The Frontstretch: No cheers and all jeers for Jeff Gordon these days by Brandon Daun -- Tuesday June 7, 2005

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No cheers and all jeers for Jeff Gordon these days

Brandon Daun · Tuesday June 7, 2005

 

He can never reach the legendary status of a Petty. He will never be as famous as Earnhardt. However Jeff Gordon is an icon in NASCAR racing, and the accomplishments he has made have helped to raise the standards of success in Nextel Cup competition. Yet time and time again fans in this sport seem to express their displeasure of Jeff Gordon for reasons which I have yet to understand.

There are no on the fence Jeff Gordon fans. People either worship the ground he walks on or cheer triumphantly at any setbacks he encounters on race day. Such was evident at Dover last weekend, when the cheers in the grandstand were deafening when Gordon crashed early in the event. Baffled, I turned to internet forums and fellow NASCAR fans to try and determine what Gordon could have done to lose so much respect from the fans.

Jeff Gordon had a good rookie year, and was quick to find championship success. It was unheard of for a driver to find success so quickly, however Gordon accomplished both feats early in his career. This anti Gordon atmosphere was developed because Jeff Gordon was quick to find success, and managed to win a lot of races in his career. Basically, Jeff Gordon is an accomplished race car driver, which results in a loss of fans. Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, and even Carl Edwards were quick to find success on the track, and their success in their early careers have led to popularity and respect among the fans. Today, a successful rookie year is a necessity in an established career. If a driver can’t win races in their rookie year, more often times than not the team will find a driver that will. Fans will continue to boo Jeff Gordon for his continued success, however will cheer every week when any other driver runs up front all race long, then earns a top finishing spot each week.

A second reason for the anti Gordon atmosphere at NASCAR events is because of his off track personality. Gordon lost many fans when he entered a winless streak in previous seasons when he allowed his personal life to become the focal point of NASCAR racing. Once his marital problems were resolved, and the NASCAR community had a new story to gossip over, Gordon was back celebrating in Victory Lane. Gordon attempted the seventh inning stretch at Wrigley Field recently, and reminded all the fans why he races a car for a living. Gordon does not have the best off track personality, and his personal life and outside engagements has led to a strained relationship between NASCAR fans and himself. Jeff Gordon does act properly off the track, as he has yet to take a punch from Jimmy Spencer or to violate NASCAR’s substance abuse.

Jeff Gordon is a four time champion and has many trophies on his shelf, however seems to be unable to find success with the fans. Every fan has a driver they love to hate, and more often times than not that driver is Jeff Gordon. The reasons for this displeasure seem to be unfounded, as fans will cheer drivers on for the same reasons they would chastise Gordon. Only time will tell if fans can come to accept Jeff Gordon as an accomplished driver and an icon in this sport, but don’t expect Jeff Gordon to be winning any NASCAR popularity contests in the near future.

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Marc
06/08/2005 04:01 AM
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While some of what you say may be true, I tend to believe it’s much simplier than that.

America is unique in the way it deals with celebrity. On the “way up” your everyone’s underdog and favorite. Once at the top people and members of the media then start to have a closer look.

It’s hard to escape that extra scrutiny and an everyday event like Gordon’s divorce starts to get bigger play than warranted. In Gordon’s case you must add in he was such a success early and people disliked that and started the “Golden Boy” meme and little rich kid nonsense.
Rich
06/08/2005 07:13 AM
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Gordon doesn’t get the praise from fans because he is not accessible and has not been since early in his career. Rusty went to his souvenir trailer and signed autographs during the Busch rain delay at Dega. You would never see Gordon do something like that. That has become more reason why the fans don’t appreciate what he has done.
Ed
06/08/2005 08:17 AM
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Many people, myself included, have never felt that Jeff Gordon paid his dues in Winston Cup. Jeff Gordon was not successful in the Busch series because he was not in a “high dollar” ride. When Hendrick took him, he put him in a high quality ride, which were not available to most rookies in 1992/93.

