You’re wearing a black leather glove on your left hand—what’s up with that?
I was involved in a car accident that didn’t go too well.
Were you driving too fast?
No. I like to go fast—my record on public streets is 153 miles an hour [246kph], by the way—but in this case, we just had a stupid accident on an empty road. I ended up in the ditch and woke up in the hospital.
Was there a woman in your car?
Indeed. Fortunately, she is in good health.
Did you stop driving?
Incorrect, sir. I still drive—I love cars, and even more so, driving them, and I appreciate the independence that a car offers me.
Aren’t you worried that admitting to driving 153mph on an open road will get you in trouble with the authorities?
I’m already in trouble because of the accident—but for what it’s worth, I don’t do that kind of extreme speeding any more.
We hear that you used to be a race-car driver?
As a young man, I did pretty much anything just to get by. I joined the Air Force; I was a captain of yachts. But driving a stock car down in Mississippi was one of my most enjoyable jobs.
You mean going in circles trying to ram the other drivers off the track?
That was the job. Most importantly, though, was that you had to watch out for others try to bump you. After a while, you learn that you don’t have to win every race—what really matters is to stay in the race. In those days, though, the cars weren’t very fast. Have you ever driven a race car?
Man, you have to get into one and push your foot down and just feel it. A couple years ago I opened the Indy 500 in the pace car, and after the race I was allowed to do a few rounds in Jeff Gordon’s car. Wow!
Are you a fan?
If I have a Sunday off, all I do is watch racing. A while ago my wife gave me a three-day NASCAR weekend as a gift. I went to Charlotte and had the best time of my life.
What was the first car you owned?
A 1949 Oldsmobile. I had been living in Los Angeles for years without a car and it was horrible—without a car, you’re not considered a human being in L.A. You get neither jobs nor girls. So I saved some money from working as a school clerk and bought that shitty car—that was around 1961.
What if you had your pick of Lotus cars—which one would you pick for the racetrack?
The Evora. It looks like it’s the fastest.