Daughter Teaches Gordon About Racing
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on April 25, 2014 | 7:39 P.M. EST
Jeff Gordon and his wife Ingrid pose with daughter Ella after she recently drove a quarter midget for the first time. (Photo: Jeff Gordon and Ingrid Vandebosch)
RICHMOND, Va. - The smiles are genuine in the photos, a child trying something new, learning and fascinated. In one picture, her parents are nearby just as proud and not showing the nerves they might have felt.
It was family day at the racetrack, but Jeff Gordon wasn’t racing last week. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was off at the time. Instead, he was watching - and coaching - 6-year-old daughter Ella drive a quarter midget for the first time.
“She scared the heck out of me the first time out there and was going a little bit faster than I wanted her to go,’’ Gordon said, smiling. “We slowed her down a little bit. From that point, it was fun and comfortable.’’
Still, that didn’t mean it was easy on Gordon, who turned to his mom and stepfather as Ella ran laps and said: “I do know how you do it (watch a child race) It was so tough. I know what it’s like to hit the wall. Also know that at that age ... that something that really scares them can be the end of it. I just wanted her to just have fun with it and enjoy it.’’
Gordon got his daughter a new helmet for this. It was pink.
“She said (the new one) one smelled a lot better than the one she was wearing,’’ Gordon said.
It was all in being safe and having fun.
“Honestly, we’ve treated it no differently than her going to gymnastics or horse back riding,’’ Gordon said. “It’s something that we wanted to sort of introduce her to, see how she liked it and see how she did.
“She has shown interest, but she’s shown interest in a lot of things. We’re just kind of wait and see. I’d like to see her get quite a few more laps before she actually goes out and races.’’
While this took place, there was another interested spectator - Gordon’s 3-year-old son Leo.
“He definitely liked, it,’’ Gordon said. “I look forward to him getting a year or two older and see if it’s something he’d like to do as well.’’