Jeff Gordon is talented, but I’d venture to say that without his Hendrick ride, he would simply be just antoher face in the crowd
juniorbb8
06/08/2005 08:55 AM
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One reason why we’re sick of Jeff Gordon is because he’s a “pansy”. He’s not tough like Tony or Elliott. He’s a whimp. I’ve never liked him & noone I know ever will. Go #8
irish55
06/08/2005 09:41 AM
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Jeff Gordon has the second largest fan base in Nascar, and is respected by his peers. He is booed because he beat Earnhardt Sr. in 1995, and his fans won’t forget it. He continued to win and prevented Earnhardt from his 8th championship. He has earned everything he has by being a great racer;he has won in every division of racing he has been in.Many people find him charismatic in front of a camera, and has given back to society through his foundation.As far as the Busch series, he won 3 races and lots of poles. He was the rookie of the year in both series, and has proven himself, in every measurable way. His family struggled to pay the bills as he was growing up, and at times resorted to sleeping in the truck. He did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth, as many people seem to think.
I think the way he is treated by some Nascar fans is deplorable, and has nothing to do with Jeff or his personality.
Sherry French
06/08/2005 09:52 AM
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It’s this simple. Those who aren’t are always envious of those who are.
mike
06/08/2005 09:53 AM
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hey you gordon haters, your all jr. fans. you can see on tv the true jerks that hang out behind jr. on tv. little e will never have anywhere near the same record as gordon when they retire. sure didn’t see gordon dumping robbie loomis during their first season together. jr. needs to grow up as well his fans do.
Dan
06/08/2005 09:54 AM
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Gordon is one of the best drivers ever to be in a stock car. 8arnhardt fans are jealous of the 24 and cannot handle the fact that history will show that Jeff Gordon will go down as the best modern era driver there was, including Big E. The other part of the problem is that he does not interact with the fans as much as other drivers do. eg:Last year I was at Hendrick’s 24/48 shop and Jeff was in the fenced off garage area there were about 10 people there and everyone got all excited that Jeff was in the garage. He could have very easily walked over and said hello, but he did not he waved and walked off. This is one of the problems with him, he needs to pay attention to his fans. Still a 24 fan!
dupont24gal
06/08/2005 10:00 AM
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When you go to a race, just look in the stands, they are flooded with Jeff Gordon fans! Men, woman, children, it’s a sea of 24 hats and shirts! He has the fans!

I remember going to the California Speedway in 98 and hearing boos galore when Dale Earnhardt was introduced, and he was booed all the way up until his death. My point is, the great ones get booed, and it’because they are successful and win! so, keep the boos coming.
Ruckus
06/08/2005 10:16 AM
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The average NASCAR fan has about the same mind-set as the average pro wrestling fan. Both want their “hero” to win. It has nothing to do with whether their hero has any particularly great skill. Earnhardt, Sr. was a hero to many modestly educated southerners. He was, in fact, a mean-spirited red-neck. I once saw him intentionally grind his boot heel into the toe of a reporter trying to conduct an on-air interview, just because he thought it was funny. He was Bill France’s favorite. Insiders (and I am one) know the real reason he won so many “plate” races, but none dare complain or they are out of NASCAR. The fan allegiance for him was transferred to Junior, who is, at best, only a good driver. Gordon ended Earhardt’s career by so getting under the man’s skin that he became intimidated, not the Intimidator. Gordon is hated because peole who think a double-wide is a step up in the world despise anyone who doesn’t say “ain’t” or curse in public—-especially if that guy is also handsome, lives on a yacht, and will probably win almost as many races as both Earnhardts combined before he is through.
dh
06/08/2005 10:43 AM
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I have seen childern race go karts with less whinning and complaining than Jeff Gordon & Jimmie Johnson. They want to go out there and crash everyone but if anything happens to them they complain and call for drivers to get fired. They are an example of poor sportsmanship. Winning races does not earn respect if you have a pompous attittude.
cchrs24
06/08/2005 10:43 AM
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I am a Gordon fan for life and think it is terrible that with all the success he has had that he gets booed that much. I know there is alot of Jr. fans out there heck I kinda like him myself but he will never be as good as gordon or his dad. And I think I read a commit that gordon grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth I think Jr. is the one with the silver spoon in his mouth look at all those Sr. fans he inherited. Jr. reminds me of another 7-time champ son and look what he’s doing now riding around collecting a check on sunday’s and causing those much needed cautions that we need so dearly.(HAHA) Jr. will more than likely end up just like kyle petty.
Don
06/08/2005 10:58 AM
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All you have to do is read Jeff’s book, he paid his dues, racing from age 5, winning in everything he drove. He is the best driver in the sport right now, and very well may be the best ever.
Keep booing him as he piles up the records. Jr will never be his Dad, even as bad as his fans and NASCAR wants him to be
dr. hook
06/08/2005 11:09 AM
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Gordon lost my respect along with a lot of old school fans when he jumped from Bill Davis to Hendricks. It was like a backstab to Bill Davis and he even still harbors ill feelings to this day about the situation. He didn’t have the nerve to go say, “Mr. Davis I have an offer from another team, do you want to discuss it?” Oh no , he goes and signs a contract, then calls Bill Davis and tells him over the phone. A lot of fans don’t forget a weasel like that!
He will never be a people person, witness the time he didn’t know who Larry the Cable Guy was!! Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are :-)
Dee
06/08/2005 11:28 AM
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Jeff Gordon may not be as fan friendly as some drivers but …. how can he? He hardly has time for himself nevermind his fans! Look at his fan base and then look at the #8 fan base…..I go to races and I have not seen 1 sober Jr fan!!!!!
hendrick 4 life
06/08/2005 11:46 AM
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oh please people hate 24 simply because he steped up when no other driver did in the absence of big E
and people hate shaq because hes so dominat and knockin people around
people you need to realize that jeff didnt have a famous dad to push him to be as good as he is like little E and #8 sucks now more than ever my point is money and good cars dont make the driver jeff has worked his tail off and look where he is now he is hated for beating the best there was and he currently is the best
and larry the cable guy is not a rquired knowledge to be a driver the last time i checked

