Jeff Gordon

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Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon Closeup 2012.jpg
Gordon in 2012
Born (1971-08-04) August 4, 1971 (age 42)
Vallejo, California, United States
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg)
Achievements 1995 Winston Cup Series Champion
1997 Winston Cup Series Champion
1998 Winston Cup Series Champion
2001 Winston Cup Series Champion
1991 USAC Silver Crown Series Champion
1990 USAC National Midget Series Champion
1997, 1999, 2005 Daytona 500 Winner
1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014 Brickyard 400 Winner
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007 Southern 500 Winner
1994, 1997, 1998 Coca-Cola 600 Winner
1995, 1997, 2001 Sprint All-Star Race Winner
1994, 1997 Busch Clash Winner
Tied for Sprint Cup Series Modern Era record for most wins in a season (13 wins in 1998)
Holds the Sprint Cup Series record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (21)
Awards 1993 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
1991 Busch Series Rookie of the Year
2009 National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame inductee
2009 Silver Buffalo Award recipient
2012 Heisman Humanitarian Award recipient
Named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers (1998)
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
745 race(s) run over 23 year(s)
Car no., team No. 24 (Hendrick Motorsports)
2013 position 6th
Best finish 1st (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001)
First race 1992 Hooters 500 (Atlanta)
Last race 2014 Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis)
First win 1994 Coca-Cola 600 (Charlotte)
Last win 2014 Brickyard 400 (Indianapolis)
Wins Top tens Poles
90 445 74
NASCAR Nationwide Series career
73 race(s) run over 5 year(s)
Best finish 4th (1992)
First race 1990 AC-Delco 200 (Rockingham)
Last race 2000 Miami 300 (Homestead)
First win 1992 Atlanta 300 (Atlanta)
Last win 2000 Miami 300 (Homestead)
Wins Top tens Poles
5 32 12
Statistics current as of July 27, 2014.

Jeffery Michael "Jeff" Gordon[1] (born August 4, 1971) is an American professional stock car racing driver. He drives the No. 24 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Gordon started his racing career in the Busch Series with Hugh Connerty Racing, followed by Bill Davis Racing, winning three races, and joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1993. From 1995 to 2001, he has been a four-time Sprint Cup champion, and has won the Daytona 500 three times. He is third on the all-time Cup wins list, with 90 career wins, and has the most wins in NASCAR's modern era (1972–present). Gordon's 74 pole positions lead all active drivers, and is third all-time; Gordon won at least one pole in 21 consecutive seasons, a NASCAR record. He is also the active iron man leader for consecutive races participated in with 744 as of the 2014 Camping World RV Sales 301.[2] In 2009, Gordon became the first NASCAR driver to reach $100 million USD in career winnings.[3]

In 1998, NASCAR named Gordon to its 50 Greatest Drivers list.[4] Ten years later, in 2008, Terry Blount of ESPN ranked him tenth in the 25 greatest drivers of all-time.[5] Foxsports.com named Gordon as the fifth-best NASCAR driver of all time.[6]

Gordon, along with Rick Hendrick, co-owns the No. 48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, who won six Cup championships from 2006 to 2010, and 2013. Gordon also has an equity stake in his own No. 24 team.[7] Gordon also owned a Busch Series team between 1999 and 2000, Gordon/Evernham Motorsports (co-owned with Ray Evernham; later solely owned as JG Motorsports), winning twice.

Gordon was born in Vallejo, California, raised in Pittsboro, Indiana, and currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, and their two children: Ella Sofia and Leo Benjamin.

Racing career[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

When he was four-years-old,[8] Gordon rode a BMX bike that his stepfather bought for him,[9] but began racing at the age of five, racing quarter midgets. The Roy Hayer Memorial Race Track (previously the Cracker Jack Track) in Rio Linda, California is noted as the first track Gordon ever competed on. By the age of six Gordon had won 35 main events and set five track records.[10] At age 12, Gordon became bored with cars and decided to start a career in waterskiing before switching back to driving one year later.[11] When he was 13, Gordon took an interest in the 650 horsepower (480 kW) sprint cars. Gordon and his family had to overcome an insurance hurdle. The minimum age for driving the sprint cars was 16, and his persistence paid off with an all Florida speed weeks. Supporting his career choice, Gordon's family moved from Vallejo, California, to Pittsboro, Indiana, where there were more opportunities for younger racers. Before the age of 18, Gordon had already won three short-track races and was awarded USAC Midget Car Racing Rookie of the Year in 1989. That season was highlighted by winning Night Before the 500 midget car race on the day before the Indianapolis 500.[12] In 1990, Gordon won his second consecutive Night Before the 500, the Hut Hundred, and the Belleville Midget Nationals on his way to winning the USAC national Midget title.[12] In 1991, Gordon captured the USAC Silver Crown, and at the age of 20 became the youngest driver to win the season championship.[12] He also won the 4 Crown Nationals midget car race that season.[12] In his midget car career between 1989 and 1992, he finished in the Top 3 in 22 of 40 USAC midget car events.[12] In the early 1990s, Gordon expressed interest in IndyCar racing, but was not able to find a ride due to low funding.[11] However, former Formula One driver Jackie Stewart offered Gordon a test drive in Europe, in what Gordon assumed was Formula Three or Formula 3000; Gordon did not perform the test due to being in contact with NASCAR.[13]

NASCAR[edit]

Busch Series[edit]

In 1990 Gordon met Hugh Connerty, who owned some Hooters restaurants and was also a partner in Outback Steakhouse. Connerty secured some sponsorship for a car through Outback, and they tested for the last few Busch Grand National races left in 1990. Ray Evernham was called in to work with Gordon in his stock car debut. His first Busch race came on October 20, 1990 at Rockingham Speedway in the AC-Delco 200. Gordon drove the No. 67 Outback Steakhouse Pontiac for Connerty. Gordon ran the second fastest lap during qualifying and started on the outside of the front row of the field. Gordon would however, get involved in a wreck on lap 33. He ended up with a 39th-place finish.[14]

In 1991 and 1992, Gordon went on to the Busch Series driving Ford Thunderbirds for Bill Davis Racing. In his first year as a Busch driver he won Rookie of the Year. In 1992, Gordon set a NASCAR record by capturing 11 poles in one season.[9] He was sponsored by Carolina Ford Dealers in 1991 and Baby Ruth in 1992.[15]

In 1999, Gordon along with Cup crew chief Evernham formed Gordon/Evernham Motorsports (GEM) in the Busch Series with Gordon and Rick Hendrick's son Ricky Hendrick as drivers, the Rainbow Warriors as pit crew and Patrick Donahue as crew chief.[16] The co-owned team received a full sponsorship from Pepsi and ran six races with Gordon as driver and Evernham as crew chief. GEM only survived one year as Evernham left Hendrick Motorsports, citing tension between him and the team,[17] ending one of the most dominant driver/crew-chief combinations in NASCAR history. Gordon extended his Busch experiment one more year, through 2000 as co-owner, with Rick Hendrick buying Evernham's half, and GEM becoming JG Motorsports. In two seasons, Gordon won twice, in 1999 at the Outback Steakhouse 200, the inaugural race[18] at Phoenix,[19] and 2000 at Homestead.[20]

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Gordon signing autographs for fans at the Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1993.

In 1992, Rick Hendrick watched Gordon compete in a Busch race at Atlanta, and two days later, signed him to Hendrick Motorsports.[21] Gordon made his Winston Cup debut in the 1992 Hooters 500 at Atlanta, the last race of that season, and finished 31st after crashing;[22] in addition to the race being Richard Petty's final race in NASCAR and the championship battle among six drivers (eventually won by Alan Kulwicki by virtue of his second-place finish in the race), this was Gordon's first start in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports that he has driven for his entire Cup Series career.

Gordon began driving the No. 24 full-time in the 1993 Winston Cup season, with Ray Evernham as his first crew chief. Gordon started his rookie season by winning a Daytona 500 qualifying race,[23] which was followed by a fifth-place finish in his first Daytona 500.[21] He eventually won the Rookie of the Year award, and finished 14th in points.[9] Gordon's success in the sport reshaped the paradigm and eventually gave younger drivers an opportunity to compete in NASCAR. However, during the 1993 season, many doubted Gordon's ability to compete at such a level at such a young age because of his tendency to push the cars too hard and crash. His last-place finish at the 1993 First Union 400 was a firm example of this theory.[24] He was given the nickname "Wonder Boy" by Dale Earnhardt,[25] and his crew was called the "Rainbow Warriors".[26]

1994[edit]
Gordon chasing down Rick Mast at the 1994 Brickyard 400.

