Rick Hendrick: No pressure on Jeff Gordon in final season, he just has to win 14 races and championship


Now that he knows 2015 will be Jeff Gordon’s final full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series, team owner Rick Hendrick isn’t putting any pressure on his longtime driver and business partner.

But he will be having fun with him.

During Thursday’s final session of the four-day annual NASCAR media tour in Charlotte, N.C., Hendrick jokingly told Gordon what he expected from him in his last go-round for Hendrick Motorsports:

“Mr. Gordon here has to win 14 races and the championship to go out in style. That’s his mission.”

Not surprisingly, Gordon, who shared the stage with Hendrick and teammates Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne, quickly grew wide-eyed as an incredulous look blazed across his face.

I don’t know where he keeps coming up with these numbers,” Gordon laughed, glancing at Hendrick. “The numbers continue to grow every time I see him.

“So I have to top everything I’ve ever done before in my final season? Got it.”

For the record, if Gordon were to win 14 races and the championship, he could check off quite a few things on his bucket list:

  • Fourteen wins would be the most Gordon has achieved in any season in his 23-year Sprint Cup career (topping his modern-era record of 13 in 1998).
  • It would give Gordon 106 victories for his career. That would place him second on the all-time win list (one ahead of David Pearson) behind Richard Petty (200).
  • Gordon finally would achieve the “Drive For Five” with a fifth Cup championship that he’s been pursuing now for the last 14 years.

When a reporter asked why he looked worried, Gordon laughed. “Because he (Hendrick) just told me I have to win 14 races and the championship,” he quipped. “This whole being my final season just became a breeze other than that part.”

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IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”