NOTE: many of the links in the past news will be old and may not work
decided it was not worth the time to go thru each one on all the Team Past News pages
Study names NASCAR's Social Media Leaders: Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and #48-Jimmie Johnson are among NASCAR's strongest and most engaging users of social media, a new social media study of the NASCAR industry finds. The study – conducted by Tuckahoe Strategies, a strategic communications firm - scored drivers, teams and select NASCAR sponsors and partners on a 20-point scale. Joe Gibbs Racing topped the charts with a Social Media Score of 15 points, Hendrick trailed by one point at 14 points and Johnson scored 13 points.
Gibbs' online accounts comprise one of the broadest social media strategies for reaching fans of the sport. The team site, www.joegibbsracing.com, is up to date with timely features, and the homepage points to six social media platforms, including a mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry or Droid. The team maintains active social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and FourSquare. Hendrick also has an active and diverse menu of social media platforms including a mobile app. Gibbs' social media score bested Hendrick's by a single point because of its slightly more effective home page promotion of its social media platforms.
Johnson is the most comprehensive user of social media among drivers. He reaches his audience on a broad array of platforms including: Facebook, 657,062 page likes; Twitter, 348,402 followers; YouTube, 265 subscribers; and Instagram, with an industry-leading 60,618 followers. Johnson's social media reach (the sum of all social media followers across platforms) is 1,066,347. This veritable "media machine" has a following larger than the circulation of the Los Angeles Times, which is the fourth largest newspaper in the country.
The sport's largest audience holder and content curator across the board is NASCAR. The sanctioning body regained a voice and a direct connection to its fan base this year after repossessing control of its online assets in a January 2012 agreement with Turner Sports Interactive. NASCAR's total social media reach is an astronomical 5,044,070, more than double the daily circulation of the largest U.S. newspaper, The Wall Street Journal. In fact, NASCAR commands the industry's top position in terms of audience on Facebook likes (3,239,504), Twitter followers (841,027) and YouTube subscribers (5,430). The sanctioning body also has 1,420 followers on Pinterest and a staggering 956,689 circles on Google+.(Tuckahoe Strategies)(1-10-2013)
DuPont will continue sponsorship of Gordon: DuPont's sale of its automotive paint division will not affect the brand's sponsorship of Jeff Gordon in 2013, spokesperson Jon Edwards confirmed Friday. Questions about Gordon's sponsorship arose last August when private equity firm the Carlyle Group announced it would acquire DuPont Performance Coatings for $4.9 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013. "DuPont Performance Coatings, LLC. will be the primary sponsor on the #24 Chevrolet SS for 14 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in 2013. CromaxPro, a DuPont Performance Coatings, LLC. product, will be featured as a major associate in all remaining races," Edwards said in an email Friday. DuPont was also the primary sponsor for 14 races last year. According to Edwards the No. 24 DuPont car paint scheme and schedule will be made available in the near future. The sponsorship commitment ends after the 2013 season.(As the World Turns Left)(1-6-2013)
Gordon to appear on "I Get That a Lot": #24- Jeff Gordon will be featured in a one-hour special of "I GET THAT A LOT," airing Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on the CBS Television Network. Other celebrities appearing in the special include actress Jane Seymour, actor and comedian Cheech Marin, former Olympian Bruce Jenner, late actor Larry Hagman and Phil Keoghan from "The Amazing Race." "I GET THAT A LOT" features celebrities tricking everyday citizens in cases of supposed "mistaken identity." Working ordinary jobs, the celebrities confuse customers who can't decide if it's the actual celebrity or an astonishing look-alike.(NASCAR), see a clip from the show on Jeff Gordon's website.(1-5-2013)
2012 Races  that Drive to End Hunger / AARP is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Daytona, Bud Shootout, 2/18
Daytona - 2/26
Phoenix - 3/4
Bristol - 3/18, with Chase Card Services
Auto Club - 3/25
Martinsville - 4/1
Kansas - 4/22
Darlington - 5/12, Charlotte 1 Million
Charlotte - 5/27, with Chase Card Services
Sonoma - 6/24
Kentucky - 6/30
Indianapolis - 7/29, with Chase Card Services
Pocono - 8/5
Watkins Glen - 8/12
Michigan - 8/19
Bristol - 8/25, FarmVille
Richmond - 9/8, with Chase Card Services
New Hampshire - 9/23
Dover - 9/30, with Chase Card Services
Talladega - 10/7
Charlotte - 10/13, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Texas - 11/4
2012 Races  that DuPont is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Las Vegas - 3/11
Texas - 4/14
Richmond - 4/28
Talladega - 5/6
Dover - 6/3
Pocono - 6/10
Michigan - 6/17
New Hampshire - 7/15
Atlanta - 9/2
Chicago - 9/16
2012 Races  that Pepsi Max is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Daytona - 7/7
Martinsville - 10/28
AARP Foundation On Jeff Gordon's Heisman Humanitarian Award: AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins today released the following statement on Jeff Gordon's 2012 Heisman Humanitarian Award. Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, becomes the seventh recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, which recognizes people in the sports world who demonstrate notable commitment to helping improve the lives of other people. "The Heisman Trophy Trust's recognition of Jeff confirms something we've known for a while – that he is as great a person off the track as he is behind the wheel of a racecar. Jeff's commitment to philanthropy and helping others in need was a critical factor in the decision by AARP and AARP Foundation that NASCAR could be a good platform for our work to help end the problem of older adult hunger. Since launching Drive to End Hunger, Jeff has been a committed champion to helping people who struggle to put food on the table. Whether he's winning races or packaging meals to help hungry older adults, we couldn't have a better champion than Jeff Gordon. While this award celebrates the contributions that Jeff has made over the years, we are particularly excited about what is still to come. There are nearly nine million older Americans who face the risk of hunger. The fight against older adult hunger is the contest of a lifetime, and Jeff – like AARP Foundation – hates to lose." Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger, the initiative has donated more than 14.6 million meals and driven corporate and individual donor commitments with an expected value of more than $17.3 million.(AARP)(12-11-2012)
Gordon-Bowyer still not speaking to each other: #24-Jeff Gordon and #15-Clint Bowyer haven't spoken since Gordon intentionally wrecked Bowyer at Phoenix on Nov. 11, an incident that triggered a garage-area melee between the drivers' crews and earned Gordon a $100,000 fine from NASCAR. Gordon said Thursday that the season-ending activities this week in Las Vegas have been "awkward" because he and Bowyer haven't socialized. Bowyer is popular among the other drivers and considered the life of the party. "It's been awkward because I've always had a good relationship with him, we've always talked and had fun," Gordon said. "That's obviously not the case. I thought he might have gotten over it at least enough to look at me, but he won't even look at me, and when you are in this type of environment, that's going to be odd." Bowyer, meanwhile, still doesn't want to discuss the incident. He and Gordon spoke in the NASCAR hauler at Phoenix, but haven't talked since. Bowyer would not talk about it with reporters during the season finale at Homestead and on Thursday indicated he's not ready to resolve the issue with Gordon. He three times tried to change the subject, even once attempting to instead talk about nightclubs before finally growing exasperated. "Good God," he said. "Is that my story I have to talk about?"(in part from the Associated Press)(11-30-2012)
Day Three: Gordon 'Deeply Honored' At Myers Brothers Accolade: Shock and genuine surprise. That was Jeff Gordon's emotional reaction to being named the 2012 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Myers Brothers Award during Thursday's traditional NASCAR/NMPA Myers Brothers Award luncheon at the Encore in Las Vegas. "Oh boy, this is a surprise. I'm having a hard time composing myself," said Gordon, during the Champion's Week event. "Couldn't someone have warned me first?" Named for NASCAR racing pioneers Billy and Bob Myers, the award recognizes individuals and groups which have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. Past recipients are a virtual who's-who of the industry – drivers, owners, track operators, sponsors and members of the media – and include nearly every current member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Gordon's accomplishments are two-fold: his on-track success, which includes four NASCAR Sprint Cup championships and 87 victories; and his charitable activities when not competing.
"Off the track, he has raised countless funds for charity through his foundation for pediatric cancer research," said Burt Myers, grandson of Billy Myers, upon presenting the award with brother Jason Myers to Gordon. "He has traveled to Rwanda to aid with health care as well as partnering with an organization to put it on the side of his race car as a drive to end hunger." "I am deeply honored, proud of the work that I do on and off the track," said Gordon. "This is fantastic. Thank you."
NASCAR Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Office Brian France congratulated 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup champions Brad Keselowski and Roger Penske and the Miller Lite organization. France also commented on the youth movement in the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and first-time events due to take place in both national series in 2013. Also announced at Thursday's luncheon was the NASCAR NMPA Most Popular Driver Award, given to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the 10th consecutive year. This now ties him with Bill Elliott as the only other drivers to be presented the award 10 straight years. Elliott, however, remains the all-time leader with 16 overall. Earlier Thursday, Chevrolet unveiled its next generation NASCAR Sprint Cup car – the new SS model – which, while tested extensively with Ford's Fusion and Toyota's Camry, had its configuration obscured in camouflage. The wraps officially came off today at the Wynn's Encore Theater before hundreds of media members and industry and sanctioning body officials.
Four teams and their drivers displayed their next generation Chevrolets – the #1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Jamie McMurray; #14 Stewart-Haas Racing and Tony Stewart; the #29 Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick and the #48 Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson. "We've both been focusing on a number of important initiatives to build a stronger connection with our fans by incorporating relevant technologies that we're using on today's high-performance Chevrolets, while also creating designs that help our fans make the link between what they see on the track, on the streets and in Chevy showrooms," said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, comparing the SS passenger car with its competition-prepared counterpart. "The new SS won't be mistaken for any other car on the track. It bears a striking resemblance to our production car, the 2014 SS and that will be in showrooms here next fall."
"This thing looks amazing. It looks fantastic," said Gordon. NASCAR President Mike Helton thanked Chevrolet, as well as the sport's other manufacturers, for their collaborative efforts to move NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition forward. "The anticipation going into 2013 is building, it will build over the off season and it'll be, we feel, one of the milestones that we'll look back as we celebrate our history in the future; we'll look back and see 2013 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup car as a very significant milestone for us," said Helton. Thousands of fans lined The Strip – Las Vegas Boulevard – as the top 12 drivers celebrated the conclusion of the 2012 season with the Fourth Annual Victory Lap. Engines rumbled and smoke from burnouts filled the air during the popular event which started and ended at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Additional events Thursday included the NASCAR After The Lap Sponsored by Ford and Coca-Cola, a "tell-all" driver-fan interaction that's quickly become one of the most sought after off-track tickets. Day Three of Champion's Week ended with the presentation of the "Stewie Awards," three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart's sometimes irreverent take on the 2012 season.(NASCAR)(11-30-2012)
Gordon wins at Homestead; Keselowski wins the Championship: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 2nd win of year, 1st win at Homestead and 87th career win.
Ironically, #15-Bowyer finished 2nd followed by #39-Newman, #18-Busch [led the most laps again], #16-Biffle, #56-Truex Jr., #43-Almirola, #29-Harvick, #78-Busch and #88-Earnhardt Jr.
#48-Johnson, who came into the race 20 points behind points leader #2-Keselowski, was leading when he made a pit stop on lap 213, but a lugnut was left off the left rear wheel and Johnson had to pit again, falling to 25th down 1 lap. A few laps later Johnson slowed and headed to pit road, then to the garage with a bad rear gear. That allowed points leader #2-Keselowski to coast and make an extra pit stop to be safe, finishing 15th down a lap. With Johnson falling out, #15-Bowyer, who finished 2nd, moved up to finish 2nd in the points championship. Johnson ended up finishing 36th and 3rd in the points. So #2-Brad Keselowski wins his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship and the first ever for team owner Roger Penske. It is the first time since 1975 that a Dodge driver won the championship and could be the last since Dodge is leaving the sport after this season.
#18-Busch led the most laps, but for the 9th time in a row when leading the most laps, failed to win the race.
There were only 3 cautions for 17 yellow flag laps. There were 19 lead changes among 8 drivers. The average speed was 142.245mph.
The estimated attendence was 76,000 up from 73,000 last November.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Homestead Race Results page (pdf) and see the Official Homestead Race & Points Report (pdf).(11-18-2012)
Gordon regrets actions at Phoenix: #24-Jeff Gordon met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed the incident at Phoenix International Raceway and other topics.
Q. Yeah, really. Behind closed doors maybe, huh? How do you feel after last weekend, and what have you learned from Rick about dealing with that sort of thing?
JEFF GORDON: Well, you know, I mean, the one thing that I'll say - it probably won't be the one thing because I have a feeling that we are going there now - is that last week, the thing that I regret and the thing that I messed up on is that I allowed my anger and my emotions to put me in a position to make a bad choice. I felt like that Clint needed to be dealt with, but that wasn't the right way to go about it, certainly not the right time. And what I hate most about it is that other guys were involved with it and it affected their day. I certainly look back on it and wish I had done things different, and all I can do now is look ahead and look forward and try to come in here and do the best that I can to close out the season on a positive note and put this 20th anniversary Dupont Chevrolet into victory lane.
Q. Jeff, I'm just curious, have you had a chance or have you spoken to Clint or Joey? Has there been any communication between the three of y'all?
JEFF GORDON: I have not spoken to Clint other than at the track on Sunday after the event in the NASCAR hauler. And with Joey, you know, I'm not one that calls right away. I like things to kind of settle down. I'd really rather do face to face, but he called me and so I called him back, and I can't say it went exactly very well. I reached out to him again to try to get together with him here at the track, and I have not been able to speak with him.(see full transcript at Team Chevy)(11-18-2012)
Hendrick seeking first Sprint Cup Series win at Homestead: Hendrick Motorsports has yet to win a Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway despite having five-time Champion Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and some of the top drivers in the sport since the first Sprint Cup Series visit to HMS in 1999. Adding further to this challenge is that fellow Hendrick teammates Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. are also winless at Homestead-Miami Speedway. All told Hendrick Motorsports is 0-51 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon has claimed one Homestead-Miami victory but it was in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2000. Four-time NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon has yet to win on just two tracks…Kentucky and Homestead-Miami Speedway.(HMS)(11-16-2012)
Gordon, DuPont and HMS Celebrate 20th Anniversary: This Thursday marks 20 years to the day when a bright new sponsor took a chance on a rookie driver with a newly formed Hendrick Motorsports team. And the rest, as they say, is history. Jeff Gordon burst on the NASCAR Cup Series scene in a big way at the season-ending race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1992 with global Fortune 500 Company DuPont as a sponsor. The trademark DuPont oval adorned the hood of the famous rainbow-colored No. 24 car designed by renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass to depict the Automotive Finishes paint that DuPont set out to showcase through its sponsorship. Four championships, 86 victories, over 250,000 customers who have been entertained by DuPont through one of the most prolific at-track hospitality programs in the history of the sport, and four DuPont primary paint schemes later, Gordon reflects on the success of the partnership. "DuPont gave a young guy with a dream a shot - and I'll never forget that," said Gordon. "They have been a partner in so many more ways than just sponsoring our team. Over two decades, not only have they supported the business of racing at Hendrick Motorsports and my career, but we have built very strong relationships with all of the DuPont employees. After a few years into the sponsorship, I started to consider myself a DuPont employee - which is an honor. So I just want to thank all of my 'co-workers' for being my most loyal supporters for the last 20 years." DuPont has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials and services since 1802. Many of the company's products help keep drivers safe on the track; from their fire-resistant suits to the SAFER barriers at all raceways to unique, light weight plastic in the HANS device to the DuPont Kevlar in seats and tires of the car. This weekend, the "DuPont 20 Years" celebration will include a special commemorative DuPont paint scheme, a customer event on Saturday night and again in hospitality on race morning. They will celebrate, reflect on the years and all wins at every track on the schedule with the exception of one. Gordon will take to the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday to change that and put an exclamation point on his 20-year career with DuPont.(HMS/Performance PR Plus), see images of the car on the #24 Team Schemes page.(11-14-2012)
NASCAR Issues Penalties From Sunday's Event at Phoenix: NASCAR announced penalties to three teams that compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rule infractions at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 car, was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) – altercation with another competitor on the race track during the race – and has been fined $100,000, docked 25 championship driver points and put on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Rick Hendrick, owner of the #24 car, has also been penalized with the loss of 25 championship owner points. Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the #24 car, also was found to be in violation of Section 9-4A (at all events, crew chief assumes responsibility of his driver, car owner and team members) and has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Brian Pattie, crew chief of the #15 car, violated Sections 12-1 and 9-4A and has been fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 car, has been fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 for violating Sections 12-1 and 20-6.7A (cars and drivers will not be permitted to carry onboard computers, automated electronic recording devices, electronically actuated devices, power distribution modules, power conditioners, micro-processors, recording devices, electronic digital memory chips, traction control devices, digital readout gauges and the like, even if inoperable or incomplete) – driver had a cell phone in his possession onboard the race car. All of these violations occurred during the Nov. 11 event at PIR.
Statement From Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President of Competition: "Following a thorough analysis of the actions that took place during Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway, we have issued penalties based upon our review. The decisions announced today cover NASCAR's full assessment of penalties for the incidents that occurred. There's no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play. We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them."(NASCAR)(11-12-2012)
Hendrick Motorsports Statement: Hendrick Motorsports will not appeal sanctions announced today by NASCAR regarding the #24 Sprint Cup Series team and driver Jeff Gordon. "I've always respected Jeff for standing his ground," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We also respect that NASCAR needs to police the sport and send a message when situations like this occur. It's been a great year, and we're going to put our focus on finishing in a positive way this weekend."
"I take responsibility for my actions on the racetrack," Gordon said. "I accept NASCAR's decision and look forward to ending the season on a high note at Homestead."(HMS)(11-12-2012)
Gordon and Bowyer comment about their 'incident' at Phoenix: on Lap 310 of the AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, there was an incident on track between #24-Jeff Gordon and #15-Clint Bowyer, and then their crews in the pits, a few comments from each driver:
first #24-Jeff Gordon: Gordon: "Things have gotten escalated over the year and I have just had it. Clint (Bowyer) has run into me numerous times, wrecked me and he got into me on the back straightaway, pretty much ruined our day. I have had it, was fed up with it and got him back."
Q) IN THE MELEE IN THE GARAGE DID YOU GET HIT?
Q) ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT ANY PENALTIES?
Gordon: "They've got to do what they've got to do. Just like I had to do what I had to do."
Q) ON INCIDENT:
Gordon: "Clint (Bowyer) has run into me numerous times, wrecked me. He got into me on the back straightaway, and pretty much ruined our day. I had it. That was it, and got him back."
Q) WHAT DID YOU TELL THEM IN THE NASCAR HAULER?
Gordon: "I told them what I just told you."
Q) ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT WHAT COMES NEXT?
"They've got to do what they've got to do, and I guess I had to do what I had to do."(Team Chevy)
next #15-Clint Bowyer:
Q) What happened between you and Jeff Gordon?
Bowyer: "I mean the racing -- it's just a shame. The last person in the world you want to get into anything with is Jeff Gordon on the race track. I mean, you're down there racing, the track's extremely slick, we're all on tires -- I didn't even need to pass him. That's the thing. All I was doing is riding around biding my time. The only thing I had to do is keep the 5 car (Kasey Kahne) within reach, so for him to act like that -- I mean, I barely touched him and then I feel him get into turn three and try to turn me and he missed and then next thing I know Brett's (Griffin, spotter) telling me on the radio that he's trying to -- he's waiting on me. It's pretty embarrassing for a four-time champion -- and what I consider one of the best this sport's ever seen -- to act like that is just completely ridiculous."
Q) What did NASCAR say when you met them after the race?
Bowyer: "I don't know. There's nothing you can do to fix it now. It's over with. You've got to go on to Homestead (-Miami Speedway). I've got to try to beat the 5 car (Kasey Kahne), but I mean that was my opportunity to try to get myself back in the championship hunt. When you're disrupting a championship run like that, it's too bad. They asked us not to do that in the driver's meeting and there's usually a lot of respect there. Like I said, it's crazy -- I didn't even need to pass him. I was plenty content riding behind him and he slipped up down there, I get under him and here he comes back. I just barely touched him. I literally barely rubbed him and then all the sudden I feel him trying to retaliate and -- I don't know -- missed or something and hit the wall and made himself look like a fool."
Q) Will you retaliate?
Bowyer: "We just have to see."
Q) Did Jeff Gordon say anything to you in the meeting with NASCAR after the race?
Bowyer: "Not really -- it's pretty soon to be talking to him (Jeff Gordon)."
Q) Should NASCAR penalize Jeff Gordon?
Bowyer: "You guys have been covering this sport a long time. Same circumstances happened -- what was it, last year or year before and disrupted a championship and I don't understand how that's any different. Like I said, it's over with and done and have to go to Homestead (-Miami Speedway) and do the best we can."(Toyota Racing)(11-12-2012)
Rick Hendrick talks business with students: Students filled up Nelson Auditorium Wednesday night when Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, spoke to members of the N.C. State community. Though geared toward students in the University's Poole College of Management, all N.C. State community and business members could attend the event for free as part of the Wells Fargo Executive Series. The series is intended for business leaders at the national and global levels to share with students their approaches to business, as well as the challenges they face in their respective industries, according to PCOM. Hendrick's message was consistent throughout the night — that a successful business entails teamwork, taking care of all people involved in a company, and possessing the willingness to change at any given moment in time. Hendrick said he grew up on a farm unaware of what he wanted to do as an adult, but knowing that it would not be farming. Hendrick said since the age of 8 he raced cars, and learned how to fix farm equipment from his dad.(see full story at CSU Student Media)(11-10-2012)
Diet Mountain Dew cutting back sponsorship of Earnhardt, Jr.: UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won't have Diet Mountain Dew as a sponsor for as many races in 2013 as he did in 2012, but he's not worried about Hendrick Motorsports finding sponsors for those races. NASCAR's most popular driver will have sponsorship from the Army National Guard for 20 races next year and Diet Mountain Dew for an unspecified number. Mountain Dew sponsored 16 races this year while another Pepsi product, Amp, sponsored four. The National Guard had 18 races this year. Earnhardt is not worried about having an unsponsored car at Hendrick. The organization has had Hendrickcars.com on Kasey Kahne's car for select races this year when it didn't sell sponsorships. "We have more demand than we have supply pretty much," Earnhardt said. "We've got a majority of the season with the Guard and Diet Mountain Dew is going to back off a little bit and that makes it a bit of a challenge to fill that small of a gap. If it were a bit larger gap, it would be easier to fill."(Sporting News)(9-14-2012)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his Hendrick Motorsports team are losing 15 races of sponsorship next season as PepsiCo plans to cut back its sponsorship, according to the SportsBusiness Journal. PepsiCo committed to sponsoring Earnhardt for 20 races in 2012. PepsiCo is working on a $10 million deal with Hendrick Motorsports that would include five races annually with Earnhardt (Diet Mountain Dew and Amp), two races with Jeff Gordon (Pepsi) and one with Kasey Kahne (brand TBA). The beverage company had sponsored Earnhardt and his #88 team for 20 races and Gordon's #24 team for two in each of the past five years. This season, the 20 Earnhardt races were split between Diet Mountain Dew (16 races) and Amp (four races).(Sporting News)(10-22-2012)
Gordon would 'play hurt' if he were close to title: While #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. earned praise for his forthright handling of a concussion after Sunday's race at Talladega, 324-Jeff Gordon, Earnhardt's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, said he may not have taken the same path. Earnhardt sought medical attention for his second concussion in six weeks after failing to do so for the first concussion, sustained Aug. 29 in an accident during testing at Kansas Speedway. Prominent neurologist Dr. Jerry Petty diagnosed the issue this week and opted to hold Earnhardt out at least the next two races, at Charlotte and Kansas. Earnhardt, who qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for the second straight season, starts his enforced hiatus 11th in the standings, 51 points behind leader Brad Keselowski. Realistically, Earnhardt would have been a long shot for the championship. If he were closer to the lead, would he have been as forthcoming with his condition? Gordon said that, personally, he wouldn't seek medical attention with the title on the line. "Honestly, I hate to say this, but no, I wouldn't," Gordon admitted. "That's why I say we all play a part in this. If I have a thought at the championship, there's two races to go, my head is hurting, and I just came through a wreck, and I am feeling signs of it, but I'm still leading the points, or second in the points, I'm not going to say anything. I'm sorry. You know, that's the competitor in me, and probably many other guys. And, that's to a fault. That's not the way it should be. It's something that most of us, I think, would do. I think that's what gets a lot of us in trouble."(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-13-2012)
AARP extends contract with Gordon, Hendrick: Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports announced a contract extension Thursday through 2014 with sponsor AARP and AARP Foundation. The AARP Foundation signed a three-year deal in 2011 with its "Drive to End Hunger" campaign to be Gordon's primary sponsor. It became the first cause-related sponsorship to sign on as primary sponsor for a major race team. The one-year extension gives Drive to End Hunger the opportunity to continue addressing hunger issues among elder Americans. Gordon, a four-time NASCAR champion, has helped deliver food to food banks and has actively supported the cause since partnering with the campaign. The initiative has led to the donation of more than 13 million meals to hungry older Americans and raised more than $17 million through corporate and individual support. Drive to End Hunger is the primary sponsor of Gordon's #24 Chevy in 22 Sprint Cup Series races.(Associated Press/ESPN)(10-4-2012)
Gordon's 'stache gone; stuck throttle at Chicago explained: The mustache is gone, but #24-Jeff Gordon still is optimistic about his title chances that were thwarted by a stuck throttle in Sunday's Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway. The throttle stuck and sent Gordon's #24 Chevy into the wall on lap 188 after he ran in the top 5 most of the race. Gordon finished 35th, leaving him 47 points behind race winner #2-Brad Keselowski. Gordon said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway that the throttle issue was the result of the way a bracket was mounted on the spring return designed especially for him with the new electronic fuel injection system implemented by NASCAR this season. "It's something that I'm surprised didn't happen sooner to us, just the way our bracket was mounted,'' Gordon said as he introduced a Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle paint scheme he will use in the October race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in conjunction with his "Drive To End Hunger'' campaign. "It just broke. "I don't know if it was due to vibration. Whatever caused it for this weekend to happen, it's our mistake. It's something that shouldn't have happened and it won't happen again.'' Gordon said engineers at Hendrick Motorsports are working to correct the issue for this weekend's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "It didn't stick wide open,'' Gordon said. "It just stuck enough to where I carried enough speed to hit the wall. The impact wasn't that severe. For me, immediately I was, 'OK, now I know what went wrong. We've got to fix this, this and this, so if that problem ever happens again I'll still be able to get the throttle back. We have a toe strap. It just didn't catch my toe enough, so we're redoing that as well. I could have pulled it back. Anytime these things happen you look at how you can prevent it in the future.'' Gordon said the throttle spring was unique to his car and not the other HMS cars.(ESPN)(9-21-2012)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles scheme for Gordon at CMS: Jeff Gordon unveiled a special Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paint scheme for his #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Gordon, who promised to breakdance if he reaches Victory Lane, will drive the car at Charlotte on Oct. 13 (HMS), see images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(9-20-2012)
Gordon bringing back the stache: #24-Jeff Gordon thinks he can rekindle some of his old on-track magic that made him a four-time champion when the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Why not? He's already taken one step to turn back the clock. Gordon announced Sunday that he would bring back the absurdly comical mustache he donned in the early 1990s as a young 21-year-old rookie in the NASCAR's premier series. On Twitter, Gordon's account said: "So as many of u may have heard, I made a statement that if we made the Chase I wud bring back the stache. I'm a man of my word."(USA Today)(9-10-2012)
Gordon and the Aflac Cancer Center Kick-It for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: September is an important month in the childhood cancer community. It recognizes the patients, survivors and fighters who fall victim to pediatric cancer. Jeff Gordon, Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation and Kick-It have honored this special month by hosting a kickball game at Atlanta Motor Speedway. On the front stretch of Turn 4, Gordon alongside team captains Jeff Gluck and Nate Ryan rallied their kickball teams with media personalities and pediatric cancer patients and/or survivors from the Aflac Cancer Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Fans from the grandstands watched as their favorite team launched the kickball into the field and ran the bases for a win. "I feel honored to have survivors and patients from the Aflac Cancer Center here with me today. We are going to have fun, play kickball and most importantly kick kids cancer," said Gordon. This past June, Gordon challenged supporters and fans to hold as many kickball games as possible the month of September with the promise that he would match all funds raised from games played. "This is a devastating disease for not only the children affected but for the families," Gordon said. "We need to further research to ultimately find a cure. We hope through our Kick-It program we can raise enough funds to reach that goal." To learn more about the Childhood Cancer Awareness month and our Kick-It program visit www.jeffgordonchildrensfoundation.org.(JGCF)(9-3-2012)
DuPont to sell paint division - Ramifications on NASCAR not known yet BUT: The DuPont Co. has agreed to sell its auto paint business in an almost $5 billion cash deal, advancing its strategy to move out of oil-based products and delve more deeply into advancing agriculture, nutrition and renewable fuels. The company announced the $4.9 billion sale of its DuPont Performance Coatings business, a cornerstone in the firm's traditional lines, to The Carlyle Group, a global asset management firm. The transaction is expected to close early in 2013, and DuPont will retain ownership of its signature oval label. Carlyle will replace the oval and rebrand the unit's products, according to DuPont. When the deal closes, all DuPont Performance Coatings workers will become employees of a new company under Carlyle. Company officials said it is too soon to tell what staffing plans the new owners will have once they take over.
