When it comes to word association, Jeff Gordon and NASCAR are synonymous. Gordon’s legacy in the sport is massive and he is one of the most popular figures in racing. His career spawns over 25 years racing in the Sprint and the Busch Series.
Here’s what you need to know about No. 24:
1. This is His Final Year Racing Full Time
Gordon announced in a press conference that he would no longer race full time after the 2015 season. The 43-year-old Gordon said this is not his retirement but he will not take part in all 36 races in the Sprint Cup Series next year.
2. Gordon Won the Daytona 500 3 Times
Gordon won the Daytona 500 three times in his career. The last time he won the race was in 2005. Winning the recent “Great American Race” pole, Gordon will lead the field in this year’s Daytona 500. Gordon’s received a Derek Jeter-like farewell tour from the NASCAR world, which he does not let distract him.
“It’s kind of all or nothing for me. I got one last chance. I can take chances,” he said. “Yeah, I want to win the championship. I want points. But right now it’s the Daytona 500. All I want to focus on is winning the Daytona 500. I’m just enjoying the ride, enjoying the moment.”
3. He Participated in 761 Straight Races
Gordon raced in 761 consecutive races. The record for most consecutive races in NASCAR history is 788 held by Ricky Rudd. If Gordon races in all 36 races this season like he claims he will, he’ll hold the NASCAR record.
4. Jeff Gordon has Many Sponsors
Gordon’s main sponsors include AARP, Pepsi, Panasonic, Chevrolet, Valvoline, and Axalta. Some of these sponsors like Pepsi and Panasonic are unrelated to automobiles but endure a relationship with Gordon’s organization, Hendrick’s Motorsports. Chevrolet, Valvoline and Axalta all relate to car driving and promote their product through NASCAR. AARP endorses there company as a part of their “Drive To End Hunger” campaign.
5. He is the Only NASCAR Driver to Host Saturday Night Live
Gordon hosted the famous sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, which just celebrated its 40th year on television. Gordon hosted the show in January 2003 and Avril Lavigne was the musical guest. Gordon is friends with show-runner Lorne Michaels and expressed he wants to host the show again.