In 1994, Gordon opened the season with a 4th-place finish in the Daytona 500,[27] and in the next nine races, recorded two top tens at Richmond and Atlanta. However, Gordon also had five finishes outside the top 30, though he was able to rebound from his 37th-place finish at Sears Point Raceway[28] by collecting his first career victory at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR circuit, from the pole; late in the race Gordon decided to take two tires on a green flag pit stop instead of four,[29] and was able to hold off Rusty Wallace by 3.91 seconds.[30] Afterwards, Gordon scored three top tens at Pocono and Daytona,[28] followed by a popular hometown victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the inaugural Brickyard 400, passing Ernie Irvan for the lead late in the race when Irvan cut down a tire.[31] After Indianapolis, Gordon recorded top tens at Watkins Glen International, North Wilkesboro Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.[28] Gordon finished eighth in the Winston Cup point standings for the 1994 season, 918 points behind Dale Earnhardt, who grabbed the driving championship for his 7th and final time.[32]

1995–2001[edit]
Gordon with his 1995 trophy

In 1995, Gordon had a rough start in the Daytona 500, finishing 22nd after starting 4th. The following week at Rockingham, Gordon won the pole with a lap speed of 157.620 miles per hour (253.665 km/h), breaking the previous track record of 157.099 mph (252.826 km/h) set by Ricky Rudd.[33] Gordon eventually won the race, leading a race high 329 laps. At Richmond, Gordon clinched the pole, but a fuel pump ended his day, finishing 36th. A week later, Gordon won at Atlanta, followed by his third pole of the season at Darlington, but crashed. Gordon won his third race of the year at Bristol, followed by another pole at North Wilkesboro.[34] He won his fifth pole at Charlotte, but after the race, NASCAR officials found unapproved wheel hubs on Gordon's car, and fined the team $60,000 while placing Ray Evernham on probation indefinitely.[35] Gordon later won four more poles during the season (Dover, Michigan, Indianapolis, Martinsville), along with winning at Daytona, New Hampshire, Darlington and Dover.[34] The results during the season gave him a 300-point lead over Dale Earnhardt,[9] and Gordon won his first career Winston Cup championship. The team's consistency was much better as well, having 3 DNF's in 1995,[34] compared to 21 in his previous two seasons combined.

Gordon got off to a rocky start in 1996, but rebounded to win ten races, the series high. The 24 team collected wins at Richmond, Darlington (winning both the spring event and the Southern 500), Bristol, Dover (winning both events of the season), Pocono, Talladega, Martinsville, and North Wilkesboro (winning the final official NASCAR event at the track).[36] This would start a three-year streak of winning double digit races. He finished second to teammate Terry Labonte for the championship, losing by 37 points.[37]

Gordon won his first Daytona 500 in 1997, becoming the youngest driver in history to win the race,[38] a record that would stand until Trevor Bayne's 500 win in 2011. He won the second race of the season at Rockingham the following week, followed by a later win at Bristol; during the latter's final lap, Gordon made contact with Rusty Wallace in turn 3, causing Wallace to slide up the track, and allowed Gordon to win.[39] In May, Gordon won The Winston at Charlotte in a Jurassic Park scheme; the car was modified by Evernham with assistance from Hendrick chassis engineer Rex Stump,[40] and as a result, was considered illegal by other team owners. Eventually, NASCAR was forced to rewrite much of its rulebook, and later seized the car;[41] it was later restored and placed on display at the Hendrick Motorsports Museum.[40] Gordon would later win the Coca-Cola 600 and had a chance to become the first man since Bill Elliott in 1985 to win the "Winston Million." Gordon completed the feat by holding off a charging Jeff Burton in the final laps of the Southern 500 at Darlington.[42] While Elliott failed to win the Winston Cup in 1985, Gordon claimed his second Winston Cup championship in 1997, completing one of the most impressive single-season performances in NASCAR history. He finished the season with 10 victories (Daytona, Rockingham, Bristol, Martinsville, Charlotte, Pocono, California, Watkins Glen, Darlington, and New Hampshire) for the second straight season. His victory at California was in the track's inaugural race,[43] and his victory at Watkins Glen began a streak of seven consecutive road course victories.

Gordon celebrates his Pocono win in 1998

In 1998, Gordon opened the year with a 16th-place finish in the Daytona 500. Gordon eventually won the following week at Rockingham, along with Bristol four weeks later; from 1995–98, Gordon has won at least one of the two events at Bristol each year.[44] Gordon would win a total of 13 races, a modern-era record, at Charlotte, Richmond, Sonoma, Pocono, Indianapolis (which provided at the time the largest amount of prize money in auto racing with $1,637,625),[45][46] Watkins Glen, Michigan, New Hampshire, Daytona, Rockingham, and Atlanta, clinching the championship at the penultimate race at Rockingham. Gordon won the 1998 championship with a 364-point lead over Mark Martin.[47]Gordon set Cup records during the season, including four consecutive wins, 17 consecutive top-five finishes; he ended the season with seven poles, 25 top-fives and 27 top-tens.[48]

In 1999, Gordon opened the season with his second Daytona 500 victory, and eventually won at Atlanta. Gordon won again Fontana and Sears Point,[49] the latter in which he defeated Mark Martin by .197 seconds, the closest finish at the track since electronic scoring was introduced.[50] He added another win at Watkins Glen,[49] which made him the first driver since Martin to win three consecutive races at the Glen.[51] After the departure of Evernham (who left Hendrick Motorsports to begin his own team, Evernham Motorsports, reintroducing Dodge into the series), team engineer Brian Whitesell was named the interim crew-chief for remainder of the Cup season after Evernham's departure in September.[52] Whitesell scored back to back victories in his first two races at Martinsville[53] and Lowe's.[54] Despite winning seven times in 1999, Gordon also had seven DNF's, and finished 6th in the series standings.[9] During the year, Gordon signed a lifetime contract with Hendrick Motorsports starting in 2000, which allowed him to become an equity owner in his No. 24 team.[7]

2000 saw Gordon enter his first campaign with Robbie Loomis as crew chief. Loomis had been with Petty Enterprises for years prior. The team struggled as the rebuilding process went on. Gordon scored his first victory of 2000 at Talladega in the spring event,[55] winning his 50th career victory in the series. He went on to win at Sears Point Raceway[56] and Richmond. Gordon finished the season 9th in points.

Many people questioned Gordon's ability to win championships without Evernham, especially after Gordon's 9th-place points finish in 2000. Gordon answered those doubts in 2001 by winning six races beginning at Las Vegas. In May, at The Winston, rain caused the track to become slick, which led to Gordon spinning in turn 2 on the first lap,[57] and was t-boned on the driver's side by Michael Waltrip.[8] However, NASCAR permitted drivers who had crashed to use their backup cars, and Gordon would win the event, tying Dale Earnhardt with three wins in the All-Star Race.[57] Gordon would later win at Dover,[58] Michigan (the 100th win for Hendrick Motorsports),[59] Indianapolis (Gordon started the race 27th, the lowest starting position for a winning driver at Indianapolis),[60][61] Watkins Glen,[62] and the inaugural race at Kansas. Gordon became the third driver to win four Cup championships in NASCAR history, then second only to Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt (7 times).[63]

2002–06[edit]

Gordon entered the 2002 season as defending champion, but the year was far from perfect. A strong showing in the Daytona 500 was ruined when Sterling Marlin sent Gordon spinning in the infield grass with a handful of laps remaining, while leading the race. Gordon had won his 125 qualifier,[64] but finished ninth in the Daytona 500 after the contact with Marlin. It was announced to the media during the spring event at Darlington that Gordon's then-wife, Brooke, was filing for divorce. Gordon did not win until the Sharpie 500 night race at Bristol in August after passing Rusty Wallace, who was slowed by lapped cars, with three laps left,[65] his first victory in the night race at Bristol. He followed that up with a fifth victory in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington a week later. Gordon won for the third and final time in 2002 at Kansas Speedway,[66] his second consecutive at the track. The 24 team finished the season 4th in points.[67]

Gordon at Infineon Raceway in 2005

In 2003, Gordon returned with Robbie Loomis for a third season together. Gordon won early in April, winning at Martinsville from the pole,[68] but suffered from various accidents during the midseason, but eventually recorded six consecutive top five finishes, followed by wins at Atlanta[69] and the second Martinsville race in the fall.[70] He finished the year 4th in the NASCAR standings, with 3 wins, 15 top five finishes, and 20 top ten finishes. Gordon also was in second to Matt Kenseth for the championship early in the season.

