JOLIET, Ill. — It’s not easy keeping a secret from Jeff Gordon, but he admits he was shocked when he learned 16-time Funny Car champion John Force would campaign a tribute car dedicated to Gordon at this weekend’s NHRA race in Concord, N.C.
“It blew me away,” Gordon said Friday at Chicagoland Speedway, where he’s preparing for the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup in Sunday’s MyAFibRisk.com 400.
“I have always been a huge fan of John Force, and I went out to that track (ZMax Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway). Took my kids out there to watch the drag races. I was just so impressed with what they do and the power in those cars.”
But Gordon had no clue Force, along with Chevrolet, would put together a car honoring Gordon’s career.
“It was kept a secret from me,” Gordon said. “My office, my stepdad (John Bickford), Jon Edwards (PR person) and a few others knew about it.
“It is one thing to see a track or a fan or somebody here within this garage area do something to pay tribute. But when it starts going outside of NASCAR and our sport, that certainly humbles you and make you extremely appreciative of not only what I have done, but people that recognize it – especially when it is someone like John Force.”
Gordon isn’t sure he’ll eventually get the body off Force’s tribute car. But if he does, he humorously hopes Force keeps it in one piece in this weekend’s Carolina Nationals.
“I want to tell John I only want the flames to be on the paint, because I’ve seen him go up in a big ball of flames before this,” Gordon laughed. “So let’s just hope it stays on the body with the paint. I don’t know anything more than that.
“I am just so appreciative of him doing that. Just seeing it on the track is an honor.”