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Jeff Gordon

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Jeff Gordon
TSM350 - Jeff Gordon - Stierch 8.jpg
Gordon in 2015
Born Jeffery Michael Gordon
(1971-08-04) August 4, 1971 (age 45)
Vallejo, California
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight 150 lb (68 kg)
Achievements 1995, 1997, 1998, 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 Sprint Unlimited Winner
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)
See other awards and honors below
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career
804 races run over 25 years
Car no., team No. 88 (Hendrick Motorsports)
2015 position 3rd
Best finish 1st (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001)
First race 1992 Hooters 500 (Atlanta)
Last race 2016 Citizen Soldier 400 (Dover)
First win 1994 Coca-Cola 600 (Charlotte)
Last win 2015 Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 (Martinsville)
Wins Top tens Poles
93 476 81
NASCAR Xfinity Series career
73 races run over 5 years
2000 position 57th
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 October 2, 2016.

Jeffery Michael "Jeff" Gordon[1] (born August 4, 1971) is an American professional stock car racing driver and currently an announcer for Fox NASCAR. He formerly drove the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports in 23 full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons between 1993 and 2015, and currently serves as a substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Gordon started his professional racing career in the Busch Series with Hugh Connerty Racing, followed by Bill Davis Racing, winning three races, and began racing full-time in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports in 1993. He is a four-time Sprint Cup champion, having won the title in 1995, 1997, 1998, and 2001. He also won the Daytona 500 three times in 1997, 1999, and 2005. He is third on the all-time Cup wins list with 93 career wins, the most in NASCAR's modern era (1972–present). Gordon's 81 pole positions led all active drivers and is third all-time; Gordon won at least one pole in 23 consecutive seasons, making this a NASCAR record. He was also the active "iron man" leader for consecutive races participated in with 797 through the 2015 season.[2]

In 1998, NASCAR named Gordon to its 50 Greatest Drivers list.[3] In 2008, ten years later, ESPN's Terry Blount ranked him 10th in the 25 Greatest Drivers of All-Time.[4] named him as the fifth-best NASCAR driver of all time.[5]

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 in 2013. Gordon also has an equity stake in the No. 24 team.[6] 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 and raised in Pittsboro, Indiana. He currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch and their two children Ella Sofia and Leo Benjamin.

Early life[edit]

When he was 4 years old,[7] Gordon rode a BMX bike that his stepfather bought for him[8] and began racing quarter midgets at the age of five. 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.[9] In 1979, Gordon won 51 quarter midget races. When he was 11, Gordon won all 25 of his karting races.[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] In 1986, Gordon began racing sprint cars, winning three races. The next year, Gordon was awarded a USAC license at age 16, the youngest driver to do so.[10]

Beginning of racing career[edit]

During the 1980s,[10] 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] During the decade, Gordon also ran sprint cars in Australia and New Zealand.[10] 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 1992, Gordon competed in the Slim Jim All Pro Series' Winchester 400, but finished 24th after crashing on lap 172.[13] The following year, he ran a Featherlite Southwest Tour race at Sears Point Raceway, finishing 29th after suffering an engine failure.[14]

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.[15]


Busch Series[edit]

Gordon's Bill Davis Racing Busch Series car on display in the Martin Auto Museum

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 North Carolina Motor 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.[16]

In 1991 and 1992, Gordon began racing in the Busch Series full-time, 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.[8] He was sponsored by Carolina Ford Dealers in 1991 and Baby Ruth in 1992.[17]

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.[18] 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,[19] 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[20] at Phoenix,[21] and 2000 at Homestead.[22]

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

In 1992, Roush Racing owner Jack Roush planned to sign Gordon, but Gordon's stepfather John Bickford had insisted that Roush hire Ray Evernham; due to Roush's policy of hiring his own crew chiefs, Bickford declined.[23] Later in the year, Rick Hendrick watched Gordon race in a Busch Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and Gordon joined Hendrick Motorsports two days later.[24] Gordon made his Winston Cup debut in the season-ending race, the Hooters 500 at Atlanta, finishing 31st after a crash.[25]