Gordon during the 2005 Dickies 500

2004 was a huge rebound for the team. Gordon won the Brickyard 400 in August 2004, obtaining his 4th Indy win (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004).[71] Gordon holds the title for the NASCAR driver with most Brickyard 400 victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with five, and one of only five drivers to have four victories at the historic track. Prior to this victory, Gordon won at Talladega (ending the DEI dominance on restrictor plate tracks, as well as their winning streak at the track),[72] and followed that up with a victory the following weekend at California, in which he won with no fuel remaining.[73] He also won at Infineon Raceway, leading a track-record 92 of 110 laps to claim his NASCAR record eight road course win.[74] Gordon followed that up with a victory the following weekend in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona after receiving a push from teammate Jimmie Johnson for his second consecutive restrictor plate win.[75] While the Hendrick Motorsports team celebrated success with Gordon and Johnson winning five and eight races, respectively,[76] the team suffered a major off-track tragedy. On October 24, during the race weekend at Martinsville, a Hendrick Motorsports plane carrying engine builder Randy Dorton, team President John Hendrick (Rick Hendrick's brother), Vice President Jeff Turner, Ricky Hendrick (Rick Hendrick's 24-year old son and teammate of Gordon with JG Motorsports)[77] and more crashed on its way to the track, killing everyone on board.[78] On race day, Gordon finished ninth, while Johnson won. Despite a 34th-place finish at Atlanta the following week, Gordon ended the season with three consecutive third-place finishes.[79] Prior to the new Chase for the Cup, Gordon held a 60-point lead over Johnson, but after the ten races, Gordon finished the season third in the points standings behind champion Kurt Busch by 16 points and Johnson by 8. Had the Chase not existed, and assuming the finishing spots remained the same, Gordon would have won the championship by 47 points.[80]

Gordon started the 2005 season with a win in the Daytona 500, his third win in the event, followed by a win at Martinsville in the Advance Auto Parts 500. Subsequently, Gordon won at Talladega after surviving a two-lap green-white-checker finish for his fourth restrictor plate win in the last five races.[81] However, inconsistency would plague him throughout the year. Despite having 14 top tens, he also had 9 DNFs,[82] and at Chicagoland Speedway, Gordon was wrecked by Mike Bliss, which led to a confrontation at a local airport.[9] A late season charge (notably top 10s at Indy and Bristol) put him in position to qualify for the Chase, but in the last race before the Chase at Richmond, Gordon made contact with the turn 2 wall and failed to start for the Chase.[83] Eventually, on September 14, crew chief Robbie Loomis resigned from the No. 24 team. Loomis stayed on with Hendrick Motorsports as a consultant for Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 team through the Chase for The NEXTEL Cup in 2005.[84] Steve Letarte, Gordon's car chief for most of the 2005 season and longtime member of the 24 crew, replaced Loomis as crew chief effective at New Hampshire International Speedway on September 18.[85] Despite these disappointments, on October 23 Gordon won the Subway 500 at Martinsville, his first win in 22 points races, and his 7th career victory at the 0.526-mile (0.847 km) track, which leads all active drivers at the facility.[86] He went on to finish 11th in the Championship and received a $1,000,000 bonus as the top driver finishing outside the Chase. It was Gordon's first time outside the top 10 in the point standings since 1993. Gordon also finished the season with a career-low eight top-five finishes.[87]

Gordon alongside Jeff Burton at the 2006 Daytona 500

Gordon opened 2006 with a 2nd-place start in the Daytona 500, but eventually finished 26th.[88] Gordon won his ninth road race, the 2006 Dodge/Save Mart 350, at the Infineon Raceway for his first win of the season[89] and fifth at Infineon. The day before the race, he announced his engagement to Belgian model Ingrid Vandebosch. On July 9, Gordon won his first race at Chicagoland at the running of the USG Sheetrock 400 after bumping into race leader Matt Kenseth's rear bumper with three laps left.[90] Gordon made the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" with his improvements on the intermediate 1.5/2-mile downforce racetracks from 2005. Gordon started the Chase with a third-place finish at Loudon, followed by his first pole of the season at Dover, with a lap speed of 156.162 miles per hour (251.318 km/h),[91] and finished with another third-place finish. However, Gordon finished outside the top 20 in three consecutive races at Kansas, Talladega and Charlotte, due to troubles with the fuel pump,[92] a crash[93] and an engine problem, respectively. Gordon rebounded with three consecutive top ten finishes at Martinsville, Atlanta and Texas,[94] followed by a pole at Phoenix[95] and a fourth-place finish in the race. Gordon eventually finished 6th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings, 219 points behind champion and teammate Jimmie Johnson.[96]

2007[edit]
Gordon pulling behind the wall in the 2007 Samsung 500 at Texas

Gordon began the 2007 Cup season by winning his 4th Gatorade Duel qualifying race.[97] Due to a rear shock bolt breaking during the race on his car, he failed the post-race inspection which found that the rear of his car was too low and, as a result, had to start 42nd in the Daytona 500.[98] He went on to finish 10th in the race despite being involved in a crash during a spectacular last-lap finish.

On March 23, Gordon won his 58th career pole for the Food City 500 at Bristol, the first race for the Car of Tomorrow. He went on to a 3rd-place in the race, which gave him the points lead for the first time since the 2005 Daytona 500. At Texas Motor Speedway, Gordon started on the pole because qualifying was rained out. He led the most laps before brushing the wall coming out of turn 4 and finishing 4th.[99] On April 19, 2007 at Phoenix, Gordon won the pole, and tied Darrell Waltrip's modern day record of 59 career poles.[100] Two days later, at the Subway Fresh Fit 500, he won for the first time at PIR, ending also a streak of 21 races of non-pole winners at the track. With the win, he also tied Dale Earnhardt for 6th all-time in overall number of NEXTEL Cup series wins (second in the modern era). After winning the race, he held a black flag with the number 3 to honor the late Earnhardt.[101]

On April 28, at Talladega, Gordon and David Gilliland tied for the pole with identical speeds of 192.069 miles per hour (309.105 km/h), but as Gordon was higher in the standings, he was awarded the pole, breaking the tie with Darrell Waltrip for career poles with 60.[102] One day later, he passed Dale Earnhardt for sole position of sixth on the all-time wins list with 77 by winning the Aaron's 499. As a result of the accomplishment, unhappy fans began throwing beer cans at Gordon's car; Gordon stated, "On one side, I want to jump up and down and be fired up about getting 77 here at Talladega knowing that three-quarters of the grandstand are pulling against us. On the other side, I respected Dale so much, learned so much from him, and today being his birthday and knowing how many of those people up there wanted to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. win this race today, it's tough. I certainly didn't want to start a riot today."[103] On May 13, Gordon held on despite an overheating car and a late charge by Denny Hamlin to win the Dodge Avenger 500, the 78th win of his career, and his 7th at Darlington Raceway.[104] Two weeks later, in the 2007 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Gordon crashed after making contact with Tony Raines and A. J. Allmendinger on lap 61, only 91.5 miles (147.3 km) into the race,[105] ending his streak of completing every lap during the season at ten races.[106]

On June 11, Gordon earned his 4th win of the year and 79th of his career in a rain shortened race at Pocono Raceway.[107] Six days later, he scored a ninth-place finish at the Citizens Bank 400 at Michigan International Speedway, the 300th top-ten finish of his career. On September 8, Gordon earned a place in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. With his four wins in the first 26 races, he earned the "Regular Season" Championship, and the second seed (teammate Jimmie Johnson earned the top seed with six wins) in the Chase.

On October 7, Gordon led only the final lap in winning the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway for his 80th career victory after receiving pushes from Dave Blaney and Tony Stewart past Jimmie Johnson,[108] along with using a strategy of staying near the end of the field until nearly the end of the race to avoid the inevitable "big one", especially with the unknowns involved in racing the Car of Tomorrow.[109] With the win, he swept the 2007 season races at Talladega, and won his 12th race at a restrictor plate track (Daytona and Talladega), making him the all-time leader for restrictor plate wins.[109] On October 13, Gordon led 71 laps and, although fuel was a question near the end of the race, he was able to finish the race and earned his 81st career victory in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.[110]

Finishing fourth in the Ford 400, Gordon finished the Chase second in the standings to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, trailing by 77. However, Gordon's top-ten finish at Homestead left him with a total of 30 top-ten finishes for the season, setting a new modern era Cup Series record.[9] This was the second time that Gordon lost a championship because of the Chase points system. Had the Chase not existed, Gordon would have won the championship by 353 points.[80] As with 2004, he recorded the most points over the entire season, but lost the title because of the ten race championship system.

2008–10[edit]
2008 DuPont Cup car during Speedweeks at Daytona

Gordon finished fourth in the 2008 Budweiser Shootout and finished third in the Gatorade Duel qualifying race. He started the 50th annual Daytona 500 from the eighth position and led eight laps, some under caution, but on lap 159 suffered suspension failure and finished in 39th position.[111]

Gordon wrecked with 5 laps to go at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, claiming that it was one of the hardest wrecks he's ever had, and leading him to call for safety improvements on the inside walls of LVMS and other similar tracks.[112] The wreck has had drivers and owners from all around NASCAR now concerned with the lack of a SAFER barrier on the inside walls at tracks and the design of the wall where it allows access for emergency vehicles.[113] Greg Biffle went as far to say that the wreck should be taken as seriously as the one that killed Dale Earnhardt in 2001.[114] Other drivers who have publicly supported Gordon's call for safety improvements include Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, and Kurt Busch.[114]

Gordon collected his 64th career pole for the Kobalt Tools 500 on March 7, then went on to finish 5th in the race leading 3 laps.[115] Three weeks later, at the Goody's Cool Orange 500 on March 28 at Martinsville, Gordon won the pole, and finished second in the race after being caught up in a crash caused by Aric Almirola and coming back from the tail end of the field; Gordon led 90 laps in the race. The week later at Texas, Gordon finished a career-low last-place after being involved in a crash in turn 4 on lap 110.[116] At Darlington's Dodge Challenger 500, Gordon recorded his fourth consecutive top three finish in the event after finishing third. At Sonoma, Gordon also finished third to claim his fourth top three finish in the last eight races.

