Scott Pruett runs Jeff Gordon's No. 24
Scott Pruett ran several laps in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet during Friday afternoon NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, so he will be ready to step in if needed if his wife Ingrid goes into labor.
|Pruett practicing in Gordon's car|
"It's great to be here, and it says about the sport," Pruett said. "You look at the sport and all the big teams and sponsors, but at the core of it, family still comes first. With Hendrick and with Jeff, and even with my team owner Chip (Ganassi), that's the whole thought process for me being here to help if his wife goes into labor and he has to rush out. We're struggling with the setup. I jumped in it to get the mandatory couple of laps, and that car is loose-loose-loose right now. Jeff's working with it to see if they can get it buttoned down."
Pruett was asked about Gordon's quotes from earlier today (see next note down) when he said "Scott could do better in the car than I could, to be honest with you."
"Jeff's a very gracious guy, and I appreciate those comments, especially coming from him," Pruett said. "He's done everything in the world. I just enjoy being here and being part of it."
Pruett is wearing a new DuPont uniform and helmet for the occasion.
"It will be nice to give to charity sometime," Pruett said.
Jeff Gordon Talks About Standby Driver Scott Pruett (Updated Friday at 1 p.m.)
With Jeff Gordon's wife due to give birth on Monday, the Hendrick Motorsports team asked Scott Pruett to stand by in case Gordon is called from Watkins Glen. Gordon talked about why they asked Pruett during his media availability on Friday.
ON HAVING SCOTT PRUETT STANDING BY TO DRIVE THIS WEEKEND: "I thought of him and I don't know what kind of brought that to my mind, but I've always been a huge fan of Scott's (Pruett). I can remember as a kid going to the go-kart nationals in Quincy, Illinois. I think I was 12 or something and he was the man. He was the rock star and super fast. I think he probably won that year as well. I've always known Scott and looked up to him in that way and followed his career. At Daytona I went and found him in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series garage and I just said, ‘hey, would you be interested.' He said, ‘I definitely have an interest, let me talk to Chip (Ganassi).' I thought that would squash it right there. To all of our surprise, Chip was very supportive of it and came back and said, ‘yeah, it would be great' and I think it was very cool. We're very excited to have Scott here this weekend."
WHAT IS THE COMFORT LEVEL OF HAVING SCOTT PRUETT STANDING BY THIS WEEKEND? "That's certainly huge. I think honestly, Scott (Pruett) could do better in the car than I could, to be honest with you. We certainly aren't planning to use him for the race, but it is very comforting if something were to happen where we needed him. We have an excellent shot at getting a great performance out of the car. I'm really looking forward to having him drive the car today because we have to put him in. I'm just looking forward to seeing what he does and what he says about the car because I think just that could be a positive for us throughout the weekend to get the feedback of a great road racer like him as to what he thinks the car is doing and what we could do to make the car go faster."