DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Report by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell – Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America photo –
2015 might be the last time we see future NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon full-time on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit, but the four-time champion did not rule out the chance to race part-time in the upcoming seasons.
Gordon sat down with the press during NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway this afternoon and said that he would not close the door on an opportunity to race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) after this season.
IMS is a track that holds special meaning to Gordon. The four-time Cup champion was raised in the town of Pittsboro (20 minutes from the Speedway) and not only won the inaugural Brickyard 400, but has won a record five times at the historic facility — including last season’s running of the crown-jewel race.
Gordon however did confirm that he will not return to a restrictor plate track after he finishes this season.
“I am not saying that I will never run another Brickyard (400),” Gordon explained. “I definitely will not be running another restrictor plate race – just show me the risk versus reward there (laugher). For a guy who will not be running full-time, that is just not a desire that I have.”
“The Brickyard is not the kind of a race – it is methodical and with the right team you can be very successful in that event. I am not saying that I will (be running the Brickyard after 2015), I am just leaving it open.”
Aside from the plans past 2015, Gordon and his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team have a championship on the forefront of their minds heading into their final Budweiser Speedweeks together.
“I wanna go out on top,” Gordon said. “I am doing everything I can to remain focused on that. I do not wanna be completely naïve, there is definitely a lot on my plate this season, so I am going to put a lot of pressure on my team to plan as much in advance as possible. It has definitely been quite hectic just leading into today. But it is going smooth so far.”
As for this being his last full-time season, Gordon wants fans and other people to remember him as a respected driver and one of the best – a goal that most would say has already been achieved after what he has done during his 22 prior seasons in the Sprint Cup Series.
“You always want people to look at you, foremost, as your ability in the racecar to be above most or just at a high level,” Gordon said about how he wants to be remembered. “You want to be respected as a competitor and just how good you did what you did. That is what I want (to be remembered as) first and foremost.”
Daytona Speedweeks officially kicks off for Sprint Cup competitors with practice for the Sprint Unlimited tomorrow at 5 p.m. Eastern on FOX Sports 1.