On September 7, with his 8th-place finish at Richmond, Gordon made his 4th appearance in the Chase for the Sprint Cup earning the 10th seed out of 12 drivers.[117]

Gordon collected his 66th career pole at the Dover International Speedway for the Camping World RV 400,[118] and led 30 laps in the race while scoring a top 5, while Greg Biffle won. On October 31, Gordon earned his fourth pole of the 2008 season, and first ever at Texas Motor Speedway.[119] Gordon finished second to Carl Edwards.

Gordon finished 7th in the 2008 Chase for the Sprint Cup, 368 points out of first-place. He finished winless for the first time since 1993. This was also the final season the team ran the flames paint scheme that was introduced in 2001. In 2009, the 24 car would unveil its third 'regular' paint scheme. The new scheme was not much different from the previous flames design, but the color blue was replaced with black. This was the first time in Gordon's career that his primary paint scheme did not feature the color blue.[120]

Gordon in victory lane at Texas Motor Speedway

Gordon started off the 2009 season by drawing the 28th and final position of the Budweiser Shootout. Gordon finished 4th at the Shootout, the same finish he had in 2008 after getting through three wrecks, including a last lap crash. He held off Tony Stewart to win his 5th Gatorade Duel. It was his first win in forty-one races, dating back to October 2007.[121] As a result of the win Gordon started 3rd in the Daytona 500 and, after overcoming a tire issue late in the race, finished 13th. The following week at the Auto Club 500, despite leading 64 laps, Gordon finished runner-up to Matt Kenseth, marking Gordon's 9th top five finish at California. At the Shelby 427 in Las Vegas, Gordon led 17 laps but cut a tire coming into the pits and as a result he finished 6th, despite having a shredded fender. Gordon took his first points lead since 2007. A week later at Atlanta, Gordon collected his second top five of the year in the Kobalt Tools 500 after leading 36 laps. Gordon extended his points lead to 77 points at Bristol in the Food City 500 after finishing fourth. The lead increased to 90 points over Clint Bowyer after leading 147 laps and finishing fourth at Martinsville in the Goody's Fast Relief 500.

Gordon ended his 47 race winless streak, winning the Samsung 500 for his 82nd career victory and his first at Texas Motor Speedway.[122] He held off teammate Jimmie Johnson for the win and extended his points lead to 162 points.[123] Gordon also led 105 of the 334 laps, earning him 10 bonus points.

Gordon scored a 5th-place in the Southern 500, despite a loose wheel in the beginning of the race. It was Gordon's 5th straight top 5 finish at the track. He extended his point lead to 31 points over Tony Stewart. Gordon scored second-place finishes behind teammate Mark Martin, in both the June LifeLock 400 at Michigan and the July LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland. Because Martin and Gordon finished 1–2 in both races, LifeLock will pay a $1 million bonus to a Colorado family.[124]

Gordon qualified for the 2009 Chase by virtue of his second-place standing in the points following the Chevy Rock & Roll 400. However, reseeding eventually dropped him to sixth in the points.

Gordon scored two consecutive second-place finishes at Kansas and California. He finished second to Tony Stewart and Johnson in those races and was 3rd in points behind by 112 points by the second Texas race, and was 168 points down after Phoenix. He finished 3rd in points giving Hendrick Motorsports the first team ever to finish 1–2–3 in the points, finishing behind teammates Mark Martin and Johnson, who became the first driver to win four consecutive titles.[125] During the 2009 season, Gordon became the first driver in NASCAR history to pass $100 million USD in career winnings.[126]

Gordon started off the 2010 season slow, starting with a 26th-place finish at Daytona and a 19th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway. However, at Las Vegas, Gordon dominated, leading 219 of the race's 267 laps. Unfortunately for Gordon, crew chief Steve Letarte opted to take two tires instead of four, arguably costing Gordon the win, as his teammate Jimmie Johnson passed him on four fresh tires. Gordon was eventually also passed by Kevin Harvick, and finished 3rd.[127] Gordon finished 18th at the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta. Gordon was leading with 2 laps to go at Martinsville in the spring, but a bump from Matt Kenseth and a charge from Denny Hamlin relegated the No. 24 DuPont team to a 3rd-place finish.

Gordon scored a runner-up finish in the Subway Fresh Fit 600 to eventual winner Ryan Newman. Gordon led 124 laps at Texas, but was involved in a multi-car wreck late in the race. Gordon went on to lead 4 laps at Talladega but was caught up in a wreck with Jeff Burton near the end of the race and dropped him down to a 22nd-place finish. Gordon was leading on the final restart of the Crown Royal Presents the Heath Calhoun 400, but was passed by the winner of the race, Kyle Busch. This was Gordon's eighth second-place finish since his last win came at Texas a year ago. At the Southern 500 at Darlington, Gordon led a race-high 110 laps, but was shuffled back to the end of the lead lap as a result of pitting early under caution. He eventually worked his way up in the last 20 laps to finish fourth.

In Dover, Gordon finished 11th after he was a top 15 car all day in a 400 lap event. Gordon recorded a 6th-place finish at Charlotte, after opting for track position over pitting with 20 laps to go. Gordon did not have a very fast car, but managed to hold on to a top-10 finish. Gordon made his 600th career NASCAR Sprint Cup start in the 2010 Lifelock.com 400 on July 10 at the Chicagoland Speedway and finished 3rd.[128] Gordon cut a right front tire late at the Carfax 400 at Michigan, resulting in a 27th-place finish, but remained second in the points standings. Gordon finished 13th at the Emory Healthcare 500 in Atlanta, and continued to stay in second. The Chase started well for Gordon, finishing 6th at Loudon. After struggling at Dover, he finished 5th at Kansas, and 9th at Fontana. He earned his first pole of the season at Charlotte and he was the pick to win the race, but unfortunately, he had battery issues and he was caught speeding on pit road finished a disappointing 23rd-place finish.

At Martinsville, he got wrecked by Kurt Busch, ending his championship hopes.[129] At Texas, he was running well, until an incident occurred between him and Jeff Burton on lap 192. Burton clipped the back of Gordon's car, sending him into the wall, which eventually caused them to have a shove and a physical fight.[130] He would finish 37th. In the Ford 400, he started 11th and finished 37th, due to an engine failure. He went winless again, and it would be the third time in his career he went winless (also in 1993 and 2008).

2011[edit]
Gordon after his victory at Phoenix

Gordon started the 2011 season in Daytona driving the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet Impala, with new crew chief Alan Gustafson, who had moved over from Mark Martin's No. 5 team after Steve Letarte was reassigned to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s team.[131] He started the race in the second position but after a pileup in turn 3 on lap 29, finished the race in 28th, right behind teammate Jimmie Johnson. The following week at Phoenix, Gordon won for the first time since Texas in April 2009 (a span of 66 races), and his second win in the previous 3 seasons.[132] Over the next 5 races, Gordon only had one top 10.

Gordon won his 70th pole at the 2011 Aaron's 499 at Talladega after qualifying with a lap speed of 178.248 miles per hour (286.862 km/h), breaking a 3rd-place tie with Cale Yarborough for most poles. All four of the Hendrick Motorsports cars swept the top four positions, with Jimmie Johnson starting on Gordon's outside, with the second row being filled by Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr..[133] Gordon drafted with Martin for the entire race. He led a few laps at the beginning of the race, but then purposely fell outside the top 30 to avoid any trouble. With ten laps to go, Gordon and Martin started their charge to the front, taking the lead at the white flag. Then, while side-by-side with Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick, coming through the tri-oval, Johnson and Earnhardt, who had also been drafting together the entire race, squeezed to their inside. Earnhardt rubbed fenders with Martin, killing his and Gordon's momentum. Gordon finished third, in a 3-wide photo-finish won by Johnson over Bowyer by 0.002 seconds.

