What does the Brickyard mean to you?
As a young driver, my goal was to someday race the Indianapolis 500. I moved back to Indiana later in life to pursue sprint-car racing, with the aspirations that it would turn into something at Indianapolis. And it did—we just didn’t expect it to be in NASCAR.
Winning that first race launched you into the big time.
It changed my life. I started being recognized outside of the racetrack. To this day, I have fans who come with their ticket to that race, wanting it autographed. I started seeing Chevrolet billboards around the country with pictures from Victory Lane. It also gave me a tremendous amount of confidence.
Do you wish you’d had the chance to race in the 500?
Absolutely. But it just wasn’t meant to be. And then the amazing opportunity to drive the pace car this year … When I heard about it, I thought, this can’t be real. They must be joking. It ranks right up there with winning five Brickyard 400s.
Which reality show will you do first?
You will not see me on Dancing with the Stars. My back doesn’t allow me to do that. Not to mention the lack of dancing skills.