Farewell to the Wonderboy Jeff Gordon

While not using the “R-word” (retirement), Jeff Gordon has announced his decision to step down from competing in all 36 Sprint Cup races after the 2015 season. Recently, 18-year old Chase Elliott has been announced as Gordon’s replacement. The up-and-coming star has already won 3 races on the way to the 2014 Xfinity Series championship.

Elliott may take over the NAPA Auto Parts sponsorship and Gordon’s spot on the Hendrick’s team, there are a few areas that Elliott will be unable to replace the Wonderboy.

Since he began his career in 1993, Gordon has won 4 championships and has 92 career wins to his name. While he is not considered the greatest racer in NASCAR history, he certainly holds a firm position in the top five.

While accomplished on the track, one of Gordon’s most notable legacies will be his attitude. Like any serious competitor, Gordon has had his moments of anger. He has had fistfights with plenty of drivers and we all recognize his method of using his front bumper to nudge the competition. Despite this, Gordon has not let his $146 million in winnings change who his is. Gordon is known by millions for his friendly personality and down-to-earth attitude. While interviews offer a little glimpse into who he is, his actions off road show his true character. Instead of spending his millions on personal gain, Gordon has financed multiple charities. The Jeff Gordon Foundation has raised more than $15 million and has donated $1.5 million to help start the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in Rwanda. Gordon was even invited to the White House in order to honor his work in Africa.

It is safe to say that NASCAR will not be able to replace the Gordon legacy. #48 has been accredited with turning the nations eye towards racing and has been contributed with its increase popularity during the 1990’s. Hendricks recently said, “There’s simply no way to quantify Jeff’s impact. 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.”

So what does Gordon plan on doing with all his extra time? Well, a lot of time will be spent with his beautiful wife Ingrid Vandebosch and their young family. We can also expect him to continue his philanthropic activities both home and abroad. Despite taking a step back from racing, Gordon will not be sipping a cold drink by the ocean.

Does this mean we may never see Gordon in a race? Probably not. Gordon may continue to race in a few places here and there, but his chase to the champions stand is over. The 2015 season will be Gordon’s last chance to win it all. The season will also offer the NASCAR nation one last chance to honor this living legend.

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