We begin featuring two-time Indianapolis 500 champions with this Centennial Interview Series profile of Gordon Johncock. Going into this series, we suspected that we would hit upon at least one driver whose memories of Indianapolis might be more negative than positive, and Gordon was that driver. He had a difficult career at the Speedway, and his controversial viewpoints on a number of aspects of the sport reflect the challenges he faced there.
Gordon began by talking about his rookie year in 1965, then talked about his early difficulty with finishing races and the danger that drivers faced by climbing into the cockpit in those days. He reflected on 1973, the year of his first win and an event that many who witnessed it prefer to forget. He also talked about dueling with Rick Mears to take his second win in 1982 and discussed how he feels about his two wins when he looks back on them today. Gordon then talked about some of the aspects of racing that have changed since his time, including improvements in safety and his very passionate views on the effect of the influx of foreign drivers. Gordon then shared how he viewed racing differently than most other drivers of his day in that he saw it only as a weekend job that he left behind when he returned home. Finally, Gordon talked about why he was never really close with any of the other drivers in the paddock before talking about his unique view on being a champion of the Indianapolis 500.
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