond the typical "how is your car running this weekend?"

Especially with someone smart, and with a wider world view.

Such an op presented itself last week when Jeff Gordon visited Phoenix for a NASCAR Winner's Circle program appearance on behalf of Phoenix International Raceway's April 10 Subway Fresh Fit 600k.

I recorded an interview with the four-time Sprint Cup champion, which aired on last Wednesday's The Race Reporters. Video and audio link here:

Then, I talked with Jeff for an Arizona Republic story, and Mark Armijo joined in for

Here are two Q&As from our conversation that go beyond the usual:

Jeff on the Delta Wing car:

“I thought it was a joke. Is it not a joke? I thought it was the Batmobile. It looks a little too Batmobileish to me. I’m hoping that’s a concept and that something realistic comes out of it that is unique and different. I give them credit for being ambitious. But I think that’s a little too ambitious.”

Does it look like something you'd want to drive?

"No. On the Salt Falts, I might try it."

Jeff on Michael Schumacher coming out of retirement:

"I think it's awesome. I was fired-up to see him come back last year and, when it didn't happen, I was bummed-out. I'm a big F1 fan. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does. I don't think he's lost a thing. I actually did a go-kart event in Brazil that I was invited to with Felipe Massa and Michael was there. He's as quick as anybody and serious about it and that was just a little go-kart event. If he wants to commit to it, I believe he'll be very competitive. He's one of those guys who brings interest and excitement to the sport. But I think (Lewis) Hamilton, with McLaren, is going to be the one to beat.

"I said four or five years ago I wasn't going to race past 40, and things change. We're all entitled to that. What I don't agree with is this whole, 'I'm retired' thing. Why do we have to say we're retired? What is retirement, really? One day I might not race the full schedule in the Cup series, but I don't think that means I'm retired from racing. Maybe I'd be retired from a full season. I think you find out how much you love racing when you step away from it.

"I don't like what happens, like with the Brett Favre thing. It gets like a black eye on the sport and him. But, at the same time, I love what a competitor he is. He's still got it and still wants to do it. The situation (it) created, whatever kind of mess it turned out to be, but how do you prevent that but continue to do what you love to do?"

You will be able to hear the above actual sound bites on this Wednesday night's The Race Reporters. Wednesday, 7 p.m. Eastern, on

FAST LINES: Why did SPEED bother to put Scott Russell in the booth for the Daytona 200? Twice, Russell didn't know the rules for situations that occurred at the start. Hey, Scott, that's part of the JOB! . . . Was there anyone -- ANYONE -- in the grandstands Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Grand-Am race?

Here's a link to my new March "Drags, Dollars & Sense" column -- about how maintaining one-on-one business relationships can pay off -- in

Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:
(Show is live Wednesdays at 7 p.m. ET, downloadable, and available on-demand at no cost. Click on TRR page logo in upper right-hand column.)

March 10 -- Newsmaker: John Daly (editor, The Daly Planet). Panelists: Steve Byrnes, Mike Kerchner.

March 17 -- Newsmaker: Ashley Force Hood. Panelists: Holly Cain, Corinne Economaki.

March 24 -- Newsmaker: Bryan Sperber (president, Phoenix International Raceway). Panelists: Mark Armijo, Bob Pockrass.

March 31 -- Newsmaker: David Reutimann. Panelists: Dustin Long, Ron Lemasters Jr.

[ John Daly news note Thursday . . . ]