Racer Jeff Gordon on Speed, Age and Finding an Apartment
By Jonathan Welsh - The Wall Street Journal
Race-car driver Jeff Gordon is already a shoo-in for the Nascar Hall of Fame. With 87 wins in the premier class of stock-car racing, he trails only Richard Petty, who has 200 victories, and David Pearson with 105. He is also one of the sport's most versatile drivers, able to win on any track from huge superspeedways and tight oval "bullrings" to sprawling, twisting road courses.
But in recent years victories that used to seem easy have come far less-frequently. Competition is tougher -- and younger -- and some race watchers say the 41-year-old father of two has settled down and perhaps become a bit too cautious.
Gordon spoke recently with Speakeasy about getting older, making the best chassis adjustments and finding the right Manhattan apartment.
Why is it harder to win now than it was in 1997, when you scored 10 victories, and 1998, when you won 13 times?
The rules, mostly. Nascar has tightened the rules in the last 15 years so there's less of an area for working on the car to find an advantage. There used to be so much leeway. Sometimes we would twist the car because that would help it handle better on some tracks. Now the officials check all four corners of the car, so it has to be straight.
So, when you were winning so often in the 1990s, was it all about the car?
Well, there were times when out car was clearly faster than the others. But that's more a reflection of the team than just the car. It really does come down to the people. You need a team that is working almost perfectly to put together a championship season like '97 or '98. Today it seems like almost every team is working at that level so the competition is much closer.
How about age? As you get older does your approach to the sport change. Do you worry more?
I'm definitely not as...
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