Power of the Team: Jeff Gordon Says Being Successful in Racing, as in Business and Life, Requires a Commitment to Building Solid Relationships

By Yaeger, Don | Success, May 2011 | Go to article overview

Power of the Team: Jeff Gordon Says Being Successful in Racing, as in Business and Life, Requires a Commitment to Building Solid Relationships


Yaeger, Don, Success


In the final minutes of last year's Subway Fresh Fit 600 in Phoenix, Jeff Gordon was in the lead and poised to win the race with three laps to go. As he pulled into the pit for his final stop, his crew bounded over the wall, replacing all four tires and refueling the No. 24 car in less than 13 seconds.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"My crew was great. We had everything together," Gordon remembers. "But I spun my tires just a little bit on the restart, lost the lead and finished second. We didn't win, and I let them down."

For a NASCAR team, the smallest miscalculations can affect the outcome of an entire race--or even an entire season. And after almost 20 years as a professional driver, that's one of the most valuable lessons the four-time Winston Cup (now Sprint. Cup) Series champion has learned.

"In every race, you're making split-second decisions; in every race, you make 100 mistakes," he tells SUCCESS. Those decisions can sometimes be very costly, but on the other hand, he laughs, "sometimes those are the days you end up in Victory Lane."

Gordon says racing has taught him much about life in general. "What it takes to be balanced with a successful life requires the same things that it takes to be successful on the racetrack," These include the importance of teamwork in reaching any goal, knowing when to be patient and when to take chances, being ready for unpredictability and finding ways to overcome adversity, among others, he says. "But I think the biggest lesson is that what you put into your work and what you put into your life in terms of how you treat people is a reflection of how you will be treated and what you're going to get out of it."

The Greatest Team Sport

The last point--how you treat the people around you--can have the biggest impact on how smoothly every other aspect of your race goes. Having a great team is the best hedge against all the risks that threaten success.

In fact, Gordon explains, "I think our sport is one of the greatest team sports out there because of what it takes to prepare the cars to get them to the racetrack. And then throughout the weekend trying to make the car faster than your competitors' and making sure nothing breaks, nothing fails. And then when you get into the race, the communication that goes on between you and the team. And the decision making because you're constantly making adjustments to make the car better, as well--deciding if you're going to take four tires or two tires or just fill up the gas Lank. And then there's the synchronization with seven guys going over the wall to pit a car in 13 seconds." He exhales. "It's pretty amazing."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The key, he insists, is making sure team members communicate clearly, trust each other and know they are respected and valuable in achieving common goals and the team's ultimate success.

But winning for Gordon isn't necessarily about sitting behind the wheel of the first car across the finish line. Each time he takes the track, he isn't just competing against the other 42 cars out there. He is also, in a way, competing against himself, because Gordon isn't just a driver; he's also the co-owner (along with Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motor Sports) of the No. 48 team, headed by driver Jimmie Johnson--a team that has won five consecutive Sprint Cup Championships since 2006.

An Amazing Run

When asked about this amazing run, Gordon points to the countless variables that can affect the outcome of races--races that can be won or lost by something as seemingly insignificant as a careless spin of the tires. For the No. 48 team to come out on top five consecutive seasons is, in his words, "incredible. We're seeing something in our sport, right now that I don't think we'll ever see again. It's so challenging to win a championship, to do two or three or even four. But to do five straight? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Power of the Team: Jeff Gordon Says Being Successful in Racing, as in Business and Life, Requires a Commitment to Building Solid Relationships
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.