The company's paint business is perhaps best recognized through DuPont Motorsports, a sponsor and paint manufacturer for four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon's #24 race car and the longest running sponsorship [team & driver] – 20 years – in the sport's history. Details of the logo on Gordon's car will be agreed upon between DuPont, DuPont Performance Coatings and Hendrick Motorsports in the future, said Gregg Schmidt, DuPont spokesperson.(in part from a very large article at the Delaware News Journal)(9-1-2012)
BUT: DuPont and AARP-Drive to End of Hunger are both signed to sponsor Jeff Gordon and the #24 Chevy thru 2013.(9-2-2012)
A Yankees Lifer in NASCAR: With 10 championships and 206 victories in 29 seasons of racing, Hendrick Motorsports is sometimes called the Yankees of NASCAR. And now that Hendrick has a Yankees lifer on its staff, it would be hard to argue the point. For those who did not notice, that was Gene Monahan standing alongside team members at the finish line as Jimmie Johnson and his #48 crew celebrated their Sprint Cup victory July 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Yes, Monahan knelt down and kissed those bricks with everyone else as part of the traditional victory celebration there. This is what Monahan, 67, had in mind when he retired as the head trainer of the Yankees last fall after 49 years with the organization. A lifelong racing fan going back to his days growing up in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Monahan moved from his two-bedroom condominium in Hackensack, N.J., to a 3,300-square-foot house near a lake in Mooresville, N.C., last November to be close to most of the teams that compete in NASCAR. Appropriately enough, he became a consultant for Hendrick. Monahan works about 15 hours a week for Hendrick, serving as an athletic trainer for the 45 or so pit crew members employed by the race team. "Why a guy like Gene?" said Andy Papathanassiou, a Hendrick director who oversees the recruiting, development and training of pit crews. "Because as we strive to keep these crews performing at the top level of their game in the pit stop world, injury and recovery is a big part of that equation. And that's where someone like Gene, with his expertise and background and his enthusiasm for what he does, is invaluable." It was a longtime friend, Jay Frye, a former vice president and general manager of the Red Bull race team who became a consultant with Hendrick in January, who suggested Monahan to Hendrick officials. "I always felt there was a need for injury prevention and training, basically the same thing any other professional sports franchise does," Frye said. "There was always an open invitation from me to him, if he retired and moved down here, we would find something for him to do." Monahan began working with Hendrick's pit crews in April. Although he does not work with drivers, he has become friendly with Johnson, an occasional visitor at Yankee Stadium over the years. Monahan said Johnson reminded him of Derek Jeter.(New York Times)(8-24-2012)
Special FarmVille scheme for Gordon UPDATE and images: #24-Jeff Gordon will run a special FarmVille / Drive to End Hunger Chevy at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. See images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page.(8-24-2012)
UPDATE: Zynga, the world's leading provider of social game services, is joining Drive to End Hunger with two exciting new initiatives that advance the fight against older adult hunger. For a limited time, players of Zynga's FarmVille game will be able to boost their scores and improve their harvests while helping the nearly 9 million older Americans who face the risk of hunger. FarmVille, one of the most popular social networking games on Facebook, gives players the opportunity to build and grow their own virtual farms, while connecting with friends and family. Players advance by successfully growing and harvesting crops and raising livestock. Beginning today through Sept. 7, FarmVille players can purchase exclusive, limited edition Drive to End Hunger in-game virtual goods to enhance their farming experience while giving back. Items include:
• A Drive to End Hunger Tractor driven by a classic FarmVille pig that imagines he is racing toward the checkered flag like four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Jeff Gordon.
• A Drive to End Hunger Grocery Tree that magically grows bountiful bags of food for farmers and their customers.
Players will be able to keep and use the exclusive Drive to End Hunger tractor and grocery tree after the promotion ends September 7. Zynga and Facebook will donate all proceeds from the sale of these in-game virtual goods to AARP Foundation in support of Drive to End Hunger. "I love driving the #24 Chevrolet, but the Drive to End Hunger tractor in FarmVille seems like a fun ride, too," said Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet. "It's always great when someone can have fun while helping out people in need."
"We are thrilled to join Drive to End Hunger and Jeff Gordon to bring the issue of hunger among older adults to FarmVille players," said Ken Weber, executive director of Zynga.org. "Through Zynga.org, Zynga players have contributed millions of dollars through their favorite games to benefit organizations working to help those in need."
Zynga is also working with AARP on the fight against older adult hunger by engaging as a pass-through sponsor of Gordon and the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. This weekend in Bristol, FarmVille characters will be featured on the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy.
The collaboration with Zynga marks another NASCAR first for Drive to End Hunger, which became the sport's first primary cause-based sponsorship beginning in the 2011 season. Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger, the initiative has donated more than 12.9 million meals and driven corporate and individual donor commitments with an expected value of $16.9 million.(Hendrick Motorsports), see images of the scheme/car on the #24 Team Schemes page.(8-24-2012)
NASCAR: Rear housing devices legal: NASCAR officials said mechanical devices the Hendrick Motorsports teams and other organizations in the Sprint Cup Series are using to gain a competitive advantage in the rear housing are legal -- today. "We watch it weekly because it has ramped up the last couple of months,'' series director John Darby said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "If it stays pretty level we'll probably leave it alone the rest of the year. "If there is a higher extreme somebody takes it to that could create issues we don't want to see, then we'll react to that.'' The HMS cars in May were the first this season to develop devices that allow the rear axle to turn slightly to follow the front, creating more speed particularly in the corners. "Where we're at today, right now, there is no illegal procedures going on,'' Darby said. "Obviously, there was one we found Tuesday that was questionable. But the mechanical devices, the way they're using them, there's a clear understanding of what the teams are doing.'' Darby said teams are using different methods to create a "hook and ladder fire truck effect that allows the rear axle to turn so the rear of the car follows the front.'' He said there's nothing in the current rulebook that doesn't allow that, but he didn't rule out that changing in 2013. "It's just a direct everybody has gone to maximize, optimize,'' Darby said. "Right now it's pretty level throughout the garage. If you take the most extreme to the least developed, it's not a huge difference.''(ESPN)(8-24-2012)
Keselowski says Hendrick teams may be bending rules UPDATE: #2-Brad Keselowski believes Penske Racing's refusal to bend the rules contributed to him not being able to challenge #48-Jimmie Johnson for the lead Sunday Michigan. Johnson was leading Keselowski with six laps remaining when his Hendrick Motorsports engine blew. #16-Greg Biffle won the race and Keselowski finished second. During the race, Keselowski made reference to Hendrick's "tricks" with their cars. Hendrick's Kasey Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third and fourth, respectively. The Hendrick cars appear to have different rear suspension setups than other cars, especially at intermediate tracks such as Michigan, Indianapolis and Pocono. "There's part and pieces on the car that are moving after inspection that makes the cars more competitive," Keselowski said after the race. "Some guys have it, some don't. There's a question as to the interpretation of the rule. Penske Racing errs on the safe side because we don't want to be the guys that get the big penalty." Keselowski said Penske will need to re-evaluate its setups. "As a group at Penske Racing, we have not felt comfortable enough to risk that name and reputation that Roger has over those parts and pieces. Others have, which is their prerogative," Keselowski said. "I'm not going to slam it. But it's living in a gray area. … We have to make a re-evaluation of that internally to decide if that's the right way to go."(Sporting News)(8-20-2012)
UPDATE: #2-Brad Keselowski stressed Thursday night that he wasn't accusing Hendrick Motorsports of cheating with his comments last week at Michigan International Speedway. Keselowski said last week that the some teams were using some "tricks" with the rear suspensions on their cars and working within a gray area of the NASCAR rulebook. He said his Penske Racing team has been reluctant to push the envelope in such areas over fear of getting caught cheating. Keselowski said he took great care not to mention Hendrick Motorsports by name last week and has spent the last week on Twitter trying to clarify any misunderstandings. Other competitors in recent weeks have alluded to an advantage Hendrick teams may have with the way they are setting up the rear of their cars. Keselowski talked to the media Thursday night during an unveiling of a retro paint scheme to honor former Penske driver Rusty Wallace's 50th career victory. Keselowski insisted that he wasn't accusing anyone of cheating. "I didn't appreciate how those words were twisted into calling out a specific team," Keselowski said. "I made it a point to not call out a specific team and I think I said in a sense, 'there is a half-dozen to a dozen cars that are running those things,' and with the exception of maybe the TV broadcast I hadn't pointed out which ones they were."(Sporting News)(8-24-2012)
Gordon unhappy with Earnhardt, Jr. UPDATE: The Pure Michigan 400 had some shocking moments Sunday, including a verbal feud between Hendrick Motorsports teammates #24-Jeff Gordon and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. "Tell the f------ 88 he can thank me later for not wrecking him," Gordon said on his radio during the race. "That was f------ stupid." Earnhardt had moved in front of Gordon midway through the race with a pass Gordon felt was a little risky. Team owner Rick Hendrick sided with Earnhardt: "Man, you didn't do anything. Just drive that thing to the front." Earnhardt finished fourth. Gordon finished a disappointing 28th after an engine failure, but later talked about the incident in the garage. "He took me four-wide, then slid up in front of me in Turn 2," Gordon said of Earnhardt's pass. "I had to check up and it could have wrecked all of us. It wasn't the smartest thing to do, especially to a teammate. But he chose to do it and it all worked out. I don't care who does it, I'm going to show my displeasure if they do something like that."(ESPN)(8-20-2012)
UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has no regrets about how he drove against #24-Jeff Gordon on a restart Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, but NASCAR's most popular driver laments how radio chatter turned a difference of opinion between the Hendrick Motorsports teammates into a firestorm. "I personally carried on a little bit on the radio about it; just curious about it," Earnhardt told USA TODAY Sports during a Tuesday interview at Hendrick Motorsports. "In retrospect, to try not to let ESPN or anybody like that make a big deal out of it, I should have not said anything at all so there wouldn't be any footage worth editing. But truth be told, the fact that we were teammates allowed that conversation to happen. If it was Brad Keselowski and me, I would have never known he was mad. I would have never cared that another driver was upset with me because for the most part what happened between me and Jeff happens dozens of times in one race, but the drivers never play it out like me and Jeff did because the radio conversations and lines of communication aren't there." Earnhardt said he and Gordon are "fine" with each other and sorted it out with a text exchange after Sunday's Pure Michigan 400, and they met again at Hendrick's campus Tuesday for the team's weekly debriefing of drivers and crew chiefs.(USA Today)(8-22-2012)
Jeff Gordon wins at Pocono: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway for his 1st win of the year, his 6th at Pocono, and 86th career win.
The race started nearly two hours late and was called on lap 99 when rain returned.
#5-Kahne, who stayed on track under caution with a flat tire, finished 2nd followed by #56-Truex, Jr, #2-Keselowski, #14-Stewart, #39-Newman, #99-Edwards, #15-Bowyer, #78-Smith, and #9-Ambrose.
#48-Johnson led the most laps on the day, but got loose going into turn one on the lap 91 restart and slid up into #17-Kenseth. Johnson finsihed 14th. Points leader #88-Earnhardt, Jr. had transmission problems and finished 32nd but held onto the points lead by 5 over #17-Kenseth. Earnhardt, Jr. failed to finish on the lead lap for the first time this year.
Pole sitter #42-Montoya finished 20th.
There were only 3 cautions for 14 yellow flag laps. There were 13 lead changes among 10 drivers. The average speed was 139.249mph.
The estimated attendence was 85,000, the same as the second race of 2011 and down from 100,000 for the first race of this season.
See race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Pocono Race Results page (pdf) and the official race and points rundown on the Official Race Report.(8-5/6-2012)
Gordon to receive Heisman Humanitarian Award: Jeff Gordon has been selected as the seventh recipient of The Heisman Humanitarian Award. The award will be formally presented to the four-time Cup Series champion at the 78th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner on Dec. 10 in New York. Gordon established his foundation after then-crew chief Ray Evernham's son was diagnosed with leukemia in 1992. The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation helps children facing critical illness realize their dreams. As it has grown, it has raised more than $11 million for children's charities through the years. The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation's mission is to support children battling cancer by funding programs that improve patient's quality of life, treatment programs that increase survivorship and pediatric medical research dedicated to finding a cure. Gordon also opened the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital in Concord, N.C., in hopes that it will serve as a model to other communities who want to provide the highest quality of care to all children, regardless of their ability to pay. As part of the award, The Heisman Trophy Trust will donate $50,000 to the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. The Heisman Trust's mission is to preserve the integrity of the Heisman Trophy and to provide opportunities for underserved youth and other members of society. Since the Trust assumed stewardship of the Heisman Trophy in 2001, it has made donations in excess of $4 million to over 200 charities throughout the country, affecting countless children. The Heisman Humanitarian Award was established in 2006 to recognize those in the world of sports who give significantly of themselves to serve their communities and to improve the lives of others.(Heisman PR)(8-4-2012)
Four NASCAR drivers in top 50 sports money earners: For the first time since SI.com began publishing the Fortunate 50 in 2004, Tiger Woods is not No. 1. He's not even No. 2. That honor goes once again to Phil Mickelson. The new No. 1 (for now) is Floyd Mayweather, who was unranked a year ago but scored two huge pay-per-view paydays to earn $85 million without a single endorsement. [SI's] findings consisted solely of salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees. NASCAR has 4 drivers on the list. #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., with a total of $28,164,690 in salary/winnings and endorsements, ranks 8th, #24-Jeff Gordon is 18th, #14-Tony Stewart is 29th, and #48-Jimmie Johnson is 33rd.(Sports Illustrated)(7-21-2012)
Gordon heading back to Rwanda: #24-Jeff Gordon is headed back to Rwanda this week for one of the most important trips of his life. The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation is a major supporter of the first-of-its-kind cancer center in a rural part of the African nation. The grand opening is Wednesday. President Clinton will be there, too, along with Rwanda's president, Paul Kagame. "When they look at the projections in a developing country like East Africa, cancer is on the rise there," said Gordon, whose second trip to Rwanda was in December with his wife and their 4-year-old daughter. "(Cancer) can be very curable and treatable in many cases, (but) it's just not happening. "This is a big step, and I can't wait to get there and be a part of this event."(Indianapolis Star), more ifnormation about Gordon's trip and the cancer center in Rwanda, go to jeffgordonchildrensfoundation.org.(7-15-2012)
Gordon going for 400th top-10: At Charlotte (2 races ago), #24-Jeff Gordon collected his 399th career top-10 finish. Only four other drivers have more: Richard Petty (712), Bobby Allison (446), Mark Martin (442) and Dale Earnhardt (428). Gordon is looking for his 400th top 10 in the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway this Sunday.(HMS)(6-10-2012)
Special DuPont scheme unveiled: #24-Jeff Gordon helped DuPont unveil a new 20th Anniversary paint scheme on his #24 DuPont Chevy this morning at the headquarters of DuPont Performance Coatings during the 2012 DuPont NASCAR Day celebration. Gordon will drive the new Hot Hues Cosmic Dust Silver Metallic #24 DuPont Chevy in the season finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida this November marking his famous long-standing partnership with DuPont. Gordon's NASCAR Cup Series career started 20 years ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway as the young driver burst onto scene in the rainbow-colored Hendrick Motorsports #24 DuPont Chevy. Twenty years later with four championships and 85 career victories under his belt, Gordon will race the commemorative #24 DuPont Chevry only one time at the last race of the 2012 season. Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports and DuPont are celebrating their 20th full season together - the longest current running driver/owner/sponsor partnership in NASCAR. "I'm very fortunate to have an incredible sponsor like DuPont that has invested so much in me and this #24 Hendrick Motorsports team. To stick with one driver and one team and to still be here with us today celebrating our 20th full season, is really incredible," said Gordon. DuPont Performance Coatings products have been a constant during the storied career of Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports. The new paint scheme uses the popular DuPont ChromaPremier Pro high performance paint finishes and was designed by NASCAR's first officially licensed artist Sam Bass.(DuPont PR), see images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(5-31-2012)
Part of I-85 to be dedicated to Jeff Gordon UPDATE: On Friday, May 25, 2012, Officials from NASCAR, Hendrick Motorsports and the North Carolina Department of Transportation will join together in a ceremony dedicating a 1.6-mile segment of I-85 from the city of Charlotte corporate limits to the Cabarrus County Line as the Jeff Gordon Expressway in honor of Gordon's 85th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win, along with his outstanding commitment to public service in North Carolina through charitable contributions and the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital at Carolina's Medical Center-NorthEast.(NASCAR)(5-24-2012)
UPDATE: Transportation Secretary Gene Conti on Friday joined N.C. Board of Transportation member John Collett, Vice Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners Jim Pendergraph, NASCAR President Mike Helton and Hendrick Motorsports Team Owner Rick Hendrick to dedicate a 1.6-mile section of I-85 from the city of Charlotte corporate limits to the Cabarrus County line as the Jeff Gordon Expressway. The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners requested the road naming, and the N.C. Board of Transportation passed a resolution to dedicate the stretch of highway in Gordon's honor in December 2011. This stretch of I-85 is currently under construction as part of the $125.2 million project to widen 6.8 miles of I-85 from four to eight lanes from south of Bruton Smith Boulevard to north of N.C. 73. Signs naming it the Jeff Gordon Expressway will be constructed once the widening project is complete in November 2013.(NASCAR)(5-26-2012)
Jeff Gordon, Celebrities and Volunteers Fueled Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million: As part of the final leg of the Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million, the pit crew from the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevy won the Pit Crew Packaging Challenge at Hendrick Motorsports' Fan Fest by packaging 972 nutritious meals, edging out the #48 Lowe's Chevy, which finished second with 940 meals. The Charlotte 1 Million event at Hendrick Motorsports' Fan Fest capped the nearly week-long series of activities organized by AARP Foundation to package and donate 1 million meals for hungry older North Carolinians. Since launching the event earlier this week, more than a thousand volunteers pitched in to package meals that will be directly distributed to food banks throughout North Carolina. All total, the event will package and donate 1 million meals to help feed families all over the state.(AARP)(5-26-2012)
Hendrick Motorsports celebrates 200th win: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, team employees, families and other special guests joined together the evening of Tuesday, May 22 at The Fillmore in Charlotte, N.C., to celebrate the organization's 200th victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Country music superstar Brad Paisley played a private show for an audience of more than 1,100, which included past and present Hendrick Motorsports drivers.
Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup winners who attended the event: Geoff Bodine, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Jerry Nadeau, Joe Nemechek, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, and Darrell Waltrip. Tim Richmond was represented by his sister, Sandy Welsh.
Current Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne was in attendance, along with winning drivers from the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series: Brett Bodine, Jack Sprague and Tony Stewart.(HMS)(5-25-2012)
Hendrick Motorsports Reaches Historic 200th Win: Every big stage, every big moment, every crown jewel – Hendrick Motorsports owns them all. The Daytona 500? The team boasts six trophies from The Great American Race. The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Seven wins. The Coca-Cola 600? Nine. Add another storybook accolade to the list: 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories. It comes in grand fashion, in yet another of NASCAR's crown jewel races. With its 14th victory at Darlington Raceway, by Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports reached historic NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win #200, further solidifying its status as one of the greatest teams in NASCAR history.
Hendrick Motorsports has evolved from its modest beginnings as a single-car outfit in 1984. Its current form: A four-car powerhouse that topples records on a yearly basis. Two seasons ago, Jimmie Johnson won his unprecedented fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. In doing so, Hendrick Motorsports – behind owner Rick Hendrick – nabbed its 10th NASCAR Sprint Cup owners championship, breaking the all-time record previously shared with Petty Enterprises. Petty leads all teams in career race wins, with 268.
Now, Hendrick reaches a milestone befitting its brilliant consistency. Since joining the series in 1984 as All-Star Racing (the team changed its name to Hendrick Motorsports in 1985), Hendrick has won at least one race in all but one season (1985).
Below is a timeline of Hendrick's notable and milestone victories on its way to 200:
1 – On April 29, 1984 at Martinsville Speedway, Geoff Bodine earned Hendrick Motorsports' first victory. He led 55 laps in the event.
4 – HMS won its first Daytona 500. Geoff Bodine started on the front row (second), leading 101 laps on Feb. 16, 1986.
10 – HMS won its first Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Tim Richmond helped Hendrick reach double-digits in victories with his "crown jewel" win from the pole on Aug. 31, 1986.
16 – HMS won its first Coca-Cola 600. With 41-year-old Darrell Waltrip driving, Hendrick nabbed its first win in NASCAR's longest race on May 29, 1988.
36 – HMS won its first Brickyard 400. In the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup race at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon, then 23, won his second career race on Aug. 6, 1994.
50 – Jeff Gordon, whose 85 victories are more than any other Hendrick driver and third-most on the all-time list, won at Darlington Raceway on March 24, 1996.
61 – At the time, Gordon became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history at 25 years, six months, 12 days on Feb. 16, 1997. His record was later broken in 2011 by Trevor Bayne (20 years, one day).
100 – Gordon won another milestone race, this time at Michigan International Speedway on June 10, 2001. Gordon would go on to win his fourth series championship that season.
150 – Jimmie Johnson captured victory on March 11, 2007 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Later that season, Johnson would win his second-consecutive championship.
196 – On April 17, 2011, Jimmie Johnson edged Clint Bowyer to the finish line by a miniscule .002 seconds, matching the closest margin of victory in series history.
198 – In a race delayed two days because of inclement weather, Gordon captured historic win ##85 on Sept. 6, 2011 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to move into third on the all-time series wins list.
Below lists the number of wins per driver, crew chief and track for Hendrick Motorsports.
HMS Wins By Driver
Driver Wins Jeff Gordon 85
Jimmie Johnson 56
Terry Labonte 12
Darrell Waltrip 9
Tim Richmond 9
Geoff Bodine 7
Mark Martin 5
Ken Schrader 4
Kyle Busch 4
Ricky Rudd 4
Brian Vickers 1
Casey Mears 1
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1
Jerry Nadeau 1
Joe Nemechek 1
HMS Wins By Crew Chief
Crew Chief Wins
Chad Knaus 54
Ray Evernham 47
Robbie Loomis 23
Alan Gustafson 12
Harry Hyde 11
Gary DeHart 10
Steve Letarte 10
Jeff Hammond 9
Waddell Wilson 4
Darian Grubb 3
Richard Broome 3
Andy Graves 2
Brian Whitesell 2
Dennis Connor 2
Gary Nelson 2
Jim Long 1
Lance McGrew 1
Peter Sospenzo 1
Randy Dorton 1
Tony Eury Jr. 1
Tony Furr 1
HMS Wins By Track
Auto Club 9
New Hampshire 8
Watkins Glen 6
Las Vegas 5
North Wilkesboro 4*
Nashville Fairgrounds 1*
(* not an active Sprint Cup Series track)
Hendrick Motorsports By The Numbers
6 – Different Hendrick car numbers with wins. The list: #24, 85 wins; #48, 56 wins; #5, 32 wins; #25, 17 wins; #17, nine wins; #88, one win.
8 – Number of seasons Hendrick won double-digit races, with the most coming in 2007 (18).
8 – Number of drivers who scored their first win with Hendrick Motorsports: Geoff Bodine, Ken Schrader, Jeff Gordon, Jerry Nadeau, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers and Casey Mears.
15 – Number of different drivers who have won with Hendrick.
18 – Wins at Martinsville Speedway, Hendrick's most prolific track.
20 – Age in years of the youngest Hendrick Motorsports winner: Kyle Busch, who won on Sept. 4, 2005 at Auto Club Speedway.
21 – Number of different crew chiefs who have won with Hendrick Motorsports.
25 – Number of different tracks at which Hendrick has won.
34 – Number of wins from the pole by Hendrick Motorsports.
37 – Starting position of Jimmie Johnson in the 2003 Coca-Cola 600, the deepest in the field a Hendrick winner has started.
50 – Age in years of the oldest Hendrick Motorsports winner: Mark Martin, who won on Sept. 20, 2009 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
150 – A Hendrick driver has scored perfect Driver Rating of 150.0 twice, both by Jimmie Johnson. The first came at Auto Club Speedway on Aug. 31, 2008; the second at Dover International Speedway on May 31, 2009.(NASCAR)(5-13-2012)
Hendrick Motorsports 200th Cup Win: With Jimmie Johnson's win Saturday night in the #48 Lowe's Kobalt Tools Chevy at Darlington Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports recorded its 200th points-paying victory in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, marking a major milestone for the organization and car owner Rick Hendrick.
STAT LEADER: When it comes to NASCAR's modern era (1972-present), Hendrick Motorsports leads all Sprint Cup teams in wins (200), top-five finishes (818), top-10s (1,352) and pole positions (181). Hendrick is NASCAR's all-time leader in poles and top-10s, while ranking behind only Petty Enterprises in Cup wins. The Petty team recorded 268 Cup victories in more than half a century of competition. Hendrick Motorsports' first season was 1984.
MILESTONE WINS: Hendrick Motorsports' first win came April 29, 1984, at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway with Geoff Bodine at the wheel. Jeff Gordon notched the team's 50th on March 24, 1996, at Darlington Raceway and its 100th on June 10, 2001, at Michigan International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson scored the 150th Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports on March 11, 2007, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
FIRST-TIME WINNERS: Eight drivers recorded their first career Cup wins while driving for car owner Rick Hendrick: Bodine, Kyle Busch, Gordon, Johnson, Casey Mears, Jerry Nadeau, Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers. Gordon and Johnson have raced for Hendrick for their entire Cup careers.
DRIVERS AND TRACKS: Since being founded in 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has sent 15 Cup drivers to Victory Lane at 25 different racetracks (see full lists below). The organization has scored double-digit Cup wins at nine tracks, including a team record 18 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Hendrick has won at four inactive Cup racetracks: Nashville, Tenn., North Wilkesboro, N.C., Riverside, Calif., and Rockingham, N.C.
WINNING WAYS: Hendrick Motorsports has posted at least one Cup-level win in 28 straight seasons (1986-2012), the longest active streak in NASCAR. The streak began Feb. 16, 1986, when Bodine won Hendrick's first Daytona 500. Bodine won three races in 1984 before scoring three runner-up finishes but no wins in 1985.
TWO LEFT: There are only two active tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where Hendrick Motorsports has yet to reach Victory Lane. Those venues are Homestead-Miami Speedway, which hosts the Sprint Cup season finale, and the newly added Kentucky Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports)(5-12-2012)
Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million Coming to Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest: NASCAR fans and volunteers will be able to compete alongside Hendrick Motorsports pit crews in meal packaging races on May 25 through the Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million.
As part of its upcoming Fan Fest, Hendrick Motorsports is hosting the last stage of the Charlotte 1 Million. AARP Foundation's week-long series of volunteer-driven events will package and donate one million meals to help hungry older North Carolinians. Up to 200 volunteers will be needed to help package an expected 50,000 meals on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. Twelve lucky volunteers will win the opportunity to package meals alongside pit crew members from the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, #48 Lowe's Chevrolet and #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet as they compete in head-to-head races.
The centerpiece of the Charlotte 1 Million will be a two-day meal packaging event at the Charlotte Convention Center on May 24-25, where volunteers will be able to see and work alongside stars including four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, host of "CBS NFL Today" James "JB" Brown, Miss Sprint Cup and others.
With two weeks left until the event starts, the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet will race in Darlington this weekend with a paint scheme that includes the Charlotte 1 Million logo on the TV panel and rear quarter panels. The TV panel will also promote DrivetoEndHunger.org/Meals, where fans can visit to find additional information and sign up to volunteer.(AARP/Drive to End Hunger)(5-12-2012)
Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest May 25th: Hendrick Motorsports will host a fan appreciation day on Friday, May 25 during Charlotte Motor Speedway race weeks. The Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will be held at the team's Concord facility and feature an array of family-friendly activities, including scheduled appearances by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Free and open to the public, the Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will run from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. ET.
In addition to driver appearances, the Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest will feature activities for children, interactive sponsor displays, food vendors and a stage with live music and question-and-answer sessions. The Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs and teams will be on hand for autographs and athletic demonstrations.
Throughout the event, the Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store will offer merchandise discounts and feature special displays. Fans will be invited to visit the race shops of Kahne, Gordon, Johnson and Earnhardt, who are scheduled to take questions and be available for autograph sessions.
Autograph session wristbands will be distributed at 11 a.m. the day of the event on a first come, first served basis. A maximum number of 225 wristbands will be available for each driver (one autographed item per wristband; one wristband per person).
Fan Fest parking will not be available on the Hendrick Motorsports campus. Free parking will be at Lot Z off Bruton Smith Boulevard in Concord, courtesy of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Shuttles will offer roundtrip transportation to Hendrick Motorsports from Lot Z beginning at 9 a.m.
More Hendrick Motorsports Fan Fest information -- including maps, parking directions, schedules, autograph session details and additional event announcements -- will be available at www.HendrickMotorsports.com/FanFest and via social media.(HMS)(5-12-2012)
Hendrick in longest winless streak since 2002: More than a decade has passed since Hendrick Motorsports slogged through this kind of drought. Back in 2001, Hendrick went the final eight races without a win. Then in 2002, the squad went the first nine winless. That 17-race drought ranks as the team's sixth-longest in an NSCS history that began in 1984. The seventh longest? This one. Right here, right now. Sixteen races have passed since Hendrick's last win, but one of its top tracks awaits - Darlington Raceway. Hendrick has 13 victories at The Track Too Tough To Tame, most by any owner all-time. On Hendrick's personal wins list, Darlington ranks tied for third with Dover behind only Martinsville (18) and Charlotte (16).(NASCAR)(5-9-20120)
Gordon pole extends streak: #24-Jeff Gordon won the pole for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, his 71st career pole, 3rd all time. It is the 20th straight season [every season he has been full time in Cup] that Gordon has won a pole, tying the record of 20, held by David Pearson [1962-1981]. Gordon has also won 19 races from the pole, 6th all time, one behind Bobby Allison. Richard Petty holds that record at 61 followed by Pearson at 37.(5-5-2012)
Hendrick's Returns To Site 199th - And Last - Win and: Thirteen races have passed since Hendrick Motorsports last victory, and though it doesn't seem like a big number, for Hendrick it is. Its last win came at Kansas Speedway (by Jimmie Johnson), site of Sunday race. That's the longest drought Hendrick has had since the end of 2002 and the beginning of 2003 when it went 15 races without a win. Coincidentally, that streak began after a Kansas win as well. Rick Hendrick has attended all 13 races since then but hasn't been able to celebrate his organization's 200th win in NASCAR's premier series. Hendrick holds more wins than any other owner at Kansas with four.(NASCAR)(4-18-2012)
UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports will reach and surpass its 3,000th Cup start when its teams line up for Sunday's race at Kansas. The organization, which is the first to reach the start milestone in Cup history, will leave Kansas with 3,003 career starts.(HMS)(4-19-20012)
Gordon a finalist for Shav Glick Award UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon is one of four finalists for the Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award. The annual award, voted on by a panel of veteran motorsports writers, is presented to a person who has made significant contributions to motorsports from the state. Other finalists are drag racer "TV Tommy" Ivo; Indianapolis 500 roadster builder A.J. Watson and sports car racer Tony Adamowicz. The award, named in honor of the longtime Los Angeles Times motorsports writer and columnist Shav Glick, will be announced prior to today's race.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(3-25-2012)
UPDATE: In a pre-race ceremony Vallejo (Calif.) native Jeff Gordon received the Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award, presented annually to a Californian for his or her contributions to racing. The award is named for the late Hall of Fame motorsports writer for the Los Angeles Times. (Allentown Morning Call)(3-26-2012)
Gordon-Earnhardt Jr. are OK with each other after Bristol incident: from a Team Chevy Driver(s) Press Conference Transcript, in part. Both #24-Jeff Gordon and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were asked about the incident between them at Bristol Motor Speedway last week when the #88 got into the #24 which cut down a tire and crashed late in the race:
Q) DID YOU TALK OR TEXT WITH JEFF (GORDON) AT ALL ABOUT LAST WEEK (BRISTOL RACE)?
