On this week’s NASCAR On NBC podcast, special guest four-time NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon was asked by host Nate Ryan about F1 champ Lewis Hamilton.
Gordon was at the Mexican Grand Prix last fall when his friend Hamilton clinched his fourth career Formula 1 title (2008, 2014, 2015 and 2017). Gordon was returning the favor as Hamilton attended Gordon’s final NASCAR race in 2015 at Homestead, Florida (before he came back for several races to fill-in for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. the following season).
So could Hamilton make the transition to race in NASCAR?
Here’s what Gordon had to say (the segment starts around 24 minutes, 18 seconds into the podcast):
“I think that would be amazing (if Hamilton ran in the Daytona 500),” Gordon said.
But, Gordon quickly added, “Odds are very, very slim, I would say.
“We all saw what happened when Fernando Alonso came to (the Indianapolis 500 last year) or the 24 (Rolex 24 this year), how great that is. In the past, we’ve seen IndyCar drivers come over to NASCAR. I think it’s a great storyline and it’s also an eye-opener for open-wheel drivers to get behind the wheel of a stock car because it’s a lot different.
“It’s no different than Kurt Busch going into an Indy car (in the 2014 Indy 500), and even though he did a great job, that experience is just mind-boggling how much different it is.
“I chuckled (at the idea of Hamilton racing the Daytona 500) because trying to get a quality car and team together that’s not a charter and give Lewis an opportunity to be competitive would be a challenge. That’s the first kind of check against him.
“And then I also think there’s no testing now. Lewis could go and test, especially at Daytona, get in a draft and understand the dynamics of that. There’s no doubt he’s incredibly talented and could do the job with the right amount of preparation. But there’s so little preparation these days for any races, especially Daytona.
“I briefly talked to him about it. He showed interest and excitement. I don’t know if it was necessarily for Daytona. It’s just that he’d like to drive a car and I’d like to see him drive a car. He did drive Tony’s (Stewart) car at Watkins Glen, but it was wet. I’d like to see him do it on an oval. I think that would be cool.”