just because a well spoken educated man such as him
wants to race and is beating all the slack jawed yokles dosent mean that we should discriminate against him
we said the same thing about blacks in basketball and now the nba is way more popular because of one man MJ and jeff gordon is the Jeff gordon of nascar
L.L
06/08/2005 12:12 PM
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I think it’s pretty clear that it doesn’t matter what Jeff Gordon does or says, the people who are on the band wagon of J.G. haters, that spout the the same rhetoric they’ve heard, over and over, will go along with the mob mentality and boo along with the group. If Gordon tries to be diplomatic about something he’s a “pansy” a robot. If he is passionate about something or defending himself, he’s a “whiner”. Another driver could crash his car into J.G., put the car in reverse and crash the 24 again, and Jeff STILL would be labeled a “whiner”. There is nothing more Jeff Gordon can do, he’s won 72 races (“because he’s got better equipment”, are you telling me that there are no other teams, for all these years, that don’t also have excellent equipment?), he’s been in racing practically his whole life (“he didn’t earn his way, he got it too easy” he’s been racing since he was 5 years old, Jr. fans do you really want to use THIS particaular arguement as a reason to dislike a driver?), he gives his time and money to charities, I read about an example of what one day in his life is like, he tries to meet and be with as many of his fans as he can. If he wasn’t a good driver then why would JG haters care where he was in a race, if he crashed or not, according to them he’s a no talent hack, so why boo? They boo because they know if he’s in the race, there’s always the threat that he will win and beat their driver. Most of them won’t admit it,but they hate Jeff Gordon simply, because he IS a great driver.
hendrick 4 life
06/08/2005 12:20 PM
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i completely agree with L.L
dh
06/08/2005 12:30 PM
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When Jeff Gordon took out Kurt Bush you didn’t hear him whine nor did you hear Tony Stewart whine when Jimmie Johnson took him not once but twice on purpose. Anyone at the cup level can drive and good equipment is not why people hate him its because of poor attitude and sportsmanship. Please read some of the postings again – Attitude is the problem. He has won alot of races but that does not equal respect.
Al Pollard
06/08/2005 12:36 PM
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JG is a perfect example of talent meets opportunity. Rick Hendrick recognized it before Bill Davis would. The fellow knows how to drive a race car; no doubt! He is destined to be as big in the sport as Petty or Earnhardt (Sr. or Jr.).

Regardless of an individual’s opinion on the incident at Dover, the drivers are mostly over-anxious to “show what they can do” for the fans and the sponsors. Hell, we’re taking about careers found and lost on the results the driver gets in a series of races, not a season! Tony is anxious to prove himself again after a few lack-luster seasons and is not a damn bit shy about it. All the fans like to see a great race and if patience would prevail early in an event, we would see great finishes.