Earnhardt Jr,: "We talked and I feel pretty good about how that went. We should have no problem going forward. It was an unfortunate situation, especially for him. I'm sure it stings a little bit for him and the team. We will just see."
Q) WHEN SOMETHING AS 'FREAKY' AS THAT HAPPENS, DO YOU LOOK BACK AT THE REPLAYS AND SEE WHAT IN THE WORLD DID THAT? BECAUSE YOU SAID THE CONTACT WAS NOT THAT MUCH.
Earnhardt Jr,: "It was just a freak situation and you kind of got to remember that, you know, and not really beat yourself up too much about it. Jeff (Gordon) has a good reputation in this sport. I've got a lot of respect and enjoy being his teammate. I've learned a lot from him even before we were teammates, just racing him over the years. He has been here a long time and I think we will be able to race each other without any problems. I think he respects me and I respect him. We will be able to move forward without any problems."
Q) HAVE YOU SPOKEN WITH DALE EARNHARDT JR. FOLLOWING BRISTOL AND WHAT WAS THE CONVERSATION?:
Gordon: "You know, he reached out to me. It was just a strange situation that happened where we were racing hard, racing for position after a restart and he definitely got into me, but you could do that 100 times and go on about your business, but in this particular case the tailpipe just lined up perfectly on the left rear. Really to me that is the much bigger issue than the contact between me and Junior. I don't understand why the tailpipes are even capable of getting to the left rear tire. If that happens at a big, fast speedway then that's a much bigger incident than what that was. I'd like to see that addressed. We talked and I've got respect for Dale and I know he has that for me as well. We enjoy being teammates and we I think learned a little bit from that situation about when the time to race hard is and when it isn't."
Q) DO YOU LOOK BACK ON LAST WEEK AND WONDER WHY THAT HAD TO HAPPEN WITH YOUR TEAMMATE?:
Gordon: "Yeah, I mean when you're at Bristol, especially on the restarts when there's a big difference in the handling of cars at the beginning of a restart. Some guys' cars take off good, some are better five laps into a run, some are better 25 laps into a run and my car was one of those cars that was better the longer that we went. Junior's was pretty good on the short runs right then. To me, that's when a lot of us would get side-by-side and I think that you're always questioning why one person is racing you at that point as hard as they are. Sometimes you're racing hard to protect the position because you think your car is going to come in and other times you're racing hard because you know your car is really good right then and you want to get the position. That's all it was. It didn't have anything to do with teammates. We were just racing hard for position. I think it got a little bit more attention because it was teammates and for us, looking back on it and it makes our Tuesday meetings a little more interesting. I think if that's for the win or for the position at the end of the race then hey, we get it. I think we both agreed that it wasn't probably the best thing to do as teammates that early into a restart with 200 laps to go."(Team Chevy)(3-24-2012)
Dale Jr. takes responsibilty for wreck with Jeff Gordon: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. talks about his incident with teammate #24-Jeff Gordon at Birstol Motor Speedway, from a Chevy Racing post race transcipt in part:
Q: YOU SAID ON YOUR RADIO THAT YOU FELT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENED WITH JEFF GORDON BLOWING A TIRE. HE SAID IT WAS ONE OF THOSE RACING THINGS:
Earmhardt Jr.: "I absolutely feel responsible. I got into his door a little bit. We were racing and having a good time, to be honest with you. I put the pipes up against the left rear tire of his car, and knocked the side wall out of it. I hate...I feel bad about that. I'm going to have to do some damage control this week. I know Jeff understands what was going on out there, but his boys work real hard on their car, and they had a good run going. They had a potential win, or good finish going too; and they deserve it. I hate what happened to Jeff (Gordon). We were racing really hard. It was fun. If there is a track where you can lean on each other a little bit then this ought to be the place. We just barely rubbed down the back straight-a-way."
Q: I HEARD YOU SAY (ON THE RADIO) 'I DIDN'T GET INTO HIM MUCH':
Earmhardt Jr.:"Well you showed it on TV. I'm sure some people might have thought that was a hard hit. That to me was good hard racing. The (tail) pipes on my car cut the left-rear tire down. I feel terrible about that happening to my teammate. Those guys work really hard and they were running good and happy with their car I'm sure. But, there are four of us out there we are bound to race each other and run into each other every once in a while. Otherwise I'm just frustrated about the finish, but we did run good. We run better than we run here last year. We run really good pretty much everywhere except for Phoenix. Things are looking up for our team."
Q: HOW MUCH REPAIR WORK ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE TO DO WITH JEFF GORDON?
Earmhardt Jr.: "I'll just have to sit down and talk to him and see where he's at. I've got to own up to my responsibility in the situation, which I will, and go from there."
After running near the front of the field the majority of the race, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr., had to settle for the 15th finishing position when a late-race pit road speeding penalty put him deep in the running order.(Chevy Racing)(3-19-2012)
Chase Joins AARP and Jeff Gordon in NASCAR Sponsorship: Chase Card Services, a division of JPMorgan Chase & Co. [NYSE: JPM], today renewed its commitment to eliminating older adult hunger in America, working with AARP and AARP Foundation on Drive to End Hunger; and a series of pass through sponsorships of four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon and the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. This year, Chase will sponsor the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy for five 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races throughout the country. Beginning mid-March, the AARP Visa Card from Chase logo will appear on the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy in support of Drive to End Hunger at the following races:
* Bristol Motor Speedway (March 18);
* Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 27);
* Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 29);
* Richmond International Raceway (Sept. 8); and
* Dover International Speedway (Sept. 30).
In addition to the five-race sponsorship, Chase will again donate $0.03 for each purchase made with the AARP Visa Card from Chase, as well as $1 for each new account opened – up to $2 million in 2012 – to AARP Foundation for Drive to End Hunger. Through this same approach in 2011, Chase contributed nearly $2 million, equivalent to an estimated 750,000 meals for older Americans in need, to AARP Foundation for Drive to End Hunger. Chase also sponsored Jeff Gordon's No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet in two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Richmond, Va., and Dover, Del., in 2011. Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger in 2011, the initiative has donated more than 5.8 million meals and driven corporate and individual donor commitments with an expected value of $15.6 million.(AARP)(3-13-2012)
Sam Bass' DuPont 20 Years Scheme to debut at Vegas: A milestone year for DuPont Motorsports, 2012 marks the 20th year of the corporation's motorsports program, and the company's 20 year anniversary with artist Sam Bass. Bass joined forces with DuPont, Hendrick Motorsports, and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon two decades ago to develop the now iconic look for the #24 Chevy. As a celebration of the continued partnership, Bass designed a brand new DuPont "20 Years" paint scheme that will debut this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Bass has seen many of his paint schemes on the track over the years, but the close relationship that he has developed with DuPont makes the debut of the "20 Years" paint scheme extra special. "I am so very proud of my relationship with DuPont Motorsports, Jeff Gordon, and Hendrick Motorsports, dating back to 1992," said Sam Bass. "To be able to celebrate a 20 year anniversary as the graphic designer, on an exciting race weekend, for such an iconic sponsor, driver, and team combination in the sport of NASCAR, is an amazing thing. I am incredibly grateful and honored that they have taken me and my artwork on this ride that has lasted two decades."(Sam Bass Illustration & Design PR), see images of the car on my #24 Team Schemes page.(3-7-2012)
Drive to End Hunger Revs Up for Second Season in NASCAR: Following a successful first year in NASCAR, AARP and AARP Foundation's Drive to End Hunger is revving up for the 2012 race season with new at-track activities for fans at select races, as well as new initiatives in communities across the country to advance the fight against older adult hunger. The centerpiece of Drive to End Hunger in 2012 will once again be four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon driving the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in 22 races, including the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. Fans at these races and 12 others throughout the year will be able to visit the Drive to End Hunger Experience, an at-track mobile unit that will allow fans to play video games and compete with friends in the "Hungry for Knowledge" trivia game. Game winners and donors can receive Drive to End Hunger collectors' items, including commemorative coins, autographed hats and beverage koozies. All contributions to Drive to End Hunger go to support the hunger solutions of AARP Foundation. Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger in 2011, the initiative has donated more than 5.8 million meals and driven corporate and individual donor commitments with an expected value of $15.1 million.(AARP)(2-27-2012)
New Jeff Gordon book: If you sent a letter to Jeff Gordon in the 1990's, chances are that it was opened by Molly and Russ Harris, the founders of the Jeff Gordon National Fan Club – the largest personal touch fan club in racing. For more than a decade, they opened Jeff Gordon's mail! Molly's new book "Opening Jeff Gordon's Mail" takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Jeff Gordon National Fan Club. For more info see my NASCAR Book page.(2-13-2012)
Gordon testing at Pikes Peak: #24-Jeff Grodon tweeted Tuesday that he was at "Day 1 of 3 Pikes Peak test. Going really good. Team has done a great job over the off season. Can't wait to start racing."(2-1-2012)
Several drivers getting new spotters: In addition to getting adjusted to new personnel on their teams, several drivers will be working with new spotters when testing opens Thursday at Daytona International Speedway. Jeff Dickerson, who has spotted for #24-Jeff Gordon the last couple of years, left to pursue an opportunity in racing that will give him more time with his family. He has not announced where he is going.
• Eddie D'Hondt, who had won 39 races across all NASCAR series with #18-Kyle Busch, will move to Hendrick Motorsports to work as Gordon's spotter.
• Tony Hirschman, who was spotter for AJ Allmendinger, will replace D'Hondt as Busch's spotter.
• Busch isn't the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver to have a new spotter for 2012 as two spotters whose drivers have not announced 2012 rides have found new gigs - Chris Lambert, who was the spotter for Brian Vickers, will replace Curtis Markham as spotter for #11-Denny Hamlin and Rocky Ryan, who was spotter for David Ragan, will replace Joey Civali as spotter for #20-Joey Logano.
• Chris Osborne, who was spotter for Kurt Busch at Penske Racing, will start the season spotting for Allmendinger while Busch will use his new boss - Phoenix Racing general manager Steve Barkdoll - as his spotter.
• #15-Clint Bowyer, who has moved from Richard Childress Racing to Michael Waltrip Racing, will go to the test with MWR general manager Ty Norris as his spotter.
• Kevin Hamlin, who was Bowyer's spotter, will remain at RCR and work with Ty Dillon in the Camping World Truck Series.
• #43-Aric Almirola will use Tyler Green as his spotter. Green spotted for Almirola at JR Motorsports and will now spot for him at RPM.(Scene Daily)(1-11-2012)
2011 Sponsor Schedule:
Bud Shootout, 2/12, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Daytona, 2/20, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Phoenix, 2/27, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Las Vegas, 3/6, DuPont
Bristol, 3/20, Pepsi Max
Auto Club, 3/27, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Martinsville, 4/3, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Texas, 4/9, DuPont
Talladega, 4/17, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Richmond, 4/30, DuPont
Darlington, 5/7, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Dover, 5/15, DuPont
All-Star Race, 5/21, DuPont
Charlotte, 5/29,Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Kansas, 6/5, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Pocono, 6/12, DuPont
Michigan, 6/19, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Infineon, 6/26, DuPont
Daytona, 7/2, Pepsi Max
Kentucky, 7/9, DuPont
New Hampshire, 7/17, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Indianapolis, 7/31, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Pocono, 8/7, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Watkins Glen. 8/14, DuPont
Michigan, 8/21, DuPont
Bristol, 8/27, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Atlanta, 9/4, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Richmond, 9/10, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Chicago, 9/18, DuPont
New Hampshire, 9/25, DuPont
Dover, 10/2, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Kansas, 10/9, DuPont
Charlotte, 10/15, Drive to End Hunger/AARP/Chevy 100th
Talladega, 10/23, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Martinsville, 10/30, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Texas, 11/6, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
Phoenix, 11/13, DuPont
Homestead, 11/20, Drive to End Hunger/AARP
New look for #24 DuPont scheme: DuPont released some inages of the new look for Jeff Gordon in the #24 DuPont Chevy for 2012, with a 20 Year Logo commemorating DuPont, Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports partnership. The #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy is a little different looking in 2012 also. See images of the schemes on the #24 Team Schemes page.(12-8-2011)
Rick Hendrick talks to media: Rick Hendrick held a teleconference Monday and discussed a wide variety of issues:
About Darian Grubb:
A: I have had discussions with Darian. When he left (at the end of 2008), we told him we'd always have a place for him if he wanted to come back. Darian is a very smart guy. I know he's entertaining a lot of offers out there. We don't have a crew chief role. We have an engineering role that we think Darian would be really good in. But at the end of the day it's got to be what Darian wants to do. I know he is close to all of our people and our guys are close to him. We'd love to have him back in the organization, but I quite honestly don't know where he's going to end up. We would like to have him, but whether or not he's going to decide he wants to be in the role we've offered him or he wants to do something somewhere else, I'm just not sure.
Crew chiefs for 2012:
A: Yes. [All teams will have the] Same crew chief-driver combination.
The plane wreck:
A: We were going into Key West (Fla.), and some kind of failure with the brakes, and we went off the end of the runway. Of course, you don't remember everything exactly how it happened, but somehow, my seat belt was on, and something came lose in the seat itself. I hit the bulkhead and my wife. I think my chest and head went into the seat in front of me, and that's where I got my (broken) ribs and had a concussion. Broke four ribs and my clavicle. We were very fortunate. We were glad that it wasn't any worse than it was. We're healing up, and we don't have any of the answers yet on exactly what happened there, but a lot of smart people are involved, so we'll get that figured out here pretty soon, I hope.(Chevy PR)(11-29-2011)
Gordon named NASCAR Illustrated Person of the Year: The ever-expanding scope of Jeff Gordon's philanthropic endeavors reached over international borders and other boundaries of age and race this year. Whether it was his work in Africa with the Clinton Global Initiative, representing AARP's Drive to End Hunger among senior citizens in the U.S., or continuing to lead the fight against pediatric cancer through his eponymous children's foundation, Gordon has become the model for NASCAR philanthropy and an example for others to follow. For all these reasons, he was a consensus choice as NASCAR Illustrated Person of the Year, becoming the first three-time winner of the award. In 1997, the first year it was presented, Gordon shared POY honors with Darrell Waltrip. Then, Gordon joined Hendrick Motorsports as Persons of the Year in 2004 after the team endured the tragedy of the plane crash that claimed 10 lives. For the full story on Gordon's remarkable year of giving, see the December issue of NASCAR Illustrated.(SceneDaily)(11-16-2011)
Gordon named 3rd quater recipient of the Spirit Award: #24-Jeff Gordon has been chosen as the third quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award. Gordon, who through his Jeff Gordon Foundation was selected to serve on the Clinton Global Initiative, traveled to the Congo to visit a refugee camp with members of the organization in July. The CGI helps its members maximize efforts to alleviate poverty, create a cleaner environment and increase access to health care and education. Also receiving votes for the third quarter were fellow Cup drivers Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski. Gordon joins JTG Daugherty Racing and Jamie McMurray as quarterly winners of the award for 2011. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. An overall winner of the award is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership at season's end.(SceneDaily)(11-10-2011)
Rick Hendrick released from hospital: According to Hendrick Motorsports, "Happy to report Mr. Hendrick is now resting at home. He was released from the hospital [Monday] afternoon.(11-8-2011)
NTSB issues preliminary report on Hendrick plane crash: The plane carrying Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda, crossed a 600-foot overrun, impacted the far side of a ditch, crossed a dirt road, cleared another ditch and came to a stop 820 feet from the departure end of the runway when the brakes failed Monday in Key West, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB preliminary report, released Thursday evening, said the Gulfstream G150, manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries, sustained "substantial damage" after it lost its brakes and the nose landing gear collapsed. The flight originated in Stuart, Fla., at 7 p.m. and the accident happened at 7:40 p.m. The NTSB will continue its investigation and considers all of its current findings "preliminary" until its investigation is complete.(Scene Daily)(10-5-2011)
Rick Hendrick's plane runs off runway: UPDATES: Early Monday evening, a Gulfstream G150 aircraft operated by Hendrick Motorsports ran off the runway after experiencing braking issues upon landing at Key West International Airport in Key West, Fla. There were no serious injuries to any of the four people on board, including two pilots, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and his wife, Linda Hendrick. All four were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. Hendrick Motorsports is gathering additional information on the incident.(Hendrick Motorsports)(10-31-2011)
UPDATE: A private G150 Gulfstream jet containing four people missed the runway while landing at Key West International Airport and ran into the salt ponds at 7:45 p.m. No one was seriously injured. The airplane was co-owned by Jimmie Johnson Racing II Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports LLC of Charlotte, N.C. Some officials said it did not appear that the NASCAR driver was on board, but that has not been officially confirmed. Everyone was taken by ambulance to Lower Keys Medical Center for evaluation. Only two complained of injuries: one for neck pain and one for shortness of breath/heart palpitations, according to Monroe County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin. There were two pilots and two passengers, but it was unclear who was injured. The airport was closed for about an hour, but has reopened. Some fuel spilled, but it was unknown how much. (Key West News)
AND Jenna Fryer, of the Associated Press, posted a photo from the sheriff's office.(10-31-2011)
UPDATE 2: A small jet carrying the owner of NASCAR's top team and his wife lost its brakes and crash landed at a Key West, Fla., airport Monday evening, and the couple suffered minor injuries, officials said. According to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, the pilot and co-pilot radioed that the plane had no brakes upon landing in Key West. Horton said the plane ran off the runway, and then 100 feet beyond a 600-foot safety area that was finished in May. "If we hadn't done that, it likely would have been a different story," Horton said of the safety area that is meant as a runway overrun space. The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.(Associated Press/ESPN)(11-1-2011)
UPDATE 3: All four people on board - Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, his wife, Linda Hendrick, and two Hendrick Motorsports pilots - were released from Lower Keys Medical Center early Tuesday morning. Rick Hendrick was diagnosed with a broken rib and a broken clavicle, and Linda Hendrick was treated for minor cuts and bruises. Both pilots were evaluated and released without injury. All four have safely returned to North Carolina. The aircraft, which is joint-owned by Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson Racing, remains in Key West.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-1-2011)
UPDATE 4: Upon returning home to Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Mr. Hendrick was further evaluated as a precautionary measure by his personal physician. He was diagnosed with four broken ribs (previously stated as one broken rib), a broken clavicle (as previously stated) and bruising. No other injuries have been identified. Due to discomfort from the injuries, Mr. Hendrick was admitted Tuesday afternoon to a medical facility in the Charlotte area, where doctors believe the pain can most effectively be managed. He is in good spirits and is expected to be released by the end of the week.
Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports: "Linda and I have been overwhelmed by all the words of encouragement and genuine concern we've received. We are blessed to have such a wonderful support system, and our family is extremely grateful for the thoughts and prayers. We extend our sincere thanks to everyone. I'm so proud of how our pilots handled the situation, and we're extremely appreciative of the folks in Key West who went above and beyond to help us. It's good to be back in Charlotte as we regroup and focus on our family."(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-2-2011)
Bayne and Gordon, Ford Orders? UPDATE: #21-Trevor Bayne had a wild race, one that was especially weird considering his fourth-place qualifying spot. Bayne was sort of a free agent in the tandem drafting pool. With Ford drivers working under directions that discouraged them from drafting with Chase contenders in other manufacturer camps, Bayne ran much of the day with #7-Robby Gordon. But Bayne wound up in the middle of the upfront drafting pack at the end of the race and was hooked up briefly with #24-Jeff Gordon. They had drafted successfully together at Daytona International Speedway in February as Bayne won the Daytona 500. Bayne broke away from Gordon in the closing miles and after the race tweeted on his Twitter account that he wasn't pleased with the way the race concluded. "I'm not happy about what this has become," Bayne wrote. "It's too premeditated. We should be able to go with whoever is around. I would have rather pulled over and finished last than tell [Gordon] I would work with him and then be strong armed into bailing." Gordon finished 27th.(Ford Racing)
AND Jamie Allison, who oversees Ford's motorsports program in North America, was on Sirius Satellite Radio's "Tradin Paint'' show on Monday afternoon and discussed the issue of if Ford ordered its teams not to work with any other manufacturers at Talladega this past weekend in light of Trevor Bayne leaving Jeff Gordon late in that race and Tony Stewart saying he could not work with David Gilliland because of orders.
Here's what Allison said to the question of if he or Ford ordered its teams not to work with anyone else: "We don't have orders per se. That's how we work with these teams. These are independent teams that choose an affiliate with us as a manufacturer. We have a lot of respect and mutual agreements. We discuss many strategies. We don't mandate. We don't issue orders. I can tell you at the start of the Chase, we reached out to all the Ford teams, I personally did, along with my team and basically said, "Hey, thank you for affiliating with Ford Motor Company. We're very proud of everybody. Hey, these are special times for us. If an opportunity presents itself where you can help a Ford teammate, just please be aware and try to help out. It was just an outreach, a consideration, just be aware that we're in the Chase and we're all part of the big Ford family. No orders. None of what you have been reading around this big plan or big orders. It's none of that. I can tell you guys, it's been a very, very tough and long and hard-fought season. It's been on merit. We've earned all the wins. I wish we could count the almost-wins. It's not just in Cup. You look at Nationwide. We have a strong, strong lead with Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.). We've got the manufacturer's championship that we're contending with there. It's a strong, strong year. It's all because of good preparation, good teamwork and a lot of great teams. We just are reaching out and helping the fellow teammates.''(Virginian Pilot)(10-25-2011)
UPDATE: Jack Roush issued a statement Tuesday morning: "At Roush Fenway Racing we expect our individual drivers to make decisions that put themselves in the best position to win each and every race. That is a philosophy that we have lived by for over two decades, and one that we will continue to abide by going forward. Of course, as in any team, we would prefer for our drivers to work together when possible. However, to be clear, we did not micromanage or dictate to any of our drivers, nor any other Ford drivers, how to race with other drivers at Talladega last Sunday. There are unique codes that all drivers establish and have to live by on the track. How they manage their code is up to our drivers as individuals. This weekend, there were no team orders, from myself or anyone at Roush Fenway, given to any of our drivers as to whom they could or could not choose to run with or assist, nor did I give similar directions or suggestion to any of the other Ford drivers. I've spoken with Trevor (Bayne) and understand that he was put in a situation requiring a split-second decision on the track and in his response to questions justifying his actions afterwards, where it was almost certain that not everyone was going to be satisfied. Trevor is extremely talented, but it is still very early in his career. Over time he will grow to understand that in such a high-paced, competitive and hostile environment it is unlikely that all of his decisions will make everyone happy. I'm confident in his decision making, his ability and actions on the track, and I'm excited as we continue to move forward with his development."(Roush Fenway Racing)(10-25-2011)
'Jeff Gordon Expressway' NASCAR's #24 driver will soon be honored on a section of Interstate 85 near the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tuesday, Mecklenburg County Commissioners approved the designation of the stretch of I-85 on the Mecklenburg-Cabarrus County line as "Jeff Gordon Expressway". The "85" idea came about since Gordon recently took home the checkered flag for the 85th time in his career. However, Gordon's NASCAR triumphs were just part of the designation as he was also hailed for charitable work at his Children's Foundation and Children's Hospital. "It's been very rewarding," said Gordon. "Something that you go through and the days, and you go to hospitals and you meet children and it breaks your heart and you want to do more." The NC DOT's sign committee and full board must still rubber stamp the Jeff Gordon Expressway designation on I-85 before markers go up for drivers.(News 14 Carolina)
AND Jeff Gordon unveiled at the nearby Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital the "Sounds of Pertussis" quilt in his continued effort to educate the masses on whooping cough. The "Race to Blanket America" quilt has 2,400 squares designed by individuals with the March of Dimes donating $1 for each square up to $10,000 (for more information, go to www.SoundsofPertussis.com). Gordon and his wife, Ingrid, designed one square and Gordon designed another. "All of us take calculated risks in our lives to some degree," Gordon said. "But when it comes to our children, I don't think that's anything we can afford to be risky on."(ESPN)(10-19-2011)
Gordon questions Menard's spin at Richmond: UPDATES: #24-Jeff Gordon says there is something "fishy'' about Saturday night's final caution at Richmond International Raceway that opened the door for #29-Kevin Harvick to win. Gordon implied after the race that #27-Paul Menard, Harvick's teammate at Richard Childress Racing, spun out intentionally with 16 laps to go to bring out the caution. Harvick then beat Gordon off pit road and maintained the lead after the final restart with 12 laps remaining. Gordon said from what he's been told of the radio communications between Menard, crew chief Slugger Labbe and RCR executive Mike Dillon there is reason to believe the spinout was orchestrated on a second channel. NASCAR released a statement Thursday saying officials did not see any wrongdoing during the race. "We haven't seen or heard anything that would indicate the #27 did anything inappropriate in Richmond," NASCAR said. "We watch closely the activity in each event all season long to maintain a fair and even event for all competitors. We naturally will do the same for the balance of the season." Harvick said he asked officials within the organization about the incident after accusations began flying and was told the right rear tire on Menard's car was "down to the cords.'' Menard said on the radio the tire was going down with 17 laps to go.(ESPN)
AND: Statement from Richard Childress: "There were no team orders despite all the speculation in the media. I know Paul Menard well enough that he wouldn't have spun out on purpose even if he had been asked. We are at Chicagoland Speedway to win the race and get a great start toward the championship."(RCR)(9-16-2011)
UPDATE: NASCAR President Mike Helton said Friday morning at Chicagoland Speedway that series officials are investigating Paul Menard's spin late in the Richmond race that played a role in helping teammate Kevin Harvick win that race. Helton said he has yet to hear the audio from Menard's radio chatter. "We're going to look into it and see if there's anything,'' Helton said. "A lot of it is going to be interpretation. Certainly, it's on us to understand exactly what all we can find as far as facts are concerned. It's on all of our shoulders to get the facts right and if there's something there, we should find out about it and be sure that we've got it right.'' Helton said that series officials will look at video of the caution itself to determine "if it appears that there … it was done on purpose.'' He also said series officials will get access to the audio.(Virginian-Pilot)(9-16-2011)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR officials said on Saturday there is no evidence to support allegations that Paul Menard spun out intentionally to bring out a caution and affect the finish of last weekend's Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Spokesman Kerry Tharp said officials listened to audio of Menard's radio transmission before he spun out with 16 laps remaining and found nothing to indicate he did anything deliberately.(ESPN)(9-17-2011)
HMS teams running 9/11 decals at Richmond: In remembrance of Sept. 11, all four Hendrick Motorsports Chevys will carry a special decal at Richmond. The black, white and gray decal features the phrase, "Never Forget 9.11 2001-2011" and will be placed on the roof near each driver's name on the car: #5-Martin, #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson & #88-Earnhardt Jr.(HMS)(9-9-2011)
Chase Card Services to be featured on the #24 of Gordon: AARP Foundation announced that Chase Card Services will join Drive to End Hunger on Jeff Gordon's #24 Chevy at Richmond and Dover. Chase announced earlier this year it will donate $0.03 for each purchase made with the AARP Visa Card from Chase, as well as $1 for each new account opened, up to $2 million each year through 2012, to AARP Foundation for Drive to End Hunger. The AARP Visa Card and Chase logo will appear on the #24's hood and trunk lid in support of Drive to End Hunger at the September 10 and October 2 events. AARP Foundation also announced it has now raised more than $12 million for Drive to End Hunger through individual and corporate donations in 2011. To date, Drive to End Hunger has provided more than 3.2 million meals for hungry older Americans through local hunger relief organizations. In addition, the Foundation is accepting applications for its hunger innovation grants, which will award between $50,000 to $300,000 to organizations focused on sustainable solutions to end hunger. AARP Foundation recently released new research that found 8.8 million Americans 50 and older are at risk of hunger, including 4.9 million 50- to 59-year-olds. A full copy of the report is available at www.aarpfoundation.org.(AARP/HMS)(9-8-2011)
Jeff Gordon: Victory #85 Adds To Legend: Further cementing his legendary status, #24-Jeff Gordon won the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his 85th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. With the historic milestone win, Gordon took sole possession of third on the all-time series wins list. Only Richard Petty (200 wins) and David Pearson (105) have more.
"I have always liked him as a driver," said Pearson, next on Gordon's march up the wins list. "He is smart, takes care of his equipment and when it is time to go, he gets right up there with them. Reminds me some of the way I drove. … He has been the 'head honcho' for a long time in NASCAR. He was good out of the box and has been very good ever since." Gordon also became the Modern Era (1972-Present) wins leader, breaking a tie with Darrell Waltrip. (Note: "Modern Era" refers to the period in NASCAR Sprint Cup history when NASCAR shortened the schedule from as many as 62 races in 1964 to the 31-race schedule of 1972. Race numbers fluctuated between 28 and 36 since 1972.)
To commemorate the milestone, NASCAR President Mike Helton presented Gordon with an "85" mosaic featuring images from each of the four-time champion's victories. Additionally, special commemorative "85" hats were worn by Gordon and his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team in Victory Lane. During a career that began on the final race of 1992, Gordon assembled a list of accomplishments fit for a future NASCAR Hall of Famer: Four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, three Daytona 500 victories, four Brickyard 400 victories, most road-course wins all-time (nine) and most restrictor plate wins all-time (12). Still only 40 years of age, the highlight reel can only grow.
Below is a timeline of Gordon's notable victories on his way to 85:
1 – On May 29, 1994 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Gordon won his first race. It was in one of NASCAR's biggest events – the Coca-Cola 600.
2 – Gordon won the inaugural NASCAR race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 6, 1994. He would go on to win three other IMS races, in 1998, 2001 and 2004.
8 – Won another "crown jewel" race, the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, on Sept. 3, 1995.
19 – On Sept. 29, 1996, won his only race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, the final race at the North Carolina short track.