The following year, Gordon began competing full-time in the Cup Series. He opened the season with a win in the Gatorade Twin 125's race,[26] while also recording his first-career pole position at the fall Charlotte racing,[27] and concluded 1993 with a 14th-place points finish and the Rookie of the Year Award.[8] Gordon's early success in the sport reshaped the paradigm and eventually gave younger drivers an opportunity to compete in NASCAR. However, during the 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.[28] Additionally, driver Darrell Waltrip wrote he told Hendrick during the season that Gordon had "hit everything but the pace car that year."[29]

In 1994, Gordon won the Busch Clash exhibition race at Daytona.[30] In May, Gordon won the pole for the Coca-Cola 600, and won the race after electing to take two tires on a green flag pit stop.[31] Three months later, he scored a hometown victory at the inaugural Brickyard 400, capitalizing on Ernie Irvan's tire going down late in the race.[32]

Gordon with his 1995 trophy

In 1995, Gordon won his first Cup Series championship. Despite a rough start to the season in the Daytona 500, he won three of the following six races at Rockingham, Atlanta and Bristol, while winning the pole at Rockingham, Richmond, Darlington and North Wilkesboro in that timespan.[33] He won his fifth pole of the season at Charlotte, but after the race, NASCAR officials found unapproved wheel hubs on his car, and fined the team $60,000 while placing Ray Evernham on probation indefinitely.[34] Gordon later won four more poles during the season (Dover, Michigan, Indianapolis, Martinsville) while winning races at Daytona, New Hampshire, Darlington and Dover.[33] The results during the season gave him a 300-point lead over Dale Earnhardt[8] en route to the title. The team's consistency was much better as well, having had three DNF's in 1995,[33] compared to 21 in his previous two seasons combined.

Gordon's title defense in 1996 featured ten wins at Richmond, Darlington (sweeping the races), Bristol, Dover (winning both races), Pocono, Talladega, Martinsville, and North Wilkesboro (winning the final official NASCAR race at the track).[35] He finished second to his teammate Terry Labonte for the championship, losing by 37 points.[36]

Gordon won consecutive titles in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, he won his first Daytona 500, becoming the youngest driver at the time to win the race.[37] He won the second race of the season at Rockingham the following week, followed by a third win at Bristol; after a last-lap battle with Rusty Wallace.[38] At Charlotte, Gordon won The Winston in a Jurassic Park scheme; the car was modified by Evernham with assistance from Hendrick chassis engineer Rex Stump, and as a result, it was considered illegal by other team owners.[39] Afterwards, he won the Coca-Cola 600, and after winning the Southern 500 at Darlington, became the first driver since Bill Elliott in 1985 to win the Winston Million.[40] 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). The following year, Gordon won a modern-era record 13 races at Charlotte, Sonoma, Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Michigan, New Hampshire, Darlington, Daytona, Rockingham and Atlanta. He clinched his third title with a 364-point lead over Mark Martin.[41] Gordon set Cup records during the season, including four consecutive wins and 17 consecutive top-five finishes. He ended the season with seven poles, 25 top-five, and 27 top-tens.[42]

Gordon began the 1999 season with his second Daytona 500 win. He went on to win races at Atlanta, Fontana, Sears Point and Watkins Glen.[43] Before the race at Martinsville, Evernham left Hendrick to form Evernham Motorsports, and he was replaced by team engineer Brian Whitesell.[44] With Whitesell, Gordon won at Martinsville[45] and Lowe's.[46] During the year, Chip Ganassi Racing owner Chip Ganassi contacted Gordon, expressing interest in signing him, while Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanted to partner with him to form a team.[47] However, Gordon signed a lifetime contract with Hendrick Motorsports starting in 2000, which allowed him to become an equity owner in his No. 24 team.[6]

The 2000 season saw Gordon enter his first campaign with Petty Enterprises' Robbie Loomis as his crew chief. With Loomis, Gordon recorded his win of the season in the spring Talladega race,[48] giving him his 50th career victory. He went on to win races at Sears Point[49] and Richmond. Gordon finished the season ninth in points.