Over the next four races, he finished outside of the top 10. At Kansas, in the 13th race, Gordon finished 4th behind some fuel-strategy winners. After starting third at Pocono, Gordon won for the second time, his 84th career win, tying for 3rd all-time with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison, and his fifth win at Pocono, tying him with Bill Elliott for all-time wins at the racetrack.[134] At Michigan, he had a poor finish of 17th. At Infineon he finished second. This started a streak of nine races in the top 13. At Bristol, Gordon led 206 laps, but finished third behind Martin Truex, Jr. and Brad Keselowski due to the placement of his pit stall (at the start of the backstretch) slowing him down because of NASCAR's timing lines for the track.[135]

The following Sunday race at Atlanta was delayed due to rain, and was moved to Tuesday, due to a tropical storm (Lee) on the track on Monday.[136] Gordon held off his protégé and teammate Jimmie Johnson for the final lap and took his 3rd victory of the season as well as his 85th career win, placing 3rd on the all-time win list,[137] behind Richard Petty and David Pearson;[138] Gordon became the winningest driver in the 'modern era' of the sport, passing Darrell Waltrip.[139] At Richmond, Gordon had a poor start, but shot back with a finish of 3rd, with Kevin Harvick winning the race, and Carl Edwards in second. Gordon had the lead, but after Harvick's Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard spun into the grass to cause a caution, Harvick beat Gordon out of the pits to take the lead.[140]

Gordon's summer hot streak made him a top pick for the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. He was seeded 3rd for the Chase, because of his 3 wins. His Chase started off with a disappointing 24th finish at Chicagoland, making a deep hole to climb out of early in the Chase. At New Hampshire Motor Speedway, looked to be a rebound race for Gordon, as he ran well in the spring race. A 4th-place finish boosted him to 5th in points. At Dover International Speedway, the third race in the Chase, a solid 12th-place finish relegated him to ninth in points. At Kansas, Charlotte, and Talladega, Gordon had poor finishes of 34th, 21st, and 27th. At both Martinsville and Texas, he finished inside the top 10. But at Phoenix, he finished 32nd, 112 points behind the leader.[141]

To close out the 2011 season, Gordon was hoping to scratch Homestead-Miami Speedway off his list of tracks he has failed to win at in the Cup Series at the Ford 400, but Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards were the class of the field as both were fighting for the win and the championship. Gordon wound up leading a few laps and coming home with a 5th-place finish. He closed out 2011 8th in the points with his first multi-win season since 2007.

2012[edit]
Gordon before start of the 2012 Kobalt Tools 400

Gordon's 2012 season started on a frightening note in the Bud Shootout. With two laps to go, Gordon got into a very loose No. 18 car of Kyle Busch and spun him around, collecting other cars. Gordon moved up the race track to avoid the spinning 18, but came across the nose of the No. 51 of Kurt Busch, Kyle's older brother. This was the first time that he ever flipped a stock car.[142]

In the Daytona 500, Gordon finished 40th after a blown engine on Lap 81, but rebounded with an 8th-place finish the following week at Phoenix.[143] At Martinsville, Gordon led a race-high 328 laps, but Gordon would crash on the 504th lap after Clint Bowyer collided with Gordon and Jimmie Johnson on the restart and Gordon would ultimately finish 14th.[144] At Talladega, Gordon won the pole position,[145] and immediately began experiencing overheating issues with his car and was forced to ride in the mid 20's for a majority of the race, but was eventually caught up in a crash on lap 142 that took out him out along with Carl Edwards, Juan Pablo Montoya, Landon Cassill, Dave Blaney and Martin Truex, Jr.[146] In the 2012 Toyota/Save Mart 350, Gordon would reach a milestone by reaching the 23,000 laps led mark after leading 13 in the race, the most of the current Sprint Cup drivers and ranked 7th all-time.[147] However, Gordon would then run out of fuel and ultimately finish 6th.[148]

Gordon at the 2012 Kobalt Tools 400

At Pocono, Gordon took advantage of teammate Jimmie Johnson's right-rear tire failure on a late restart just immediately before an expected large thunderstorm rained onto the track thus giving him his 86th NASCAR Sprint Cup victory and his 6th at Pocono (interestingly, Gordon's victory at Pocono in 2007 was also rained out), breaking the record for most wins at the track, which was previously shared with Bill Elliott.[107][149] This was the first time since 2007 that Gordon had consecutive seasons with at least one win. At Atlanta, pit strategy put the 24 team in the hunt for a victory, but Gordon couldn't muster past the 11 of Denny Hamlin and wound up in second. At the end of the race, Gordon said that he wished he had "moved him out of the way" to win.[150]

The following week at Richmond, despite troubles early in the race that mired him a lap down, Gordon rallied to finish second to Clint Bowyer, and made his 8th Chase for the Sprint Cup.[151] At Chicagoland, Gordon started 19th and raced his way up to the 4th position, but on Lap 188 Gordon's throttle became stuck, sending him crashing into the turn 1 wall. He would then finish 35th, the tenth time in the 2012 season that he finished 21st or lower.[152]

At the November Phoenix race, Gordon was running near the front until Bowyer again made contact and forced him into the wall. Gordon then cut a tire when trying to retaliate and was penalized with a black-flag for both his attempt at retaliation and failing to come down pit road to fix his tire. In reply to the black-flag Gordon retaliated by intentionally wrecking Bowyer, collecting Joey Logano and Aric Almirola in the process thus ending Bowyer's hopes to win the Cup title. The two crews began brawling while a furious Bowyer climbed out of his car. Bowyer frantically sprinted to Gordon's hauler, but he was restrained by officials just in front of Gordon.[153] Both drivers along with crew chiefs Alan Gustafson and Brian Pattie were summoned to the Oval Office. Gordon was fined $100,000, docked 25 points, and placed on probation until December 31 while Gustafson was fined $50,000 for failing to take control of the 24 crew.[154][155]

He recovered from his penalty by winning the season finale Ford EcoBoost 400 the next week for his 87th Sprint Cup victory of his career. Ironically, Bowyer finished in second-place behind Gordon. It was Gordon's (and Hendrick Motorsports') first win at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and heading into the 2013 season, leaves Kentucky Speedway as the only Sprint Cup track where Gordon has not won at least one race.[156] In victory lane Gordon gave his public apology for his behavior at Phoenix but maintained that NASCAR should have tried to handle he and Bowyer's year-long feud before the Phoenix race.[157]

2013[edit]

Gordon's 2013 season started with a crash in the Sprint Unlimited on lap 15.[158] He qualified second for the Daytona 500 and led the first 31 laps. However, he had trouble with his car's engine[159] and water temperatures rising,[160] the former exceeding 240 degrees,[159] throughout the race and would end up finishing 20th after he lost drafting help near the end of the race. He rebounded at Phoenix, finishing ninth, but then had a 25th-place finish at Las Vegas. At Bristol, he cut a tire while leading late in the race, collecting second-place Matt Kenseth in the ensuing crash.[161] However he managed an 11th-place position in Fontana after experiencing problems in a crash in the early stages of the race, forcing him to drop down to 28th. However later he had a good pace and managed to resurface in top 20. His next top-five finish was a third-place finish at Martinsville, finishing behind Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer.

In the NRA 500 at Texas, Gordon led 15 laps, but the right-front hub broke on his car, and finished 38th.[162] In Gordon's 700th consecutive start, the Bojangles' Southern 500, Gordon finished 3rd, marking his 300th career top-5 finish.[163] In the Coca-Cola 600, on lap 324, Gordon was involved in a crash with Mark Martin and Aric Almirola, which brought out the red flag.[164] At Dover, Gordon finished 3rd, tying David Pearson for third all-time in top-five finishes with 301.[165] In the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan, Gordon was involved in a crash with Bobby Labonte on lap 6, but eventually returned to the race.[166] Gordon then fell five spots, and finished 39th.[167] At Sonoma, early in the race, Gordon opted to pit as rain was arriving, but reached pit road as officials raised the yellow flag, and was forced to restart at the end of the line in 39th. However, Gordon was able to reach second by lap 77, and led the field two laps later, and by the time the caution was flown, Gordon led four laps. With ten laps left, Gordon was in third, and after passing Juan Pablo Montoya, finished the race in second behind Martin Truex, Jr. for his eighth straight top ten finish at Sonoma.[168]

Gordon during practice for the 2013 NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway

Gordon had another top ten with an eighth-place finish at Kentucky.[169] However, the following week at Daytona, Gordon was running well until he was caught up in a crash with Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and A.J. Allmendinger in the tri-oval on lap 149,[170] leaving him with a 34th-place finish. He rebounded, though, with a tenth-place finish at New Hampshire and a seventh-place finish at Indianapolis.

