Mark Webber has admitted his visit to the Knoxville Nationals left him embarrassed after he was dragged onto the winner's podium by Jeff Gordon.
Winner of nine Formula 1 grands prix, and the World Endurance Championship, Webber attended the event with NASCAR great Gordon, who then dragged him onto the podium to celebrate with this year's winner David Gravel.
“Jeff Gordon and I have done some work together with Axalta and it was sensational that David Gravel put the cherry on the top by winning in the Axalta 41 car,” Webber told Speedcafe.com.
“I felt highly embarrassed to be on the podium but Jeff insisted.”
For Webber, the trip was a case of going back to his racing roots, having visited the speedway with his father before ever discovering circuit racing.
“It's been on my bucket list since I was a young boy to attend sprint car racing in the the US, especially Knoxville, as I saw sprint car racing long before I ever saw any circuit car racing when I was eight or nine years of age,” he explained.
“So, a couple of buddies lined up a mega trip – we were there for three nights staying in an RV at the track and I was so spoilt to have the best people in the business educating me on how the weekend unfolds.”
Now working as a Porsche ambassador, Webber says he enjoyed the experience, and hopes to return for more events in future.
“To see one of the fastest speedway tracks in the world with the fastest drivers in the world totally matched how unique I thought it would be,” he said.
“I also met my ultimate all-time racing hero, Steve Kinser,” he added.
“I'll definitely be back for more!”
Gravel won the A-Main, taking the lead inside of the first 20 laps and holding on through the compulsory mid-race Caution to claim his first Nationals victory.
— Axalta Racing (@AxaltaRacing) August 11, 2019