The next year, Gordon won six races at Las Vegas, Dover,[50] Michigan (the 100th win for Hendrick Motorsports),[51] Indianapolis,[52][53] Watkins Glen,[54] and the inaugural race at Kansas. Gordon became the third driver to win four Cup championships in NASCAR history, second only to Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt (both winning it seven times),[55] and with a 344-point margin ahead of Tony Stewart.[47]

2002 and 2003 featured three wins each for Gordon at Bristol, Darlington and Kansas, and at Martinsville (twice) and Atlanta, respectively. In 2004, the first season under the Nextel Cup Series banner, the team recorded five wins at Talladega, Indianapolis, Fontana, Infineon and Daytona. Despite the success, the points reset by the newly formed Chase for the Cup erased Gordon's 60-point lead over Johnson. As a result, at the end of the season, he finished the season third in the points standings behind champion Kurt Busch by 16 points and Johnson by eight. Had the Chase not existed, and assuming the finishing spots remained the same, Gordon would have won the championship by 47 points.[56]

The 2005 season began with Gordon claiming his third Daytona 500 victory, followed by a win at Martinsville in the Advance Auto Parts 500 and at Talladega.[57] However, inconsistency would plague him throughout the year. Despite having 14 top tens, he failed to finish nine times.[58] A late season charge 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 qualify for the Chase.[59] Loomis left the team on September 14,[60] and Steve Letarte, Gordon's car chief, took over for the Chase-opening race at Loudon.[61] Gordon eventually won at Martinsville in the Subway 500. It was Gordon's first time outside the top ten in the point standings since 1993. Gordon also finished the season with a career-low eight top-five finishes.[62]

Gordon only recorded two wins in 2006 at Infineon and Chicagoland, while also recording only two poles at Dover and Phoenix's second dates.[63] The next year, his performance improved greatly, winning six races and seven poles. Gordon's first win of 2007 was at Phoenix, tying Darrell Waltrip's modern-day record of 59 poles,[64] followed by tying Dale Earnhardt for sixth all-time in overall number of Cup wins.[65] At Talladega, he recorded his 77th career Cup victory, to the dismay of the fans, who began throwing beer cans at Gordon's car.[66] Gordon would win five more times during the season, at Darlington, Pocono, Talladega and Charlotte; Gordon's seven poles occurred at Fontana, Bristol, four consecutive at Texas, Phoenix, Talladega and Richmond, Daytona, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Martinsville.[67] However, Gordon finished the Chase second in the standings to HMS teammate Jimmie Johnson by 77 points. Gordon finished the year with 30 top tens, setting a new modern era Cup Series record.[8] This marked 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.[56]

From 2008 to 2010, Gordon struggled, recording a total of one win during the three seasons at the Samsung 500, his first win at Texas Motor Speedway.[68] In the three-year timespan, Gordon recorded six total poles, including four in 2008, and a third-place points finish in 2009 behind HMS teammates Mark Martin and champion Johnson.[69] During the 2009 season, Gordon became the first driver in NASCAR history to pass US$100 million in career winnings.[70]

Gordon after his victory at Phoenix in 2011

Martin's crew chief Alan Gustafson joined Gordon in 2011 after Steve Letarte was reassigned to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s team.[71] In the second race of the year at Phoenix, Gordon won for the first time in 66 races;[72] At the Aaron's 499, Gordon broke the tie for the third-most poles with Cale Yarborough.[73] At Pocono, he tied Bill Elliott for the most wins at the track with five,[74] and at Atlanta, he defeated Johnson to claim his 85th career win, third-most of all time behind Richard Petty and David Pearson.[75] Gordon became the winningest driver in the modern era of the sport, passing Darrell Waltrip.[76]

Gordon struggled during the early portion of the 2012 season, despite a pole at Talladega, failing to reach the top ten in points.[77] 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 Cup victory and sixth at the track, surpassing Elliott for the most wins at the track.[78] 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 eighth Chase for the Sprint Cup.[79] 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.[80] Gordon was fined $100,000, docked 25 points, and placed on probation until December 31.[81][82] He recovered from his penalty by winning the season finale, the Ford EcoBoost 400, the next week for the 87th Sprint Cup victory of his career.[83]