Gordon during a red flag at the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

At the return to Pocono in August, Gordon ran his 42nd start at the track on his 42nd birthday,[171] and almost became the second driver of the season to win on his birthday, after Matt Kenseth had done so at Las Vegas.[172] Gordon started deep in the field, in 22nd-place, and took the lead from teammate Kasey Kahne with seven laps remaining. It looked like he was going to win, but a caution caused by Matt Kenseth spinning out erased the lead Gordon had built up on Kahne.[173] Gordon restarted on the inside with two laps remaining, and battled Kahne side-by-side until Kahne cleared him past the tunnel turn, forcing Gordon to settle for second (by coincidence, Kurt Busch, who finished third behind Gordon, was celebrating his 35th birthday).[174] Had Gordon won, it would have been a reversal of the rain-shortened August Pocono race of the previous year, as Gordon had won that race with crew chief Alan Gustafson celebrating his 37th birthday.[175]

Gordon's car sitting on pit road prior to the start of the Irwin Tools Night Race

In the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, on lap 14, Gordon was forced off course and slammed into the wall; Gordon finished 36th.[176] In qualifying for the Federated Auto Parts 400, Gordon set a track record with a lap speed of 130.599 miles per hour (210.179 km/h)[177] and a time of 20.674 seconds for his first pole of 2013 and fifth at Richmond, breaking the tie with Mark Martin for most poles at the track among active drivers.[178] Gordon's winning a pole in 21 consecutive seasons set a NASCAR record.[177][179] However, despite finishing 8th, Gordon was winless and was knocked out of the Chase initially by finishing one point behind Joey Logano.[180] However, on September 13, it was announced that Gordon would be added into the Chase after it was found that Logano's team had collaborated with David Gilliland's team for Gilliland to give up a spot to Logano so that Logano could secure his tenth-place point position over Gordon. This marked the first time the Chase field comprised more than 12 drivers.[181]

After finishing 6th in the GEICO 400, in the Sylvania 300, Gordon was in contention for the lead, but slid past his pit box by the length of the splitters, and was forced to reverse back into his stall, causing him to fall behind to 22nd; Gordon finished 15th.[182] At the Bank of America 500, Gordon won the pole with a lap speed of 194.308 mph (312.708 km/h) for his ninth career Charlotte pole, the second most in track history.[183] Gordon finished 7th in the event.[184] At the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500, Gordon took the lead from Kenseth with 21 laps to go, and won his first race of 2013, and first at Martinsville since 2005.[185] This broke a 32 race winless streak for Gordon. In the AAA Texas 500, Gordon's left front tire blew on lap 74,[186] and collided with the wall, damaging the right side.[187] Gordon finished 38th,[188] and his third position in the points standings dropped to sixth.[186] Gordon ended the season with a career-low eight top-five finishes, tying the amount he had in 2005,[87] but his sixth-place points finish was the highest since 2009.[189]

2014[edit]

At NASCAR's Media Day in Daytona on February 13, Gordon opened up the possibility of retiring after the 2014 season in the event he wins the championship, and stated that he is "probably more serious (than joking). If that (fifth title) happened, that would be all the reasons I need to say, 'This is it. I'm done.' Go out on a high note."[190]Although he later recanted that statement in an interview with Larry King.

The 2014 season began in the Sprint Unlimited, in which Gordon was collected in a nine-car crash on the sixth lap of segment two.[191] In the Daytona 500, Gordon provided drafting help for teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who would eventually win the race, while Gordon finished fourth.[192] In the following races at Phoenix, Las Vegas and Bristol, Gordon finished fifth, ninth and seventh, and was the only driver to finish in the top ten in every race up to the Bristol race;[193] the four top tens to start the season is a career-best.[194] In the Auto Club 400, Gordon was penalized for speeding on pit road, along with trouble with a pit entrance warning light,[195] but later managed to take the lead on lap 106; Jimmie Johnson later became the leader, with Gordon following. Despite leading by .720 seconds by lap 178,[196] and Gordon starting to suffer from a vibration with 15 laps to go,[195] Johnson's flat tire with six laps remaining allowed Gordon to take the lead, but Clint Bowyer's spin with two laps left and the ensuing pit stop relegated Gordon to seventh. Gordon finished 13th after a green-white-checker finish.[197] At Texas, a caution with two laps remaining led to Gordon taking only two tires, and despite leading on the restart, Gordon was passed by Joey Logano on the final lap, and finished second. However, Gordon managed to take the points lead after the race, his first time leading the standings since May 2009.[198] In the Toyota Owners 400, Gordon led a race-high 173 laps, but finished second to Logano, marking his seventh top ten in nine races, tied with Matt Kenseth for the most.[199]

At Kansas, Gordon claimed the lead late in the race after Brad Keselowski pitted, and defeated Kevin Harvick by 0.112 seconds for his 89th career victory.[200] During the Coca-Cola 600 weekend, Gordon complained of back spasms, and skipped final practice; Regan Smith was tabbed to run in the event Gordon needed to be substituted,[201] but Gordon ran the full 600 miles, finishing seventh.[202]

Entering the Brickyard 400, the twenty-year anniversary of his first win in the 1994 race, the day was declared "Jeff Gordon Day" by Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard.[203] Gordon passed teammate Kasey Kahne with 17 laps to go to win, breaking a tie with teammate Jimmie Johnson for most wins in the event, and tied with former Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for the most wins at Indianapolis.[204]

Other racing[edit]

Gordon has also participated in some off-road events, including a winning drive with Team USA at the 2002 Race of Champions.[205] He was slated to run it again in 2004 against seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher[206] but was sidelined by the flu, and Casey Mears took his place.[207] In 2005, Gordon competed in the Race of Champions event again, this time held in Paris, France, where he was partnered with motocross racer/X Games winner Travis Pastrana.[208] In 2007, Gordon competed in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona for the first time. He raced the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac-Riley for Wayne Taylor Racing.[209] His teammates consisted of Max Angelelli, Jan Magnussen, and Wayne Taylor. His team went on to finish third, despite problems, two laps behind the winning team of Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett, and Salvador Durán.[210]

Gordon won one race in IROC at Daytona International Speedway in 1998. In the race, Gordon led only two laps, but was the race leader by lap 30.[211]

In 1997, Gordon was offered a ride by CART team owner Barry Green with Team Green as a stepping stone to F1's British American Racing. However, Gordon declined, stating that there are "just too many steps" to reach F1.[212] In June 2003, Gordon went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to take part in a test with then-F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya. The two switched rides, with Gordon driving an F1 car for the first time.[213] Montoya would eventually join the NASCAR Cup Series in 2007.[214]

Gordon has also participated in the Prelude to the Dream charity dirt track race at Eldora Speedway in 2007, 2008 and 2010; Gordon had been intending to run the 2009 race, but did not due to scheduling conflicts.[215] Gordon finished third in the 2007 race,[216] 14th in 2008[217] and 22nd in 2010,[218] the latter being run with Team Riley.[215]

Sponsorship and paint[edit]

The Rainbow Warriors doing a pit stop in 1997

Gordon and his team have carried the nickname "The Rainbow Warriors" throughout the years. He has always carried DuPont[219] as a sponsor. From 1993 to 2000, Gordon carried a rainbow scheme that got the team their nickname. Throughout the years, Gordon has sometimes carried different paint, such as Jurassic Park in 1997, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and NASCAR Racers in 1999, Snoopy in the 2000 Brickyard 400, and a Superman theme in 2006.[220] In 1997, Gordon signed a long-term contract with Pepsi[219] that is still in place today. Every year Gordon has driven a car with the Pepsi scheme (he almost always has a car with a Pepsi paint scheme at a night race, particularly Daytona in July).[221] In 2001, Gordon debuted a new scheme designed by NASCAR artist Sam Bass, which kept a blue base but changed the rainbow pattern to flames. In 2002, Gordon raced with a special scheme in honor of DuPont's 200th Anniversary.[9] In 2006, Gordon acquired a new sponsor, Nicorette.[219] For the 2004 Nextel All-Star Challenge, Gordon brought back the "Rainbow Warrior" scheme.[222] In 2007, Gordon increased his partnership with Nicorette, and ran the paint scheme in 4 races. At the Coca-Cola 600 in 2007, Gordon ran a scheme honoring the United States Department of Defense.[220] Later that year, at Talladega's fall race, Gordon had a fan design contest,[223] and Gordon ultimately won the race. Since 2007, Gordon has had the same design with different colors. (e.g. Nicorette scheme, green and yellow flames). Gordon occasionally ran a paint scheme that supported a different type of DuPont paint such as Cromax Pro.

