Jeff Gordon was born August 4, 1971 in Vallejo, California. He currently drives the #24 Dupont/Pepsi/United States National Guard Chevrolet Impala in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Gordon began driving go-karts on a makeshift racetrack with his stepfather at the age of five, and was driving quarter midgets by six. He won 35 main events and set five track records in his first season of competition, and would go on to dominate every series he participated in during his early years. When he was just 13, his family had to appeal to the insurance company and series officials to allow Gordon to run higher-horsepowered sprint cars, which had a minimum age requirement of 16. Based on his precocious nature on the track and stellar record, he was allowed to compete, and immediately began beating drivers much older.
Gordon’s family moved to Pittsboro, Indiana when he was a teenager in order to let his blossoming talent develop in the heartland of open-wheel racing. While in the Indianapolis area, he won several titles at Bloomington Speedway, and a title at famed Eldora Speedway. He moved into USAC at in 1989, and was crowned Midget Car Racing Rookie of the Year in his debut season. During his midget car career, which lasted from 1989 to 1992, Gordon won the “Night Before the 500,” hosted at O’Reilly Raceway Park on the eve of the Indianapolis 500, on two occasions, and also won the famed Hut Hundred in Terre Haute, Indiana on his way to capturing the USAC national Midget title in 1990. He then became the youngest driver to ever win the season championship in the USAC Silver Crown series the following year.
When he couldn’t find a ride in CART, the precursor to the IZOD IndyCar Series, Gordon moved into stock cars. He debuted in the Busch Series, NASCAR’s feeder series, and won Rookie of the Year in 1991, and then set a record by capturing 11 poles in 1992. He made his NASCAR debut in the last race of the ’92 season, greatly impressing future team owner Rick Hendrick in the process.
He went full-time in NASCAR the following season, and despite his youthful age and tendency to push the car too hard, oftentimes resulting in a crash, it was clear Gordon had the talent to be a future star in the series. He won his first race in 1994 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, and he hasn’t looked back since, winning 82 events in his 18-year career.
He’s also sat on the pole 68 times, and has three Daytona 500 victories, and is a four-time winner of the Brickyard 400, held every summer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He also won the series championship on four occasions (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001). Gordon and his team are referred to as the “Rainbow Warriors” because of the distinctive and colorful Dupont paint scheme. Gordon has been associated Hendrick Motor Sports for the entirety of his career.
He currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife Ingrid Vandebosch and daughter Ella Sofia.
|Jeff Gordon talks fame, NASCAR, and much more|
|Jeff Gordon wins the 1994 Brickyard 400.|
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