That Girl Knows Racing – Beccy Gordon

When you mention the name Gordon in various racing circles several names come to mind, Bob, Robby, and Jeff are the most common. Over the last few years the general public has started to learn about another Gordon.
Beccy Gordon has been involved in racing as long as she can remember. We recently had the opportunity to ask Beccy about her past involvement in racing, current activities, and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.

Mecca of Speed: New fans to motor sports may be familiar with Robby’s current activities in NASCAR but motor sports and the Gordon family has quite a history. How far back in history has there been a Gordon in motor sports?

Beccy Gordon: Racing in my family dates back to the early 1900s with my great-grandfather, Huntly Gordon who raced Indy Cars and even at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The pictures and stories I’ve seen and heard about him are truly amazing.

My dad got into off-road racing in the early 1970s and soon became know as “Baja Bob.” He went on to win numerous Baja 1000s, once even with my sister as his co-driver and they compete against Robby! Robyn (my sister) is credited as the first and only woman to ever win the Baja 1000 overall!

Mecca of Speed: What are some of your earliest memories involving your family and racing?

Beccy Gordon: To be honest, I can’t remember when racing wasn’t a part of my family. My mom pre-ran the Baja 500 when she was seven months pregnant with me. Every weekend after that was spent following my dad and Robby at various races, everything from BMX races to the Baja 1000, the Indy 500 and the Daytona 500.

Mecca of Speed: Growing up, who did you idolize, and why?

Beccy Gordon: We have a very close family and I’d have to say that I always thought my dad and brother were pretty cool. I did however idolize Parnelli Jones who is a family friend and of course, Rick Mears.

Mecca of Speed: Have you ever felt the desire to follow the Gordon legacy and get behind the wheel in some form of motor sports such as the Toyota celebrity race in Long Beach?

Beccy Gordon: I had never really thought about racing when I was growing up. I was heavily involved in softball and that took up all my time.

When I was 15 Paul Tracy’s dad sent me a go-kart. Since I didn’t have my driver’s license my sister had to drive me out to Adam’s, a track in Riverside, CA. The funny thing is that since I didn’t have any time off from softball, she ended up racing the kart instead of me!

For Christmas Ryan (Ryan Hunter-Reay) was able to get me in to the Skip Barber Racing Academy. I always dreamt of being on the Champ Car Pace Car Team. I am hoping to be a member in the very near future.

As for racing, my sister and I recently joined an all girls off-road race team! We are planning to compete in several SCORE International races, including the Baja 1000. Our first race is April 1st.

People in the off-road world beware… there are two more Gordon’s to deal with!

Mecca of Speed: Could you tell us your three favorite venues to visit in the racing world, and what you enjoy most about them?

Beccy Gordon: My favorite venue is without a doubt the Baja 1000.  The atmosphere down in Mexico prior to the start of the race is second to none. It’s the only race where 200k people can watch and never pay for admission. I believe it is racing in the purest form.

With a close second, I’d have to say the Indy 500. I love that racetrack. Everything about it is exciting and intense. There is so much history there, when I walk through the gates my veins are filled with indescribable emotion.  I think it is absolutely gorgeous. No matter how much the series has changed the event is still the INDY 500!

My third favorite venue would be Road America. It is such a relief that Champ Car put it back on the schedule!!!

Mecca of Speed: You recently had a segment in a pilot episode of Champ Car Garage on Speed Channel, are you currently working for Champ Car or Speed Channel and what will your roll be in Champ Car Garage if it’s picked up for next season?

Beccy Gordon: The pilot episode of Champ Car Garage was produced by Traveling Light Media, who I directly worked for.  I am very new to the TV world and Adam Friedman believes in my ability, which I am so thankful for. Obviously, I know racing, unfortunately I hardly know TV.  I am currently taking all the steps I can in preparing myself. I don’t want to be the “fluff” girl on episodes and have people think I’m just some blonde. I want to be the commentator in the pits that knows a hell of a lot about racing and the lifestyle that goes with it.

Mecca of Speed: In 2004 you did a few segments on the Champ Car show Dangerous Curves and now a segment on Champ Car Garage, have you had a long time interest in media and reporting or is this a new interest and career direction?

Beccy Gordon: My degree is in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. I always thought PR was the route I would take. When Robby was with Walker Racing, Kathi Lauterbach (now with Newman-Haas) was his PR representative. I thought she had the most amazing job. She travels to the races, writes about racing and basically lives the life. I knew that was the life for me and based my major accordingly.

There are a lot of demands and constraints when you are in PR. So, Robby was the first one to tell me to get into television. I don’t like people telling me what to do, (I think it’s a “Gordon” thing… ha-ha!) but I love to talk. Therefore, talking about racing is the perfect combination for me.

My first “break” came from Neil Goldberg, executive producer for NASCAR on Fox. He apparently knew I was interested in TV and had something for me. Champ Car was looking for someone to add pit-road lifestyle to their broadcasts and they wanted a female. He saw this as a perfect fit. I had an interview with Spike TV executive producer and next thing I knew I was the new pit lane reporter for Trans-am. I was encouraged to move up to Champ Car as soon I thought I was ready. Unfortunately, I never felt ready for a live, national broadcast.  Spike only covered seven of the nine Trans-Am races and that was not enough time for me to completely comfortable with my performance. I can compare it to racing: A driver would not try to qualify if they had two flat tires. That’s exactly what I had, or so I thought. Since the 2004 season I have hired a broadcast coach and I’m trying to put some air into my tires.  I just need air-time to improve even more.

Mecca of Speed: Life has a way of throwing humor in the strangest of places, what is one of the most entertaining experiences you have had at an event?

Beccy Gordon: One year I was at Gateway with my family. We were staying at the same hotel as Robby and my family likes to go to the track when he does. Anyway, 7am rolls around and it’s time for the Gordon Family to head to the track. First of all, I am NOT a morning person, especially when I don’t have my coffee. I walk into lobby of the hotel and go straight to coffee cart. I pour myself a large cup and ask the server if he has any non-dairy creamer without making actual eye contact. He shakes his head at me and I continue to ask if maybe another cart has some on it, or if he could even get me some from the back kitchen. Once I finally looked up at him, I soon realized he didn’t work there. It was Gil De Ferran and he was just trying to get some coffee too! I was so embarrassed. He still looks at me like I’m crazy. I guess he’s right.

Mecca of Speed: Having grown up in the racing world, have you found any personality traits or qualities that seem to be common among people involved motorsports?

Beccy Gordon: The racing circle is very small and everyone is intertwined in some way. It is a close family that sticks together in times of need. However, there are a ton of people involved in racing that are extremely shady. You really have to be careful in trusting people. Sponsors and drivers are always on the line. It’s a business and sometimes people forget that.

Mecca of Speed: If someone found your iPod and looked under Beccy’s Top Ten play list, what songs would they find?

Beccy Gordon: I love classic rock.

Leather and Lace, Stevie Nicks

No Woman No Cry, Bob Marley

Love Song, 311

Down Under, Men at Work

Sultans of Swing, Dire Straits

The River, Garth Brooks

Hey Girl, O.A.R.

Wild Horses, Rolling Stones

Wish U Were Here, Pick Floyd

More Than a Feeling, Boston

Mecca of Speed: Considering where you are now in your life and career, 20 years down the road when someone mentions the name Beccy Gordon, what is the first think you would like to come into their mind?

That girl knows racing!

Content credit Beccy Gordon and John Vatne. Photo provided courtesy of Mike Levitt.

2/16/2006