Born on August 4, 1971, in Vallejo, California, Jeff Gordon began competitive auto racing at age five.
He notched four Series Cup championships after joining NASCAR’s top circuit in 1992, his popularity helping to expand the sport’s appeal to a mainstream audience.
Dale Earnhardt, Sr. respected the young Gordon when he entered the series and began to win a lot of races.
Jeff was ‘The Man’ during his career. Many companies wanted to work with him.
Here’s Jeff at the Driver’s Meeting before the Brickyard 400. You’re not supposed to take photos in here, but my photographer didn’t know that, lol.
Among NASCAR’s all-time leaders in victories, Gordon announced he was stepping down as a full-time driver in early 2015.
Jeffrey Michael Gordon was born on August 4th, 1971, in Vallejo, CA.
Parents Will and Carol divorced shortly after he was born. Carol began dating a co-worker named John Bickford.
Bickford stoked Jeff’s interest in auto racing before becoming his stepfather.
Gordon began racing BMX bikes at age four, and the following year he slipped behind the wheel of a quarter midget for his first competitive driving experience.
He won the national quarter-midget championship at ages 8 and 10, and continued to dominate older children in go-kart events.
When Gordon was 13, the family moved to Pittsboro, Indiana, so he could race powerful sprint cars without the obstacle of a minimum age requirement.
After joining the United States Auto Club at 16, he won the organization’s National Midget championship at 19 and its’ Silver Crown championship the following year.
Having taken an interest in stock cars, Gordon earned a chance to race for owner Hugh Connerty in NASCAR’s Busch Grand National Series in 1990.
He joined Bill Davis’s team the following year, his first on the circuit full-time, and was named Rookie of the Year.
Gordon soon caught the eye of owner Rick Hendrick, who marveled at the young driver’s control of his vehicle.
Gordon signed with Hendrick in May 1992, and he made his Winston Cup Series debut that November in what turned out to be auto legend Richard Petty’s final NASCAR race.
Named the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year in 1993, Gordon broke through with victories in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994.
With crew chief Ray Evernham and his “Rainbow Warriors” helping to keep the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet in top form, Gordon claimed his first series championship in 1995.
Gordon helped transform auto racing from a regional spectacle into a mainstream sport.
His corporate image rubbed some of racing’s old guard the wrong way, but even the critics had to acknowledge his immense skills.
Gordon became the youngest driver to triumph at the Daytona 500 in 1997 and tied a modern record with 13 victories in 1998, finishing both years as the series champion.
He notched a fourth championship in 2001 with new crew chief Robbie Loomis in tow, culminating an amazing stretch that produced 56 victories in seven years.
Here’s an autograph card made by Quaker State.
Jeff made hundreds of driver appearances over the years for all of his sponsors. Here we are in Arkansas, at a Wal-Mart.
Jeff’s merchandise hauler always had an eye catching design.
And there was always a crowd at his hauler, buying merchandise.
Jeff had fans of all ages and especially children.
Jeff was a lot like Dale Earnhardt, Sr., in that fans either loved him or loved to hate him.
A fifth championship proved elusive, but Gordon continued to rank among NASCAR’s elite.
He won his third Daytona 500 in 2005, and in 2007 he accumulated a modern-record 30 Top-10 finishes en route to a second-place finish in the standings.
Bothered by back problems in 2008, Jeff proved more than capable of keeping up with the sport’s young guns in 2014, notching a record fifth Brickyard 400 trophy among his four victories.
Gordon announced in January 2015 that the upcoming season would be his last as a full-time NASCAR driver.
At the time, his 92 career victories were third most all-time, and his four championships ranked fourth.
He launched the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation in 1999 to help fund pediatric cancer research. In 2006, he opened the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord, North Carolina.
Previously married to Brooke Sealey, a former Miss Winston, Gordon married Belgian model Ingrid Vandebosch in 2006. They have two children, Ella and Leo.
These next 2 photos are from the Brickyard 400 in 2 different years.
Can you notice any differences?
This design looks great, but I prefer the flames.
Jeff was a fan favorite and a Media Darling. He was interviewed everywhere he went.
My photographer friend took these next 3 shots. I think they’re pretty good.
You never see photos like this.
Jeff was always easy to work with.
When I was working with Jeff, you always expected to stay late because of Winner’s Circle activities. We just thought Jeff would win at every race, and often he did.
The Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 were my favorite races to work. The photo below is from the Brickyard.
As well as this one also.
A lot of drivers in the veteran ranks didn’t care too much for Jeff’s pretty boy good looks, but the media loved him and he helped bring the sport into mainstream entertainment.
Jeff’s car is on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.
Jeff holds the record for most NASCAR wins at the Brickyard 400, which is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He has 5 victories.
Can you tell which championship this was?, lol.
Having an autographed champions photo is pretty cool.
I know a lot of people who would have loved to get into the garage area and get a photo next to their favorite drivers’ car.
This was the last time I was able to get a pic with Jeff’s car before he retired.
Driving instructors gave me rides around tracks all over the country when I was there for the Driving School.
I was able to drive the number 24 car around Charlotte Motor Speedway, in the heart of NASCAR country.
I was involved in several Winner’s Circles over the years.
It was my job, on this day of the Daytona 500, to chaperone Bill Goldberg, the wrestler, around the track. He was happy Jeff won and thought going to Winner’s Circle was very cool.
This was Jeff’s 4th championship. I’m happy to have a photo of Jeff, Rick Hendrick and I.
Hendrick Motorsports gave out championship rings to a lot of people involved with the team. My sister received a championship pendant.
Some of the corporate people got rings as well, sized to their fingers and with their names on them.
It burned my ass to see some guys selling their rings online. I’ll never get rid of mine. I worked too hard for it.
I worked the Brickyard 400 every year, so it was nice to get a ring with my name on it.
Working with Sam Hornish, Jr. in the IndyCar series was fun and winning two championships was even better.
The side panel of my ring has both years on it… ’01 & ’02.
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