By Michele Rahal -

Perhaps this is a bold statement: Jeff Gordon is the only NASCAR driver of the modern era who could have made it to Formula One and had the potential to be a multiple World Champion.

Unfortunately, he suffered the same slings and arrows of abandonment by the open wheel world that many have. No one gave him a chance. IndyCar and Formula One’s loss, NASCAR’s gain.

Gordon’s win at Martinsville and his elevation in the Chase standings prove that the will to win, to never quit and to dig deep in the face of such steep competition are but a few of the attributes he possesses that would have propelled him to the top on the Global stage.

The villagers with pitchforks and torches aside, Gordon had/has exactly what it takes to perform at this level. The remaining Sprint Cup NASCAR drivers in the field today do not.

Many fans dont realize that Earnhardt, Sr and Gordon were friends. It was Earnhardt who gave Gordon the nickname “Wonderboy”.

When the name Jeff Gordon comes up in conversation with fans it evokes one of two reactions: They love him or ‘think’ they hate him. The flaw in these polarizing reactions is simple: They don’t know him.

That’s somewhat understandable considering the level of fame he’s achieved; it’s hard to get to know him. However, that’s for those who haven’t met him and looked beyond the defense mechanisms that celebrities have to use, which is hard to do, unless you’ve grown up around many, many celebrities. You learn how to look over the fence.

My family has been in the racing business since 1952 and I’ve met some of the world’s greatest and most unusual drivers, so I don’t have the typical reaction of most. Celebrity is a man made environment that just doesn’t matter to me. I’m more interested in the person.

I’ve met Jeff Gordon twice. Both times in settings that were...

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