20 – At the time, became the youngest winner in Daytona 500 history at 25 years, six months, 12 days on Feb. 16, 1997. His record was later broken in 2011 by Trevor Bayne (20 years, one day). Gordon also won the Daytona 500 in 1999 and 2005.
28 – On Aug. 31, 1997, won his second Southern 500, capturing a $1 million bonus in what was known as The Winston Million. The Winston Million was given to any driver to win three of the following four races: the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Southern 500 and the first Talladega race.
42 – In the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Nov. 8, 1998, won his 13th race of the season, tying a Modern Era record first set by Richard Petty in 1975.
74 – On June 25, 2006, won at Infineon Raceway, his record ninth victory at a road course.
76 – With a win at Phoenix International Raceway on April 21, 2007, Gordon tied Dale Earnhardt for sixth on the all-time wins list. Gordon memorably took a victory lap with a massive No. 3 flag waving out his driver-side window, a tribute to his long-time rival.
80 – On Oct. 7, 2007 at Talladega Superspeedway, Gordon captured his record 12th restrictor-plate victory.
85 – In a race delayed two days because of inclement weather, Gordon captures historic win No. 85 on Sept. 6, 2011 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(NASCAR)(9-7-2011)
Jeff Gordon wins at Atlanta: #24-Jeff Gordon won the AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his 85th career win, 5th at AMS and 3rd of the season.
#48-Johnson finished 2nd followed by #14-Stewart, #22-Busch, #99-Edwards, #2-Keselowski [last three races 1-2-3-1-6], #29-Harvick, #11-Hamlin, #17-Kenseth and #43-Allmendinger. The pole sitter, #4-Kahne finishing 34th after losing a radiator in the race.
Points leader going in to the race, #18-Busch finished 23rd and lost the points lead to #48-Johnson, who has a 21 points lead over Busch.
There were 35 lead changes among 14 drivers and 9 cautions for 64 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 29,700 [Sunday was estimates at 87,600], was 85,000 last year.
Scheduled Race Re-Air:
ESPN2, Wednesday, September 7 at 1:00 am/et;
SPEED, Wednesday, September 7 at 12:00pm/et
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Atlanta Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page
For the owner points standings, see my Owners Points Standings page.(9-6-2011)
Evernham returning to NASCAR garage: Former championship-winning crew chief and Sprint Cup Series team owner Ray Evernham told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that he will return to the NASCAR garage next season in an unofficial capacity with Hendrick Motorsports. Evernham has spent this season away from the NASCAR garage, working as a consultant for the Hendrick Companies overseeing strategic initiatives for Hendrick's auto dealerships and aftermarket retail business, while driving his own Sprint Car in a limited schedule of events, He said his driving career could come to an end in the near future, however, as he transitions back to NASCAR in 2013. "I've got six or seven more Sprint Car races before the end of the year, then I'm probably going to have to make a decision about how much I'm going to race next year," said Evernham. "I'd like to get back to the (NASCAR) race track more in 2012, so I think my Sprint car racing is going to suffer." Evernham said he has no desire to return to the crew chief ranks, saying his role will be unofficial and undefined. "I will have no real official capacity, other than being a part of Hendrick Motorsports," he said.(Sirius-Speedway)(8-24-2011)
Jeff Gordon newest member of Legends of The Glen: Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International, announced that #24-Jeff Gordon has been named the first member of the Class of 2011 for the Legends of The Glen. In front of local, regional, and international media, Printup presented Gordon with a hand-blown glass vase made by Vitrix Glass of Corning, NY, during an induction ceremony held in the historic road course's media center. Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, was also in attendance to acknowledge Gordon's contributions to the sport and join the celebration. "When you talk about Watkins Glen International and NASCAR, one of the first people that have to be mentioned is Jeff Gordon and it is well deserved with the incredible success that he has achieved here," said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. "He has represented The Glen as our champion four times and each time has done so with exceptional class and dignity. We are thrilled to welcome Jeff into this elite group of people that have had such a profound impact on our history."(Watkins Glen PR)(8-13-2011)
Hendrick cars to run special Chevy schemes: Hendrick Motorsports has been driving Chevrolets to Victory Lane since 1984. As a salute to Chevrolet's 100th Anniversary, our four race teams will run commemorative paint schemes on Oct. 15. In addition to awarding daily prizes for 100 days straight, HMS is also going to be giving away a 2012 Hendrick Motorsports VIP Racing Experience in Charlotte, N.C., to tour the Hendrick Motorsports facilities, meet your favorite Hendrick Motorsports driver and see a race in-style.(Hendrick Motorsports), see images of the cars on the #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and/or #88 Team Schemes page.(7-28-2011)
Gordon looking to win 4th inaugural race: At Kentucky Speedway, #24-Jeff Gordon will attempt to be first in the first -- for the fourth time. Among Gordon's 84 career victories are three inaugural event wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994, Auto Club Speedway in 1997 and Kansas Speedway in 2001 (four other tracks have been added to schedule since 1994 with no other driver winning multiple inaugural races at Las Vegas, Texas, Chicago, Homestead). Saturday night's Quaker State 400 marks the first visit for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to Kentucky, and it could also mark the fourth trip to Victory Lane in a first-time event for the driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet. "It may be our first race here, but a lot of drivers have logged a lot of miles here," said Gordon, who has climbed from 16th to eighth in the point standings with four top- six finishes in the last five races. "Some of the guys have run Nationwide events here and we used to test here all the time -- this was one of the tracks we could test at before it became a Cup track. "Going back to those old testing notes will give us some information, but (Hendrick Motorsports teammate) Mark Martin participated in the tire test here earlier this year. That's the most current data we have with these cars and setups we're running today. "It's been a while since I've tested here, so it'll be interesting to see what has changed." Gordon will get a re-introduction to the circuit during a test day on Thursday. "It could take two or three laps, or it could take 100 before you get comfortable on the track," said Gordon. "We've got a lot of track time scheduled for Thursday, so that should give us a good opportunity to get close (with the setup). "There are a lot of unknowns like where you can push the limits, where your car is going to handle the best and what characteristics the track will have as the race goes on. Does the track get looser or tighter in certain parts of the corner?"(Performance PR Plus)(7-6-2011)
Gordon and crew chiefs: If Jeff Gordon is going to win his fifth Cup championship this year, it will be with a new crew chief, Alan Gustafson. When Gordon won last week at Phoenix, Gustafson, in his second race with Gordon, because the fifth crew chief to be on the pit box for one of Gordon's 83 Cup wins. Ray Evernham leads the way in wins—and championships.
Crew chief; Wins; Titles
Ray Evernham; 47; 3
Robbie Loomis; 23; 1
Steve Letarte; 10; 0
Brian Whitesell; 2; 0
Alan Gustafson; 2; 0
Total; 84, 4
Gordon wins at Pocono: #24-Jeff Gordon won the 5-Hour Energy 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway for his 2nd win of 2011 and 84th win of his career. The win ties him with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for 3rd on the all-time win list in the series. The win was Gordon's 5th at Pocono, tying him with Bill Elliott for the most wins at the track.
Pole sitter #22-Busch finished second followed by #18-Busch, #48-Johnson, #29-Harvick, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #42-Montoya, #17-Kesneth, #39-Newman and #56-Truex Jr. #11-Hamlin led the most laps with 76 but lost a tire late and finsihed 19th. Points leader #99-Edwards had a valve in the engine break and spent a lot of time/laps in the garage, finishing 37th and now only leads #48-Johnson by 6 points.
There were 18 lead changes among 10 drivers; 4 cautions for 14 yellow flag laps. The attendance is listed as 90,000, down from 105,000 last June.
Scheduled Race Re-Air: SPEED, Wednesday, June 15 at 12:00pm/et
See race results, awards, laps led and more on Jayski's Pocono Race Results/Awards page.
See drivers championship points standings on Jayski's Drivers Points Standings page.(6-12-2011)
Hendrick & Penske...in Indycar?: Spotted on the grid of the Centennial Indy 500 were Hendrick Motorsport decals on the wings of two Team Penske Racers. The decals were on the inside rear wingplate on Will Power's #6 Dallara Honda and #12 Ryan Honda. This leads to speculation of an alliance of Penske and Hendrick in IndyCar especially due to the entry of Chevrolet engines into the open wheel series in 2012. Penske officials are keen to add Simona de Silvestro to their team but are having financial issues with three cars and would not comment on the why HMS decals were on the two cars. An alliance with Hendrick, a big Chevrolet dealer, could help.(see image at Auto123)(5-30-2011)
Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation Announces First Global Initiative: Jeff Gordon, alongside Partners In Health representatives, Dr. Larry Shulman and Dr. Sara Stulac, gathered friends and supporters on Wednesday evening to announce their new partnership to bring accessible cancer treatment to children of Rwanda. The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation has committed to raise $1.5 million over the course of three years to participate in the development and implementation of proper protocols for pediatric cancer patients in that region. Rwanda remains Africa's most densely populated country, and its estimated population of 10 million is expected to double within the next 10 years. Through the funding of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, Partners In Health and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute will develop a comprehensive program to address all components of cancer: prevention, diagnosis, chemo and radiation therapies, surgery and survivor follow-up care for children faced with cancer.(Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation)(5-28-2011)
Johnson named America's most influential athlete: #48-Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series champion every year since 2006, isn't particularly charismatic. But he's great at what he does. He's also appealing to many fans because he seems to be just like them--the guy next door who just happens to double as the best driver on the NASCAR circuit. That's among the reasons why Johnson rates as America's most influential athlete this year.
After a prolonged slump, "NASCAR has had a bit of resurgence, people are becoming more aware of the drivers this year," says Gerry Philpott, CEO of Encino, Calf.-based E-Poll Market Research, which co-conducted the poll of influential athletes our list is based on. While the sport is still lagging behind the glory days of the early 2000s, television ratings are up 6% this year, according to NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, who credits competitive early races this season with drawing interest. "It helps drive story lines," says Phelps. The first nine races of the 2011 season have produced seven different winners. #24-Jeff Gordon, a longtime fan favorite, got a nice boost from making it into the winner's circle in Phoenix in February, his first victory in two years.
Combined with the retirement of Lance Armstrong, the diminished reputation of Tiger Woods, and the fading of interest in 2010 winter Olympians like Apolo Anton Ohno and Shaun White, the mini-rally has launched three NASCAR drivers into the ranks of the most influential athletes. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who certainly is charismatic, and Gordon, a steady and likeable presence since the early 1990s, join Johnson in the top 10 in third and eighth place, respectively.
E-Poll and Nielsen Media Research surveyed over 1,000 adults as to the athletes they considered influential, while also assessing their likeability and awareness levels. Only those known to at least 20% of the respondents were considered. (That eliminated boxer Manny Pacquiao, who scores the highest influence numbers of anyone but who's familiar to only 12% of the population. What does it say about boxing that its most exciting champion toils in near anonymity?)(Forbes.com) see Full List: The Most Influential Athletes.(5-11-2011)
Need more SAFER at Richmond? UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon was involved in a multi-car accident on lap 302 at Richmond Saturday night and slammed into the inside wall, which had no SAFER barrier protecting the drivers, sone of Gordon's comments after the race:
Q) WHAT HAPPENED OUT THERE:
Gordon: "It knocked the wind out of me. I just saw the corner through my mirror, a car come into my left rear, and around I went in a hurry. I was hoping that I spun quick enough that I wasn't going to spin to the inside wall. And then I hit really, really hard. I'm just so proud of these guys on the DuPont Chevrolet. We had an awesome race car tonight. I don't know if we had a car capable of winning, but we were certainly going to give it a heck of a try and we certainly had a top-five car pretty easy. So, I hate it with the pit sequence and the pit strategy that was going on there that we lost all that track position. With 100 (laps) to go and everyone was just getting so impatient; you had to dive in there three-wide. I don't know what happened behind me but somebody shot up and got my left rear and around we went. I must have hit the corner of that inside wall. Again, I wish they had a Safer barrier there. I seem to be able to find the ones without the Safer barrier. But what a shame, man. That DuPont Chevrolet was so strong tonight. I'm so proud of Alan (Gustafson) and these guys. I hate that we lost that track position there, you know, with all the pit sequences and pit strategies that were going on there. You know, with 100 to go, everybody is losing their patience, including me. We were all three-wide. I don't know what happened. I just know that somebody got into my left rear and around I went."
Q) YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO FIND THE SPOT WHERE THERE IS NO SAFER BARRIER:
Gordon: "I know. I don't know what it is. I'm not trying to teach anybody anything. I really am not. I think it is pretty well known we need safer barriers everywhere. You think it is a short track and everything but man, I hit a ton and hit right on the corner where you don't want to hit. It definitely got my attention. That is for sure. It rang my bell
AND Richmond International Raceway President Doug Fritz Statement on SAFER Barriers at America's Premier Short Track. "The safety of all who attend our events, including the drivers, is of the upmost importance at Richmond International Raceway. We along with NASCAR and the developer of the Safer Barrier at the University of Nebraska, review the performance of the barrier and its locations and have made improvements from time to time based on recommendations from the University of Nebraska, and will continue to look at being able to improve upon it."(RIR)(5-3-2011)
UPDATE: Members of Jeff Gordon's team were informed that Gordon's crash last week at Richmond registered a G-force spike of about 40, which would be high enough for NASCAR to recommend that a SAFER barrier be added along at least part of the inside backstretch wall at Richmond. Gordon was uninjured when his car slammed driver side into the inside wall at Richmond. He was outspoken after the crash, questioning why there wasn't a SAFER barrier on the inside backstretch wall at Richmond in particular and elsewhere at other tracks. NASCAR officials would not reveal the g-force spike in Gordon's crash but said it was among the hardest hits in Cup this season.(Virginian-Pilot(5-6-2011)
Tire testing at Dover: hearing that #24-Jeff Gordon, #43-A.J. Allmendinger and #11-Denny Hamlin are Goodyear tire testing at Dover International Speedway, Tuesday, April 19th. Also Brett Moffit is testing his NASCAR K&N Pro Series car.(4-19-2011)
Gordon pole extends streak: #24-Jeff Gordon won the pole for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, his 70th career pole, 3rd all time. It is the 19th straight season [every season he has been full time in Cup] that Gordon has won a pole, one behind the record of 20, held by David Pearson [1962-1981]. Gordon has also won 19 races from the pole, 6th all time, one behind Bobby Allison. Richard Petty holds that record at 61 followed by Pearson at 37. See more pole records, stats and all time pole list on the All-Time Poles page and for 2011, see the 2011 Pole Winners page.(4-17-2011)
Gordon moves to 3rd in career poles with record slow speed: #24-Jeff Gordon won his 70th career pole Saturday and led a Hendrick Motorsports sweep of the top four spots at Talladega Superspeedway -- only the third team in NASCAR history to monopolize the first two rows for a Cup race. Gordon turned a two-lap qualifying average of 178.248 mph for the Aaron's 499. He broke a tie for third place on the career list with Cale Yarborough and trails only Richard Petty (123) and David Pearson (113). But the four-time series champion wasn't all that thrilled about another landmark: the slowest speed ever to claim the pole at Talladega. It wasn't even close. Gordon was more than 6 mph slower than the previous mark, a pole-winning speed.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(4-17-2011)
Burton expects more teams to communicate at Talladega: UPDATE: From Tuesday's NASCAR Teleconference:
Q. At Daytona there was quite a bit of communication, starters, drivers, teams blending and that sort of thing. More of that at Talladega? Did we set a precedent for that at Daytona or will it be about the same?
JEFF BURTON: I think it's going to be more of it. I think that it's really an interesting dynamic to be quite honest. We had a meeting this week talking about, you know, who you want to try to get on your radio, and it's pretty odd. I mean, typically it's teams that try to communicate within the team. But for a Childress car to be talking to a Hendrick car, or a Hendrick car to be talking to a Roush car, and a Roush car to be talking to a Gibbs car, we've never seen that. It's pretty interesting how that all is going down and who is going to who and talking and saying, can I put you in my radio. And with the etiquette: When do you go to a competitor's radio frequency? All of that's a moving target. I don't know, I'm a fan of it because I think honestly it's safer doing it with one spotter and two cars. I think it's actually safer. However, I'm not a fan of it because it's supposed to be us against them, you know. We are not supposed to be working together. (Laughing). (Chevy PR)(4-13-2011)
UPDATE: The radio inside the four-time Sprint Cup champion's #24 Chevy can accommodate 16 team channels in Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. But Gordon says it's been programmed only for Hendrick Motorsports teammates #48Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin and the Stewart-Haas Racing Chevys of #14-Tony Stewart and #39-Ryan Newman (whose chassis and engines are supplied by Hendrick). A prevalence of two-car trains made for strange bedfellows at the Daytona 500 as many rival NASCAR teams shared radio transmissions with one spotter calling the action for two drivers drafting nose to tail. It's expected many will employ the same strategy at Talladega. "We had people coming to us last week wanting our radio approval, and we're like, 'No,'" Gordon said Thursday. "We're not ready to do that. Having somebody be able to get on your channel is more complicated than some people are making it out to be. I'm not for that. We want to stay in control of what's said and be able to talk to the crew chief. I have one of the best spotters, so I want my spotter to be leading the way as much as possible. So we're very hesitant when it comes to that."(USA Today)(4-15-2011)
Jeff Gordon to appear in Cars 2: #24-Jeff Gordon will make an appearance in Cars 2 as Jeff Gorvette, an up-and-coming Chevrolet Corvette C6.R that's "turning hoods wherever he competes." More than just a cameo, Gordon's character will compete as a "respected competitor - and legitimate threat - at the World Grand Prix." Pixar makes no obvious connection to Gordon's actual roots in NASCAR, but the character of Jeff Gorvette is a Chevrolet and will wear #24 like Gordon's actual racecar, although obviously it isn't an Impala.(Jeff Gordon site)(3-29-2011)
Jeff Gordon appears on Ellen DeGeneres show and talks about his daughter becoming a race car driver:
Ellen: I heard that Ella told you she wants to be a racecar driver?
Jeff: I get asked this all the time. Do you want your daughter to be a racecar driver? I just want to approach it the same way that my parents approached it with me and my sister. Whatever opportunities or passions you see as a parent your kids interested in, pursue that and see where that takes them. That's what happened with me. We found racing at a young age. My parents introduced me to it and it just took off. I hadn't thought about it a whole lot, certainly with my daughter, and we were driving down the road the other day and out of nowhere, she said, "Papa, I want to be a racecar driver." And I said, "You do? Why do you want to be a racecar driver?" [She said] "Because I love you." It just crushed me and at the same time, I thought, "Oh, now I'm going to have to get a racecar." Laughs.(Ellen DeGeneres Show PR)(3-26-2011)
Kentucky Teenager to Meet Jeff Gordon via Make-A-Wish Foundation: Ask 14-year-old Johnathon Ousley about what his biggest wish would be, and he'd want to find a way to combine camping, fishing and meeting his favorite NASCAR driver, Jeff Gordon. The Prestonsburg, Ky., teenager's wish will actually come true this weekend through the teamwork of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, Bristol Motor Speedway and Pepsi MAX Maximum Moments. Ousley and his family will travel to Bristol, Tenn., for an unforgettable weekend of activity in association with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Jeff Byrd 500 race. His wish begins Friday with a private meet-and-greet with Gordon at Bristol Motor Speedway. They will also participate in media activities and a Q-&-A session with fans that night. On Sunday, Ousley will rejoin Gordon at the track for the pre-race driver introductions and ceremonial lap around the track. The family will then watch Gordon race for the checkered flag in the #24 Pepsi MAX car from a private suite. Gordon granted his first wish with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 1995. Since then, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has granted more than 230 wishes, making him among the most-requested celebrity wish granters in the Foundation's 30-year history. and discover how you can share the power of a wish.(Make-a-wish PR)(3-18-2011)
Pepsi colors for Gordon at Bristol: Jeff Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 Pepsi MAX Chevy at Bristol, during a weekend when Pepsi also launches a 'Maximum Moments' promotion.(Performance PR Plus), see an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2011)
Jeff Gordon stopped by The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: some quotables from his appearance on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Wednesday night;
Leno: "What was up with that burnout?"
Gordon: "I was a little rusty. It's been a little while since I've done a burnout. I was in the sport so long, when I used to win we didn't do burnouts! I've got to keep up with the kids."
He talks about the fight with fellow racer Jeff Burton:
Gordon: "I'm passionate about what I do out there and we weren't having a great day anyway, neither Jeff or myself and that doesn't help things," when Leno asked Gordon if he's forgiven Burton , Gordon continued, "Forgiven, never forget, right? I like Jeff. We get along good, but that was uncalled for and I certainly won't forget that. But we're fine. We're going to go race hard. It's all good."
About being new to Twitter and an unexpected good luck charm:
"This whole social media thing is new to me, but I have to say I'm having a blast with it. Getting to see the comments and reactions. It's funny, because on Sunday, the day of the race, I happened to check my Twitter page and a woman tweeted that she had the hiccups. I won the race. The last four times she had the hiccups I won those four races!" He continued, "I just hope she has the hiccups every weekend. I've got to figure out how to make her have the hiccups every weekend."
See clips of the interview at nbc.com(NBC)(3-3-2011)
Jeff Gordon and Drive to End Hunger Find Victory at Phoenix: AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins issued this statement following the win at Phoenix International Raceway by Jeff Gordon behind the wheel of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy: "We're thrilled to see the continued support from race fans as we work to raise awareness around the alarming issue of senior hunger. Today's victory by Jeff and the Drive to End Hunger car will help generate the attention we need to solve this crisis. One in seven seniors here in Arizona is battling hunger, but the NASCAR community came together this weekend to help make a real difference. We congratulate Jeff on his commanding win, and we look forward to seeing the fans at our next race in Fontana." Earlier this weekend, AARP Foundation made a $10,000 donation to St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix on behalf of Drive to End Hunger. The food bank can feed seven hungry seniors for every one dollar donated. Race fans and the public can donate to Drive to End Hunger by visiting DriveToEndHunger.org or texting "hunger" to 50555.(AARP)(3-2-2011)
Forbes names most valuable NASCAR teams & highest paid drivers: The weak economy has pummeled NASCAR over the past three years, with sponsorships, merchandise sales, race winnings and subsidies from automakers falling. Fans have tuned out, sending TV ratings down 24% since 2006 and leaving more than 40,000 empty seats at some races last year. One of its longest-tenured teams, Richard Petty Motorsports, was scrambling for cash on a week-to-week basis so it could race on weekends last fall. Is NASCAR headed for a full-blown meltdown? Hardly. Yes, the value of the top 10 teams slid 5% in 2010, on average, to $136 million by [Forbes] count, as prize money dropped and sponsors dialed back their commitment, but a rebound in 2011 for the sport is a strong possibility. NASCAR's strongest and most valuable team remains Hendrick Motorsports. With a valuation of $350 million on revenues of $177 million in 2010, Hendrick is worth 56% more than the next-highest-grossing team, Roush Fenway Racing, which [Forbes] value at $224 million on revenues of $140 million last year. Hendrick earned a NASCAR-high $18 million in operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in 2010. Richard Childress Racing was third on the list, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske Racing. Rounding out the top 10: Stewart-Haas, Michael Waltrip Racing, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Red Bull Racing.
AND: Despite his lack of success in recent years on the track, Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains NASCAR's highest-paid driver, earning $29 million in 2010 thanks to merchandise sales that are the best in the sport and reportedly account for one-third of all NASCAR licensed merchandise sales. Other income streams include an annual salary from Hendrick and a 50% share of his $4.9 million in winnings and bonuses in 2010 from Sprint Cup races. Earnhardt also has a bevy of personal endorsements, including Chevrolet, Nationwide and Wrangler. Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon follows Earnhardt in the NASCAR money standings with earnings of $25 million last year. It is a clean sweep for Hendrick at the top with five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, the third-highest-paid driver at $24 million. The rest of the top 10: Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Denny Hamlin, and Matt Kenseth.(Forbes)(2-24-2011)
Hendrick signs Bill Elliott's son Chase: Hendrick Motorsports has signed Chase Elliott to a multi-year driver agreement. Elliott, the son of 1988 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, will continue to compete for his family-owned team until meeting age requirements for entering NASCAR national series events. Bill Elliott Racing, based in Dawsonville, Ga., will field Chevrolets with support from Hendrick Motorsports. "The apple hasn't fallen far from the tree with Chase," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "I've always admired Bill's ability in a race car and how he handled himself with the fans. I see those same traits in Chase, with his natural driving talent and an awareness of what he needs to do away from the track to be successful. He comes from a great racing family, and it shows. We think it's a terrific situation. Chase already has a strong support system in place (in Dawsonville) that will allow him to focus on his education and grow as a driver, and Hendrick Motorsports will provide whatever kind of assistance the Elliotts need in any area."
A 15-year-old freshman in high school, Elliott already has competed against some of the best short-track racers in the United States. In 40 late model starts last season, he posted 13 victories, 27 top-five finishes and 37 top-10s. "I've always been taught that teamwork and people are important, and that's something Mr. Hendrick really believes in," Elliott said. "Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports has high standards and takes a lot of pride in what they do. Racing with all of their support, and the support of my family, is going to be incredible. I'm going to work really hard to make them proud and make the most of this opportunity."
In 2010, Elliott became the youngest driver to win the Blizzard Series at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., the Miller Lite Series at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway and the overall Sunoco Gulf Coast championship. The Dawsonville native also posted victories in the prestigious Winchester 400 and at the re-opening of historic North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway. Elliott already is two-for-two in 2011 after sweeping the Speedfest late-model features last month at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga. This season, he plans to enter a combination of super late model, pro late model and NASCAR regional touring series events.(HMS)(2-16-2011)
Hendrick Building Training Facility: Hendrick Motorsports is building an outdoor pit-crew training facility that will include a six-lane, 60-yard track where crew members can work out doing sprints and shuttle runs. The facility will include a 75-yard AstroTurf field and a 40-by-40 foot sand pit for outdoor strength and conditioning training for explosiveness and endurance.(SceneDaily)(2-9-2011)
Evernham tests dirt car: On Monday, February 7, Ray Evernham got behind the wheel of the new US Legends Modified dirt car that he designed & developed for US Legend Cars International. The test took place at Evernham's dirt track, East Lincoln Speedway in Stanley, NC. Ray was pleased with the car's performance, and is very excited about the growth of the new series. Also on hand testing the car was his wife and former NASCAR & World of Outlaws driver Erin Crocker. The car is scheduled to debut at East Lincoln Speedway later this year, and is available through US Legend Cars International. Ray Evernham will be a guest speaker at the 38th annual RPM Promoters Workshop in Daytona later this month, where he will talk to race promoters from all over the country about the new car. Test drive dates & additional information about the racecar will be announced soon.(Dirt Track Racing School/US Legend Cars International)(2-9-2011)
Jeff Gordon testing at Pike Peak: Jeff Gordon traveled to Colorado on Friday to test his #24 Chervy at Pikes Peak International Raceway through today [Saturday]. Gordon arrived in Colorado early Friday morning before heading to the Pikes Peak track, just south of Colorado Springs in Fountain, CO. Gordon wants to test on a downforce track. Pikes Peak's low banking — the corners rise just 10 degrees — mimics the corners at Phoenix International Raceway. The Phoenix track — which has an 11-degree corner bank and is 1-mile long, like Pikes Peak — will host the Sprint Cup race that follows Daytona, on Feb. 27. Gordon and his team will be at the Pikes Peak raceway all day today. Testing is open to the general public, though admission is $10 (Denver Post)(2-5-2011)
Hendrick Motorsports rent CMS for pit practice: Hendrick Motorsports held a fully suited dress rehearsal for its pit crews at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday. Apparently the organization rented the track for a closed session for all four NASCAR Sprint Cup teams. The four cars used for the exercises include two #5's (of Mark Martin), the #48 with Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel and the #88 Chevy with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel. The #24 team of Jeff Gordon was pitting the second #5 car. The drivers were running different sequences and pitting in every other pit with the pit stops being filmed from the flagstand, according to a source who attended the test. The session lasted less than three hours (FoxSports)
UPDATE: the HMS test was a pit road practice only. At no time did a car leave pit road. CMS has availability next week 2/6-10/11 for any other NASCAR Series team who would like to practice team pit stops. Charlotte Motor Speedway track rentals info at charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(2-4-2011)
Pepsi back with Gordon: Pepsi Max will again sponsor #24-Jeff Gordon, for two races in 2011. At Bristol in March and Daytona in July. See an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page.(2-2-2011)
Evernham concerned with owners' ability to walk away: Former Evernham Motorsports owner Ray Evernham told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Tuesday that he is troubled by the ability of owners to pull up stakes and leave the sport without paying their bills. While never identifying former partner George Gillett by name, Evernham said, "When a company goes out of business or leaves without paying people, it's not just drivers and crewchiefs (who are affected). There are tons of other people who get hurt. People are allowed to fly back to their lives on private jets, drink champagne and (go) skiing, while other people are left trying to figure out how to put food on the table. That kind of pisses me off. It's a shame that there are a lot of really good people who are owed a heck of a lot of money," said Evernham. "The press releases go out talking about how great everyone is doing now, and that's not totally true. There are a lot of people who have been left holding the bag, and a lot of people out of work. All you can do is hope that what goes around, comes around, and that the legal system -- or karma -- take care of it at some point."(Sirius Speedway)(1-27-2011)
2010 Races  that National Guard was the primary sponsor:
Atlanta - 3/7
Texas - 4/18
Darlington - 5/8
Michigan - 6/13
Richmond - 9/11, Military Intelligence
New Hampshire - 9/19
Martinsville - 10/24 Talladega - 10-31
Races  that Pepsi was the primary sponsor in 2010:
Las Vegas - 2/28 with Pepsi Max
Auto Club Speedway - 10/10 with Pepsi Max
Hendrick Buys First Volt Offered for Public Sale: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, has purchased the first Chevy Volt offered for sale. Proceeds will benefit science, math, engineering, and technology education initiatives through the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. The vehicle, bearing the vehicle identification number BU10002, was sold for $225,000 through an online auction that closed Tuesday, Dec. 14. “This was an opportunity to own a piece of history while giving back to the community,” said Hendrick, an avid car collector. “I have been a Chevy dealer for more than 30 years, and the Volt is one of the most exciting and important new cars since we opened our first dealership in 1976.” The Chevy Volt is an electric vehicle that can operate under a range of weather climates and driving conditions with little concern of being stranded by a depleted battery. The Volt has a total driving range of up to 379 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 344 miles on a full tank. Chevy began shipping Volts from Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly this week. Hendrick will take delivery of his Volt later this month.(Chevy Racing/HMS)(12-17-2010)
New Jeff Gordon sponsor scheme unveiled UPDATE images posted: the design of Jeff Gordon's #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy is scheduled to be unveiled on the Drive to End Hunger Facebook page, Monday, Dec. 6 at 9:00 am/et.(Hendrick Motorsports Facebook), no need to send me images posted there as I will get them there.(12-5-2010)
UPDATE: added some images of the scheme captured from a CNN video, see them on my #24 Team Schemes page.(12-6-2010)
UPDATE 2: Drive to End Hunger (DTEH), an initiative of AARP and AARP Foundation to end hunger among older Americans, today unveiled the design of four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon’s #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy for the 2011 season. “Of the nearly 51 million Americans who face the threat of hunger every day, nearly six million are seniors who must make the heart-breaking decision between a nutritious meal and other necessities,” said Gordon, 39, winner of 82 career Sprint Cup races. “By combining the power and generosity of the NASCAR community with such a deserving cause, we can make a difference in this country and solve this problem.” Gordon will drive the car for 22 races annually over the next three years to raise awareness of and help solve the growing problem of hunger among older Americans. The DTEH car is candy apple red fading down to black, with dominant white DTEH logos. DTEH is helping millions of older Americans who are facing hunger across the United States. As part of the No. 24 sponsorship, DTEH, Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports will engage the NASCAR fan base, corporations and charitable organizations via a text-to-donate program; activation at racetracks across the country; further research on the causes and consequences of hunger in older Americans; and an innovative national grant program that will provide resources to address the problem at a local level.(AARP)(12-6-2010)
2010 Championship "Tire Specialist" award announced: Champion Tire & Wheel announced the 2010 Sprint Cup "Consistently Smooth" award goes again, to Hendrick Motorsports's Lisa Smokstad and Zack Miller. The award recognizes the skill and effort of the team's tire specialist in overseeing the Lowes #48 Chevy tire and wheel program. Both Lisa and Zach teamed up to handle the organization and management of the championship effort. The tire specialist is a critical piece in the performance formula for a championship team as it takes over 2,500 tires and wheels to run the full Sprint Cup season. The lead crystal trophy will be presented to Lisa & Zack at the team's shop in Charlotte with #48 team manager Michael Landis, and crew chief Chad Knaus. In addition to the Sprint Cup series recipients, Champion Tire and Wheel will also present Penke Racing's Jim "JD" Davis, the Championship tire specialists award for the Brad Keselowski driven Nationwide Series team, and Justin Gardner, the tire specialist for Germain Racing and the Todd Bodine driven Camping World Truck Series Championship effort.(Champion Tire and Wheel PR)(12-3-2010)
Dale Jr's struggles no only reason for HMS changes: The ongoing struggles of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. were not the sole reason for the sweeping changes made at Hendrick Motorsports. A day after Rick Hendrick shuffled the driver and crew chief lineup for three of his race teams, the team owner said the entire organization had grown complacent because of all its success. Even Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, fresh off their fifth consecutive championship, were "off this year," Hendrick said. "This was not a Dale Earnhardt - not a move that we made, this major of a move, because of Dale or his situation," Hendrick said Wednesday. "I am excited about making all four teams better. We need to be better across the board. We are not going to leave any stone unturned."