In 2013, Gordon made his 700th consecutive Cup start in the Bojangles' Southern 500; Gordon finished 3rd, marking his 300th career top-5 finish.[84] At Dover, Gordon finished 3rd, tying David Pearson for third all-time in top-five finishes with 301.[85] 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)[86] 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.[87] Gordon's winning a pole in 21 consecutive seasons set a NASCAR record.[86][88] However, despite finishing 8th, Gordon was winless and was knocked out of the Chase initially by finishing one point behind Joey Logano.[89] 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 Front Row Motorsports team for Gilliland to give up a spot to Logano so that Logano could secure his tenth-place position over Gordon.[90] At the Martinsville race, Gordon won his first race of 2013 and first at Martinsville since 2005.[91]

In 2014, Gordon recorded four wins, starting at the May Kansas race;[92] 2007 was the last time he had won at least four times in a season. Entering the Brickyard 400, the twenty-year anniversary of his first career win in the 1994 race, the day was declared "Jeff Gordon Day" by Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard.[93] 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.[94] Gordon also won at Michigan[95] and Dover, his first wins at the tracks since 2001.[96] At Texas, Gordon and Keselowski were racing for the win when Keselowski tried to shoot between Johnson and Gordon, which cut Gordon's left rear tire and spun him out. Gordon fell to 29th, while Keselowski would finish third.[97] Following the race, Gordon confronted Keselowski in pit road over the incident with both drivers being surrounded by their pit crews.[98] However, it escalated into a brawl due to Keselowski being shoved from behind by Harvick, who had also battled with Keselowski in the final laps. Despite the four wins, Gordon was unable to compete for the championship after being eliminated from Chase contention in the penultimate race at Phoenix. Gordon won the pole for the final race at Homestead, and led a race-high 161 laps, but the decision to pit with 13 laps to go relegated him to 24th, and he finished 10th. The finish marked his 454th top-ten, surpassing Mark Martin for second in all-time top tens, behind Richard Petty's 712.[99]

On January 22, 2015, Gordon announced that 2015 would be his last season as a full-time driver, but did not rule out retirement entirely.[100] On January 29, Gordon stated he does not plan to run any more Daytona 500s after 2015.[101] He started the season by winning the pole for his final Daytona 500,[102] but crashed on the final lap, finishing 33rd.[103] Gordon won two additional poles by sweeping the Talladega races.[104] In November, Gordon claimed his first win of 2015, winning his ninth career Martinsville race in the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500, advancing him to the Championship Four at Homestead.[105] In the final race of his Sprint Cup career at the 2015 Ford EcoBoost 400, Gordon finished 6th, falling just short of his quest for the fifth championship of his career.[106]

In 2016, Gordon announced he would make his return to the Cup Series at the Brickyard 400, driving the No. 88 as a substitute for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. He also ran at Pocono,[107] Watkins Glen and Bristol.[108] On September 2, 2016, it was announced that Earnhardt would be out for the remainder of the season and Gordon would fill in at the Darlington, Richmond, Dover and Martinsville races.[109]

Other racing[edit]

Gordon has participated in the Race of Champions three times, including a Nations Cup-winning drive with Team USA's Jimmie Johnson and Colin Edwards at the 2002 event in Gran Canaria.[110] Prior to the ROC, Gordon competed in an ROC America event, losing to Kenny Bräck after crashing. Afterwards, Gordon defeated Johnson by one sixteen-hundredths of a second. Later in the day, Gordon rode with rally driver Marcus Grönholm around the course, both eventually flipping. In the ROC's first round, Gordon (2:03.03) lost to 2002 CART champion Cristiano da Matta, but in round two, Gordon (1:53.47) defeated Formula One's Fernando Alonso. In the semi-finals, Gordon (1:53.20) won against CART driver Sébastien Bourdais, and in the finals, Gordon (1:53.87) triumphed against European Touring Car Championship driver Fabrizio Giovanardi.[111] He was slated to run it again in 2004 against seven-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher[112] but was sidelined by the flu, and Casey Mears took his place.[113] 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.[114]

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.[115] His teammates consisted of Max Angelelli, Jan Magnussen, and Wayne Taylor. His team went on to finish third, two laps behind the winning team of Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett, and Salvador Durán.[116]

