Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Q&A with Hendrick's Travis Gordon

While spending the better part of the past week and a half in Daytona Beach, Fla., I had the chance to catch up with Travis Gordon, who graduated in May and had spent four seasons as a walk-on with the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team.

Gordon, 23, is working on his MBA but also works full time for Hendrick Motorsports. He originally was going to spend most of his time on Hendrick’s No. 5 Sprint Cup Series team, driven this year by Casey Mears, but after recovering from a motorcycle accident in December, he ended up joining the pit crew of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet team.

Gordon splits his time, working on data acquisition with Hendrick’s No. 5 and serving as backup jackman and tire catcher for the No. 88 on race days. During Speedweeks, Gordon was part of the team that earned victories in the Budweiser Shootout, a Gatorade Duel and a ninth-place finish in the Daytona 500.

Q: How was the Shootout win?
Gordon: It was crazy. It was the first time Dale Jr. drove in a race for us. First time with Hendrick turns into his first win. I’ve done a lot in basketball, but that feeling that night, that pretty much topped it all. It was a monumental thing. There was a lot of pressure on Junior to win and a lot of questions about how the move would turn out.

Q: What’s the experience of being around Dale Jr. and his team?
Gordon: There certainly are more fans cheering for you, for one. A lot of people know who you are. When Dale Jr. takes the lead in a race, it’s fun to see the fans in stands go crazy. Dale Jr. himself is just a down-to-earth country boy like the rest of us.

Q: How do you think things have shaped up in your career?
Gordon: I’m been very fortunate in my life with the opportunities that I’ve had. I’ve worked hard to set myself up with good opportunities, but I’ve also had some given to me. Some of the things I’ve been able to do are once-in-a-lifetime things.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

*yawn*

Anonymous said...

Good article. Nice to read about the success of a fellow Niner. And especially good to see he is accomplishing something other than typing lame "yawn" comments on other's blogs!

Anonymous said...

Good for Travis. He has taken the opportunities presented to Him by basketball and being ata major University with Motorsports engineering and RUN with them. Good for him and god for us!

Anonymous said...

I used to play pick-up ball at the Mine Shaft...why don't you interview me? BOOOOOORRRRRINNNNGGG

Anonymous said...

Because you made nothing of your life, I'm sure that's why.

panfan1 said...

funny stuff anonymous! both of ya!guess it's more important then the way our BB team has folded down the stretch. guess there is always next year unless we pull a stunner in the A-10 tourney???

Anonymous said...

Jim Utter gives up more news about our 49ers than anyone else. This is a wonderful story -- outside the lines -- about a former player and you rip him for a boring story. Nice job. How about throw him a bone for giving us news, any kind of news?
We've played our way into the sports page's "Bits & Pieces" section with our recent plunge and you guys rip him for "boring reporting". It's a story. Enjoy it.
Nice work. Real class.
-Mark