Save the beating, banging, and rubbing for the last 50 laps instead of the start!
John
06/08/2005 12:46 PM
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Don’t forget that Gordon took the magical eighth championship from Senior in ‘95. This alone was enough for the 3 fans to despise the guy. As far as respect, the guy runs second only to Junior in popularity every year, so unless folks love drivers they disrespect?? I don’t get that, nor do I believe it.
tim
06/08/2005 12:58 PM
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It’s not how many times he’s won, but how many he won fair. My respect for him and NA$CAR went downhill, when, following a win, couldn’t do a burnout with a car with 800 horsepower. And NA$CAR’s refusal to fix the problem of traction control like ARCA did. Something stinks!
Dan
06/08/2005 01:18 PM
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Why is it that fans of other drivers dislike JG, but JG fans seem to like all or most of the other drivers?
TRACI
06/08/2005 02:03 PM
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I think it is pretty funny that every monday at work I listen to the people who supposedly hate Jeff Gordon, know more about what he did during the race than their own drivers.Seems they are paying attention to him to me!
penny
06/08/2005 02:26 PM
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I think you said it all in your article. People hate JG because of how good he is and because he was so good so early in his career. It’s all different now, so I don’t think you can compare Jeff’s early years to the guys coming up now. Alot of the dislike goes back to the Earnhardt era when Jeff took that Championship from Dale, Sr. But remember Dale, Sr. and Jeff had a great relationship and friendship. Jeff says he learned from Sr. and Sr. had respect for Jeff because of his talent. Let fans be fans and lets just pull for who we like and don’t like, let’s boo. At least Jeff is getting some noise. A lot of the drivers don’t get any recognition when they are introduced.
As far as Tony is concerned and the recent conflict with Jeff, well I blame that one on the media. Tony never would have said what he said about Jeff if the media wouldn’t have started it by telling him what Jeff said. Good Grief…..Just more Drama!!
Rick
06/08/2005 02:53 PM
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Part of the reason I’m not particularly fond of Gordon (I would never boo anyone who participates in a life-threatening sport) is the obvious preferential treatment he has received from HMS. Hendrick began his team in ‘84 with the #5 car with Geoff Bodine, then added the #25 with Tim Richmond, then the #17 with Darrell Waltrip. In ‘92 he adds the #24 with Gordon and the #5 (now with Ricky Rudd) and the #25 (with Ken Schrader) seemingly become afterthoughts in the Hendrick organization (Waltrip left to form his own team). Both teams went from contenders to also-rans while Gordon and Ray Ever-the-Ham (the new guys) become the focal point. In ‘94 Terry Labonte replaces Rudd in #5 and has the audacity to win the championship 2 years later. After that winning season Terry’s team fell into disarray and several key team members were lost including the crew chief. Terry’s performance suffered from lack of a cohesive team but when Evernham left Gordon to start the Dodge program Heaven and Earth was moved to re-establish a strong team for Gordon. Gordon begins the #48 team along with Hendrick and, right out of the box, a kid who’d only been famous for running into the styrofoam blocks at Watkins Glen has a great car and crew chief. It appears that whatever Jeffy wants, Jeffy gets.
Jeanie
06/08/2005 02:54 PM
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Tony Stewart is the biggest whiner!!!!
The1 and only 24
06/08/2005 02:55 PM
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I find it hard to stomach that after nearly a decade and a half in this sport, the Gordon hate motiff still seems to reign supreme. He is hated because he was good. I read earlier that a fan said Godron wan’t sucessfull in busch, wrong, Gordon obtained rookie of the year honors and 3 wins. Also, Gordon got his ride from Hendrick watching Gordon in the busch series, particually at Atlanta when Gordon beat both Earnhardt Sr. and Harry Gant to win.
Gordon’s talent is not debatable. He is a true racing prodigy and had been racing and winning since he was five. It time to drop this immature, unfounded hate rant against a man who has done nothing wrong. Is he inaccessable? Yes, but so is Micheal Jordan and Barry Bonds. I’d say its time to put this subject to rest
Gary
06/08/2005 03:59 PM
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I recently went to both races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and I saw as many if not more JG fans than E fans. I truly believe people dislike Jeff because of his unprecidented achievements & accomplishments that he earned so quickly. So what if he denied Dale Sr. his 8th championship! I don’t think anybody would’ve held back just to let Dale Sr. win his 8th, and Jeff certainly didn’t. You cannot argue the facts. Jeff is more successful than any other driver past & present and E fans can’t handle the facts!! E fans are holding on to a name from Dale Sr. thinking the legacy will live on in Dale Jr. like the Force in Star Wars and it ain’t happening. If you look at Jeff’s stats next to Dale Jr.’s, Jeff has him beat hands down!! You can’t argue that! With the way things are going, Dale Jr. is slowly becoming another Kyle Petty which is what’s really getting under all the Dale Jr. fans skin, and they don’t know how to handle it except to take it out on the one truly successful driver out there.
ruddfannga
06/08/2005 03:59 PM
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almost all the ones booing gordon are wearing red, a beer sponsor,a bunch of drunks, if jr doesnt start running good, the drunks will boo him,the drunks are there to get drunk and boo , watch the jr fans the next u go to a race they are so drunk they cant stand, lol, my point, gordon stay clean, hell i watch a drunk jr fan boo jr, lol, he thought it was gordon,lol
Pam - 24 Fan Always
06/08/2005 04:07 PM
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I came to Nascar later in Jeff Gordon’s career. I find him to be a great driver, and a fine human being off the track. I have only been to two races but I found there to be a great number of fans of his in the stands. I agree with most of the comments in his favor that have been made thus far. He is a driver with natural talent and most people don’t like that. As for the boos he receives, he received some advice from a great friend of his, the late Dale Earnhardt, “it doesn’t matter if they’re cheering or booing. It’s when they stop making noise when you worry.”

