FORT WORTH, Texas. – While this weekend’s event at Texas Motor Speedway is not a swap meet, Jeff Gordon only wants a cowboy hat and six-shooters after he gives his Corvette away.
Friday night, live on “Trackside” on SPEED, Gordon’s personal 2010 Z06 Chevrolet Corvette will be given away to one of these three finalists of the 2011 raffle: Fred Baker of Florida, Ira Feldman of New York or Jay Nadal of Florida.
Nearly $500,000 in proceeds raised from the program will benefit the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation’s efforts to support the research and treatment needs of pediatric cancer patients.
“This is always a cool day for me when I get to hand over the keys to my Corvette,” Gordon said. “While it usually occurs this weekend in Texas, this is the first time the winner is not yet known.
“I appreciate SPEED's support of the Foundation through the years, and for the opportunity to determine the winner live on one of their shows.”
On Sunday, Gordon hopes he is the winner – and recipient of a cowboy hat and six-shooters. In 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts in The Lone Star state, Gordon has a lone win (2009), two pole positions (2008 and 2009), seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s.
“This place has really turned into a fantastic track,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet. “When we first came here, it was a really, really challenging racetrack. It was fast and the transitions were really abrupt.
“It was hard to just stay out of the wall. But as the surface has worn and as we've gotten the cars handling better, it’s become one of the premier tracks. It's always been one of the premier facilities, but the racetrack itself has really come into its own and made great racing, as well.”
Results-wise, Texas always has been hit or miss for the No. 24 team. Gordon’s career started with four finishes of 25th or worse before he reeled off four consecutive top-five finishes. Recently, that elusive victory in 2009 was his fifth top-10 in six races, but Gordon has not had a top-10 since.
“I don’t go into a race with any expectations based on recent results,” said Gordon. “Once we get the green flag, I’ll see what my car does in (Turns) 1 and 2.
“Then I’ll go to Turns 3 and 4 and see what it does there. I’ll evaluate it as the race goes on and try to provide (crew chief) Alan Gustafson with the best information so he can make the right adjustments.”
Which could earn Gustafson at least a tip from Gordon’s (new cowboy?) hat in Victory Lane.