Gordon ran in the International Race of Champions from 19952001. Gordon won one race at Daytona International Speedway in 1998. In the race, Gordon led only two laps, but was the race leader by lap 30.[117] Despite being invited for the 2002 season, Gordon declined due to time constraints.[118]

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.[119] On June 11, 2003, Gordon went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway to take part in a test with then-WilliamsF1 driver Montoya. The two switched rides, with Gordon driving Montoya's Williams FW24,[120] marking the first time he had driven an F1 car.[121] On Gordon's first lap, he went off-course, and recorded a time of 1:17; in comparison, the 2002 United States Grand Prix's pole time was 1:10, while the slowest was 1:13. On his second run, Gordon began with a standing start, and on his next lap recorded 1:16.5.[120] Montoya would eventually join NASCAR in 2007.[122]

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.[123] Gordon finished third in the 2007 race,[124] 14th in 2008[125] and 22nd in 2010,[126] the latter being run with Team Riley Hospital for Children.[123]

Broadcasting career[edit]

When Gordon made the decision to step back from full-time driving at the conclusion of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season, he reportedly put out feelers to television networks about the possibility of joining others in the broadcast booth.[127] On January 25, 2015, USA Today writer Jeff Gluck reported that Gordon was hired by Fox Sports to work as a guest analyst for Fox NASCAR broadcasts of Xfinity Series events alongside full-time announcers Adam Alexander and Michael Waltrip;[128] the news was officially announced by Fox Sports the following day.[129] On February 3, Gordon made a guest appearance on the Fox News Channel morning show Fox & Friends, where he stated his plans to call three races for Fox Sports.[130][131]

On April 10, Gordon made his broadcasting debut on Fox Sports 1 during the network's coverage of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.[132] Gordon returned to the broadcast booth for the Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 18,[133] and the Winn-Dixie 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2.[134] Gordon was one of five active NASCAR drivers to serve as a guest analyst for Fox Sports during the 2015 Xfinity Series season; the other four were Kevin Harvick,[135] Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer,[136] and Danica Patrick.[137]

On May 21, Gordon announced on NASCAR Race Hub that he will join Fox Sports as a full-time analyst for Cup Series events, beginning with Speedweeks at Daytona in 2016.[138][139] Gordon was paired with Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip in the broadcast booth, replacing Larry McReynolds,[140] who moved to the Hollywood Hotel beginning in 2016.[141]

On November 6, Gordon joined Joy and Waltrip in the booth for the first time at a dress rehearsal during the WinStar World Casino & Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.[142] The rehearsal was not shown during the Camping World Truck Series broadcast.[143]

Personal life[edit]

Jeff Gordon
Gordon with first wife Brooke
Born Jeffery Michael Gordon
(1971-08-04) August 4, 1971 (age 45)
Vallejo, California, U.S.
Residence Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Nationality American
Home town Pittsboro, Indiana, U.S.
Salary $18.2 million[144]
Religion Christianity
Children Ella Sofia (b. 2007)
Leo Benjamin (b. 2010)
  • William Gordon
  • Carol Bickford
Relatives James Bickford (cousin)
Jeff Gordon Signature.SVG

Gordon is of Scotch-Irish descent.[145] He was born in Vallejo, California to parents Carol Ann Bickford (née Houston) and William Grinnell Gordon of Vacaville, California. Gordon's mother and biological father divorced when he was six months old.[146] His stepfather, John Bickford, married his mother in the 1970s.[147] He has a sister, Kim, who is older by four years.[148] His younger cousin, James Bickford, currently competes in the K&N Pro Series West.[149] Gordon attended Tri-West Hendricks High School in Lizton, Indiana and was on the school's cross country team;[10] he graduated in 1989.[8]

Gordon is a born again Christian.[7] 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.[150][151][152] During this time, Gordon kept verses of the Bible taped to his steering wheel.[153][154] In 2004, Gordon stated he "has a difficult time focusing on one particular faith."[10] When asked again in a 2015 Sports Illustrated magazine interview, he claimed: "I wasn't brought up [with religion]. It was something I got introduced to when I came into the Cup Series. I explored it and learned a lot from that experience. I feel it's helped make me a better person, but I choose to do it more privately now."[155]

