Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon opens the 2014 season with crew chief Alan Gustafson for the fourth consecutive year. In 2013, the duo posted one win, eight top-five finishes, 17 top-10s, and two poles positions on the way to a sixth-place result in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Gordon extended his streak to 21 consecutive seasons with a pole and 21straight years of scoring 11 or more top-10s – both are the longest current streaks among active drivers.
Gordon caught the racing bug when he was 5 years old, eventually winning the 1979 and 1981 Quarter Midget national championships and following that up with championships in the 1990 USAC Midget division and in the 1991 USAC Silver Crown division. In 1991, Gordon caught the attention of team owner Rick Hendrick during the March Nationwide race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Hendrick signed the youngster to come on board to drive the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet in 1992.
Gordon’s first start in the Cup Series in November 1992 signaled the changing of an era as it was Richard Petty’s final NASCAR event. In his first full-time Cup season in 1993, Gordon became the first driver to ever win rookie of the year honors in NASCAR’s top two series (Nationwide Series 1991) and became the first rookie in 30 years to win a qualifying race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. In 1994, Gordon continued to check off milestones by posting his first career win in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and capturing the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Gordon became the youngest champion in NASCAR’s modern era in only his third full season. Gordon also took home the championship trophy in the 1997, 1998 and 2001 seasons. During those years, Gordon’s notable statistics included becoming the youngest driver to ever win the Daytona 500 in 1997, earning 13 wins in the 1998 season – tied the modern-era records with 13 wins and four wins in a row - became the youngest driver in history to achieve 50 wins in 2000 and recorded sixth straight wins at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.
Gordon’s championship in 2001 made him only the third driver to win more than three championships at the time. In 2004, Gordon became the only stock car driver to win at Indianapolis four times and became only the fourth driver in motor sports history to win at the racetrack. 2007 was a season that created milestones for Gordon; he finished with 30 top-10s – a single season record for the most top-10s in the modern era – set an all-time record for most career restrictor-plate wins (12) and moved to sixth all-time in wins (81) and fourth all-time in career poles (63). Prior to the start of the 2013 season, Gordon remains first in restrictor-plate wins, but now ranks third all-time in wins (87) and third in all-time poles (72).
Gordon’s on-track successes are many but his notable endeavors aren’t just limited to race day.
Off the track, Gordon, wife Ingrid, daughter Ella and son Leo live in Charlotte, N.C. Thankful for his two healthy children and his successful career, Gordon seeks to help children gain their own victories over pediatric cancer through the work of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation.
Gordon began supporting organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society early in his career after Ray Evernham, then Gordon’s crew chief, learned his son had been diagnosed. In 1992, Gordon took his support a step further and established his foundation in hopes of helping children facing critical illnesses realize their dreams. What started as a small project driven by one special child has grown into an organization that has granted nearly $14 million for children’s charities.
Through the years, Gordon has been dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has established a long-term relationship with Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis – providing funding for new construction, equipment and, most recently, contributing $1.5 million to establish The Jeff Gordon Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Laboratory.
The Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital at Carolina’s Medical Center-Northeast opened its doors in Concord, N.C., in December 2006, and is now in its sixth year of service to children. Gordon actively participates in the continued growth of the hospital, providing funding for state-of-the-art equipment as well as spending time with patients and their families.