Hendrick said he called a companywide meeting after the Nov. 7 race at Texas, where Johnson's crew was benched in the middle of the event and Denny Hamlin outran the #48 team to take the lead in the championship standings. No personnel decisions were made during the meeting. "No one suggested in that meeting that we shift people around," Hendrick said. "It was about how each individual could make this organization better." In the two weeks after the meeting, there were discussions between Hendrick and his management team, and the shakeup was revealed Tuesday afternoon. "A tremendous amount of thought went into it, and it was not a (decision) from the hip," Hendrick said. "It's not one of those things that you can vote on; it's one of those things you have to pull the trigger and go do it." The owner said he has now matched driver and crew chief based on personality fits. "I think everybody was excited last night, and it sparked a new amount of energy in our company," he said.(in part from the Associated Press)(11-24-2010)
New crew chiefs for Gordon, Martin & Earnhardt Jr.: Hendrick Motorsports has made personnel adjustments in preparation for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, with drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. being teamed with new crew chiefs. Below are the driver-crew chief pairings for each Hendrick Motorsports car, effective immediately:
#5 Chevy, driver: Mark Martin, Crew Chief: Lance McGrew
#24 Chevy, driver: Jeff Gordon; Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson
#48 Chevy, driver: Jimmie Johnson; Crew Chief: Chad Knaus
#88 Chevy, driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.; Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
The cars of Martin and four-time Sprint Cup champion Gordon will be fielded out of the same facility, now known as the 5/24 shop. Earnhardt Jr.'s Chevys will be prepared out of the renamed 48/88 shop alongside those of five-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. "This will improve us as an organization, across the board," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We had a championship season (in 2010), but we weren't where we wanted and needed to be with all four teams. We've made the right adjustments, and I'm excited to go racing with this lineup."(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-23-2010)
Evernham back to Hendrick? Ray Evernham is talking to ESPN about continuing his career as a television analyst, but he's also exploring other options in NASCAR. And he plans to meet with Hendrick about a potential return to the organization where he won three championships as Jeff Gordon's crew chief in the 1990s. "Rick and I just have to meet and discuss things," Evernham said. "I'm interested in a lot of things Rick is doing, on a global basis." Evernham isn't interested in being a crew chief again, and he doesn't sound particularly enthusiastic about the idea of trying to straighten out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the struggling #88 team. Instead, Evernham hopes to talk to Hendrick about working on big-picture projects related to Hendrick's worldwide business interests. "I want to be a project guy -- on a project, see results, move on," Evernham said.(Associated Press)(11-21-2010)
Jeff Gordon Presents Keys to Corvette Winner: During Sunday’s pre-race festivities at Texas Motor Speedway, #24-Jeff Gordon presented the keys to his personal Corvette to raffle winner, Cindy McCotter of Matthews, NC. Gordon used the occasion to announce the launch of the 2011 raffle which is expected to raise $500,000 over the next year. The event has raised over $2,000,000 for pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support, as well as the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital over the last five years. After handing over the keys to the Corvette to McCotter, Gordon asked her to accompany him on stage in presenting the Texas Chapter Speedway Children’s Charities with a check for $75,000 designated to benefit childhood cancer initiatives in the state of Texas (JGCF)(11-9-2010)
#24 & #48 to swap pit crews: The #24 and #48 Hendrick Motorsports teams will trade pit crews for the remaining two races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The change is limited to the seven primary over-the-wall members of the respective pit crews. Roles of additional team personnel will not be affected.(Hendrick Motorsports)(11-8-2010)
Jeff Gordon comments on incident with Jeff Burton: from a Team Chevy Transcript:
Q) BURTON HAS SAID IT WAS DEFINITELY HIS FAULT. HE OWNED UP TO THAT. WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE OF WHAT HAPPENED AND WHY YOU WERE SO ANGRY?
Gordon: "Oh, well, I'll walk you right through it. We went down into (Turn) 3. He went wide going into (Turn) 3. I got to the inside of him and there were four car widths between us and he drove from the wall all the way down to me; almost in the second groove up. I didn't understand why and so the caution came out and we went down into (Turn) 1 and I just drove up next to him. I didn't even touch him. And I don't know, I guess he was just really frustrated with the way his car was handling or something and he just drove into my right rear and put me in the wall under caution. Of all the people out there, I never thought that would happen to Jeff Burton and me. I've always has a tremendous amount of respect for him. But I certainly lost a lot of respect today. I don’t think we're going to be able to fix the DuPont Chevrolet. We were battling enough as it was but I really had confidence we were going to be able to battle back and get a decent finish, maybe a top 10 or 15, but that's certainly not going to happen today."
Q) WHAT WAS SAID IN THE AMBULANCE?
Gordon: "I was walking toward him and I started going through all the scenarios in my mind. Thankfully I had a long walk down there to him because I thought about the least amount that I wanted to do. I wanted to show him how upset I was but I wanted to do a whole lot more than that. But I held back and I'm just still in disbelief; I didn't want to be in the ambulance with him, I can tell you that. But we got in there. I like Jeff. He's a guy that's usually very rational and I respect his opinion. He apologized and said it was his fault. He said he didn't mean to do it and whatever. It's over."
Q) WHAT WENT ON WITH YOU GUYS IN THE CAR AND THEN OUT OF THE CAR ON THE RACE TRACK?
Gordon: "We were having a tough enough day with the DuPont Chevrolet and we were hoping when the sun went down that we would be able to get it tuned in there. But actually the car was about the best it had been right there. We were slowly making our way forward. We got up to Jeff and he went high going into (Turn) 3 and I kind of went to about the second lane up and he just drove all the way from the wall all the way down to my doors and said the sun got in his eyes. But I just wasn't real happy about that and just drove up next to him going into (Turn) 1 after the caution came out to kind of say what was up with that and he just turned in my right rear and wrecked me. I mean it tore it up. I've experienced a lot of things in this sport but I can't say I've experienced anything like that before and from somebody that I've had a lot of respect for. Jeff Burton is a great race car driver but and then afterwards I was just so mad I was just trying to think of how I could who him my displeasure. I wanted to do a lot more than that but I thought better of it. We had our words and a little scuffle and got in the ambulance and now we're back there (in the garage) trying to get it fixed."
"He (Burton) went up to the wall where he was running and I went down to about the second groove where I was running and by the time we got in the middle of the corner, he just turned left and got on my door and got me really loose. He said the sun got in his eyes. Then the caution came out and we got down into (Turn) 1 and I just drove up next to him to show him my displeasure about what went on and he just wrecked us; just flat-out wrecked us and turned us right into the wall and collected himself. It was pretty stupid and he admitted it later. But I certainly wanted to show him how upset I was and I'm not ashamed of anything I did and we'll try to fix it and get back out."
Q) THAT WAS AN INTENSITY WE HAVEN'T SEEN FROM YOU VERY OFTEN IN YOUR CAREER. IF YOU FELT THAT WAY, YOUR FANS WANTED YOU TO GO FOR IT:
Gordon: "Well, he deserved a lot more than that, I can tell you that. That kind of stuff is just ridiculous and uncalled for. Jeff and I; I just like the guy too much and we'll be able to go on and race one another and stuff like that. I just couldn't believe how much respect I lost for a guy like Jeff to do something like that. I thought it was really stupid. Sometimes I can't hold my emotions back and believe it or not I was holding them back right there (laughs)."
Q) WHAT DID BURTON SAY TO YOU?
Gordon: "He was trying to talk to me and explain to me what happened. He felt like I came up on him and that he didn't mean to wreck me but I'm sorry, I will never believe that. I've been driving a race car long enough to know what your intentions are and I know what they were there. I think maybe if a guy wrecks you prior to that but I didn't do anything to him. I was just showing him I wasn't happy. I didn't touch him. And he just flat-out wrecked me. I don't know. The last few weeks have not exactly gone our way and I feel like what happened in Martinsville, I deserved a little bit of that, not all of it but maybe I did some through the past, but I can't think of anything me and Jeff Burton have ever had a disagreement with that should have led to that."
Q) DID YOU GUYS HAVE A CONVERSATION IN THE CARE CENTER? DID YOU TALK IN THERE?
Gordon: "We talked during the whole ambulance ride in. When you're too upset like that, you don't care to hear about any explanation as to what went on. I know he's sorry but he's sorry because he got caught up in it himself."
Q) WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT RIDING IN THE SAME AMBULANCE WITH BURTON?
Gordon: "Well, I didn't want to ride in the vehicle with him, I can tell you that. I wanted to go confront him, that's for sure, but it wasn't fun. He talked. He talked a lot, you know? But I didn't say a whole lot."
Q) DO YOU EXPECT A PENALTY FOR GOING AFTER HIM?
Gordon: "No more penalty than what he deserves for what he did."(Team Chevy)(11-7-2010)
Jeff Burton comments on incident with Jeff Gordon: from a Team Chevy Transcript:
Burton: "Coming off of turn four, he (Jeff Gordon) drove underneath me. I should have let him go and I didn't. The caution came out and he pulled up next to me to tell me he was upset at me and he went on. Then I went to pull up next to him to acknowledge him, to say he was right and I turned left and he was turning left and we just hung up. When we hung, off we went. I honestly don't know what happened. It was my fault. 100% it was my fault. It was like once we got together, I couldn't get off of him. I didn't mean to hit him. I meant to pull up to him and tell him he was right because he was upset with me for what happened off of turn four. I should have let him go. You can't see off of there right but you can't see over there right now. You don't to be side-by-side. I don't blame him for being for mad. I'd have been mad too."
Q) WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS WHEN I SAW HIM WALKING TOWARD YOU?
Burton: "Well, like I said, I knew he was going to be mad and I don't blame and I don't blame him for being mad. He didn't do anything that he shouldn't have done. He was upset and he should have been upset. I wrecked him under caution. I didn't mean to wreck him but I wrecked him under caution. He meant to tell me he was upset and that was ok. I don't have a bit of problem with what he did. He was mad. He should have been mad."
Q) DID YOU HAVE WORDS IN THE MEDICAL CENTER?
Burton: "I have a lot of respect for Jeff. I think he has a lot of respect for me. We talked and he is still upset and like I said, I don't blame him. He understands what happened more now. It is what it is."
Q) WHAT LED UP TO THE SITUATION?
Burton: "Honestly, I came off turn four with Jeff underneath me, the sun is really bad off of turn four and it is really hard to race over there right now and I should have let him go and I didn't. Caution came out and he pulled up next to me to express his displeasure and he was right. We don't need to be racing side-by-side right there right now. I went to pull back up to him to acknowledge him and when we did I was turning left and I don't know, we hooked somehow and around we went. We just got hooked up together. I think it is the stupidest thing I think I might have ever done. Like I said I was pulling up next to him to acknowledge him to say 'Look, I'm cool, I got you' and we just got together and wrecked both cars."
Q) HOW SURPRISED WERE YOU WHEN JEFF CAME AFTER YOU WITH FISTS?
Burton: "I wasn't at all surprised. I went to go see him because I knew he was going to be mad and I fully expected it. I don't blame him. Hell, I would have been made it I had been him too. I really don't blame him. He was mad and I was right there and he wasn't some of it."(Team Chevy PR)(11-7-2010)
Jeff Gordon not planning on retirement anytime soon: Speaking Wednesday after a sponsorship announcement for his #24 Chevy at Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon, 39, said he figures to keep on driving in NASCAR's top national touring series for a long time -- even beyond the three years covered by his new sponsorship agreement with the AARP Foundation. Heck, he might even drive until he qualifies for AARP membership, which comes for all Americans at the age of 50. Now the father of two children with wife Ingrid Vandebosch, Gordon spoke candidly about fatherhood filling him with an intense desire to extend his career because he wants his kids -- daughter Ella, 3, and son Leo, who was born in August -- to be able to experience it along with him. "In some ways, that's extended my career because I want to show them what I do. And I want them to be able to understand it and be a part of it in some way. So that definitely wants to make me think about driving longer," Gordon said. It helps that Gordon, who was bothered by severe back pain much of last season, is feeling better this season. Gordon admitted it still is not 100 percent. He attributes being able to manage the pain better to being more dedicated to a regimented physical fitness program -- citing Mark Martin as an example of the benefits of such dedication.(NASCAR.com)(10-29-2010)
Jeff Gordon will 'Drive to End Hunger' beginning in 2011: UPDATES: Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon have teamed with AARP and AARP Foundation on the Drive to End Hunger, an unprecedented three-year initiative to address the growing problem of hunger among older Americans, including 6 million over the age of 60. Drive to End Hunger will be the majority sponsor of Gordon's #24 Hendrick Motorsports team in 2011, 2012 and 2013, with primary paint schemes in 22 Sprint Cup races annually. The #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevy, which will be unveiled at a later date, will race in the next three Daytona 500 events. With Gordon as its spokesperson, Drive to End Hunger will help the millions of older Americans who are facing hunger across the United States. The effort will engage the NASCAR fan base, corporations and charitable organizations via a text-to-donate program; activation at racetracks across the country; further research on the causes and consequences of hunger in older Americans; and an innovative national grant program that will provide resources to address the problem at a local level. Donations from Drive to End Hunger will benefit the hunger programs of AARP Foundation.(Hendrick)(10-27-2010)
UPDATE: Going to the AARP-sponsored car is big news for Gordon in another way -- in that DuPont, his long-time sponsor, will be in a reduced role beginning next season. "DuPont is not going away," insisted Hendrick, who added that an announcement concerning that would be forthcoming very shortly. "You can fill in the blanks. The people that have been here -- Pepsi and DuPont -- they'll be back. And they'll be picking up the rest of it. They'll be on the cars with AARP -- AARP will be on the car with them, and they'll be on the car with AARP, the same way we do it now with associate sponsors." Filling in the blanks means that Pepsi likely is going to be primary sponsor for two races next season and DuPont will be primary sponsor for the rest -- a total of 12 to 14 races, depending on who is on the car for two non-points events (the Sprint All-Star Race and the season-opening Budweiser Shootout).(NASCAR.com)(10-28-2010)
UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports announced that DuPont will continue its longstanding relationship with Jeff Gordon with a three-year agreement to remain a primary sponsor of the #24 Chevy team through the 2013 season. DuPont, which has maintained a presence on Gordon's cars since his Sprint Cup debut in November 1992, will have primary paint schemes in 14 races annually beginning next season. The agreement will extend one of NASCAR's most enduring sponsor-driver relationships into its third decade. DuPont, which will have prominent brand placement on the #24 Chevys in every Sprint Cup race in 2011, 2012 and 2013, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports in November 2012.(Hendrick PR)(10-28-2010)
Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon feud simmers: #24-Jeff Gordon admitted he was late with a move that allowed him to pass Kurt Busch’s #2 Dodge. Busch responded by knocking Gordon into the wall on Lap 385 at Martinsville Speedway — all but ending Gordon’s chances for a fifth championship. The way Busch sees it, however, they’re still not even. “I didn’t mean to get into him that hard, but over the years with Gordon here, back in the 97 car (which Busch drove for Roush Racing), wrecking the 2 car—whether you’re a Kurt fan or an ex-Rusty (Wallace) fan—he’s wrecked the 2 car a lot here.” Given the history, Gordon knew payback was coming. “I said it here, more than once, that I probably made the move a little late. I was going to get into him. It wasn’t much. But I gave him enough of a reason that, whatever things he has from past history or whatever thoughts he has in there, it sparked it, you know? At that point, he was determined to wreck us.”(Sporting News)(10-25-2010)
UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that he has not spoken with #2-Kurt Busch about the Martinsville run-in that left him with a damaged race car and a 20th place finish. "There have not been any conversations with Kurt, and I doubt that there will be," he said. "The way I look at it, I race everybody the way they race me. I'm smart enough to know who I'm racing, and I look at every crash I've ever been in and ask what I could have done different. I dove in under him a little late and figured his spotter would see that I was there. I gave him a reason to lose his temper and wreck me, and I blame myself for that." Gordon bumped Busch while passing him with 115 laps remaining in Sunday's TUMS Fast Pain Relief 500, and Busch returned the favor in spades, spinning Gordon into the inside retaining wall on the frontstretch. The incident was the second between the two this season, after Gordon wrecked Busch on the road course at Infineon Raceway on June 20.(Sirius Speedway)(10-27-2010)
Hendrick Motorsports to name a sponsor for #24 Wed UPDATE 2: Jeff Gordon, #24 DuPont/National Guard Appreciation Chevy met with the media at Martinsville Speedway on Friday, one question was about sponsorship, the transcript, in part:
Q) WILL WE FIND OUT ABOUT YOUR SPONSOR NEXT WEEK?
Gordon: “You’ll find out about one of them on Wednesday, I believe. I don’t know what all they are going to put into that announcement, so I don’t know all the details.” (Team Chevy)
Rumors include Walmart [denied] and 7-11 as a sponsor for 2011, or it could be extensions to current sponsors DuPont, National Guard or Pepsi.(10-22-2010)
UPDATE: Beginning in 2011, the primary sponsor of Gordon's #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy for a majority of races will be a major anti-hunger campaign. The campaign, which may be the first multi-race cause-related sponsorship of its kind in NASCAR, will be coordinated through the AARP Foundation and eventually involve other companies, sources said. The AARP Foundation is the charitable organization of the AARP and dedicated to serving older Americans in need. While the anti-hunger campaign will serve as primary sponsor for a majority of races, DuPont and PepsiCo are expected to return as primary sponsors for the remainder of the races in 2011 as well, sources said. Gordon's sponsorship and details of the anti-hunger campaign will be unveiled at a news conference on Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports, sources said. A Hendrick Motorsports spokesperson confirmed an announcement is being planned for Wednesday but declined further comment.(Charlotte Observer)(10-25-2010)
UPDATE: According to paperwork filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Hendrick Motorsports has requested trademarks on two different slogans: "Drive For Hunger" and "Drive 4 Hunger." The campaign will be the first cause-related sponsorship of its kind in NASCAR, which has struggled to attract new business since the economic downturn began late in 2008. Sponsorship dollars have been dramatically reduced, and many teams, Hendrick included, had to let go employees while adjusting to smaller budgets. Hendrick Motorsports is filling the void created when DuPont, which has sponsored Gordon his entire career, decided to scale back its commitment. The company will still play a major role with Gordon, and be the primary sponsor on all but two of the races that the new sponsor has not claimed. PepsiCo, which also has a long relationship with Gordon, will continue sponsoring the driver. The company has traditionally been the primary sponsor for two races a year. The new deal on the anti-hunger campaign fills the #24 Chevy's primary sponsorship needs.(Associated Press)(10-26-2010)
National Guard colors for Gordon at Martinsville: This weekend at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon and the #24 team will recognize the families of National Guard Soldiers. The support of family members is vital to the strength of the National Guard's mission at home and abroad, and the success of the Guard would not be possible without the families who stand behind these Citizen-Soldiers. For the second year in a row, Gordon and the #24 team are sponsored by the National Guard for eight Sprint Cup Series events. Gordon's final race with the National Guard will be at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 31 (HMS)(10-20-2010)
7-Eleven could sponsor Jeff Gordon? Last week, longtime sponsor 7-Eleven announced that it would not return at Tony Kanaan's sponsor at Andretti Autosport [IRL]. The company is being linked to NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Jeff Gordon's #24 Chevy (Sports Illustrated)
AND 7-Eleven will continue [in the IRL] being an associate sponsor of Danica Patrick’s entry in the IndyCar series (AP/Yahoo.com), Patrick drives for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, JR Motorsports is affliated with Hendrick Motorsports and her sponsor GoDaddy.com in the NNS, also sponsor Hendrick's #5 Chevy of Mark Martin.(10-14-2010)
Special scheme for Jeff Gordon at Auto Club: During the Pepsi Max 400 this weekend at Auto Club Speedway, #24-Jeff Gordon will race the newest Pepsi Max paint scheme. In conjunction with the race, Pepsi Max will be awarding 400 lucky winners one of 400 Prizes in 400 Miles! Tune in October 10th at 2:30 pm/et on ESPN, where Jeff Gordon will be revealing, during his pre-race interview, the unique word that fans can text to 73774 or enter online at www.facebook.com/pepsimaxusa for their chance to win. Prizes include trip packages to Vegas, Bristol Motor Speedway and Hendrick Motorsports; autographed PEPSI MAX hats; and a phone call from Jeff Gordon (Pepsi), see images of the car on my #24 Team Schemes page.(10-6-2010)
Gordon comments on sponsorship issues: #24-Jeff Gordon, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed sponsorships on Friday:
Q) HAS THE SPONSORSHIP THING BEEN DISCOURAGING FOR YOU WITH NOT HAVING DUPONT THE WHOLE SEASON AND THE WALMART THING, ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT A DRIVER OF YOUR CALIBER IS EVEN IN THIS POSITION?
Gordon: “I’ll be honest, as a driver, it’s not something that I put a lot of thought into. I mean, I certainly would like to see us with a sponsor that could be really good for our organization. Good for the sport and good marketing and wants to be a part of our program and get behind it. Right now, my focus is on driving and trying to go out there and be as good as we can be in the Chase. That is pretty much the message that has been sent to me through Rick (Hendrick) is don’t worry about it. We have got a lot of people working hard on it and it’ll come together. The Walmart thing was a little disappointing because I feel like everybody was wanting to see that company in this sport for a long time and we would have loved to have represented them. But, I’m so excited to be involved with DuPont and Pepsi and sponsors that we have had for a number of years. I think we still have some things that are going to come together.”(Team Chevy transcript)(9-18-2010)
Gordon, Stewart, Busch Visit ESPN Campus; Stewart Wins 5-lap Race: NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch visited the ESPN campus in Bristol, Ct., today and appeared on various ESPN programs and platforms in advance of Sunday’s first race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. During their day at ESPN, the three drivers competed against each other with radio-controlled race cars on an oval track set up outside of some buildings on the ESPN campus. They raced for five laps, with Stewart taking the win. Gordon finished second and Busch was third after rolling his car trying to catch Stewart on the last lap. Highlights were shown on NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.
National Guard Facebook back on the #24: The National Guard will feature its Facebook page -- -- on the hood of Jeff Gordon's #24 Chevy this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Support your country and the #24 team by liking the National Guard on Facebook (HMS), see images of the National Guard scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page(9-15-2010)
Special police scheme for Gordon UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to run the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial scheme in the Dover race on September 26, 2010. See an image of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Museum groundbreaking will take place in Washington DC on October 14, 2010, see an image of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(6-22-2010)
UPDATE: For Americans, September 11 will forever be a time of reflection and sadness for those who lost their lives on that day in 2001. Additionally, it is a reminder of the sacrifices that the men and women in uniform make every day to protect, serve and rescue fellow Americans in times of need. And to respect, honor and remember those police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, Jeff Gordon and DuPont have teamed up with the National Law Enforcement Museum to run a special www.PoliceMuseum.org paint scheme and graphic design created by Sam Bass on the #24 DuPont Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 26, 2010, to raise awareness and funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) by inspiring public donations and also through the sale of DuPont / Police Museum branded die-cast cars and commemorative T-shirts. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial is the nation’s monument in Washington, D.C., to law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Groundbreaking for the National Law Enforcement Museum will take place on Oct. 14, 2010. In addition to www.policemuseum.org on the quarter panels and TV panel of the mostly black and silver car, the #24 DuPont Chevy deck lid will bear the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund “Rose and Shield” symbol. Gordon will run a DuPont/National Guard paint scheme at Richmond International Raceway on September 11. DuPont’s support for the NLEOMF is provided through a combination of cash, in-kind marketing services and materials toward the construction of the museum in Washington, D.C. The 90,000-square-foot National Law Enforcement Museum will be built under the memorial in Judiciary Square to educate the public on the value of law enforcement in the US and garner greater public support accordingly. It is expected to have 500,000 visitors per year, and will be funded by private donations (PPR Plus), schemes on my #24 Team Schemes page.(9-11-2010)
Air-traffic controllers not to blame for crash of Hendrick plane: A U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday [Sept 8th] that air-traffic controllers were not responsible for the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash that killed 10 people, including four members of team owner Rick Hendrick’s family, on the way to a Sprint Cup race at Martinsville in October 2004. The judge’s ruling came about 14 months after the conclusion of a non-jury trial in Winston Salem, N.C., that covered five lawsuits. Linda Turner (widow of HMS general manager Jeff Turner) and Dianne Dorton (widow of HMS engine builder Randy Dorton) had sought money from the government, as did Hendrick Motorsports for the destruction of its plane and for the government to contribute to the settlements with the families of victims Scott Lathram (a pilot for Cup driver Tony Stewart who was a passenger on the plane) and DuPont executive Joe Jackson. The crash resulted when the Hendrick pilots, who had delayed the flight by 86 minutes because of the weather, became disoriented and began their landing five miles past where they should have at Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport. A witness said he saw the plane about 1,500 feet in the air two miles past the airport and about three miles from the start of the runway approach. The pilots, who never lowered the plane’s landing gear, continued to fly for at least another minute before executing the mandated missed approach procedure, which they conducted for two miles without making the mandatory right-hand turn, and slammed into Bull Mountain about 27 minutes before the start of the race. Blaming pilots Richard Tracy and Elizabeth Morrison, Judge Thomas Schroeder awarded nothing to the widows or Hendrick. The 98-page ruling, issued Wednesday, can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. While the judge was critical of the pilots, he said his decision did not contradict a jury, which in an earlier trial had determined that the pilots were not willfully and recklessly negligent in the crash and therefore their estates did not owe any of the victims money. In addition to the pilots, Dorton, Turner, Jackson and Lathram, killed in the crash were Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky, Hendrick’s brother, John, and John’s daughters Kimberly and Jennifer. There was no immediate comment on the ruling from Dorton’s attorney. When contacted, a Hendrick Motorsports spokesperson declined comment.(see full story at the SceneDaily)(9-9-2010)
National Guard colors for Gordon at Richmond: Jeff Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 DuPont/National Guard Military Intelligence Chevy this weekend at Richmond. Today's Military Intelligence professionals are highly trained Soldiers who provide their commanders with relevant intelligence and electronic warfare support. Visit NationalGuard.com and search “Military Intelligence” to learn more (HMS), see images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(9-9-2010)
Wal-Mart deal with Gordon breaks down: Negotiations have broken down between Wal-Mart and Hendrick Motorsports over sponsorship of the #24 Chevy driven by Jeff Gordon. However, NASCAR’s new licensing body, the NASCAR Teams Licensing Trust, remains confident a deal will be struck to make Wal-Mart the exclusive mass retailer for the sport’s apparel. Those talks between the trust and Wal-Mart are ongoing, according to industry sources, and a deal is expected to be in place in time for the 2011 season. Wal-Mart had been deep into discussions with Hendrick Motorsports to sponsor Gordon’s car, but Wal-Mart’s interest in a primary sponsorship on a single car has waned. One source said Wal-Mart is in a re-evaluation process to determine the right place for its sponsorship spending and that it could still develop personal-services deals with an array of drivers, instead of going with a primary sponsorship of a single driver. Industry sources added that word of a potential deal between Wal-Mart and Hendrick had created a significant level of angst among the other Sprint Cup teams. They had expressed concern over how Wal-Mart, as the licensed mass retailer for the trust, would manage its relationship with all of the teams when it was a primary sponsor for Gordon, and whether Gordon’s merchandise would receive favorable display in the stores.