Marriages and children[edit]

Gordon met Brooke Sealey, a Miss Winston Cup model, in victory lane at Daytona International Speedway after he won the first of two qualifying races for the 1993 Daytona 500.[156] The pair began dating in secret due to an unwritten rule prohibiting drivers from dating the models.[156] Sealey's role as Miss Winston concluded following the 1993 season, and the couple publicly revealed their relationship after the NASCAR awards banquet in December.[156] Prior to the 1994 Daytona 500, a year to the day from their encounter in victory lane, Gordon reserved a banquet hall at a French restaurant in Daytona Beach, where Gordon proposed to Sealey.[156] The couple were married on November 26, 1994.[157] They owned a home on Lake Norman in North Carolina,[156] but evacuated permanently due to fan intrusions.[158] The couple then moved to Highland Beach, Florida.[159] In March 2002, Sealey sued for divorce after alleging Gordon of marital misconduct, and Gordon eventually counter-sued.[160] Gordon's wife, who also went by the name Jennifer Brooke Gordon, cited her husband's relationship with professional model Deanna Merryman in her divorce papers with the racecar driver.[161][162] 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."[163] 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.[164] The divorce was finalized on June 13, 2003.[165] During the year, Gordon was seen with model Amanda Church on a beach in St. Bart's,[166] and later moved in with her in New York City.[10]

Gordon was introduced to Ingrid Vandebosch during a dinner party at The Hamptons by a mutual friend in 2002,[146] but they did not begin dating until 2004.[167] 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.[168] 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.[169][170] On February 4, 2010, Gordon revealed that he and his wife were expecting their second child in August,[171] and on March 16, he revealed that the baby was a boy.[172] Gordon had Scott Pruett assigned as a standby driver for Watkins Glen because his wife was due to give birth the weekend of August 8.[173] On the morning of August 9, Vandebosch delivered their son Leo Benjamin Gordon.[174] The family resides in the SouthPark neighborhood of Charlotte, North Carolina.[146]


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.[175] 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.[176]

AARP became Gordon's sponsor in 2011 through the Drive to End Hunger program, which donates meals to hunger relief organizations near NASCAR tracks,[177] 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.[178]

Endorsements and business ventures[edit]

Jeff Gordon 24 Energy cans

Prior to his sponsorship with Pepsi, Gordon had been sponsored by Coca-Cola,[179] but eventually chose Pepsi due to more visibility, along with Coca-Cola wanting Gordon to be a regional sponsor in the southeastern United States.[180] Gordon has also been sponsored by Kellogg Company, Frito-Lay,[179] Edy's, and Ray-Ban.[10] Since 2012, Gordon has been sponsored by DVX Sun and Safety Sunglass, which are constructed with elastomer from DuPont.[181]

Gordon owns JG Motorsports to manage licensing, and the company received up to 20 percent of Gordon-licensed products. Such items produced $112 million in 1998.[10] 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),[182] the official die-cast creator of NASCAR.[180] In 2007, PepsiCo introduced Jeff Gordon 24 Energy, an orange tangerine-flavored energy drink, which has since been discontinued.[183][184]

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.[185][186] Eventually, the 2007 Ella Sofia Napa Valley Joie de Vivre won double gold medals at the 2011 Indy International Wine Competition.[187]

In 2012, Gordon became the designer of the Canadian Motor Speedway in Fort Erie, Ontario, which will be the largest track in Canada.[188] Gordon's stepfather, John Bickford, serves as the general manager of the project.[189]

On February 12, 2015, Gordon was hired by sponsor Axalta Coating Systems as global business advisor, working in the automotive refinishing, OEM, commercial vehicle and industrial business departments.[190]

Career achievements[edit]

Gordon drove this 2015 Corvette Z06 as the honorary pace car driver for the 99th Indianapolis 500
Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Gene Conti and Gordon unveiling a sign for the Jeff Gordon Expressway

Awards and honors[edit]


Records and milestones[edit]

Gordon with a commemorative wine bottle celebrating his wins at Sonoma Raceway

With 93 career points-paying victories, Gordon is ranked third among the all-time NASCAR Cup Series winners; he is ranked first among those who have competed during the sport's modern era (1972–present).

