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.
In his 16 years racing in NASCAR's elite series, Jeff has earned four championships, more than 80 wins, 67 poles, numerous records and has gathered memories to last a lifetime. Despite not visiting Victory Lane during the recent 2008 season, Jeff scored four poles, 13 top-five finishes and 19 top-ten finishes, landing him seventh in the points. He has finished in the top 15 in points every year of his full-time Cup Series career with an average season-ending finish of fifth.
Jeff takes to the asphalt in 2009 driving a brand-new color scheme on the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet Impala SS and is hungrier than ever to go after some victories and a fifth championship title.
Birthdate: Aug 4, 1971
Resides: Vallejo, CA
Hometown: Pittsboro, IN
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Sprint Cup Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup