Jeff Gordon is an iconic personality in the universe of NASCAR. He was born on August 4, 1971 in Vallejo, California. Gordon began competitive auto racing at the early age of five. His popularity grew as he continuously superseded his own records and those of other top racers. Gordon announced in 2015 that he was stepping down as a full-time driver after a career that was dotted with victories.
Gordon’s parents, Will and Carol were separated soon after his birth. Carol soon started dating a co-worker, John Bickford who encouraged Gordon’s interests in auto-racing. At the age of four, Gordon’s step-father, John Bickford gave him a BMX racing bike which he began riding at that age. A year later, Gordon rode a quarter midget for his first competitive racing experience.
By the time he turned eight, Gordon won the national quarter midget championship. He continuously outran other children in go-karting events. At the age of thirteen, Gordon’s family moved to Pittsboro, Indiana where there was no minimum age requirement for racing powerful sprint cars. He joined the United States Auto Club at sixteen and three years later, at the age of nineteen, Gordon had proved his mettle in the club’s National Midget championship. The following year he also grabbed the Silver Crown Championship.
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His Career in NASCAR
Gordon’s interest in stock cars gave him the chance to race for owner Hugh Connerty in NASCAR’s eminent Busch Grand National Series held in 1990. A year later, he joined Bill Davis’ team and earned the title of ‘Rookie of the year’ on his first full-time circuit.
His superb driving skills did not go unseen. Rick Henrick, found him to be of great potential which soon led to Gordon signing up with Hendrick in 1992. Gordon entered the Winston Cup series in November that year – the same race was Richard Petty’s final NASCAR race.
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He won the title of the Winston Cup Rookie of the year in 1993 and soon began to race in many championships. In 1994, he won the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the same year he also claimed victory in the Brickyard 400 which took place in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.His first victory in series championship was in 1995. His crew chief Ray Evernham along with his Rainbow Warriors ensured that Gordon’s No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet was in the best form.
Gordon’s ceaseless victories and his polished persona helped in the transformation of auto racing which eventually became a mainstream sport rather than a regional event. In 1997, Gordon won the Daytona 500 and became the youngest driver to stand victorious in the event. By 1998 Gordon had a modern record of 13 victories and by 2001 his total victories rose to 56 in a span of seven years. The same year he had a new crew chief Robbie Loomis.
Gordon was ranked as NASCAR’s elite and his continuous winnings proved them to be right. Despite continuous success, Gordon announced in January 2015 that the year will be his last season in his career of full time racing. The final race of his Sprint Cup career was at the 2015 Ford Eco Boost 400 where he finished sixth.
Once he decided to step down from his full time racing career, Jeff Gordon decided to move to the broadcasting booth. On April 10, 2015, he made his debut as a broadcaster on Fox Sports 1 when the network covered the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300. A month later, he announced that he will be joining Fox Sports as a full time analyst for Cup series events.
Gordon launched the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation in 1999 which supports the research of pediatric cancer. Jeff Gordon also opened the Jeff Gordon’s children hospital in 2006 in Concord, North Carolina. In 2007, he founded the Athletes for Hope in collaboration with other sports personalities. It is a charitable organization which motivates professional athletes to get involved in charitable causes. Additionally it also encourages many non-athletes to volunteer as well as support the community.
He was married to Brooke Sealey who was a former Miss Winston. However, the marriage did not work and in 2006 he married Ingrid Vandebosch who is a popular Belgian model. The couple lives in the SouthPark neighborhood of Charlotte North Carolina with their children Ella and Leo.
Gordon is known for his famed career in NASCAR and his philanthropic acts which intend to make the world a better place to live in.
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