I will continue to support Jeff Gordon through his racing career as the great driver and great human being that he is.
Richard Irion
06/08/2005 04:09 PM
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Simple! The reason they jeer him is because they are afraid he will win more races and post more championships than the #3 car did. Like most “Anybody but Earnhardt” fans I hope he does both and does it soon.
Richard
ruddfannga
06/08/2005 04:12 PM
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gordon haters will never like him because gordon doesnt say YALL,YONTO,OVAIR,UHHU,NAWOR COMEAR, the last reason why the gordon haters will never like him is because you want ever hear gordon say hey hank toss me one nem cold ones would cha.he he
Tanya
06/08/2005 05:44 PM
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I agree with LL & ruddfannga. You guys hit the nail on top of the head!
notone
06/08/2005 06:07 PM
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Its funny because the people who complain about Jeff can’t handel their own drivers faults. One huge bandwagon thing. Its a sad thing to think that people really have no lives and dedicate themselves to hating a person. Its a sad reality too that Dale senior was hated to and now he’s a saint. R.I.P Dale. No one learns a lesson.
tim
06/08/2005 06:23 PM
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J.G is the biggest whiner out there. It seems to be ok when he gets agressive and bumps and runs or accidentally takes out another driver it is just racing then but when it happens to him he whines to NASCAR and doesn’t stop complaining , same with JJ. NASCAR always wipes the Hendrick boys butts as long as Hendrick is happy and in victory lane NASCAR is happy Until JG and his teamates become men they will get no respect from any decent fan By the way I can’t stand JR either
sarah
06/08/2005 07:20 PM
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fans dislike gordon because of his attitude. sunday when he got tapped by tony he was whining and crying, but it reminded me of the bristol race when he tapped Rusty. Rustys answear to reporters was that was a great race wasn’t it…...not he hit me and i don’t think it was fair…hey Gordon lovers, grow up, real men take their licks and go on to the next race, not cry about the one that they lost
scott
06/08/2005 07:23 PM
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goodness,its just racing, go 2 a fri., sat.show sometime.its all the the same.frankly,nobody knows because they wont go get “dirty”,kiss my arse till youve been there.win,lose go get a pizza after. .......scottcos@mchsi.com
R Rabenold
06/08/2005 07:37 PM
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I’m 47 years old and have been a “Senior” fan forever. That means a Gordon hater forever…......the two brought a stardom and rivalry to NASCAR. Now, that I’m older and wiser(?)....when Gordo is done racing, he’ll be viewed as one of the greatest and will earn the respect of most true fans . Its a shame it has to wait until then. Gordon is great and will go down in NASCAR history after he’s done, like a Waltrip, Ali or Cosell. Appreciate him and his feats before he retires.
Woody
06/08/2005 08:27 PM
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Jeff Gordon would be a nobobdy if, as a rookie, he would have had to drive the same stuff people like Terry LaBonte, Bobby LaBonte, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Sterling Marlin & a host of others did.

He was handed a quality ride on a sliver platter.

Jr. was handed a ride on a sliver platter as well and he can’t get the job done. All of his problems are somebody else’s fault.
BB6
06/08/2005 09:07 PM
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Good job, Brandon!! I think the last time I saw this many posts after an FS, it was an article Dennis wrote…but he suggested people take their “discussion” to the message board, so I suppose you could count that. ;)

Jeff Gordon has talent. How he got here doesn’t matter, because if he DIDN’T have the talent, he wouldn’t be in Cup.

