Take A Ride With Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon likens the experience of driving a stock car to playing video games. (Photo: Getty Images)

HAMPTON, Ga. - Even with driving schools and ride-along programs at tracks, it’s hard to get a true feel of what it’s like to race in NASCAR.

Jeff Gordon might be able to help you.

With Tony Stewart’s return to racing this weekend for the first time since he was involved in fatal sprint car accident Aug. 9, there’s been a lot of talk about how once inside a car drivers can isolate themselves from everything else. Thus, the notion racing can be therapeutic for drivers.

How is that so?

Let Gordon explain.

“The only thing I know how to compare is if you have ever played a really intense video game,’’ said Gordon, who will make his 750th consecutive Sprint Cup start Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “When you are doing something that you are so focused on that nothing else is coming into your mind. Even if you are feeling pain sometimes you don’t even feel pain because the focus is so strong. It’s sort of that mind over matter thing where when you are in there you are doing something that you enjoy doing. It’s also very challenging, so your brain is on full overload of the senses that come along with driving that racecar especially here in Atlanta.

“Here in Atlanta the track is challenging, it’s abrasive, the tire grip goes away fast. You are driving that car just about every second on the straightaways, obviously you can relax a little bit, but those straightaways go by fast and those are big corners and you have your hands full all the way through the corner. To me it’s about once you get into that car you are not thinking of anything else other than driving that car and sometimes we all need something like that in life that puts us into that mode. 

“That is why I’m not a big video game player, but when I do play video games, most of the time, it’s just to get my mind off of other things. I find that it’s the closest thing to that as possible. That is why I think it is great therapy to be in that race car.” 

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