Gordon holds the records for the most Cup Series victories on restrictor plate tracks (12) and road courses (9), as well as a record six-consecutive road-course wins.[230]

Gordon is the all-time winningest Cup Series driver at the following tracks:

Gordon and former F1 driver Michael Schumacher are the only two racers to earn five victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a single racing series.[94]

In 2009, Gordon became the first NASCAR driver to reach US$100 million in career winnings.[231]

Consecutive starts streak[edit]

For further information, see Iron man (sports streak).

Since making his Cup Series debut in the Hooters 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on November 15, 1992, Gordon never missed a race spanning over 24 consecutive seasons. With 797 starts as of the 2015 Ford EcoBoost 400, Gordon is ninth among all-time Cup Series drivers with the most starts overall.[2]

In 2007, Gordon asked part-time driver Mark Martin if he could be on standby for him to take over the No. 24 car, should he have needed to miss a race to witness the birth of his first child. Daughter Ella Sofia Gordon was born on Wednesday, June 20 in New York City; Gordon traveled to Sonoma, California later that week to compete in the Toyota Save/Mart 350 on June 24. In 2010, Gordon similarly asked road course ringer Scott Pruett to be on standby for him at Watkins Glen due to the impending birth of his second child.[173] Although Gordon let Pruett run a couple practice laps in Gordon's car, Gordon was able to start and complete the race without Pruett's assistance. Son Leo Benjamin Gordon was born less than a day after the race's conclusion. In 2014, Gordon had Regan Smith on standby for the Coca-Cola 600, as Gordon suffered from back spasms during qualifying and practice. Gordon was able to start and complete the race as scheduled.[232]

On September 27, 2015, at New Hampshire, Gordon started his 789th consecutive race, becoming NASCAR's iron man, passing Ricky Rudd, who started 788 consecutive races from 1981–2005.[233] Gordon ended his career with 797 races consecutively started.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

Further information: Jeff Gordon in popular culture

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 79th
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 4th
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 36 4 14 23 3 2348 6th
2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 36 1 5 21 4 5038 3rd
2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hendrick Motorsports 7 0 0 1 0 126 38th
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 804 93 325 476 81
NASCAR Busch Series 73 5 21 32 12
International Race of Champions 24 1 12 22 0


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

Sprint Cup Series[edit]

Daytona 500[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
2015 1 33

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]

(key) (Bold – Pole position. * – Most laps led.)

See also[edit]



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Gordon, Jeff; Steve Eubanks (2005) [2003]. Jeff Gordon: Racing Back to the Front—My Memoir. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-6416-8. 
Grissom, Glen (2005). Jeff Gordon: The NASCAR Superstar's Story. Motorbooks. ISBN 0-7603-2178-7. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Dale Earnhardt
Terry Labonte
Bobby Labonte
NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion
1997, 1998
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
Preceded by
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Jarrett
Busch Clash winner
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Rusty Wallace
Preceded by
Ricky Rudd
Bobby Labonte
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Newman
Brickyard 400 winner
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Jarrett
Bill Elliott
Tony Stewart
Kyle Busch
Preceded by
Geoff Bodine
Michael Waltrip
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The Winston winner
Succeeded by
Michael Waltrip
Mark Martin
Ryan Newman
Preceded by
Dale Jarrett
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Daytona 500 winner
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Jarrett
Jimmie Johnson
Preceded by
Bill Elliott
Ward Burton
Greg Biffle
Southern 500 winner
1995, 1996, 1997, 1998
Succeeded by
Jeff Burton
Terry Labonte
Kyle Busch
Preceded by
Jimmy Hensley
NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Jeff Burton
Preceded by
Joe Nemechek
NASCAR Busch Grand National Series Rookie of the Year
Succeeded by
Ricky Craven
Preceded by
Al Unser, Jr.
Jimmy Vasser
Tony Stewart
Best Driver ESPY Award
1998, 1999
Succeeded by
Jimmy Vasser
Dale Jarrett
Jimmie Johnson
Preceded by
Tony Stewart
Kevin Harvick
Tony Stewart
EA Sports NASCAR cover athlete
Succeeded by
Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Elliott Sadler