CONCORD, N.C. -- Jeff Gordon is no stranger to controversy over the past few seasons with a pair of very public exchanges with Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer in 2010 and 2012 respectively. While Gordon hopes to avoid that kind of distraction in Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race, he can certainly see how the format could generate some excitement.
The All-Star Race is broken into five segments with a 10-lap shootout at the end worth upwards of $2 million. The race does not count towards the championship standings and has generated an anything-goes reputation over the past 25 years.
"This is definitely that race lends itself to all the things you think it would," Gordon said on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "If you have a chance at the win, you've got to dive into the corner hard and get back into the gas hard to pass that guy.
"You're going to have to do it... It doesn't make a lot of sense to do that for sixth or seventh but for the win, that's certainly something where you do whatever you can to win."
With so many contending drivers mad at each other right now, including Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne, Gordon isn't sure that it makes sense to pay someone back during the All-Star Race.
His mindset is that if someone cost him championship points, he wants to get them back when it costs his rival the same thing -- an eye-for-an-eye approach. With that said, Gordon believes retribution during the All-Star Race will generate a lot of excitement amongst fans and media.
And while not ideal for the drivers, that is healthy for the sport, according to the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion and three-time All-Star winner.
"To me the All-Star Race isn't about payback but about racing really aggressively and if that aggressiveness causes things to happen and hurt someone's chance to miss the race, then so be it," Gordon said. "And you always hope it doesn't come to that but it very well might."
Ultimately, Gordon doesn't think the overwhelming talk of rivals and crashes is a distraction to the season championship. He's just thrilled to see so many people talking about NASCAR and interested in the product.
And if history is any indication, the talk will continue following Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race.
"I think as long as people are talking, asking questions and are engaged, that's all that matters," Gordon said. "Because some weekends you talk about the spectacular race and others you talk about the drama off the track. And with social media and the internet in general, any kind of buzz is a good thing."