CONCORD, N.C. – Every legend has a beginning and a unique starting point that leads to greatness. 

For Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports, this involves a chance occurrence at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a roommate who was at the right place at the right time and an unmistakable talent behind the wheel. This is the story of how Gordon got to Hendrick Motorsports for the start of a NASCAR Hall of Fame career as the full-time driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet from 1993 to 2015 and now sees him work as an executive in the organization.

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During an interview with, Gordon recalled how he came to drive for team owner Rick Hendrick. You can watch his answer below. 

"I was just with Rick (Hendrick) the other day and he was telling this story. He was at Atlanta (Motor Speedway) and I was running in the Busch Grand National Series (now NASCAR Xfinity Series) for Bill Davis and driving a Ford. He just happened to be there on a Saturday, which was pretty rare for him. (He) Was walking to a suite along the side of the track and saw smoke rolling off the right rear tire of the car I was driving.

"It made him stop, look and tell the people he was with, 'Let’s see what’s going on here. He’s got a tire going down or he’s blowing up or something.' I just kept going and I was still smoking the tire and he was like 'This driver is going to wreck. Who is this?’

"They said, 'Oh, that’s Jeff Gordon. You might know him from the Thursday Night, Saturday Night Thunder. Let’s keep watching.' I went on and won the race. 

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"The next day he happened to be on campus at Hendrick Motorsports and at that time Jimmy Johnson was who was running Hendrick Motorsports. He walks into this office and says, 'a shame, I think that Gordon kid has a deal with Ford.' It just so happened, one of my roommates, Andy Graves, who was working in the R&D and engineering department, happened to be sitting in there at the time when Rick said this. Jimmy said, 'This is Jeff’s roommate, maybe he can tell us what the deal is.' Andy said, 'I’ll find out but I am pretty sure he doesn’t have a deal next year that locks him in with Ford.'"

"Andy came home and he says, 'Hey, you are not going to believe this. I was in Jimmy Johnson’s office and Rick Hendrick walked in and asked about you.' I think the next day I was at Rick’s office and we were talking about how do we get you to Hendrick Motorsports. At that time, there wasn’t even a third team. It was a two-car operation with Ken Schrader and Ricky Rudd as the drivers. I want to say that was March or April in 1992 and by the end of that year, I was driving in my first race as a rookie and starting my (full-time career) in 1993 with Hendrick Motorsports. From that point, the rest is history."

From there, Gordon went on to win four NASCAR Cup Series championships – including the first for Rick Hendrick in 1995 – and 93 points-paying victories in the sport’s top series. The latter mark ranks third on the all-time wins list and is one of several marks that he leads all drivers at in the history of Hendrick Motorsports. Off the track, he became the first driver to host Saturday Night Live in 2003 and changed the face of the sport across three decades. In 2019, Gordon was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. 

Since the beginning of 2022, Gordon has served as the vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports. The role sees Gordon working in a variety of different areas from marketing to competition and everything in between. 

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"I’ve always known about the magic of all the people here and heard Rick (Hendrick) talk so much over the years about 'it’s all about the people,'" Gordon said. "Now, I get to have those relationships and see what is happening in other departments on another level like I’ve never been able to before. That is exciting.

"It does truly make me proud of all of the input that comes from every employee, what their role is and how none of what happens on the race weekends – the championships and the wins – none of that is possible without everybody. I love to be able to interact with them."