NASCAR: Gordon Steps Away from Full-Time after 2015 Season
So last year (2014 – my rookie season) I tried as hard as I could to leave the “fan” in me out in the car when I pulled up to a race track. I didn’t want to be that guy trying to report on the racing as a whole and have someone think I am showing favoritism to any one driver. Seriously though, its impossible to not be a fan! I have my favorite divisions and I have my favorite drivers within those divisions – no crime there right?
If you know me personally then you already know who I am a fan of on the NASCAR circuit, if you barely know me but follow me on Facebook it’s probably pretty easy to put two-and-two together and at least make an educated guess. If you are still having some troubles we will just clear those up right now, there is no shame in my game when I say I am a very big Jeff Gordon fan! Have been since, well since I can remember honestly!
Can I honestly say this announcement came to a shock, no because that would be a lie. As a die-hard fan could I say that I am happy with it, again no not really! Is it something I, and all the other Gordon fans are going to have to deal with… YUP! Now this announcement doesn’t mean Gordon will be out of the business, nor do I think it means he will follow in some of the other legends of the past and step into the broadcast booth.
I personally feel that Gordon is simply stepping out of the cockpit and will be involved more so in the business side of Hendrick Motorsports. You have to remember, Gordon is part owner of the #48 team along side with Mr. Rick Hendrick. I am feeling something along the lines of a Director of Competition or something of the such. Gordon is to big of a name/face and has too much knowledge of the game to hang it up for good. Just my opinion but I feel he wants a way to take a small step back to be with his family and be apart of his kids lives but still doing something he loves and has been apart of for over a decade!
If you have not yet read some type of post floating around bellow is an article from NASCAR.com that I have included. Please feel to leave a comment with your thoughts on this issue.
The four-time champion announced the news to his No. 24 team Thursday, saying he hesitated using the word “retirement” as he enters his 23rd and final full-time season.
“As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said in a release provided by the team. “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.”
Gordon, 43, signed a lifetime contract in 1999 with team owner Rick Hendrick, who first brought him into stock-car racing’s big leagues at the end of the 1992 season. He scored four victories in last season’s resurgent campaign, bringing his career victory total to 92, third-most on NASCAR’s all-time list. The rest of his stellar portfolio — including three Daytona 500 wins and a record five Brickyard 400 victories — boasts all the credentials for automatic first-ballot induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Gordon had joked ahead of the 2014 season that he would retire on the spot if he were to claim his fifth title, but his rejuvenating run deep into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs seemed to quell any retirement buzz. On Thursday, Gordon said that while his driving days may be coming to a close, he’ll continue to stay active in the sport.
“I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing,” said Gordon, who is a part-owner of Hendrick’s No. 48 team driven by teammate Jimmie Johnson. “I’m a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I’m passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I’m a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come.
“It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that’s stood behind me every step of the way.”
Gordon first caught Hendrick’s eye in what is now the NASCAR XFINITY Series in March 1992 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with the veteran team owner marveling about the young driver’s car control, even as he seemed on the brink of losing control. Eight months later, Gordon made his debut for Hendrick at the same Georgia track in what signaled a passing of the torch in the NASCAR driver ranks. King Richard Petty said farewell in his final NASCAR start, and Gordon — who cut his teeth through the sprint-car circuit — said hello to the world of stock-car racing, paving the way for what became a dynasty for the rest of the decade.
“There’s simply no way to quantify Jeff’s impact,” Hendrick said in the team release. “He’s one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There’s been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners.”
Article Excerpt by Zack Albert, NASCAR.com