Gordon announced that the primary scheme of the DuPont No. 24 Chevrolet was to change for 2009 and beyond on the QVC show For Race Fans Only. The 2009 scheme kept the flames format but the colors were radically changed to red and orange flames on a black base color. The new 2009 DuPont paint scheme was unveiled on NBC's Today show. In 2009, the National Guard signed a contract with Gordon, replacing Nicorette. The National Guard was the primary sponsor on Gordon's car for 6–8 races per season through 2010. Occasionally, a one-race sponsor steps in to sponsor Gordon's car for one race. For example, Gordon ran a Megatron scheme at Charlotte in the summer of 2009 to promote the movie Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen that was soon to come out on June 24, 2009.[224]

Gordon with the Department of Defense paint scheme run at the 2007 Coca-Cola 600

Hendrick Motorsports owner, Rick Hendrick, said in November 2009 that he is working on signing a contract extension with DuPont, Gordon's primary sponsor since the beginning of his career. DuPont's current contract with Gordon expired at the end of 2010, and Hendrick said he wants it to be Gordon's primary sponsor for the rest of his career.[225] In 2010, reports surfaced that Hendrick Motorsports was in talks with Walmart to be a sponsor for the No. 24 car,[226] but the deal never materialized.[227] In October 2010, Hendrick Motorsports announced a scaled-down three-year extension of its sponsorship agreement with DuPont: DuPont was Gordon's primary sponsor for 14 races, with AARP picking up 22 of the remaining races and long-term sponsor Pepsi continuing as primary sponsor for 2 races.[228] In 2012 at Bristol, online game developer Zynga teamed with AARP and Gordon ran a FarmVille-themed scheme.[229] Gordon also had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paint scheme on his car for the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 13, 2012.[230] In 2013, DuPont Performance Coatings was sold to Carlyle Group and became Axalta Coating Systems, which ran with Gordon for 14 races during the season.[231] In February 2014, it was announced that Gordon’s car will have a Texas A&M Engineering paint scheme at the Duck Commander 500 at Texas. During the race weekend, Axalta Coating Systems, a Gordon sponsor, arranged an event for more than 20 engineering students from the school, as the company's CEO is Texas A&M University alumnus Charles Shaver.[232] On June 17, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Panasonic would serve as a primary sponsor with Gordon for two races at Sonoma and Atlanta through its Toughbook brand, and as an associate sponsor for the remaining events, on an annual basis through 2016.[233]

Personal life[edit]

Jeff Gordon
JeffBrookeGordon.jpg
Gordon with first wife Brooke
Born Jeffery Michael Gordon
(1971-08-04) August 4, 1971 (age 42)
Vallejo, California, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Racing driver, philanthropist
Years active 1990–present (NASCAR career)
1999–present (Philanthropy)
Salary $18.2 million[234]
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s)
Children Ella Sofia (b. 2007)
Leo Benjamin (b. 2010)
Signature Jeff Gordon Signature.SVG
Website
jeffgordon.com

Gordon's parents are Carol Ann Bickford (née Houston) and William Grinnell Gordon of Vacaville, California. His stepfather, John Bickford, married in the 1970s.[235] He has an older sister named Kim, and his cousin, James Bickford, currently competes in the K&N Pro Series West.[236] He graduated from Tri-West Hendricks High School in 1989.[9]

Gordon met first wife Brooke Sealey after he won a Busch Series race. Sealey was then a college student and had been present as Ms. Winston in the victory lane in 1992. The pair began dating in secret, due to a rule that did not allow drivers to date Ms. Winston, and they were married in 1994. In March 2002, Sealey sued for divorce after alleging Gordon of marital misconduct, and Gordon eventually counter-sued.[237] In court papers, she asked for "exclusive use of the couple's oceanfront home, valued at $9 million, as well as alimony, two cars and periodic use of their boats and an airplane."[238] Though Gordon stated that Sealey did not deserve such a high amount of rewards, as he "risked life and limb" to gain the wealth, Sealey stated that "NASCAR is a relatively safe occupation." Sealey subsequently was awarded $15.3 million.[239] The divorce was finalized on June 13, 2003.[240]

Gordon was introduced to Ingrid Vandebosch during a dinner party at The Hamptons by a mutual friend in 2002,[241] but they did not begin dating until 2004.[242] Gordon announced their engagement on June 24, 2006, at a croquet event at Meadowood Resort in St. Helena, California. According to Gordon, they had kept the engagement secret for the following 30 days.[243] Gordon and Vandebosch were married in a small, private ceremony in Mexico on November 7, 2006. On June 20, 2007, Vandebosch gave birth to their first child, Ella Sofia Gordon in New York City.[244][245] On February 4, 2010, Gordon revealed that he and his wife were expecting their second child in August,[246] and on March 16, he revealed that the baby was a boy.[247] Gordon had Scott Pruett ready to step into the No. 24 at Watkins Glen because his wife was due to give birth the weekend of August 8.[248] On August 9, Vandebosch delivered their son, Leo Benjamin Gordon, at 8:53 am. He weighed 7 lbs., 2 oz., and was 19 inches long.[249]

Gordon is a born again Christian.[8] He has talked about how in the early 1990s he got curious and followed some drivers to the weekly chapel one week, which is how he first started to learn more about God.[250][251][252]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 1999, Gordon established the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation to help support children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses. On December 16, 2006, Gordon opened the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital at the NorthEast Medical Center.[253] In 2007, Gordon, along with Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning, and Cal Ripken, Jr. founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization which helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and inspires millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support the community.[254]

AARP became Gordon's sponsor in 2011 through the Drive to End Hunger program, which donates meals to hunger relief organizations near NASCAR tracks,[255] along with reducing hunger among senior citizens. Gordon is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, which helps global leaders find solutions to ending the world's pressing problems.[256]

Endorsements and business ventures[edit]

Gordon-endorsed energy drink cans

Prior to his sponsorship with Pepsi, Gordon had been sponsored by Coca-Cola,[257] but eventually chose Pepsi due to more visibility, along with Coca-Cola wanting Gordon to be a regional sponsor in the southeastern United States.[258] Gordon has also been sponsored by Kellogg Company and Frito-Lay.[257] Since 2012, Gordon has been sponsored by DVX Sun and Safety Sunglass, which are constructed with elastomer from DuPont.[259]

Gordon owns a dealership, Jeff Gordon Chevrolet, located in Wilmington, North Carolina, and was opened in 1998. With Dale Earnhardt, Gordon owned Performance Partners, Inc., a real estate company, along with Chase Racewear, a casual clothing line; the two were also major shareholders in Action Performance Companies, Inc. (now Lionel Racing),[260] the official die-cast creator of NASCAR.[258] In 2007, PepsiCo introduced Jeff Gordon 24 Energy, an orange tangerine-flavored energy drink, which has since been discontinued.[261][262]

In October 2005, Gordon started a line of wine with Briggs & Sons Winemaking, Co., debuting with a 2004 Carneros Chardonnay, followed by Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in January 2007.[263][264] Eventually, the 2007 Ella Sofia Napa Valley Joie de Vivre won double gold medals at the 2011 Indy International Wine Competition.[265]

In 2012, Gordon became the designer of the Canadian Motor Speedway in Fort Erie, Ontario, which will be the largest track in Canada.[266] Gordon's stepfather, John Bickford, serves as the general manager of the project.[267]

Awards and honors[edit]

Gordon was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the January 10, 2009, Chili Bowl Nationals race at Tulsa. Most recently[when?] Gordon was inducted into the Watkins Glen International Hall of Fame because of his outstanding success on the track. It was announced in 2009 that Gordon would receive the Silver Buffalo Award, the Boy Scouts of America's highest award for his work as a Scout Recruiter and humanitarian work.[268] Two days before the 2012 Pennsylvania 400, Gordon announced that he will be the first NASCAR driver to be awarded the Heisman Humanitarian Award for his work in children's causes.[269] Gordon's philanthropy has also made Gordon a three-time recipient of the NASCAR Illustrated Person of the Year Award, winning in 1997 (shared with Darrell Waltrip), 2004 (with Hendrick Motorsports) and 2011.[256]

In 2012, a 1.6 mile (2.6 km) section[270] of Interstate 85 in North Carolina from Charlotte to Mecklenburg/Cabarrus was named Jeff Gordon Expressway in his honor. The interstate number choice was made after Gordon recorded his 85th career victory.[271][272]

In popular media[edit]

Gordon (right) unveiling the Jeff Gordon Expressway sign

Acting[edit]

Gordon has acted in films and television shows as both himself and fictional characters. He has also appeared in videos for Pepsi's YouTube channel, two of which have gone viral: Harlem Shake (Jeff Gordon Edition)[273] and Pepsi MAX & Jeff Gordon Present: Test Drive. Two years before, in 2011, Gordon had worked with Pepsi Max to create the Road Trip to the Race Track video as a promotion prior to the Coke Zero 400.[274] In September 2013, Gordon worked with actor Ron Howard in a series created by NASCAR known as The Crossing.[275]

Films
Year Title Role
1997 Steel Chariots Himself
2003 Looney Tunes: Back in Action Himself
2004 Taxi Himself (uncredited)
2005 Herbie: Fully Loaded Himself
2011 Cars 2 (American release) Jeff Gorvette[276] (voice)
Television shows
Year Title Role Notes
1998 Arliss Himself Episode: "Where Do Clients Come From?"
1998 Spin City Himself[277] Episode: "The Kidney's All Right"
2001 The Drew Carey Show[278] Himself Episode: "Mr. Laffon's Wild Ride"
2009 Speed Racer: The Next Generation Turbo McAllister (voice)[279] Episode: "The Secrets of the Engine: Part 3"
2012 The Simpsons Himself (voice) Episode: "Adventures in Baby-Getting"[280]

Documentaries[edit]

Gordon is the subject of a 2004 episode of the ESPN documentary television series SportsCentury. Gordon is also featured in other episodes of the program covering fellow drivers Dale Earnhardt and Tony Stewart.

Gordon's life on and off the track is profiled in the 2007 documentary television film 24 x 24: Wide Open with Jeff Gordon.[281]

Gordon is featured in two documentary television films about Hendrick Motorsports: Together: The Hendrick Motorsports Story (2009) and Beyond 200: The Hendrick Motorsports Story (2012).