Without Wal-Mart, Hendrick continues its search for a primary sponsor on the #24. DuPont has been the only primary sponsor Gordon has known since he came into the sport in 1992. The trio of DuPont, Gordon and Hendrick is the longest-running sponsor-driver-owner relationship in the Sprint Cup Series. But DuPont’s current deal runs out at the end of this season, and Hendrick has been on the hunt for a replacement. DuPont could remain with the team as an associate sponsor, and Hendrick might even revisit DuPont about the primary sponsorship.(SportsBusiness Journal / Sporting News)(9-6-2010)
Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation Recognizes Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Ella, the three-year old daughter of #24-Jeff Gordon and Ingrid Vandebosch, will be helping her father and the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation raise awareness during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month which begins September 1. The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, which raises money to support pediatric cancer research, will also launch a month-long campaign that encourages race fans to support the fight against childhood cancer. "Every year over 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer," said Gordon. "Although great strides in treatments have been made, we still have a long way to go and we won't stop until every child diagnosed hopefully has access to a cure. Ella, Ingrid and I are asking fans to get involved and make a difference in the lives of these kids that need our help."
Ella will not only be cheering on her dad, but she will be cheering for her car to be in Victory Lane, as well. "My Papa's Car", the paint scheme for Gordon's #24 DuPont Chevy in Atlanta, was designed by Ella and NASCAR artist Sam Bass. The colorful car features Gordon's daughter's original artwork and handprints, as well as the new logo of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. "I am very proud to run 'My Papa's Car' this weekend, not only because Ella designed it but because it will help to bring awareness and support for children with cancer," said Gordon.(PR)(9-5-2010)
Latest on Wal-Mart & Jeff Gordon: from a Team Chevy Press Conference Transcript, Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports:
Q) THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF SPECULATION WITH JEFF (GORDON) AND WAL-MART AND THEN WAL-MART PUT OUT A STATEMENT SAYING THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE ON THE CAR. CAN YOU CLARIFY THAT?
Hendrick: "It's like anything else. You talk to people and they were someone we were talking to. We got down the road a bit, but timing is kind of one of those things that I think possibly we'll do something down the road with them but it won't be next year. It's good though, to see companies have interest. And I guess at the end of '08 and '09 it was pretty dismal. You didn't see, if someone wasn't already out here on a car, you didn't talk to anybody. And now there is interest from people that haven't been in the sport. They're kind of doodling around with it. So it's good. It feels better today than it did in the first half of '09. So that's encouraging to see. And it's real encouraging to have people re-up. That's good too."
Q) WERE YOU TALKING ABOUT A LICENSING AGREEMENT WITH WAL-MART TO GET SOME OF YOUR GUYS PRODUCTS IN WAL-MART STORES?
Hendrick: "Yeah, that's still ongoing. We have a good relationship with them. It's a timing issue and we're still working on a lot of stuff."(Team Chevy)(9-5-2010)
Latest on Walmart sponsor Jeff Gordon UPDATE No? Walmart’s potential move into NASCAR has led the retail giant deep into negotiations with Hendrick Motorsports over sponsorship of Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevy next season. There continue to be several moving parts to the Walmart discussions with Hendrick and NASCAR, which began in the spring and have progressed through the summer. Walmart’s play could have tentacles in both sponsorship and licensing at the team and league level, according to industry sources. The retailer has been hesitant to spend money on sports sponsorships in the past, so Walmart’s entrance to NASCAR would provide a huge boost to a sport that has been ravaged by the recession and attracted little new sponsorship money in the last two seasons. “It’s very significant,” said Mark Dyer, senior vice president at IMG and formerly chief of the licensing division at NASCAR until 2007. “We tried for years to get Walmart’s attention when I was at NASCAR and we made some inroads. If they truly decide to take a position in the sport, that’s a big deal to get a company that should have been in that space all along.”
Gordon remains one of the sport’s most popular drivers and is a likely future hall of famer. DuPont has been his only primary sponsor since he became a full-time driver in 1992, but the most recent deal between DuPont and Hendrick Motorsports ends this year. While DuPont might be back on the #24, it is expected to be in a reduced role. Pepsi and National Guard also have associate sponsorships on Gordon’s car this year. Gordon, 39, has said that he plans to drive for four or five more years and that he’s over the back injury that at one time was considered a threat to his career. If Walmart completes an agreement for the #24 Chevy, it remains to be seen whether the retailer will keep its marks on the car or sell off races to vendors.(in part from Sports Business Journal)(8-24-2010)
UPDATE: Walmart has issued a statement that they will not be sponsoring Jeff Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports team. NASCAR has been the subject of several published reports that the world’s largest retailer was in negotiations with Hendrick Motorsports to sponsor the #24 car for next season. On Wednesday August 25, Walmart released a statement as an Editor’s Note to an in-house newsletter that mentioned the “numerous news stories” and concluded with the following sentence: “While we continue to employ a range of marketing initiatives to deliver our message of Save Money Live Better to our customer [sic], this is not one will be doing.”(Bleacher Report)(8-30-2010)
Special scheme designed by Gordon's daughter: #24-Jeff Gordon will run a special paint scheme "designed" by 3-year old daughter Ella at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 5. Ella – with the assistance of some finishing touches by NASCAR's first officially licensed artist Sam Bass -- created the design for "My Papa's Car." The design also will feature the new logo of the newly renamed Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, and the car design and die-cast purchase information can be viewed at www.jeffgordonchildrensfoundation.org. "I can't wait to run Ella and Sam's design, and I can't think of a better way to showcase the new Foundation logo and name than on that car," said Gordon, driver of the #24 Chevrolet. "DuPont has graciously allowed us to run this scheme during one of their races, and I really appreciate their continued support of the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation in its efforts to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research."(HMS). see an image of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(8-21-2010)
Gordon consulting on Canadian track: The proposed Canadian Motor Speedway is in the final regulatory stages before the Ontario Municipal Board and construction could begin in 2011. What has #24-Jeff Gordon so excited is that the planned one-mile tri-oval on 823 acres of land between Fort Erie and Niagara Falls will be only the second race track in North America designed with specific input from a current NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. The first was Iowa Speedway, designed by Rusty Wallace and opened two seasons ago. It now hosts a NASCAR Nationwide series, NASCAR Camping World Truck and an IZOD IndyCar series race. Gordon, in an exclusive interview with the Toronto Sun, said he envisions that kind of track action at CMS - a facility designed to seat 65,000 with the potential to expand to 100,000 - within two years of its opening. Gordon warns, however, that Canadian NASCAR fans shouldn't be thinking that NASCAR will plop a Sprint Cup race north of the border the minute the track opens. But he does think that eventuality is not out of the question somewhere down the road, especially with the kind of support for all forms of auto racing there is in Canada.(Toronto Sun)(8-16-2010)
Hendrick still working on sponsorship for Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon was asked about the status of sponsorship for 2011 Saturday in Michigan:
Q: Are you getting close to sponsorship and knowing waht it is going to look like next season?
A: "Yes. We're getting close to the timing of it. We don't have anything to announce yet. You'll know when we know man, we don't know much yet. We've been continuing to have our conversations with DuPont, Pepsi and everybody. We're going through the processes right now trying to figure out what we are going to do."(Chevy PR)(8-14-2010)
It's a boy for Gordon: From JeffGordon.com, "Announcing the arrival of Leo Benjamin, born to the proud parents Jeff Gordon & Ingred Vandebosch, August 9, 2010 at 8:52am, 7 lbs, 2oz, 19in."(JeffGordon.com)(8-9-2010)
Gordon's crew chief given extension: many reports have Hendrick Motorsports announcing that #24-Jeff Gordon's crew chief, Steve Letarte, signing a multiyear extension, supposedly a four-year deal thru 2014.
UPDATE: Crew chief Steve Letarte has signed a multi-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports, the organization announced Friday. Heading into Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway, the 31-year-old Letarte has guided Jeff Gordon and the #24 DuPont team to 10 wins, 21 runner-up finishes, 77 top-five finishes, 108 top-10s and 14 pole positions in 174 races. Gordon's second-place and top-five finishes during that time rank as the most among all drivers (teammate Jimmie Johnson ranks second in top-fives with 76.) "I'm extremely excited," Letarte said. "Hendrick Motorsports is the only company I've ever received a paycheck from. I've worked here since I was a teenager, and they've provided wonderful opportunities for me. I owe a lot to them. I'm really excited to be extended here so I can go a few more years." Letarte, a native of Portland, Maine, has been involved in the #24 team on almost every level, starting as a parts assistant while attending high school in 1995. A year later, Letarte was full-time with the #24 crew. He went on to work as a tire specialist, mechanic and car chief, winning three of Gordon's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles under the tutelage of crew chiefs Ray Evernham, Brian Whitesell and Robbie Loomis.
Near the end of the 2005 season, Letarte received the ultimate promotion when then-crew chief Loomis left for a spot at Petty Enterprises. Letarte stepped onto the pit box as the crew chief for Jeff Gordon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 18, 2005. Six races later at Martinsville Speedway, Letarte led the #24 team to Victory Lane and picked up his first win as a crew chief. The #24 team finished the 2005 season, scoring five top-10s in the last six races with Letarte at the helm.
Since then, Letarte has played a role in helping the #24 achieve several milestones. Notably, in 2006 at Infineon Raceway, the team made history after Gordon scored his ninth road course win – a Sprint Cup record. In 2008, Letarte helped extend Gordon's streak of 16 consecutive seasons with a pole position when he picked up his first at Texas Motor Speedway. The team also scored its first victory at the 1.5-mile Fort Worth, Texas, oval earlier that year in April.(HMS)(7-30-2010)
MAF Honors NASCAR Teams’ Response to Haiti Quake: In the aftermath of the catastrophic Jan. 12, 7.0 earthquake that destroyed the capital of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, two renowned NASCAR auto racing teams shuttled relief workers and supplies into Haiti and transported evacuees, rotating workers and quake victims to the United States. This week at their respective shops in North Carolina, MAF (Missionary Aviation Fellowship) President John Boyd presented Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing with special service awards for their work in Haiti.
In the crucial days following one of the world’s greatest disasters, the teams generously provided aircraft from their fleets. The Hendrick and Gibbs crews worked with MFI (Missionary Flights International) and MAF to shuttle planes between Fort Pierce, Fla., and Port-au-Prince, Haiti, enabling the rotation of high-impact volunteer medical teams and humanitarian workers. The planes also evacuated adopted orphans to their American homes. In addition, the aviation crews offered care, personal concern and warm fellowship to the MAF missionary pilots and ground workers as they toiled amid heat, chaos, suffering and death.
“With these awards, we at MAF want to express our sincere gratitude to Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing for their support of the MAF team in Haiti,” Boyd said. “We honor two fine motorsports teams for their selfless actions, and for the special blessing they were to us during a very trying time.” Boyd also invited the two teams’ aviation staffs to participate in one of the MAF advanced mountain training workshops at the ministry’s headquarters in Nampa, Idaho.
MAF has served the missionary community and the people of Haiti since 1986. Eight MAF missionary families and seven Haitian staff members provide air service with three bush aircraft that fly to 16 remote airstrips from Port-au-Prince. Within the first three months of its disaster relief efforts, MAF had partnered with dozens of relief agencies, including the United Nations. In addition to having coordinated the flights of 3,500 international passengers and 1.5 million pounds of cargo between Florida and Port-au-Prince, MAF logged 1,037 flights within Haiti, transported 1,801 relief workers, missionaries, patients and medical staff in and out of inland towns and villages urgently needing help, and delivered 315,498 pounds of urgent relief and medical cargo. MAF continues its disaster response work in Haiti, having now shifted from the crisis-relief phase to a rebuilding stage that is expected to last several years.(MAF PR)(7-29-2010)
New spotter for Jeff Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon will have a new spotter starting this weekend at Pocono Raceway, a move the team believes will help the four-time NASCAR champion snap the longest losing streak of his career. Hendrick Motorsports hired Jeff Dickerson Wednesday, moving quickly to grab the spotter after he unexpectedly parted ways last week with #18-Kyle Busch. Dickerson had been with Busch since his early days at HMS, and the driver often credited Dickerson for guiding him on the track to several victories. Crew chief Steve Letarte said after listening to tapes of Dickerson, he believed the spotter could be the key to helping Gordon close out races. Gordon is winless since Texas in April 2009, a span of 49 races. Dickerson replaces Shannon McGlamery, who began spotting for Gordon at the start of the 2007 season. McGlamery still will be a mechanic at Hendrick Motorsports, building the cars for Gordon and teammate Jimmie Johnson. "Shannon is a very good spotter, but I think Jeff Dickerson is one of the best," Letarte said. "The spotter is the third musketeer on the radio, and when he became available, I listened to a lot of tapes, I did a lot of research, and although the timing was short, I recognized his style will help us build upon our continued communication improvements."(ESPN/AP)(7-28-2010)
HMS names president: Rick Hendrick this week elevated Marshall Carlson to the role of president and chief operating officer of Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick made the announcement Tuesday to more than 500 people at the organization's quarterly employee meeting. The position of Hendrick Motorsports president most recently was held by Hendrick's late brother John Hendrick, who assumed the title in 1998. It has remained vacant since his passing in October 2004. "Marshall has the ability to plug into every aspect of our industry, from competition to marketing, at an extremely high level," said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "He's versatile from a business perspective, and there's a high degree of respect for him throughout the organization because of the way he treats people. We're very fortunate to have someone of his considerable talent help guide us into the future." Carlson, 37, will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of Hendrick Motorsports, which has earned four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships since he assumed the role of executive vice president and general manager on Jan. 24, 2005. "Hendrick Motorsports is a family, and it's been one of the great privileges of my life to work with these amazing people," Carlson said. "This opportunity comes with the highest commitment to serve my teammates and support their continued success." Carlson started his Hendrick Motorsports career sweeping floors as part of a chassis department summer internship. After earning a degree in business administration in 1996 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he served as engineer for the organization's fledgling Camping World Truck team, which earned the first of three series championships in 1997. Following the 1998 season, Carlson was reassigned to focus on Hendrick Motorsports' sponsorship and marketing efforts as director of marketing services. In 2000, he managed a $10 million facilities effort, which included the design and construction of racing operations space now housing the Sprint Cup Series teams of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. From 2002 until 2004, Carlson oversaw more than $200 million in real estate projects as vice president of corporate financial management with Hendrick Automotive Group, one of the largest automotive retail operations in the United States. A native of Charlotte, N.C., Carlson was named to the 2009 Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal "Forty Under 40" list, which spotlights the 40 top executives in sports under 40 years of age.(HMS)(7-28-2010)
Hendrick plane has problems, all OK: As a precaution, one of Hendrick Motorsport airplanes returned to Concord Regional shortly after takeoff Sunday morning due to a maintenance advisory light. Passengers were switched to another aircraft and traveled safely to Indianapolis. The plane has already been evaluated and returned to active status.(7-25-2010)
Silly Season kicking in gear at IMS:
• All signs point to Richard Childress Racing announcing the week of the Watkins Glen Race next month that Budweiser will be on #29-Kevin Harvick's car. Mobile 1 had been courting #24-Jeff Gordon, but HMS ended that by reupping with Quaker State. Don't be surprised to see that sponsor pop up at Stewart-Haas.
• Richard Petty Motorsports' future seemingly hangs on what #43-AJ Allmendinger does. If he and sponsor Best Buy stay, then #98-Paul Menard and his sponsor may hang around, as well. But Allmendinger has talked to several teams, including Penske Racing. Menard is beating the bushes as well, with speculation he'll be in the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing. All we know for sure is Stanley is the only sponsor contractually committed to the organization beyond this season. Odds are RPM will shrink from four teams to three, two or none. The last would be a huge blow to the garage and increase the possibility of fields of fewer than 43 cars next season. It also could end Richard Petty's presence in the garage, which would be sad to see.(ESPN.com)(7-25-2010)
Gordon has backup drivers lined up: With #24-Jeff Gordon's wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, expecting the couple's second child soon, the team has lined up backup drivers for the next two weeks. From Friday's driver press conference:
Q: IS ARIC ALMIROLA GOING TO BE YOUR BACK UP DRIVER?
Gordon: "Not this weekend, # That's the plan for Pocono, and then Watkins Glen we've got which I'm excited about, is Scott Pruett."(Chevy PR)(7-24-2010)
Gordon's losing streak is his longest: By not winning the race at Chicago on Saturday night, #24-Jeff Gordon has now gone 48 races since his last win -- which came at Texas in April 2009). This is now the longest winless drought in Gordon's career. "I don't care,'' Gordon said of the new mark. "We were talking earlier there was a point in my career where I was winning every third race and now I win three out of 100. That's just the way life is.''(Virginian Pilot)(7-11-2010)
Jeff Gordon making 600th start: He was not king that day - more of an afterthought. But #24-Jeff Gordon has impressed since his NASCAR Sprint Cup career began 599 consecutive starts ago. In the season finale at Atlanta Motor Speedway in November of 1992, "The King" Richard Petty drove his last competitive laps in NASCAR's premier division. That day also was highlighted by a close championship battle between Bill Elliott, Alan Kulwicki and Davey Allison. Although Elliott won the battle (the race), Kulwicki won the war (the championship) by a scant 10 points. Gordon's run that day was cut short after contact with the wall, and he is credited with a 31st-place finish - one position better than (current teammate) Mark Martin. Despite a rough beginning, Gordon's career has been one to remember heading into his 600th start. He is sixth on the all-time win list with 82 victories and fourth in all- time poles with 68. Gordon has collected 272 top-fives and 371 top-10's. To put that in perspective, the driver of the #24 DuPont Chevy has 68 more top-fives than Kyle Busch has starts (272 - 204) and 62 more top-10's than Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson has starts (371 - 309).(Performance PR),see the list of all time start on my Misc Stats page.(7-7-2010)
Jeff Gordon's Crew Wins Tissot Pit Road Award in New Hampshire: Jeff Gordon's crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday's (June 27) NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Loudon, N.H. It was the third win of the season for the #24 crew, which moved into sole possession of first place in the Tissot season standings. The pit crews for Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth are tied for second with two wins each. Gordon's #24 DuPont Chevy spent the least amount of time on pit road - 172.661 seconds - during the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The quick work helped Gordon to a fourth-place finish. Coming in second was Kevin Harvick's #29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevy (176.258) and finishing third was Joey Logano's #20 Home Depot Toyota (177.679). Gordon's over-the-wall crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front-tire carrier), Joe Slingerland (rear-tire changer), Matt Ver Meer (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can), Colin Fambrough (back-up tire changer) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The team's pit crew coach is Greg Morin. Along with winning $5,000 for the weekly pit crew competition the crew with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the end of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will collect a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver.(DMF Communications/Tissot), see past winners and standings on my 2010 Pit Crew News page.(6-29-2010)
Truex accepts Gordon apology, but...: #24-Jeff Gordon might have to watch his bumper when the flag drops for Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He left last week's race at Infineon Raceway as NASCAR's most wanted for a series of overly aggressive moves on the track. One of those times led to a race-ending wreck for #56-Martin Truex Jr. Truex was running inside the top 10 when Gordon spun him, causing him to drop back into traffic, where he was caught in a multi-car accident. Gordon took the blame for that one and left an apology this week on Truex's voicemail. Truex has accepted the apology, and he wants Gordon to accept the fact that he'll change the way he races the four-time champion from here on out. "The nice guy seems to always get pushed around and I'm tired of being the nice guy," said Truex, who has one career win. "I'm tired of getting pushed around. There's been times when Jeff's caught me and never even gave me the chance to get out of the way. He just started running into me, and he's the first guy to hang his middle finger out the window when he goes by you. Things are going to change, that's all I'm saying." Gordon also angered #19-Elliott Sadler, #2-Kurt Busch and #16-Greg Biffle last week.(in part from the Associated Press)(6-27-2010)
Johnson's idea is the winner of the Pepsi Refresh Grant: The votes are in and more than 500,000 racing fans have spoken: Jimmie Johnson is the winner of a $100,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant that will help Be The Match Foundation provide financial relief to pediatric bone marrow transplant patients. For the past three weeks, Johnson and fellow Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were campaigning for their ideas and fans had the opportunity to vote for the idea they believed should be awarded a grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. The drivers’ passion for their individual ideas was evident and although they didn’t receive the most votes, Pepsi will donate a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant to both Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to aid in implementing their projects for the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) at Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital and supporting technology needs at Shepherd Elementary School in Mooresville, NC for Earnhardt.(Pepsi)(6-27-2010)
Gordon wine collection to honor daughter: On Sunday [June 20, 2010], Jeff Gordon released the first of four 2007 varietals of his wine to bear the name of his daughter, Ella Sofia. The debut of Jeff Gordon Collection 2007 Ella Sofia Carneros Chardonnay coincided with her third birthday and Father's Day, making the release extra special to the four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion. More info at Jeff Gordon Collection.(6-24-2010)
Special police scheme for Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to run the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial scheme in the Dover race on September 26, 2010. See an image of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Museum groundbreaking will take place in Washington DC on October 14, 2010, see an image of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(6-22-2010)
Fuel mystery at Infineon: Jeff Gordon's #24-Chevy, for some reason no one really wanted to explain, wound up with a tank of gasoline that wasn't the right stuff, when it was filled up at the Sunoco gas pumps Friday morning. Sunoco officials said they couldn't discuss the situation and referred questions to NASCAR officials
NASCAR officials said they were studying the situation and didn't have anything to say just yet. "We'll know more after qualifying," NASCAR's Robin Pemberton said. Doug Duchardt, one of the top bosses at the Gordon-Rick Hendrick operation, likewise said he couldn't say much about the situation either. Chevrolet officials also declined to comment. A look at the three fuels available at the garage gas station shows two leaded fuels, one 114 octane, one 116 octane, and a third labeled 'unleaded' read "GTX260" at 98 octane. NASCAR teams are to be using the unleaded fuel. It would appear – and this is what some rivals were told – that a gas pumper inadvertently put some of the 'leaded' fuel in Gordon's car. The issue was apparently noted when the see-through fuel lines didn't show the blue-dye that NASCAR's official fuel carries, that it was instead clear. If there were other cars that also got the wrong fuel, it was unclear. But teams were told later to make sure the fuelers put the right fuel in their cars. There was some question that the 'wrong' fuel in Gordon's car might have been some new E-15 racing fuel, which is being tested for possible use next season in NASCAR. Duchardt said the fuel in question was not related to any fuel the team might have used in any recent testing: "We went to the pumps (Friday morning) and got the fuel. It wasn't the color we were used to. But I don't know if the contents of the fuel were incorrect or not. I haven't been in the middle of it with NASCAR so I don't know the specifics. They tested the fuel; they have the results."
Richard Childress: "I heard it (the fuel in Gordon's car) had some discoloration. It could have come from somewhere they were testing the car; they might not have gotten all of that (other fuel) out of the car. That would be easy to do." Gordon recently tested at Watkins Glen. Whether or not he might have tested with E-15 racing fuel is unclear. NASCAR teams have been testing with E-15 for some time, to help NASCAR with the planned changeover.(MikeMulhern.net)(6-18-2010)
Walmart to sponsor NASCAR team?: Walmart is in deep discussions with NASCAR team and league officials about a wide-ranging deal that has both sponsorship and licensing implications and could see the retail giant sponsor Hendrick Motorsports or another Sprint Cup team. Senior-level Walmart executives were guests of NASCAR at the May 22 Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte and returned a week later to tour race shops and meet more team executives as the mass retailer explores potential partnerships. While several scenarios are being considered and the talks remain fluid, industry sources say that Walmart is discussing the potential of a direct license that would make it NASCAR’s exclusive retailer in the mass merchandise space. A direct license would give Walmart the ability to select its suppliers and set prices for certain categories, such as hats and T-shirts. These negotiations are going on as NASCAR attempts to roll its team and league licensing rights into a trust, which would create a centralized licensing agency for the sport. Walmart is believed to be exploring sponsorship opportunities with Hendrick Motorsports as well. Hendrick’s drivers – #48-Jimmie Johnson, #24-Jeff Gordon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin – account for close to 75% of all licensed sales in the sport, industry analysts say, making it a logical team for Walmart to sponsor. Hendrick has also signed popular driver Kasey Kahne, who will take over Martin's #5 Chevy in 2012. Walmart is thought to be considering a sponsorship arrangement with a team or multiple teams, with Hendrick Motorsports in the middle of those discussions. It’s unclear, though, if the mass retailer will settle on one car for a chunk of the season, sponsor multiple cars for a few races each, or perhaps put together several driver deals into a marketing platform, a la the Gillette Young Guns or the Coca-Cola family of drivers. One scenario, according to sources, has Walmart sponsoring Gordon’s #24 Chevy for half of the season or more, as primary sponsor DuPont looks to scale back its spending. DuPont’s current primary sponsorship on the #24 car ends this season, and while the longtime sponsor is expected to remain in some form, it’s uncertain whether DuPont will remain the primary. Other industry insiders say it’s unlikely that Walmart would sponsor a single driver because the retailer will potentially have licensing arrangements across a variety of drivers.(see more to this on SceneDaily)(6-8-2010)
Evernham-Hendrick reunite: Ray Evernham, who with Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon won three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships, is reuniting with owner Rick Hendrick ..... to have some fun at the World of Outlaws Showdown at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Evernham is fielding a World of Outlaws car for wife Erin Crocker Evernham, the only woman to ever win a World of Outlaws race. And Rick Hendrick's City Chevrolet will be featured on the side panel of the car, paying tribute to the roots of today's Hendrick Motorsports. The race is scheduled for Friday, May 28, at The Dirt Track more info at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.(WMG PR)(5-28-2010)
Special scheme Hendrick teams: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 Chevy will feature an "Honoring Our Soldiers" paint scheme for the May 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. All four Hendrick Motorsports teams will sport special patriotic paint schemes for the Memorial Day weekend race to honor the men and women who serve in the armed forces. As the nation's oldest Armed Forces component, the National Guard and its Citizen Soldiers play a vital role in protecting the freedoms Americans hold dear. Since 1636, the Guard has brought glory and honor upon itself and its Soldiers through quiet and selfless service. There is a long and noble history of the National Guard serving at home and abroad to ensure the safety and freedom of their fellow citizens. When celebrating Memorial Day, take a moment to thank a member of the nation's military for their service to the United States and recognize the sacrifices they make on a daily basis to defend America's interests. Become a fan of the National Guard on Facebook, by visiting www.facebook.com/NationalGuard. To learn more about becoming a Citizen Soldier, visit www.NATIONALGUARD.com.
Jeff Gordon will drive a specially-painted #24 DuPont Stars & Stripes Chevy during the Memorial Day weekend event.
CARQUEST Auto Parts, a major sponsor on the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy since 2005, will be back on the hood this NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Charlotte. The red, white and blue paint scheme will be featured in a total of eight races this season. Martin's #5 Chevy will feature a patriotic theme this weekend in tribute to the United States military. Diecast and apparel featuring the #5 paint scheme will be available for purchase, and a portion of the proceeds benefits the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund. Martin's Hendrick Motorsports teammates also will sport special patriotic paint schemes for the 600-mile event.
Jimmie Johnson and the #48 Lowe's Chevy will have a special patriotic paint scheme in recognition of Memorial Day that features donation information during the May 30 event. In support of the Memorial Day holiday, Lowe's will offer a 10% discount to all active, reserve, honorably discharged, and retired military personnel and their immediate families. Lowe's also has a year-round 10% discount those with a military-issued photo ID. Lowe's and Team 48 driver Jimmie Johnson are hosting a special concert starring country music star Darius Rucker in support of the United Services Organization (USO) and the newly created Lowe's USO Family Fund on SPEED Channel at 7 p.m. on May 29. The concert will highlight ways to support the newly created Lowe's USO Family Fund, proceeds of which will support USO family programs that help deployed service members and their families stay connected.(HMS/Team Lowe's), see images of the cars on my #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page,(5-27-2010)
Hendrick thinks Gibbs has caught up and passed HMS: Rick Hendrick says fellow Sprint Cup owner Joe Gibbs has done more than catch Hendrick Motorsports in performance this season. "Looks like he passed me," the owner of HMS said during Tuesday's grand opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "He didn't [catch] me. He lapped me." Joe Gibbs Racing has won the past two Cup races and four of the past six since NASCAR switched from the wing to the spoiler. Denny Hamlin, who won Saturday night at Darlington, has won three of those. Kyle Busch won the other. HMS, which won three of the first five races with four-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, is winless during that stretch. But it's not just wins that has JGR looking like the organization to beat 11 races into the season. Hamlin and Busch have combined to lead 695 laps in the past six races after leading only 76 in the first five. See full story and quotes at ESPN.com.(5-11-2010)
Jeff Gordon talks about Letarte's contract:
HAS THERE BEEN ANY PROGRESS ON (CREW CHIEF) STEVE LETARTE'S CONTRACT YET?
"Oh, would you guys (the media) settle down! It was a week ago that Chad (Knaus) and Alan (Gustafson) signed and nobody was asking any questions about Stevie. And now all of a sudden it's like they are signed so why isn't Steve signed? He's going to be signed. Everything is going really good. He and I are getting along and doing better than we ever have and his commitment to this team is showing every weekend just how good he is and that's not going to change. So, if I was trying to get him signed he would have been signed already. It's a process that goes on at Hendrick Motorsports and I'm not really involved with it."(Chevy PR)(5-8-2010)
National Guard on Facebook on the #24: The National Guard will feature its Facebook page on the hood of the #24 Chevy this weekend at Darlington. Support your country and the #24 DuPont/National Guard team by becoming a fan of the National Guard on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NationalGuard.(HMS PR)(5-6-2010)
Gordon may need some sponsorship; talks about crew chiefs: during a press conference on Friday at Richmond, some notes from a Team Chevy transcript:
HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TO LOCK UP CHAD KNAUS AND ALAN GUSTAFSON? “I think it was important. Those two guys are instrumental to our organization, our program and our future. I think it’s definitely a positive thing.”
DO YOU FEEL THAT STEVE LETARTE WILL RETURN AS YOUR CREW CHIEF? “I feel good about it. This is a guy that’s been at our organization for a long time. I think he and I are really, really connecting this year and it’s showing with our performance on the track. I think things are going great so I don’t see any reason why not.”
