New Gen-6 car has Jeff Gordon primed for 2013 season

CONCORD, NC - JANUARY 23: Jeff Gordon, driver for Hendrick Motorsports, speaks to the media during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour on January 23, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
CONCORD, NC - JANUARY 23:  Jeff Gordon, driver for Hendrick Motorsports, speaks to the media during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour on January 23, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
CONCORD, NC – JANUARY 23: Jeff Gordon, driver for Hendrick Motorsports, speaks to the media during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour on January 23, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

CONCORD, N.C. — Even though Hendrick Motorsports won 18 of 36 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races in 2007, and even though Jeff Gordon came within an eyelash of his fifth championship, the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet never liked the winged behemoth that debuted that year.

The lack of brand identity of the car design was something that struck Gordon immediately.

“We had a car (Gen-4) that looked really similar to the manufacturer vehicle that was in the showroom,” Gordon said Wednesday during the Hendrick Motorsports stop on the Sprint Media Tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We went completely away from that in every which way, from having a splitter, we had the wing, and we just had this blocky looking car that wasn’t a sexy looking car.

“We made that car (the 2007 car) a really good race car. It took a while, but we did. Now I look at this (Gen-6) race car and see where we’re starting out with this car — and it feels good. It drives good, it’s forgiving, it’s got a great aerodynamic balance… So far, I’m a big fan. I love it. I like what’s happening underneath the car. I like the body style.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that the transition to the new car will be easy.

“Any time you start to get used to something and there’s a change, it’s a learning curve,” Gordon said. “In my opinion, the older you get in this sport, and the more you’ve been around, the harder it is to switch to new things.

“There’s going to be times, I think, that we’re going to be challenged. It seems like the repaves, (requiring) the hard tires, is where I struggle the most. The tracks that are abrasive, where you’ve got to finesse the car, find different lines, work with the team on setups to try to manage the tires in a green-flag run, that’s my strong suit — always has been.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.