That said, I still don’t like him. Mainly because I get attached to my underdogs, I’ve just always rooted for the underdog, which Jeff will never be…but also because, despite all his charitable contributions, I just don’t like his personality. My choice.

BTW, I have been known to get a bit inebriated at a race track. And I NEVER Boo anyone…my thought? Silence speaks louder that Boos….:)

I’ve seen my fair share of drunk Jeff Gordon fans at tracks, too! Even shared a “lovely beverage” with a few of them! :)
Sam
06/08/2005 09:36 PM
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You must be a Jr. or Stewart Fan. When they win over 70 races and four championships you and all of the Jr. and Stewart Fans can talk until then…
dan
06/09/2005 12:52 AM
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J.G. is the Big E of the 90s and the future to come!!!!
nascar fan
06/09/2005 11:53 AM
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i agree with dan. the reason jeff gets booed more is because that is the attitude and mentality of other drivers fans. they don’t know that sportsmanship is also about politly applauding the opposition because if only their driver is on the track it would be pretty boring to watch, and the legions of jeff fans have learned this lesson from a very young age. I also think the media has a lot more to do with the boos and/or lack of by commenting each and every time who gets more or less boos. Maybe they can start to ask about applause instead, I bet we would hear alot more of it then.
Bill Lawrence
06/09/2005 12:44 PM
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Before Jeff Gordon came along, the Ford fans would boo Earnhardt and the Chevy fans would boo the Ford driver who gave Earnhardt the hardest time. Gordon brought together the unlikey union of Eanhardt fans and Ford fans. Why? He beat the pants off of their drivers!

When a driver wins close to one third of the races like he did in 1996, 97 and 98, that is going to tick off the fans of the other 42 drivers. Utter domination like that made it somewhat boring, except for the most ardent Gordon supporters.

I have met Gordon a few times since he was a 16 year old sprint car driver at a midwest dirt track that no-one has heard of (before he supposedly was handed that silver spoon). From that time, up to now, he has always been cordial, friendly and accomidating. A majority of people who have had contact with Gordon would disagree about his attitude.

It all comes down to Gordon winning tons of races. With that level of attention, people are going to look at him closer and look at him with a lot more scrutiny that they will someone like Jason Leffler, who kind of blends in to the crowd.

Drivers like Jimmy Johnson, Terry Labonte, Ken Schrader, Wally Dallenbach, Ricky Craven, Kyle Busch, Joe Nemechek, Randy Lajoe and Brian Vickers have all driven Hendrick cars since Jeff’s first Cup race in 1992. None of them have dominated the way he has. I don’t think companies like Kelloggs, Busweiser, Ditech and Lowes would have stuck around as did, if they were giving their drivers Jeff’s “leftover junk”. If you have ever toured the Hendrick shops, you will find that all their engines and cars are built the same and the cars are given slight adjustments in the individual shops. That pretty much convinces me that it was not some magic equipment that allowed him to dominate the way he has.

Gordon is successful and people hate that, unless it is their driver.
Cathy
06/09/2005 04:35 PM
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A common theme to those of us that dislike Gordon, he can dish it out but he can’t take it. He can use the bump when it suits his purpose but if the tables are turned he whines like a dog. If he would be a man about his mistakes instead of laying blame elsewhere he would be respected more.
LT
06/10/2005 09:04 AM
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Well at least other drivers have enough respect for the sport and NASCAR not to be hanging out in queer bars in NYC like Jeff Gordon
John
06/10/2005 04:37 PM
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I think it’s really much simpler than any of you are pointing out. Jeff Gordon, and many of his fans, represent the “new breed” of NASCAR fans. One person commented on the huge cheers Jeff got… in CALIFORNIA.

Old time fans, those who have mourned the loss of the legendary tracks like North Wilkesboro, and Rockingham… the lost races like the Southern 500… and the perception that NASCAR is abandoning the fan base that built it.

Jeff came across as bland, politically correct and “cute”... anything but a “man’s man”. Contrast that with the blue collar image of Dale Earnhardt and it was an easy call for many of the old fans.

Jeff has changed in some ways, one of those is that he has become more arrogant and blames everyone else when he has problems. I saw him put Dale Sr. in the wall at Talledega a couple years before Sr. died. Jeff refused to accept the responsibility even though the camera showed him enter the corner below the outermost lane marking and when Sr. was in the wall that lane marking was under the middle of Gordon’s car!

He’s actually a little more likable now that he’s rough around the edges… but for many fans, it’s too late for that now.