© photo courtesy of the family of Jeff Gordon
Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion. Three-time Daytona 500 winner. Four-time Brickyard 400 winner. And the list goes on. Jeff Gordon has combined determination, hard work and decades of experience to achieve an unparalleled roster of victories. His fans expect only the best from him, and they are rewarded at every turn with Gordon's racing agility that defines the skill of the sport.
Jeff was five when he began running laps at a makeshift racetrack that he and his stepfather, John Bickford, converted from a fairground in his hometown of Vallejo, California. Inspired at an early age by John to be the best he could be in everything he did, Jeff embraced racing with a natural talent and true humility.
The young man from California jumped behind the wheel of a quarter midget and his competitive spirit quickly ignited. "He slipped around the track for days getting used to the car and how to drive it," John says. Jeff didn't do so well in his first year of competition, but he knew he could do it. At just six years of age, Jeff won 35 main events and set five track records. And so it began...
Jeff later took interest in sprint cars because of their size and power. There was one roadblock though--Jeff was only 13 and the rules stated the minimum age to drive the 650 horsepower machines was 16. But Jeff and his family appealed to the insurance companies and their persistence paid off when Jeff was allowed to run in the All Star Florida Speedweeks. He was successful driving sprint cars and the family moved to Pittsboro, Indiana so Jeff could settle and learn in the heart of sprint car country. Racing sprints was the first time Jeff had received national attention, partly due to his young age and partly because of his amazing driving abilities. Success came easily as Jeff captured several track championships at Bloomington Speedway and a title at Eldora Speedway.
When there were no opportunities available in open-wheel racing for Jeff to pursue, someone suggested that he try out the Buck Baker Driving School at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina. When Jeff drove his first laps in a stock car, he declared to his parents that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. What exciting times those were. It was a transition from the traditional open-wheel racing that Jeff was used to, something he had never done before--race a car that had fenders. Jeff met a man named Hugh Connerty, who owned some Hooters restaurants and was a partner in Outback Steakhouse. Hugh secured some funding for a car through Outback, and it went to a test for the Busch Grand National race in Charlotte in 1990. A then unknown figure in the motorsports community from New Jersey by the name of Ray Evernham was asked to come work with Jeff. They ran a few races together to end the 1990 Busch Grand National season.
In 1991, Jeff Gordon and Hugh Connerty amicably parted ways when funding became difficult to secure. After tire testing the No. 1 car for Bill Davis, conversations started between Jeff and Bill and the two entered into a one page agreement for Jeff to drive for the '91 season. Jeff won Rookie of the Year honors driving the Carolina Ford Dealers car that year. Nestle Chocolate, with their Baby Ruth brand, sponsored the car for the 1992 season, and Davis hired Ray Evernham at Daytona that year.
1992 marked the first time the Busch cars ran at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jeff sat on the pole and also won the race, turning many heads in the process. One person who took immediate notice was Rick Hendrick. The rest is history. Jeff became a part of the Hendrick Motorsports family and has continued the winning tradition ever since. His desire to drive was fueled by gritty determination to win races and championships, which has remained throughout an unparalleled career in racing.
At the close of the 2010 racing season, Jeff's 18th in Cup, he had
amassed 82 victories, 69 poles and numerous records.
2011 was a season of change for Jeff and the #24 team. Jeff paired up
with crew chief Alan Gustafson and joined the AARP Foundation's 'Drive
to End Hunger' campaign in a pursuit to end hunger amongst elder
Americans. It proved to be a year of resurgence as Jeff went on to win 3
races including his historic 85th win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which
placed him in sole position of 3rd on the NASCAR All-Time Wins list.
In 2012, Jeff and Alan Gustafson completed their second year together as a driver/crew chief combination. The Drive to End Hunger team finished the year with 2 wins, 2 poles, 11 Top 5's, 18 Top 10's en route to a 10th place points finish. The #24 made it's way to Victory Lane in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in a DuPont celebratory paint scheme highlighting their 20 years of partnership with Jeff Gordon.
The #24 Drive to End Hunger team hopes to carry the momentum from their 2012 season finale win into the 2013 season. With 2 year's experience working together, Jeff and Alan are ready to take on the competition in the all-new Generation-6 Chevy SS race car as they contend for more wins and that coveted 5th championship. Jeff and the #24 team will be partnered with Drive to End Hunger, newly re-branded Axalta Performance Coatings and Pepsi Max throughout the 2013 racing season
|BIRTHDATE||Aug 4, 1971|
|STATUS||Married to Ingrid Vandebosch|
Four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001)
87 Career NASCAR Cup Victories
Third on all-time wins list
72 Career Poles
Third place on all-time pole award winner's list
Three-time Daytona 500 winner
(1997, 1999, 2005)
Four-time Brickyard 400 winner
(1994, 1998, 2001, 2004)
Three-time champion of The NEXTEL All-Star Challenge (1995, 1997, 2001)
Holds a nine road course victories record
Holds a 12 restrictor-plate victories record
1997 Winston Million winner & four-time Winston No Bull 5 winner
Seven-time winner at Darlington Raceway (1995, Spring 1996, Fall 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2007)