WHAT IS YOUR SPONSOR SITUATION? “We’re openly pursuing things. DuPont is still going to play a major role in our organization and with the 24 team. The overall cost of the sport and the way the trends are progressing, it’s tough to have one sponsor that can cover everything. We had a lot of conversations with Shell/Pennzoil and we have a lot going on right now as well.”(Team Chevy)(5-2-2010)
Johnson takes blame for incident with Gordon: #48-Jimmie Johnson took the blame for making a mistake that ultimately led to teammate #24-Jeff Gordon's wreck at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson said he was trying to slide in front of Gordon late in Sunday's race so the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers could draft together toward the front. But, he said Gordon was coming too fast. Johnson's move instead had the effect of a block, and Gordon was forced off the apron in a defensive move. His momentum gone, Gordon slide back in traffic and was caught moments later in a multi-car crash. "I misjudged the closing rate," Johnson said. "We all make mistakes, I am no different. Certainly, that was my fault. I made the mistake there." Gordon, who drove his damaged car to a 22nd-place finish, was furious with his teammate after the race. "The 48 is testing my patience, I can tell you that," Gordon said Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. "It takes a lot to make me mad." Johnson was involved in his own accident later and finished 31st. Johnson had already left the track when Gordon, also a four-time series champion, talked of his frustration with his teammate. "I would have stuck around if I knew what was waiting for me," Johnson said. But Johnson again dismissed any notion of a rift with Gordon. The two tangled a week ago at Texas Motor Speedway, but downplayed any potential tensions. "There's no doubt after the fact that frustrations are high, the wreck just compounded it," Johnson said. "I think he was speaking out of frustration.(Associated Press)(4-27-2010)
Stewart takes blame for Texas wreck: #14-Tony Stewart led five times for 74 laps in Monday’s rain-postponed Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, but Stewart’s 400th career Sprint Cup start ended badly when he was involved in a late-race multi-car accident that left him with his first DNF (Did Not Finish) of 2010. Stewart, who started from the pole and led the race’s first 15 laps, was in sixth place on lap 312 of the 334-lap race when a caution came out for David Reutimann’s blown engine. When the lead lap cars pitted one lap later, Stewart and crew chief Darian Grubb elected to take only two tires along with the teams of Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch. Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth elected to take four tires, which put them behind the six drivers who opted only for right-side tires. The race restarted on lap 317 with Burton leading, Stewart in second and Hamlin in third. Stewart fell back slightly and as he entered turn four, he and four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon, who had restarted eighth, made contact and set off a wild, nine-car accident on the frontstretch. In addition to Stewart and Gordon, the wreck collected Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer, Juan Pablo Montoya, A.J. Allmendinger, Paul Menard and Carl Edwards. The #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy suffered heavy damage all the way around and was unable to continue, forcing Stewart to take his only finish outside the top-30 this season. The two-time Sprint Cup champion was checked and released from the Texas Motor Speedway infield medical center without injury. “I came off of (turn) four there and bounced off of Jeff’s (Gordon) right rear,” Stewart said. “It was just a pendulum and I lost it and got into his right rear, and then I got us to where neither one of us could get away from it. Somebody put me three-wide in (turns) one and two and that got me up to where I got a lot of junk on my tires and that started it. It was my fault. I feel bad about it, about doing something stupid like that. I didn’t plan on getting loose, but it is 100 percent my fault.” Following the accident, Stewart and Gordon spoke to each other after exiting their damaged racecars. “I think he (Gordon) was worried that I was going to be upset about it on his side,” Stewart said. “It wasn’t his fault, obviously. I got a chance to see it in the infield care center, it is definitely my fault. I apologize to all the teams and drivers that got caught up and their fans for it. We had a really good car there and just a shame that it happened.”(SHR)(4-20-2010)
Kahne to Hendrick? [Stewart-Haas?]: #9-Kasey Kahne, the hottest potential free agent in NASCAR entering the season, has signed a multiyear agreement to join Hendrick Motorsports in 2011, multiple sources close to negotiations confirmed to ESPN.com Tuesday. The details of the deal, such as which car Kahne will drive, are still being finalized, sources said. The prevailing thought is Kahne will occupy the #5 car currently driven by Mark Martin, sources said. Martin signed a contract extension last year through the 2011 season. There is room for Martin and Kahne in the Hendrick family. Stewart Haas Racing receives chassis, engines and technical support from HMS. So Kahne could be housed there until Martin's contract was up, if necessary. In 2008 Dale Earnhardt Jr. signed a five-year deal with Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson last year signed an extension through 2015, and Jeff Gordon has a lifetime contract. Kahne is in the final year of his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports, and plans to finish the season in the #9 Ford, sources said. It is unknown whether Kahne's sponsor, Budweiser, will accompany him to HMS [which sponsored Hendrick's #25 Chevy for years]. Hendrick Motorsports officials had no comment. Calls placed to Kahne, who turned 30 last weekend, and to his agent were not returned.(ESPN)(4-13-2010) Share
Kenseth talks about Martinsville contact with Gordon: Is Matt Kenseth still upset with Jeff Gordon over getting bumped out of the way during the green-white-checkered flag finish at Martinsville? During an interview in Arlington, Texas on Wednesday, Performance Racing Network and Texas Motor Speedway announcer Brad Gillie asked Kenseth about the incident. Kenseth chuckled and said "He never likes the way I race him so…I don't know…he's honestly taken me out of three top-three finishes now and he still went on to finish third. I barely bumped into him at Martinsville and got under him and tried to go for a win and I thought we were gonna race side-by-side for the win on the last lap and instead he decided to wreck me and deliberately try to ruin my day. So, it's in the past and I'm just gonna move on and just start over the next week. He's gonna have to race how he wants to race and he's gonna have his opinions and I'm gonna have my opinions on things and we'll just go on from there." Kenseth took part in NASCAR's winners circle program at the International Bowling Hall of Fame and museum Wednesday to help promote the upcoming races at Texas Motor Speedway.(PRN Garage Pass)(4-8-2010)
Jeff Gordon's episode of Extreme Makeover to air Sunday: The episode of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that #24-Jeff Gordon filmed in Loris, SC is scheduled to air on Sunday April 11, 2010 at 8:00pm/et on ABC. In January, Extreme Makeover and race car driver Jeff Gordon, met Amanda and Derrick Suggs, a young couple who had just started their own family when they adopted Amanda's younger siblings to keep them from being separated in foster care. When Derrick and Amanda got married, they moved into the home Derrick inherited from his grandfather, who built it in 1953. The home came with a long list of needed repairs: a leaking roof, outdated and exposed electrical wiring, rotting foundation and cracked asbestos siding. Also in the episode, WWE Divas The Bella Twins and WWE Superstars Big Show and R-Truth team up with Ty and the "EM:HE" designers to take on their toughest opponent yet -- the old Suggs family home. See images of the build at jeffgordon.com and at extremehorry.com or Myrtle Beach Sun Times.(4-8-2010)
DuPont hospitality program experiences a revival: DuPont's once robust NASCAR hospitality program suffered enormous cuts last year, but the longtime #24- Jeff Gordon sponsor is back in 2010 with more guests and events at each track. Just a few years ago, DuPont had the largest hospitality program in NASCAR, hosting guests at every race on the Sprint Cup circuit, a number that reached 20,000 people a year. Their guests ranged from body-shop owners who used DuPont paint to building contractors who bought the Tyvek brand of house wrap. The company would bring as many as 1,000 people to a race, and virtually the entire focus of the sponsorship was based on creating business-to-business activity. DuPont entertained customers with meals, question-and-answer sessions with Gordon and bags of swag, all the while making new relationships or deepening existing ones. But DuPont hospitality was largely a casualty of the recession in 2009. Instead of entertaining at all 36 Cup events as it had done in the past, DuPont cut back to six races and 2,000 guests, 10% of what it used to do. DuPont wasn't the only corporate entity slashing its spend. Tracks reported that revenue from hospitality was down 20 to 25% last year. What DuPont discovered, though, was how important the hospitality program was to its sales. So in 2010, it's back with hospitality events at 23 races, and it'll entertain 4,000 to 5,000 guests. Those numbers are still a fraction of what used to be the biggest hospitality program in NASCAR, but it's a start. DuPont's revival in 2010 comes at a pivotal time in its sponsorship, having renewed its league deal as the official auto finish, a distinction it has had since 2003. The team deal with Gordon and #24 car owner Hendrick Motorsports expires at the end of this year, and renewal discussions are ongoing, although it's uncertain if DuPont will maintain its current commitment level as the primary sponsor for 75% of Gordon's Sprint Cup races. National Guard and Pepsi are the other sponsors on Gordon's car. DuPont owns the longest-running driver-sponsor-owner relationship in NASCAR, having sponsored Gordon since he first started driving the #24 in 1992.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(4-4-2010)
Highest paid NASCAR drivers: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is NASCAR's highest-paid driver for a second straight year with earnings of $30 million in 2009. Earnhardt has had little racing success the past two years, with only one win at the track. He finished a disappointing 25th in the Sprint Cup standings last year, but was voted NASCAR's most popular driver for a seventh straight year. Forbe's earnings estimates include salaries, endorsements and the drivers' share of track winnings and licensing income. Earnhardt's immense popularity translates into big dollars in each of these areas outside of track winnings. "Nascar needs Dale Jr. to be competitive, because he is so closely associated with the success of the sport. [As] go the fortunes of Junior, so goes Nascar," says Ardy Arani, managing director of Atlanta-based Championship Group, a motor sports marketing consultancy. The top 10 list from forbes.com:
#1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnings: $30 million
#2 Jeff Gordon: Earnings: $27 million
#3 Jimmie Johnson: Earnings: $23 million
#4 Tony Stewart: Earnings: $19 million
#5 Carl Edwards: Earnings: $14 million
#6 Kevin Harvick: Earnings: $13 million
#7 (tie) Kyle Busch: Earnings: $12 million
#7 (tie) Kasey Kahne: Earnings: $12 million
#9 (tie) Matt Kenseth: Earnings: $11 million
#9 (tie) Mark Martin: Earnings: $11 million
(full article and more at Forbes.com)(3-25-2010)
Hendrick Motorsports still deemed most vaulable: Forbe's reports that the average NASCXAR Sprint Cup team generated $92 million in revenue last year, a drop of 4%. Teams were hurt by a 19% decline in Nascar licensing revenue. Total retail sales of licensed merchandise were $1.63 billion in 2009 compared to $2 billion the prior year, according to License Global magazine. The economic downturn and a saturated licensing market helped spur the decline. Another factor was the near bankruptcy of leading Nascar merchandise company Motorsports Authentics. Despite the revenue drop, the average operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the top teams was flat at $7 million. Teams have trimmed budgets by reducing head count, tracking inventory more closely and cutting travel budgets. One area that has not yet been affected is driver salaries--but those cuts will come once contracts start to expire.
NASCAR's top team remains Hendrick Motorsports worth $350 million, the same as last year. They are the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers and Manchester United rolled into one. They dominate on and off the track with the best drivers (home to the top three finishers in the 2009 Sprint Cup) and the most popular racers (three of the four best-selling drivers for licensed merchandise). Hendrick Motorsports is worth 47% more than the second most valuable team, Roush Fenway Racing. The gap in value between the two top teams is similar to baseball with the Yankees (64% more valuable than the Mets) and ManU in soccer (38% more than Real Madrid).
Hendrick is the sports leader when it comes to sponsorship revenues, thanks to the success and popularity of its drivers. Its four cars generate an estimated $115 million in sponsorship revenue annually from the likes of DuPont, Go Daddy, Lowe's, the National Guard and PepsiCo. Hendrick cars have the highest budgets in Nascar, but the huge sponsorship haul allowed Hendrick to turn an operating profit of $20 million last year, the highest in the sport. The value of Stewart-Haas has risen 23% to $98 million, which ranks seventh overall. It is one of only three teams to see an increase in value over last year.
Top NASCAR Teams: #1: Hendrick Motorsports, Current value: $350 million, One-year value change: none
#2: Roush Fenway Racing, Current value: $238 million, One-year value change: -12%
#3: Richard Childress Racing, Current value: $153 million, One-year value change: -8%
#4: Joe Gibbs Racing, Current value: $144 million, One-year value change: none
#5: Richard Petty Motorsports, Current value: $124 million, One-year value change: -6%
#6: Penske Racing, Current value: $110 million, One-year value change: -1%
#7: Stewart-Haas Racing, Current value: $98 million, One-year value change: 23%
#8: Michael Waltrip Racing, Current value: $88 million, One-year value change: -12%
#9: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Current value: $71 million, One-year value change: 1%
#10: Red Bull Racing Team, Current value: $59 million, One-year value change: 7%
(See more at Forbes.com)(3-25-2010)
Gordon Goes Back To School In Martinsville: It’s been a while since Jeff Gordon last attended elementary school, but on Thursday he got a refresher course from the students at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Martinsville. In town to help promote the March 28th Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, Gordon spent a couple of hours with third and fourth graders at Patrick Henry Elementary School. It was an eye-opener to say the least. “Things have changed a lot, a whole lot since I was in school,” said Gordon, who has a four-year-old daughter and a second child on the way. “Especially now that I’m a parent it’s an education for me to see what I’ll be going through in a few years, seeing what the kids are learning these days. It’s been a while since I’ve visited a school…don’t think I have since I’ve been a parent and I see it in a whole different perspective now.” Patrick Henry principal Dr. Joan Montgomery led Gordon and a large media contingent on a tour of the school, making stops along the way in classes outfitted with electronic and computer learning aids that would rival the electronics in Gordon’s race shop. Patrick Henry Elementary School is a 2009 Distinguished Title 1 School and a School of Excellence, according to the Virginia Board of Education. Martinsville Speedway tickets may be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(3-19-2010)
Special Patriotic schemes for Hendrick cars UPDATE: The four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are scheduled to drive special "Honoring Our Soldiers" patriotic paint schemes on Memorial Day weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 30, 2010.(2-24-2010)
UPDATE: Added images of the cars with the spoilers and not the wings. See my #5 Team Schemes page, #24 Team Schemes page, #48 Team Schemes page and #88 Team Schemes page for images of the schemes.(3-17-2010)
National Guard returns to the #24 in 2010: For the second year in a row, Gordon and the #24 team will be sponsored by the National Guard for eight Sprint Cup Series events. In addition to this weekend at Atlanta, Gordon will partner with the National Guard at seven other venues: Texas on April 18, Darlington on May 8, Michigan on June 13, Richmond Raceway on Sept. 11, New Hampshire on Sept. 19, Martinsville on Oct. 24, and Talladega on Oct. 31. In eight outings last year with the National Guard on the hood of his #24 Chevy, Gordon scored an average finish of 4.375. His best effort was a win at Texas Motor Speedway in April, while he scored runner-up finishes at Atlanta in March, Michigan in June and Chicago in July. He finished fifth at Darlington in May, third at Richmond in September and fifth at Martinsville in October. Visit the National Guard's www.JeffGordonGuardGarage.com Web site to get free downloads and view exclusive photos of Gordon at the track and sign up for the Fan Club for a chance to win one-of-a-kind prizes.(HMS), see image of the basic scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(3-3-2010)
Win #190 for Hendrick: With #48-Jimmie Johnson's win last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports now has 190 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, which is the most in the modern era and second all-time [to Petty's].(HMS)(3-3-2010)
Gordon racing at least another 5-6 years: As his family expands, so does the timeline on #24-Jeff Gordon's Sprint Cup career. Once planning to retire from NASCAR at 40, he now wants to drive several more seasons with Hendrick Motorsports so his children can appreciate the success of the sport's sixth all-time winningest driver (82 victories). Gordon has a 2-year-old daughter, Ella Sofia, and his wife, Ingrid, is due with their second child in August. "I've always said I don't want to race for the money," said Gordon, who turns 39 on Aug. 4. "I really want my family to be able to be a part of it in a way that they can see and experience and be proud of what I've done." Gordon has a lifetime contract to drive the #24 Chevy for Hendrick, which is working to extend a deal with his primary sponsor, DuPont, beyond the 2010 season. "You go through life and find you really care about what you do and how important it is," he said. "You think about what life would be like without it. I'm enjoying what I do." John Bickford, Gordon's stepfather who oversees the four-time champion's business affairs as general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., told USA TODAY the four-time champion is five to six years away from retiring.(see full article at the USA Today)(3-1-2010)
Jeff Gordon’s Crew Wins Tissot Pit Road Competition in California: #24-Jeff Gordon’s pit crew claimed top honors in Sunday’s (Feb. 21) NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Fontana, Calif., winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award. Gordon’s crew, a five-time winner in the Tissot competition last year, had another outstanding performance as the team’s DuPont Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road during the 250-lap, 500-mile race at Auto Club Speedway. Gordon’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front-tire carrier), Joe Slingerland (rear-tire changer), Matt Ver Meer (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can), Colin Fambrough (back-up tire changer) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The team’s pit crew coach is Greg Morin. The winning pit crew in each Sprint Cup race will earn $5,000 and a Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph watch. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the over-the-wall crew members and driver.(Tissot/DMF Communications)(2-25-2010)
Jeff Gordon changes marketing agency: The Sports Business Journal is reporting - With an eye toward his future, Jeff Gordon is leaving IMG to chart a new course with Just Marketing International, a motorsports marketing agency in Indianapolis that has not been in the driver representation business before. Gordon had spent more than 10 years with IMG, and during most of that time he was the only NASCAR driver in the agency’s talent stable. But as Gordon, 38, approaches the twilight of his driving career, he’s looking for a deeper selection of business opportunities within motorsports that extend beyond endorsements. “I think Jeff is past the point of looking for the traditional deal that gets you a patch on his sleeve,” said John Bickford, Gordon’s stepfather, chief business adviser and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc. “What we’re looking for is more integrated business opportunities that will position Jeff post-racing.” Those opportunities could involve race-track design, team ownership or other business ventures inside motorsports, Bickford said. Gordon is currently working with a developer in Canada to build a Gordon-signature track that he designed. “To think about going into a project with the marketing support of JMI behind you, it became crystal clear that this was the direction to go,” Bickford said. IMG loses Gordon after a year of growth in its motorsports division. It added a sales and marketing relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing and representation of Danica Patrick as she moved into NASCAR. IMG also has a sales and marketing deal with the NHRA and its top names, John and Ashley Force. Bickford said those deals, most of which IMG struck in the past year, did not influence Gordon’s decision to leave. JMI’s consulting clients include LG, Lenovo, UPS, Subway and Verizon, and it has struck several driver endorsement deals for its clients, including Subway’s relationship with Carl Edwards, but Gordon marks the first driver that Zak Brown’s agency has formally represented.(SceneDaily/SportsBusiness Journal) and more info at Just Marketing.(2-16-2010)
Gordon to a backup car for Daytona 500: #24-Jeff Gordon was involved in an accident in the first Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway when #51-Waltrip had a tire go down, causing #78-Smith to slow and Gordon's Chevy hit Smith's car, doing damage to the nose of the #24 car. The team will go to a backup car for the Daytona 500. #24 Crew Chief Steve Letarte reports: "The nose is pushed up and we sent our Shootout car that we wrecked on the last lap (Saturday night) home, and they've already repaired that, so that car is as good as new. So we're better off just bringing that car out. So the Shootout car has already been back to the shop and been repaired and come back down." SO THE DECISION IS MADE TO GO TO THE BACK-UP? "Yeah, it's not worth it. You've worked all month long to try to win the Daytona 500 and we're not going to beat the side out and mud it and just try to go for 20 spots on the grid. If you can't win from 43rd but you could have won from 20th, you didn't have a chance anyway."(GM Racing)(2-11-2010)
Gordon expecting baby #2: during NASCAR Media Day coverage on ESPNEWS, #24-Jeff Gordon announced that wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, is expecting their second child due this coming summer, joining daughter Ella, currently two years old.(2-4-2010)
Jeff Gordon part of Ohio track plan: Jeff Gordon's name is being linked to a project to turn an old Ohio baseball stadium into a race track, Gordon's stepfather, John Bickford, who's also the vice president and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., says Gordon would help design the half-mile track at Cooper Stadium in Columbus, OH. Bickford says the project also could include a school for mechanics school and auto technology center similar to one Gordon is involved with in Charlotte, N.C. The developer says Gordon's company would become a partner in the track, which still requires several approvals. Bickford came to Columbus yesterday to meet with community leaders and residents and gauge their interest. Some residents have been concerned that the track would be too noisy. Gordon's involvement brings credibility to a project that's been discussed for almost two years, said officials who attended the meeting at Cooper Stadium. Gordon is involved in the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology at Central Piedmont Community College in suburban Charlotte, N.C. A similar program could be created at the Cooper Stadium track, dubbed Cooper Park, Bickford said. Bickford said there's been no decision on whether Gordon's company would directly invest in the track.(Columbus Dispatch)(1-30-2010)
Seven Cup drivers on America's 100 Most Powerful Athletes list: What is power? In athletics it is usually thought of as bulging muscles and dominating performance. But in sports today, power has a different meaning, as well: the earning potential of athletes, owners, agents, communities, and brands, ranging from breakfast cereal to beer. To determine who the 100 most powerful athletes are on and off the field, Bloomberg BusinessWeek teamed with CSE, an integrated sports and entertainment company that connects brands with fans, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Rick Horrow, to create the 2010 version of the Power 100. Unlike previous Power 100s, this year's ranking would focus only on the athletes-not the owners, the agents, the commissioners, or the coaches. On-field metrics included athletes who scored the best on the field (or the rink, the greens, or the court) over a two-year period. The more popular the sport, the more weight those achievements garnered.
Drivers on the list: Jimmie Johnson, 21st; Jeff Gordon, 28th; Mark Martin, 41st; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 45th; Tony Stewart, 48th; Carl Edwards, 67th; and Kyle Busch, 70th. Danica Patrick also made the list at 88th.(Business Week)(1-28-2010)
Jeff Gordon's episode of Extreme Makeover to air in April: The episode of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that #24-Jeff Gordon filmed this month in Horry County, SC is scheduled to air on Sunday April 11, 2010 at 8:00pm/et on ABC. See images of the build at jeffgordon.com and at extremehorry.com or Myrtle Beach Sun Times.(1-26-2010)
Two NASCAR drivers in Top 50 athlete earnings: For the sixth consecutive year, Sports Illustrated has compiled a list of the 50 top-earning American athletes in salary, winnings, endorsements and appearance fees. And for the first time, the average earnings of those on the list fell -- down $1.5 million per athlete to $23.6 million. That falloff is mostly due to lower earnings for #1 Tiger Woods and #2 Phil Mickelson, both of whom saw their on-course income shrink while also losing key endorsement deals. This year's list features 22 basketball players (a record nine who earned more than $20 million), 14 major leaguers, nine football players, three golfers and two NASCAR drivers. The two NASCAR drivers are #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at 13th and #24-Jeff Gordon at 21st. #48-Jimmie Johnson, who won his 4th NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in a row, is not on the list.(Sports Illustrated)(1-25-2010)
Gordon to help build house on Extreme Makeover: Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion #24-Jeff Gordon will be the celebrity builder for this week's 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' build in Horry County [South Carolina], officials announced on Monday. Gordon showed up at 5:30am/et Monday, ready for his role as celebrity builder for this week's 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' build in Horry County. His first words on arrival were: "Hand me a hammer," said George DuRant, event director for the build. A Loris family has been selected as the focus of the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” being filmed this week. Amanda and Derrick Suggs and their children will see the house they inherited from Derrick’s grandfather rebuilt into a stronger, safer home in only a week, as the crew from the show along with area builders and other volunteers converge on their property beginning today. The show’s producers said they chose the Suggs after hearing the story of how they adopted Amanda’s younger siblings to keep them out of foster care, and how Derrick Suggs, a police officer, was nominated as an officer of the year last year for his role in helping save an infant who had stopped breathing while his mother was driving down the highway. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” host Ty Pennington, the show’s design team and many others will repair and rebuild the home while the Suggs family is treated to a vacation courtesy of the show.
Gordon was chosen as the celebrity because the Suggs family members are NASCAR fans, and Derrick Suggs in a Gordon fan, officials said. Gordon said he's eager to help, saying he'd tackle any task except getting up on the roof, citing his back problems. "I’ll do anything they need including driving them to the airport and get them there on time," he said. And around 4:00 p.m., he got behind the wheel of the limo and drove them to the end of their driveway to the cheers of the crowd.
The public is invited to come watch the demolition of the Suggs family's house Tuesday evening [Jan 12th]. About 1,000 people will be allowed to watch on a first come, first-admitted basis starting at 3:30pm/et. Some World Wrestling Entertainment wrestlers will be helping with the demolition which will be accompanied by a large fireworks display. The public will be able to watch the new home on Cane Branch Road being built starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, officials said.(keep up at the Myrtle Beach Sun Times) and more info at extremehorry.com and abc.com.(1-12-2010)
Hess, Parker receive Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence: Hendrick Motorsports employees Lynn Hess and Richie Parker were named recently as the 2009 Papa Joe Hendrick Award of Excellence recipients. The award embodies the spirit of Rick Hendrick's late father Joe Hendrick and is voted upon annually by Hendrick Motorsports employees. Hess and Parker were recognized during the company's Christmas party on Dec. 18. Inclement weather kept Hess from attending the event, but that didn't dampen her excitement. Hess has worked at Hendrick Motorsports fulltime since October 1999 as the administrative assistant for the #24 and #48 team shop, while also serving as the scorer some race weekends for the #24 team. Parker was on hand to receive the honor on Dec. 19, but the award wasn't the only thing that surprised the 2005 Clemson graduate. Parker, who started working at Hendrick Motorsports fulltime in 2005 as an engineer, was surprised to find his parents in attendance for the party.(HMS)(1-12-2010)
2009 Races  that National Guard is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Atlanta - 3/8
Texas - 4/5, GED Plus
Darlington - 5/9, ESGR - Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
Michigan - 6/14, Year of the NCO
Chicago - 7/11
Richmond - 9/12
New Hampshire - 9/20
Martinsville - 10/25, Nationaguard.com
Races  that Pepsi is scheduled to be the primary sponsor:
Talladega [4/26] retro Pepsi
California [10/11] new Pepsi logo
Hendrick Motorsports VP receives honorary degree: Doug Duchardt, a 1987 graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology, will be one of 10 alumnae awarded an honorary professional degree on Saturday during the school's winter commencement ceremonies. Currently the Vice President of Development for Hendrick Motorsports, Duchardt earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the university in 1987. During his undergraduate career, he joined General Motors as a co-op student. That relationship grew over time, and after achieving a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1992, Duchardt went on to become the director of GM Racing in 2003 and work closely with NASCAR teams. In 2005, he was named a vice president at Hendrick Motorsports, where he currently oversees race car design, engineering and production in the chassis, body and engine areas. "I appreciate my alma mater recognizing what's happened in my career, but it's really the result of being surrounded by talented people at General Motors and Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "There are a lot of distinguished alumnae from Missouri University of Science and Technology, and it's humbling to see the list of people being honored and the previous honorees. It's also encouraging that colleges and universities are paying attention to what happens in NASCAR and that our industry is relevant with any other mainstream business."(HMS)(12-28-2009)
Media selects top drivers, races of decade in NASCAR’s three national series: With the recently completed 2009 season closing out another decade of NASCAR racing, media members have selected the top drivers and top races of the decade for all three national series as voted upon in a poll on NASCARMedia.com. The listing of drivers and races for the poll was compiled following discussions with the three series directors and other long-time observers in the industry - and also resulted from direct input from NASCAR fans. #48-Jimmie Johnson was selected as the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the decade, followed by #14-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon. Johnson won an unprecedented fourth consecutive series championship in 2009 and posted 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories this decade - most of any driver. He is the only driver to earn a spot in the Chases for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all six years of the format's existence. The March 16, 2003 race at Darlington Raceway was voted the top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. In what is the closest Margin of Victory - .002 seconds - since the advent of electronic scoring in May 1993, Ricky Craven edged Kurt Busch to the finish line in that thriller. The Oct. 14, 2000 race at Talladega Superspeedway, which marked Dale Earnhardt's final career victory, came in second, followed by the March 11, 2001 event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with Kevin Harvick getting his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory in a narrow defeat of Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR PR), see the results for the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series on those pages.(12-21-2009)
Hendrick honored with Bill France Award of Excellence: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports was honored with the Bill France Award of Excellence at the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony. The award was presented to Hendrivk by Betty Jane France, wife of the late Bill France Jr., who guided the sport from 1971-2003. “I wasn’t expecting this one,” Hendrick said during his acceptance speech at the Wynn Las Vegas. “This award means so much to me because of the relationship I had with Bill France and the respect I had for him.” The award is not handed out annually by the France family, which has owned and operated NASCAR for 61 years. Named for NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., the award is presented when the NASCAR leadership believes someone is worthy of the recognition for contributions to the sport. “NASCAR has had many iconic figures throughout its rich history, and Rick Hendrick certainly falls into that category,” Betty Jane France said. “Through the years, he has not only won our respect but our hearts as well.” Hendrick did not know that Betty Jane France was at the banquet and the award was not listed in the agenda for the evening that celebrated Jimmie Johnson’s fourth consecutive title in a season where Hendrick drivers swept the top three spots in the standings. “I’ve never seen him where he’s in a position where he couldn’t say what was on his mind,” Johnson said after the ceremony. “It really got him. … For a minute there, I thought he was going to need to sit down and start over and come back to the podium. It’s amazing. It means so much to Rick because of his friendship with Bill. I could only imagine how much that means to him. And then this year, you look at the 1-2-3 and all the success. You roll it all up in one, he’s going to remember 2009 forever.”(SceneDaily)(12-6-2009)
#24 - Fastest Crew Award: To recognize the fan-chosen “fastest pit crew,” AT&T donated $20,000 to Victory Junction. “We are pleased to donate this money as part of our ‘Fastest Pit Crew’ program to Victory Junction,” said Daryl Evans, vice president of marketing for AT&T. “It was exciting to see who the fans thought was the fastest and most valuable pit crew, but it’s even more exciting to know we will be helping some great kids attend this special camp.” AT&T’s Fastest Pit Crew ran season-long and asked fans to vote each race via text message to determine the fastest pit crew. Points accumulated throughout the season, and #24-Jeff Gordon's DuPont pit crew was the ultimate winner. “Congratulations to the DuPont pit crew,” said Kyle Petty,co founder of Victory Junction. “They came out and hung out with the kids this summer, and that was really cool. This year has been hard on all of us financially so we’re especially grateful to AT&T and its ‘Fastest Pit Crew’ program for benefiting the kids at Victory Junction. With this donation, eight kids will get an experience of a lifetime!”(victoryjunction.org)(11-25-2009)
Hendrick misses Homestead race UPDATE: A family emergency will keep team owner Rick Hendrick from celebrating a record-tying ninth Sprint Cup championship for Hendrick Motorsports on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick's 29-year-old niece Alesha Gainey, the daughter of John Hendrick who was killed in the 2004 plane crash near Martinsville Speedway, is undergoing an emergency liver transplant in North Carolina. "Rick obviously wishes he could be here . . . [but] Rick's priority at this point is to support his family at this crucial time," Hendrick Motorsports general managers Marshall Carlson said.(ESPN)(11-22-2009)
UPDATE: As much as Rick Hendrick wanted to be a part of Jimmie Johnson's record-breaking run on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, his family's needs were more important. Instead of watching Johnson win his fourth straight Sprint Cup title, Hendrick was at hospital in North Carolina as his 29-year-old niece, Alesha Gainey, underwent a liver transplant. Gainey is the daughter of Hendrick's brother, John, who, along with two other daughters, was killed in a 2004 Hendrick Motorsports plane crash on the way to Martinsville Speedway. Hendrick said the surgery went well and Gainey, although not completely out of the woods, is in stable condition and recovering in intensive care.(ESPN)(11-24-2009)
Jeff Gordon to stay full-time another few years: #24-Jeff Gordon will drive through at least the 2013 season for Hendrick Motorsports, team owner Rick Hendrick said Friday. There has been speculation that Gordon, who has a lifetime deal with HMS, will retire within the next couple of years. The speculation arose in part because of Gordon's back problems and in part because he wants to spend more time with his family. "He's committed to at least 2013, maybe 2014," Hendrick said. "I'm hoping he's going to drive a bunch of more years. We know it's going to be at least three or four." Hendrick said he's also negotiating a new deal with DuPont, the primary sponsor on Gordon's car since he entered the Sprint Cup Series in 1992. DuPont's contract is due to expire in 2010 and Hendrick said the company will remain on the #24 at least for a good portion of the races through the end of Gordon's career.(ESPN)(11-20-2009)
One track left with no win for Hendrick: Homestead-Miami Speedway is the only racetrack on the current Sprint Cup schedule where Hendrick Motorsports has not won a race. The organization, which will wrap up its 25th anniversary season this weekend, has recorded eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10s in 10 Cup events (39 starts) there (HMS). It is also the only race track that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won a Sprint Cup race and for #48-Jimmie Johnson, Homestead is one of six race tracks on the Cup circuit he has not won at [the others being Watkins Glen, Infineon Raceway, Chicago, Michigan and Bristol.(11-19-2009)
Clinching Scenarios: What Johnson Can Do To Lock Up The Championship: With two races left in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, #48-Jimmie Johnson leads the standings by 73 points over second-place #5-Mark Martin and 112 points over third-place #24-Jeff Gordon. With the standings tight as the season comes to a close, everyone wants to know what Johnson has to do to clinch the title.
