NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon Drives Enviro-Friendly Hybrid

By Nicholas Ballasy | February 25, 2009 | 6:56 PM EST

( - Professional NASCAR driver and three-time Daytona 500 winner Jeff Gordon told he drives a hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe and supports car manufacturers “evolving” with green technology. He also said federally mandated environmental regulations will affect NASCAR racing in the future. His comments were made at the National Guard Youth Challenge Gala Tuesday in Washington.

“Well, I mean, being with Chevrolet, I’ve driven their fuel cell car – you know, I’m amazed at the technology they have there,” Gordon told “I drive a hybrid Tahoe and, you know, I mean we’re doing everything we can, and you know, the racing industry is mandated by NASCAR – by a lot of different things and some of those things we’re not in control of.”

“I certainly hope it’s something that we’re looking forward at, and I think that we are,” said Gordon. “It’s a form of entertainment, and it’s something we have to evolve with – with the economy, with the environment – just like everybody is.”

The $15-billion auto bailout includes provisions for General Motors (GM) and Chrysler to invest in green technology to improve the fuel economy in their vehicles. Gordon said auto manufacturers have to evolve how they are “building” automobiles.

“I think we’re always constantly evolving, and you know, I’m in the racing industry and the racing industry is about entertainment,” he said. “It provides a great opportunity for sponsors as well as fans to be a part of something that’s very exciting and fun. I think entertainment is always going to be an important aspect of it.”

“The car manufacturers have to evolve how they are going about building the cars – about what they are providing to the public,” said Gordon. “That’s also going to affect how we live; how we are entertained and probably going to affect auto racing in the future.”

A National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) report released in late January, found that a single national fuel economy standard is “better for America than a patchwork of state regulations.”

When asked if the federal government regulating miles per gallon would hurt the auto industry, Gordon said automakers have to work to produce what customers want.

“I think there’s a lot of smart people that work with the auto industry to help them get to those numbers and achieve that, and I think it’s going to be a joint effort,” said Gordon. “It’s a team effort from the automakers of what the customers want in the car as well as what’s good for the environment and what’s going to be environmentally friendly for all of us in general.”

“I think it’s something that should be looked at and is, and you know, but it’s not one person or one group driving it. It’s a group of people that are going to have to come together to make it happen.”

The National Guard Youth Challenge Program, who sponsored the gala Gordon participated in, is a “preventive rather than remedial at-risk youth program,” which prepares “unemployed, drug-free and law-free high-school dropouts” aged 16 to 18 years old for careers in the United States National Guard. 

Gordon discussed the connections between NASCAR and the National Guard during the event.

“It’s unbelievable – the support we see from our military as well as the support from our community and our fans’ support and how they support the military,” he said.

“I’m excited this year because the National Guard is on my race car as an associate sponsor,” said Gordon. “We are going to be preparing their paint scheme – I think six or eight times this year.”