Television appearances[edit]

Gordon has appeared as a guest on Live! with Regis and Kelly,[282] and has co-hosted the show[283] ten times on days when Regis Philbin was unavailable.

In 2001, Gordon appeared on the Sports Superstars edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire which aired on September 10.[284] He walked away with $32,000 after missing the $125,000 question.

In January 2003, Gordon became the first NASCAR driver to host Saturday Night Live, during its twenty-eighth season.[285]

In 2010, Gordon made an appearance on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition which aired on April 11. Gordon helped the team rebuild a home for the Suggs family of Loris, South Carolina.[286]

On January 9, 2013, Gordon appeared on an episode of I Get That a Lot. Gordon worked as an AutoZone employee, and attempted to sell Quaker State motor oil to customers without being recognized.[287]

Gordon has also made appearances on: 60 Minutes, The American Athlete, Celebrity Poker Showdown,[288] Charlie Rose, Crook & Chase, The Ellen DeGeneres Show,[289] Fashion Police,[290] Fox & Friends,[291] Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Larry King Live,[292] The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,[293] Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,[294] Late Show With David Letterman, Life & Style, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Players, Rachael Ray,[295] Sesame Street,[285][296] Sidewalks Entertainment,[297] Today, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Tony Danza Show, Top Gear, Unique Whips,[298] The View, The Wayne Brady Show[299] and WindTunnel with Dave Despain.[300][301]

Fictional portrayals[edit]

In the King of the Hill episode "Life in the Fast Lane – Bobby's Saga," Gordon is portrayed less than favorably, screaming "Daddy!" in a nasal tone when his car spins out and hits the wall, alluding to earlier comments about how the main cast do not care for him because his father pulled strings to get him the car.[302]

In the Celebrity Deathmatch episode "Sex, Lugs and Rock 'n' Roll," Gordon and Dale Earnhardt fight each other in a "demolition derby to the death."[303]

In the South Park episode "Poor and Stupid," Gordon, along with fellow drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Danica Patrick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart, are lampooned in addition NASCAR itself. Commenting on the episode, Gordon said he thought that, although the episode was making fun of NASCAR, it was still good publicity for the sport.[304]

References in media[edit]

In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Kidney Car," Carl says "Hold on there, Jeff Gordon!" to Meatwad as the latter is going to claim the former's wrecked car, which was donated to the Aqua Teens by the "Kidney Foundation" after Meatwad was ruled inoperable for a kidney transplant. In the Danny Phantom episode "What You Want," during the flying car scene, Danny says to the driver, "Hey, slow down, Jeff Gordon!".[305]

In the film Couples Retreat, Gordon is mentioned when Jason says, "If Jeff Gordon told you the oil was low, you'd want to change it."

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy jokes about Gordon's elocution in the track "Jeff Gordon Enunciates," featured on the album Big Funny.

Comedian and country artist Tim Wilson pokes fun at Gordon in "The Jeff Gordon Song," featured on the album Certified Aluminum: His Greatest Recycled Hits, Volume 1. Hip hop artist Nelly raps the lyrics "I drive fastly, call me Jeff Gord-on, in the black SS with the naviga-tion" in the song "E.I.," featured on the album Country Grammar.[306] Country music parodist Cledus T. Judd sings "Just watchin' Jeff Gordon plow up a wall, puts a smile on Dale Jr.'s face" in the song "I Love NASCAR," featured on the album Bipolar and Proud.[307]

Video games[edit]

Gordon is the cover driver of the video game Jeff Gordon XS Racing,[308] and is a guide for gamers to progress through the game, and also is an opponent in a later duel in the game.[309] Gordon has also appeared on the covers of NASCAR 98[310] and NASCAR Thunder 2002.[311] Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson are on the cover of NASCAR 06: Total Team Control, highlighting Team Control, the main addition of the game.[312] Gordon also is on the cover of NASCAR 09, in which he serves as a mentor for players in the "Sprint for the Cup" mode.[313]

Gordon appeared in Gran Turismo 5 as himself, providing tutorials on racing in NASCAR,[314] which had been newly added to the series.[315]

Motorsports career results[edit]

Career summary[edit]

Season Series Team Races Wins Top 5s Top 10s Poles Points Position
1990 NASCAR Busch Series Hugh Connerty Racing 1 0 0 0 0 0 115th
1991 NASCAR Busch Series Bill Davis Racing 30 0 5 10 1 3582 11th
1992 NASCAR Busch Series Bill Davis Racing 31 3 10 15 11 4053 4th
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 1 0 0 0 0 70 81st
1993 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 30 0 7 11 1 3447 14th
1994 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 31 2 7 14 1 3776 8th
1995 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 31 7 17 23 9 4614 1st
International Race of Champions NASCAR 4 0 3 3 0 51 4th
1996 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 31 10 21 24 5 4620 2nd
International Race of Champions NASCAR 4 0 1 3 0 30 10th
1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 32 10 22 23 1 4710 1st
International Race of Champions NASCAR 4 0 2 4 0 39 6th
1998 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 33 13 26 28 7 5328 1st
International Race of Champions NASCAR 4 1 2 4 0 51 3rd
1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 34 7 18 21 7 4620 6th
NASCAR Busch Series Gordon/Evernham Motorsports 6 1 4 4 0 878 51st
International Race of Champions NASCAR 4 0 2 4 0 49 5th
2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 34 3 11 22 3 4361 9th
NASCAR Busch Series JG Motorsports 5 1 2 3 0 637 57th
International Race of Champions NASCAR 4 0 2 4 0 37 6th
2001 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 6 18 24 6 5112 1st
2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 3 13 20 3 4607 5th
2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 3 15 20 4 4785 4th
2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 5 16 25 6 6490 3rd
2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 4 8 14 2 4174 11th
2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 2 14 18 2 6256 6th
2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 6 21 30 7 6646 2nd
Rolex Sports Car Series SunTrust Racing 1 0 1 1 0 30 61st
2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 0 13 19 4 6316 7th
2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 1 16 25 1 6473 3rd
2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 0 11 17 1 6176 9th
2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 3 13 18 1 2287 8th
2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 2 11 18 2 2303 10th
2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 1 8 17 2 2337 6th
2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 19 2 7 14 0 670* 1st*

NASCAR[edit]

(key) (Bold - Pole position awarded by time. Italics - Pole position earned by points standings. * – Most laps led.)

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

* Season in progress
1 Ineligible for series points

Daytona 500 results[edit]
Year Team Manufacturer Start Finish
1993 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 3 5
1994 6 4
1995 4 22
1996 8 42
1997 6 1
1998 29 16
1999 1 1
2000 11 34
2001 13 30
2002 3 9
2003 13 12
2004 39 8
2005 15 1
2006 2 26
2007 42 10
2008 8 39
2009 3 13
2010 21 26
2011 2 28
2012 16 40
2013 2 20
2014 6 4

Busch Series[edit]

Rolex Sports Car Series[edit]

(key) Bold – pole position (overall finish/class finish).

24 Hours of Daytona[edit]

International Race of Champions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Gordon, Jeff; Steve Eubanks (2005). Jeff Gordon: Racing Back to the Front—My Memoir. Atria. ISBN 0-7434-9977-8. 
  • Cothren, Larry (2005). Jeff Gordon: The NASCAR Superstar's Story. Motorbooks. ISBN 0-7603-2178-7. 

External links[edit]

Achievements[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dale Earnhardt
Terry Labonte
Bobby Labonte
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion
1995
1997, 1998
2001
Succeeded by
Terry Labonte
Dale Jarrett
Tony Stewart
Preceded by
Fernando Alonso
Jesús Puras
Rubén Xaus
Race of Champions
Nations' Cup

2002 with:
Colin Edwards
Jimmie Johnson
Succeeded by
Cristiano da Matta
Fonsi Nieto
Gilles Panizzi
Achievements
Preceded by
Joe Nemechek
NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year
1991
Succeeded by
Ricky Craven
Preceded by
Jimmy Hensley
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
1993
Succeeded by
Jeff Burton
Preceded by
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Jarrett
Busch Clash winner
1994
1997
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Rusty Wallace
Preceded by
Inaugural
Ricky Rudd
Bobby Labonte
Kevin Harvick
Brickyard 400 winner
1994
1998
2001
2004
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Jarrett
Bill Elliott
Tony Stewart
Preceded by
Geoff Bodine
Michael Waltrip
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
The Winston winner
1995
1997
2001
Succeeded by
Michael Waltrip
Mark Martin
Ryan Newman
Preceded by
Dale Jarrett
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Daytona 500 winner
1997
1999
2005
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Jarrett
Jimmie Johnson
Awards
Preceded by
Inaugural
Tony Stewart
Kevin Harvick
Tony Stewart
NASCAR EA cover athlete
1998
2002
2006
2009
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Elliott Sadler
Final