With NASCAR in Pocono this weekend, Jeff Gordon ventured to nearby New York City to appear Thursday morning on “Live With Kelly & Michael.”
Much of the four-time Sprint Cup champion’s appearance centered around his pending “retirement,” a word Gordon still hates to use, and show co-host Kelly Ripa’s repeated insistence that he’ll be back racing at some point.
The highlight of the show was when Ripa and co-host Michael Strahan gave the “Top 5 Things Jeff Gordon Will Do After ‘Retiring’” (video below):
5 “Change his first name to “Flash” (as in Flash Gordon)”
4 “Reject phone calls from the producers of ‘Dancing With The Stars'”
3 “Hire a pit crew to change light bulbs in his house (‘I already have that,’ Gordon joked in response)”
2 “Like Cher and (Barbara) Streisand, get really bored and kick off his comeback tour” (Said Ripa, “I know you’re getting behind the wheel of that car. When you do, I just want you to know I’ll be there to say ‘I told you so.'”)
1 “Try to become a talk show host because that’s what all ex-athletes do” (like Strahan, a former NFL star).
Jimmie Johnson is in his 17th year of full-time Cup racing and is in the midst the longest winless streak of his career at 42 races.
But the seven-time champion’s competitive drive is as strong as ever.
Johnson sat down with NBC Sports’ Dale Jarrett to discuss his career at this point in the latest edition of Driver-to-Driver.
“I can honestly say I spend more time now than I did my rookie year focusing on my job,” Johnson said. “I think that the support I have from my wife (Chandra), my kids are 7 and 4, to have them watch me be passionate about something has another meaning I didn’t anticipate coming. I’m lovin’ what I’m doing. I wish the results were a little better than what we have right now, but the process of what I’m going through is really fun.”
Hendrick Motorsports as a whole is in a slump. The team is in the middle of the second longest winless streak in its history at 35 races.
Johnson admits it’s hard to know when the right time will be for him to retire.
“The thing I can pull out of it is, don’t pick a number, make sure that fire’s gone out and that fire hasn’t gone out,” Johnson said. “The other thing that’s weighing on me, I don’t want to go out not at my fullest potential and not on my terms. The last thought that’s going to run through my mind is to walk away or, ‘Oh, it’s not going right, time to stop.’ Uh uh. I know I still got it. I’m going to go down swinging. I’ve got a lot to prove still.”
START: The command to start engines will be given by Jean Swift, treasurer of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Counsel, at 12:51 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 301 laps (318.46 miles) around the 1.058-mile track.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 75. Stage 2 ends on Lap 150.
COMPETITION CAUTION: Lap 35
PRERACE SCHEDULE: Garage opens at 7:30 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 11 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:05 p.m.
NATIONALANTHEM: Vanessa Salvucci will perform the anthem at 12:45 p.m. The Canadian National Anthem will be performed by Kirk Young at 12:42 p.m.
TV/RADIO: NBCSN will broadcast the race beginning at 1 p.m. Coverage begins at noon with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at noon p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have PRN’s broadcast.
FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for a high of 70 degrees and a 78 percent chance of rain and storms at the start of the race.