Monday, June 7, 2010

Swapping more than paint

Jeff Gordon and Marcos Ambrose.

One a bonafide NASCAR star, the other just getting into his stride having rebooted his career for the third time. Including Ambrose's V8 Supercar stats, they have racked up 110 wins and six championships in their careers between them.

So we're talking about two pretty handy racing drivers.

Last week at the Watkins Glen tyre test, Polaris met Southern Cross (for all you Astronomy buffs out there) as Gordon handed Ambrose the keys to his #24 Dupont Chevrolet while Ambrose did the same with his #47 Little Debbies Toyota...don't worry, they both cleared it with the manufacturers.

Jeff should be old hat at this since he did a similar thing around a decade ago with Montoya's F1 car at Indy but I don't think Marcos has experienced swapping cars - paint, words and ends, yes, but not cars - before, so I'm sure behind his cheshire cat grin there would have been a tiny pang of worry.

After climbing out, the Aussie had this to say: “There’s probably only a handful of people in the world that can say they drove Jeff Gordon’s race car. It was a real thrill for me. I will never forget it. He’s a pretty small guy, he’s not that tall and he’s got a narrow waist. I wasn’t that comfortable in the car, but I was squeezing in that bad boy no matter how hard I had to try.”

“It was remarkable how similar in feel they were. There were differences of course between the two. I’m glad I could help him if he needed it to get around that place. I’m no expert. I’m just out there driving a race car. Just to be asked in the first place was a massive thrill for me. I will never forget it.”

He did have one regret though; no one managed to take a photo of him in the #24.

As for Gordon, he reckoned he finally figured out Marcos' secret on road courses: “I learned two things there at the test. One is that when Marcos Ambrose goes really fast through the road courses, it’s not his race car. He’s just really fast. He got in my car and went really fast. I got in his car and went slow. It was just basically that Marcos is fast and that we’ve got really good power. That’s what I learned. Our Chevys haven't been as good as we felt like they needed to be so just gathering information plus I like Marcos. He's a good guy and a heck of a road course racer.”

Now, before we all get excited over this and rumours start circulating about Rick scoping out someone to replace Jeff when he finally chooses to hang up his helmet, I don't think this was anything more than two drivers just wanting a chance to do something a touch different and I'm sure the respect each have for the other probably went up a notch.

Besides, as Marcos said, there are very few people on the planet who can lay claim to have driven Jeff Gordon's race car...even if it was just for a handful of laps.


  1. That was a cool deal and Marcos was super cute on TNT interview talking about it. A thrill for him for sure!

    I dont think the driver that will replace JG has come into the sport yet...although I fear we are pretty close to losing him soon.

  2. the only way it would have been even cooler was if Jeff had driven Marcos' V8 Supercar, lol

  3. Agreed tez! Great blog,loved every word of it my friend!Kudos to you and both our drivers! xo

  4. I didn't know about this. Thanks for the report!

  5. That was a cool story, and a vid of the two of them on the track in different cars would be great. Marcos was so cool telling that story, I'd listen to him read a phone book...LOL

  6. Geez tez it sounds like going over to the dark side for Marcos! Giving road course tips to Darth Gordon? What is this world coming to? LOL

    Next Marcos will be driving for the Evil Empire!

    Thanks tez!

  7. Thought you'd like it, Jerrie :)

    I saw the report they did with Marcos at Pocono before the race so I did some scouting around to find out if Jeff said anything about it, CR. If I hadn't caught it, I never would have known either, lol

    Yeah, I thought it was pretty neat as well, Gene. Certainly something to tell the relatives in the future!

    I'm not sure he gave anything away, Dwindy...Jeff probably didn't understand a thing he said with his accent, LOL!