Phoenix: For Johnson to clinch at Phoenix International Raceway, he will need to lead by 195 points after the race. Currently up 73 points, he'll need to gain 122 points by the race's end. If he does that, he will clinch no matter what any other driver does.
Homestead: For Johnson to clinch at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he will need to average a fourth-place finish over the final two races, or fifth and a lap led in each of the final two races, or sixth and the most laps led in each of the final two races. If he does that, he will clinch no matter what any other driver does.
AND if Martin wins and leads the most laps at Phoenix, he would become the new championship leader if Johnson finishes 14th or worse and doesn't lead a lap.(11-11-2009)
AND II if Gordon wins at Phoenix and leads the most laps, he could leave Pheonix with the points lead IF Martin finishes 5th or worse and leads no laps and Johnson finishes 27th or worse and doesn't lead a lap.(11-13-2009)
Jeff Gordon hands over keys to his Corvette: On Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, #24-Jeff Gordon handed over the keys to his personal Corvette to new owner Richard Sivulich, the winner of the 2009 The Jeff Gordon Foundation Corvette Raffle. Sivulich, of Highland, Ind.., traveled to Texas to meet Gordon and receive the keys and title to the 2008 Z06 Corvette which was previously owned by the 82-time winner. This year’s ceremony was particularly special as Emily, Mycah and Jordan, the three young ladies featured in the corvette raffle commercial, assisted with the presentation. The Jeff Gordon Foundation launched this year’s Corvette Raffle -- now in its fourth year -- in early April and sold out all 5,000 tickets by mid-September. Tickets purchased for this raffle support the Foundation’s fight against pediatric cancer, their support of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital and the Texas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. As part of the festivities, Sivulich and the three girls assisted Gordon in presenting the Texas Chapter Speedway Children’s Charities with a check for $100,000. A $15,000 check was also presented to the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas in honor of Emily, Mycah and Jordan. For more information about this year’s TEN Match campaign and The Jeff Gordon Foundation visit www.jeffgordonfoundation.org.(JGF)(11-8-2009)
Delphi continues relationship with Hendrick Motorsports: Delphi announced that it will continue its associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. Delphi will be the primary sponsor for two Sprint Cup races with driver Mark Martin in the #5 Delphi/GoDaddy.com Chevy. The race details will be announced in the near future. Additionally, Delphi will be an associate sponsor of all Hendrick Motorsports 2010 Sprint Cup entries. Delphi will continue to be featured on the uniforms of all Hendrick Motorsports drivers for the 2010 season, including four-time Sprint Cup champion #24-Jeff Gordon, three-time defending Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin. "Our long-standing relationship with Delphi has been fantastic," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "The association has been incredibly important to our company from both a quality and technology standpoint, and we look forward to having Delphi continue as a key partner for the 2010 season."(HMS)(11-3-2009)
Gordon, most 2nd place finishes in season since 1980: #24-Jeff Gordon has eight second-place finishes in 2009, tied for the most since 1980, plus Gordon has five more races to have the most:
Year -- Driver -- Second-place finishes
1983 -- Darrell Waltrip -- eight
2009 -- Jeff Gordon -- eight
1996 -- Dale Jarrett -- seven
1996 -- Terry Labonte -- seven [1996 champ]
1994 -- Dale Earnhardt -- seven [1994 champ]
1981 -- Bobby Allison -- seven
1981 -- Harry Gant -- seven
(from ESPN and updated since)(10-25-2009)
Hendrick Motorsports One Victory Shy Of Tying Martinsville Mark: Since the 21st Century began, NASCAR's Sprint Cup teams have been faced with not only overcoming the traditional mechanical challenges presented by Martinsville Speedway, but also trying to figure a way to defeat Hendrick Motorsports at the circuit's shortest track. Ever since Jeff Gordon won his first race at the tough paper clip-shaped track in September 1996, Hendrick Motorsports has gained strength at the speedway, similar to that exhibited by Petty Enterprises in the 1960s and '70s. By the time the 1990s ended, Gordon had three victories at the track. It was 2003, however, when the Hendrick Motorsports domination began.
Gordon swept the track's two races in 2003. Then, teammate Johnson collected his first Martinsville win in October 2004. However, there was no jubilation as Johnson and the rest of the motorsports community learned after the checkered flag that a Hendrick Motorsports' team plane had crashed on a foggy Virginia mountain that morning en route to the race. Among the losses were Rick Hendrick's son, his brother, two nieces and the organization's engine department head Randy Dorton. Tony Stewart's helicopter pilot also was on the ill-fated plane. From that day forward, Denny Hamlin is the only driver to have won at Martinsville since that day who doesn't have a connection to the plane crash. Gordon swept the 2005 races, while Stewart and Johnson split the 2006 events. Johnson then won three straight before Hamlin broke his string of victories in March 2008. Johnson returned to the victory podium in October 2008 and has been there ever since.
With Johnson winning this year's spring race at Martinsville, he now has claimed five of the track's last six Sprint Cup events. His 41st career Sprint Cup victory in March provided Hendrick Motorsports with its 10th win in the last 13 Martinsville races. Overall, Hendrick has collected 18 Martinsville victories, just one shy of tying Richard Petty as the winningest car owner in the track's history.(Darnell CommunicationsGlaxoSmithKline)(10-23-2009)
Jeff Gordon Foundation pledges $2.5 million: The Jeff Gordon Foundation commemorated A Decade of Caring -- it's 10th anniversary -- with friends and supporters at VanLandingham Estate on Oct. 14th where Gordon announced his Foundation will be donating and pledging $2.5 million this year. The Foundation's funding will support several initiatives including the development of the Pediatric Pulmonary Lab and Community Outreach Program at the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital, the establishment of the Jeff Gordon Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at Riley Hospital for Children and the funding of the Phase I Long-Term Follow-Up Program focused on the effects of treatment on the health and quality of life of cancer patients. "Looking back at the past 10 years it's amazing to see the tremendous growth of the Foundation and the number of children that we have been able to help," Gordon said. "I am also pleased that we are able to provide such a large commitment this year even in these difficult economic times." Since its inception in 1999, The Jeff Gordon Foundation has awarded nearly $10 million to the country's top childhood health organizations. To assist the Foundation this year a campaign called TEN Match was created to gather support and to celebrate the Foundation's 10-year anniversary. For every donation of $10 or more, Gordon will personally match the contribution. Through generous donors, great strides in the support of pediatric cancer research and treatment and the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital continue to be made.(JGF)(10-22-2009)
Last 2009 race for National Guard on the #24: This season, Gordon and the #24 team helped bring awareness to the National Guard's community initiatives, which were showcased on the #24 DuPont/National Guard Chevy in seven Sprint Cup Series events. This weekend's race at Martinsville marks Gordon's final event of the year with the National Guard. In six of the seven outings with the National Guard on the hood of his #24 Chevy this season, Gordon has scored a top-five finish. His best effort was a win at Texas Motor Speedway in April, while he also scored runner-up finishes at Atlanta in March, Michigan in June and Chicagoland in July. He finished fifth at Darlington in May and third at Richmond in September. This weekend at Martinsville Speedway, the National Guard's official Web site -- nationalguard.com -- will be showcased on the hood of the #24 DuPont/National Guard Chevy. Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis #24-524 for Sunday's race at Martinsville. Gordon has raced this car twice in 2009, picking up a fourth-place finish at Martinsville in March and a third-place finish at Richmond in September.(HMS)(10-21-2009)
Gordon says back is doing better: #24-Jeff Gordon met with media Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed many items, including the llatest on his back problems: SPEAKING OF TREATMENTS, HOW IS YOUR BACK DOING?
"I'm happy to report nothing. Everything is good. I haven't had any issues. The last little scare was Watkins Glen and I didn't know how long it was going to take to recover from that and I feel like I'm fully recovered from that and I haven't had any back issues. I mean it's still there, but I haven't had pain or anything that's been too uncomfortable or any distraction in the car, so I'm happy about that. We've basically been doing the same things. During the week I would go to a chiropractor and get different types of treatments that they call manipulation, where they just stretch you out as much as they can, literally stretching each spinal cord in the lumbar area to try to just give it some relief; as well as the stem treatment. I mentioned that last week. It is electric-static stuff making the muscles do things which is the best way I can describe it (laughs). It's supposed to loosen the muscles up. So I do that during the week. I've been able to incorporate some of that on the weekends because I like what that does and some adjustments as well."(Chevy Racing)(10-16-2009)
Transformers scheme for Gordon:
In Saturday night’s NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon will drive a specially painted #24 DuPont Chevy promoting the October 20 debut of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on DVD and Blu-ray. Megatron, the malevolent leader of the Decepticons, will be featured on the Hendrick Motorsports Impala SS.(HMS), see images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(10-14-2009)
Gordon’s Crew claims Tissot Pit Road Precision Award: Jeff Gordon’s crew took top honors in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway, claiming the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, which pays $5,000 each week to the winning team. It was the fourth Tissot win of the season for the #24 crew, which moved into sole possession of second place in the pit road standings. With six races remaining, Greg Biffle’s crew leads the Tissot standings with six wins. The crew with the most wins following the 36-race Cup schedule will collect a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. Gordon’s DuPont Chevy spent the least amount of time on pit road at Auto Club Speedway (295.170 seconds). The outstanding effort lifted Gordon to a second-place finish in the Pepsi 500. Gordon's pit crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The pit crew coach is Greg Morin.(Tissot), for season standings and race-by-race wins, see my 2009 Pit Crew News & Awards page(10-13-2009)
Pepsi flavors movie-race combo: UPDATE: Pepsi plans to own the airwaves Sunday on ABC with at least six different 30-second ads, presenting sponsorship of a one-hour movie about Hendrick Motorsports' 25th anniversary and title sponsorship of the race broadcast, as well as title sponsorship of the race that day at Auto Club Speedway.(SportsBusinessJournal.com)(10-6-2009)
UPDATE: Pepsi has been a sponsor at Hendrick Motorsports for 12 of those 25 years and the soft drink giant saw an opportunity to shout its new brand positioning—"Every generation refreshes the world"—through extensive activation on ABC, at the track and online. Pepsi, as a longtime sponsor with Jeff Gordon, was approached about a presenting sponsorship deal earlier this year that would give the soft drink brand placement in the film, as well as rights to the trailer, which has been available on Pepsi's website, RefreshEverything.com/Hendrick. Pepsi's presenting sponsorship of the film went for $300,000 to $400,000, industry insiders said, which went toward funding the project along with other sponsorship from HendrickCars.com and Lowe's. Race sponsorships typically go for about $1 million. NASCAR Media Group was prepared to make a time buy on ABC before a Sprint Cup race in September, but when Pepsi came on board as presenting sponsor, it made the decision a no-brainer to pair the movie with Pepsi's race at Auto Club Speedway. NASCAR Media Group bought the hour on ABC Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET, leading up to Pepsi 500 coverage. Pepsi, through its website, then invited fans to submit videos saluting Hendrick, specifically asking "How has Hendrick Motorsports refreshed your life?" One of the six ads will be a collection of fan submissions, while the rest will be vignettes with drivers, Hendrick employees and others in the sport congratulating Hendrick. The ads will air during the movie, as well as in the race broadcast.(Sporting News)(10-6-2009)
Gordon & Newman to run Transformer schemes: an advertisement on ESPN's NASCAR page details a sweepstakes: The ESPN/Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Sweepstakes, to promote the release of the Transformers II DVD in which it mentions that #24-Jeff Gordon (Megatron) and #39-Ryan Newman (Optimus Prime), are scheduled to run Tranformers II paint schemes in the Sprint Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct 11th. For more info on the contest, see my Racing Contest page. Images of the schemes are posted on my #24 Team Schemes and #39 Team Schemes pages.(10-3-2009)
Gordon, Earnhardt, Jr. lay wreath at Arlington: In the humid stillness of Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday afternoon, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon and team owner Rick Hendrick solemnly walked down a set of stairs toward the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They lined up, along with a member of the military honor guard who ceremonially patrol the tomb, and then stepped forward together to place a wreath in front of the giant marble structure. Hands over their hearts, they stood silently amidst the quiet of the cemetery where more than 330,000 men and women are buried. A few minutes later, in the basement of a nearby building just down the hall from the guards' quarters, the two National Guard-sponsored drivers reflected on the magnitude of what they had just experienced. "I was just nervous," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I get real nervous around appearances, but this one was real heavy. There's a lot of responsibility, and that was definitely the case for this." Like Earnhardt Jr., Gordon had never visited Arlington before and said he regretted not doing so earlier. "This is something I think every American should experience," Gordon said. "The peace, the security that we feel in the safety of our country is because of the men and women here at Arlington."(SceneDaily)(9-25-2009)
Yellow Ribbon featured on #24 car at NHMS: This weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the National Guard's Yellow Ribbon program will be showcased on the hood of Jeff Gordon's #24 DuPont/National Guard Chevy. Yellow Ribbon helps prepare families for upcoming deployments and educates them on the multiple family programs made available while their soldier is deployed. By providing the families of soldiers the necessary care, support and services, they are able to maintain a normal life through the entire deployment cycle. Visit nationalguard.com/guardracing to learn more about the program. In every outing with the National Guard on the hood of his #24 Chevy this season, Gordon has scored a top-five finish. His best effort was a win at Texas (April), while he also scored runner-up finishes at Atlanta in March, Michigan in June and Chicago in July. He finished fifth at Darlington in May and third at Richmond on Saturday. Crew chief Steve Letarte has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis #24-542 for Sunday's race at New Hampshire. Gordon drove this particular car to an eighth-place finish at Richmond in May and a second-place finish at New Hampshire in June. Gordon's final race with the National Guard will be at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 25. Friends and family members can share why their current soldier is an inspiration and a hero to them by visiting youreverydayhero.com from Sept. 10-28. Chevy will choose the top-five stories, and the public will vote on the site Oct. 5-22 for its favorite story. The soldier with the most votes will win a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and will be a VIP guest at the Nov. 11 CMA awards, along with their immediate family.(HMS)(9-18-2009)
4-H emblem to appear on #24 car at Kansas: National 4-H Week will take off with a speedy start on October 4th, as the 4-H emblem makes its debut appearance in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The well-known national icon will be featured on the ‘TV panel’ of the #24 DuPont Chevy driven by Jeff Gordon at Kansas Speedway that day. The placement of the 4-H clover on the #24 Chevy was made possible through a generous donation by DuPont, sponsor of both the #24 team and of 4-H. “The appearance of the 4-H emblem on Jeff Gordon’s car in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is a wonderful salute to 4-H by DuPont, and an amazing way for us to begin National 4-H Week,” said Donald T. Floyd, Jr., president and CEO of National 4-H Council. “Now, millions of current 4-H’ers, 4-H alumni and racing fans alike can watch with excitement as the clover takes to the track for the first time.” National 4-H Week is the annual celebration for the 100-year old youth development organization. The highlight of the week includes the highly anticipated, 4-H National Youth Science Day, which brings together millions of youth to participate in the National Science Experiment. This year’s experiment, Biofuel Blast, will introduce youth to alternative energy. DuPont is a premier sponsor of 4-H National Youth Science Day and the Biofuel Blast National Science Experiment (4-H Site), see an image of the car on my #24 Team Schemes page.(9-18-2009)
PRS Guitars donates guitars to drivers: This year’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 marks the fifth year that one winning NASCAR driver will walk away with a four foot tall, fifty pound trophy custom designed and built by PRS [Paul Reed Smith] Guitars from Stevensville, Maryland. In addition, this year six drivers will leave the track with their own PRS guitar that will help aid many more people down the road.
Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer have each won a race in Richmond under the domain of Chevrolet. To honor their success and their efforts, PRS held a special press conference Friday at Richmond International Raceway, during which PRS President, Jack Higginbotham presented the aforementioned drivers with a PRS Corvette guitar for their individual charities. Jack Higginbotham, President of Paul Reed Smith Guitars, said, “It is our hope that each of these guitars will develop its own story and have a positive effect on the lives of others. Whether it is cancer research, shelter for the needy or assistance for underprivileged children, each driver has a passion for their cause, and we are honored to help them in their mission.”
PRS’s extensive involvement in racing began with a sponsorship of the world dominating factory Corvette C6.r racing team in 2003. During the past six years, PRS’s involvement in racing has ranged from being a part of large-scale NASCAR events to its own grassroots “Laps For Life” charity event helping support the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.(PRS Guitars site)(9-12-2009)
Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon visting National Guard Unit: Before heading to Richmond, #24-Jeff Gordon and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will stop in Nashville, Tenn., to attend the 131st National Guard Association of the United States conference. Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. will meet with top leadership, including the National Guard's first four-star general, Gen. Craig R. McKinley.(HMS)(9-10-2009)
Wounded Warriors featured on the #24 at Richmond: The National Guard will honor Wounded Warriors on the hood of Jeff Gordon's #24 Chevy this weekend at Richmond. The National Guard has a program in place that ensures that the medical and personal needs of soldiers who have been wounded as a result of deployment are met so they can focus on transitioning back into their professional and personal lives in their communities. This safeguards the long-term health and well-being of those who answer the call to duty. Visit nationalguard.com to learn more. This season, Gordon and the #24 team are helping to bring awareness to the National Guard's community initiatives, which will be showcased on the #24 DuPont/National Guard Chevrolet in eight Sprint Cup Series events. In addition to this weekend at Richmond, Gordon will partner with the National Guard at two other venues: New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 20 and Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 25. Friends and family members can share why their current soldier is an inspiration and a hero to them by visiting youreverydayhero.com from Sept. 10-28. Chevy will choose the top-five stories, and the public will vote on the site for its favorite story from Oct. 5-22. The soldier with the most votes will win a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox and will be a VIP guest at the Nov. 11 CMA awards, along with their immediate family.(HMS)(9-10-2009)
Congrats to Jason Burdett, car chief for #24-Jeff Gordon, and wife Rachael who are celebrating the birth of son, Ethan Michael Burdett, born on August 31, 2009.(9-3-2009)
Tom Cruise to narrate Hendrick Documentry Film: "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story," NASCAR Media Group's documentary-style film chronicling the history of the eight-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship team, will air Sunday, Oct. 11 at 1:30pm/et on ABC prior to the network's Pepsi 500 race coverage from [Auto Club Speedway] Fontana, CA. Narrated by three-time Academy Award nominee Tom Cruise and presented by Pepsi, "TOGETHER" employs exclusive interviews, never-before-seen archival footage, thrilling racing sequences and rare family photography to detail the personal relationships and emotional events that have shaped one of NASCAR's most decorated organizations. The official "TOGETHER" trailer is available at www.refresheverything.com/hendrick. The Web site will feature regular updates of content from the film and provide fans the opportunity to upload video messages about their favorite Hendrick Motorsports moments. Select fan-generated clips will be shown during the Oct. 11 broadcast on ABC. The full-length version of "TOGETHER" with bonus material will be released Oct. 31 on DVD, and it will become NASCAR Media Group's first officially licensed title available on Blu-ray Disc. A portion of Hendrick Motorsports' proceeds from those sales will benefit the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. Cruise, an auto racing enthusiast who starred in the 1990 NASCAR-themed motion picture "Days of Thunder," completed the narration work for "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story" in Los Angeles last month. The script was co-written by Emmy Award winners Shawn Truax and Ray Didinger. Film director Rory Karpf has spearheaded such projects as the Dale Earnhardt biopic "DALE," now the best-selling sports DVD in history, and the critically acclaimed "Ride of Their Lives." The NASCAR Media Group production team responsible for "TOGETHER: The Hendrick Motorsports Story" earned back-to-back Sports Emmy Awards in 2006 and 2007 for "Beyond the Wheel" and "Quest for the Cup."(HMS)(9-2-2009)
Gordon talks about his back, for a bit: Jeff Gordon, #24 DuPont Chevy, met with media and discussed the condition of his back: HOW’S YOUR BACK?
“It's alright. Couple rough days, but feeling pretty good. So, you know it was a hard hit and that’s an area that I’m focused and working on for…. moving forward as a safety aspect I feel like we have done a great job with head, neck, shoulders and hips but the last couple hits I have had have really affected my midsection especially my back. So it's something we are going to look into for the future. I took a shot and worked through it the next couple days and am here, ready to go.”
WOULD YOU BE MORE CONCERNED IN THE OLD CAR LIKE TEN YEARS AGO WITH LESS SAFETY PRECAUTIONS OUT THERE WITHOUT SAFER WALLS, ETC ABOUT YOUR BACK RIGHT NOW?
“You know it's just weird because in the old days with the older car I worried way more about my neck and head injuries than anything else. I think what is happened is that as we have gotten better with the technology of the seats and the belts and how we are strapped in the car its created new areas in the car that we have to focus on and you know, that is what happens as you evolve with engineering and safety and the speeds of the cars and everything. You start to narrow down the weaker links and right now the weakest link is that midsection and we don’t have a way of isolating that area.”
IS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN YOU WOULD TAKE A WEEKEND OFF TO REST YOUR BACK AT ALL? YOU'RE SAFE IN THE POINTS
"Ah, I think right now it's just too important to still get bonus points and chemistry of the team. I think it would take away momentum and chemistry. If I had a diagnosis from a doctor that told me I was in danger of a major injury, then I would consider it, certainly. But I haven't had that. My issues are spasms or something like that. It's not consistent. I was worse at the beginning of the year than I am now and I had the whole off-season (laughs). So no, I haven't considered it."(Chevy Racing)
AND Speaking at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, Gordon admitted to having a "couple of rough days" after a wreck at Watkins Glen on Monday aggravated his already-ailing back. But when pressed to talk about the injury, one that's been bothering him to varying degrees for months, Gordon grew a little testy - a rare loss of composure for one of NASCAR's most calm and collected drivers. "Man, let's stop talking about my back," he said, speaking to a small group of reporters in the garage area. "We're done talking about my back. Let's move on. I'm here. I'm fine. Let's move on to something else."(Associated Press)(8-15-2009)
More on Jeff Gordon's back: #24-Jeff Gordon is looking forward to a smoother drive this weekend at Michigan International Speedway after taking a hard hit during Monday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Watkins GlenInternational. During Monday's road course event at The Glen, Gordon was involved in a frightening accident when Sam Hornish Jr.'s race car slid into a tire barrier and spun directly into the path of the #24 DuPont Chevy. The violent hit certainly did not help Gordon's already aching lower back. "My back is stiff today, but I'll be fine and ready to go this weekend," Gordon said Tuesday afternoon. "Luckily, Michigan is up next and it's been pretty easy on my back in the past."(HMS Site)(8-11-2009)
Gordon's back sore after wreck: Jeff Gordon quotes following multi-car accident on lap 61 with #77-Hornish Jr. and #31-Burton:
MAN THAT LOOKED PAINFUL. "It was. It wasn't that hard of a hit its just my back can't stand too many hits. I really was concerned for Sam (Hornish). He took a heavy hit into the wall, a heavy hit by me and Jeff Burton. I saw him go off into the grass and I knew he was going to come out in front of me and I was just hoping to squeeze by and didn't make it. It just made a rough weekend for the DuPont Chevrolet even worse. Now we just leave here and focus on Michgian."
HOW DO YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW? "I'm hurting. Everything feels good except my lower back where I've already had issues. It will jsut take a couple of weeks for it to heal. By then we'll go to Bristol and get through that then we'll be alright."
HOW IS YOUR BACK? ARE YOU OKAY? "It's just not what I needed you know. You take three or four steps forward up to this point, and you take a hit like that and you take a couple steps backwards. So yeah, it was a heavy impact. I'm just glad Sam (Hornish) is all right.
WHAT WILL YOU HAVE TO DO THIS WEEK TO GET READY FOR MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK WITH YOUR BACK?
"Oh, Michigan is pretty easy. If we were going to Bristol next week, I'd be concerned. So we've got a couple of weeks to hopefully heal. We went through this at Dover when I hit at Dover and hurt my back as well. Every time I hit something it takes a toll on my back, but it seems to recover. But when you're braking that hard it's already pretty tight and then you hit like that and it spasms a bit. But we'll be all right.
ARE YOU SORE? "Oh man, my left side and my back is super sore. It's going to take probably a couple of weeks for it to heal completely and then we'll be back to new. This happened at Dover when I hit the wall in Dover it was similar. This is a little bit different angle and it's hurting. Luckily we've got Michigan coming up next weekend. It's pretty easy on things."
HOW MUCH DO YOU PROTECT YOUR BACK NOW? "There's nothing you can do. You got to get out there and you've got to just hope you don't get into situations. It's not life-threatening or anything its just painful. I've had MRI's and everything else after these things and everything looks fine. It's just some spasms that go on. You've just got to calm that down but it doesn't just calm down by itself in a day. It really does take a couple of weeks."(Chevy Racing)(8-11-2009)
Gordon's back doing better: #24-Jeff Gordon met with media and discussed many issues, including fielding a question about his ailing back:
ON HIS BACK PAIN: "Yeah, it's been really nice to not get asked too many of those questions these days, or it seems like it's tapering off a little bit which is kinda nice because it started to get a little bit too much (laughs). It's slightly improved since the beginning of the year and then it's just sort of leveled off where I'm just able to deal with the pain that's there, or the discomfort. At these types of tracks it's more discomfort than it is pain. At Bristol is where we're really going to find out just where I'm at. I was in a lot of pain there the last race and that seems to be the toughest race. But for this weekend, there shouldn't be any issues. We're in good shape."(Chevy Racing)(8-2-2009)
Jeff Gordon still having back problems: #24-Jeff Gordon says he has decided not to have a second procedure to deal with an achy back and instead will try to deal with the pain. Gordon said Saturday during qualifying for Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that the first procedure didn't help much and he doesn't see the point in having another injection of anti-inflammatory medication.
Gordon has been dealing with a sore back for several months but ruled out surgery because it was too invasive. Instead he will continue to focus on a series of stretching exercises and physical training in hopes the condition will improve.(Associated Press)(7-26-2009)
|Rank||Driver||Total Wins||Total Race||Win %||Wins at 33 yrs, 9 mths||Age at 72nd win||Win total at end of 12th season|
|Year||Selection (Finish)||Dark Horse||Winner|
|1989||Rusty Wallace (1)||Rusty Wallace|
|1990||Dale Earnhardt (1)||Dale Earnhardt|
|1991||Davey Allison (1)||Davey Allison|
|1992||Davey Allison (1)||Alan Kulwicki||Davey Allison|
|1993||Dale Earnhardt (1)||Dale Earnhardt|
|1994||Ernie Irvan (15)||Geoffrey Bodine||Geoffrey Bodine|
|1995||Jeff Gordon (1) Da||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Jeff Gordon|
|1996||Rusty Wallace (2)||Jeff Gordon||Michael Waltrip|
|1997||Dale Earnhardt (4)||Dale Jarrett||Jeff Gordon|
|1998||Rusty Wallace (5)||Jeff Gordon||Mark Martin|
|1999||Jeff Gordon (3)||Jeremy Mayfield||Terry Labonte|
|2000||Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)||Terry Labonte||Dale Earnhardt Jr.|
|2001||Dale Jarrett (2)||Steve Park||Jeff Gordon|
|2002||Jeff Gordon (11)||Jimmie Johnson||Ryan Newman|
|2003||Jimmie Johnson (1)||Dale Earnhardt Jr.||Jimmie Johnson|
|2004||Jeff Gordon||Jimmie Johnson||?|