NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Jeff Gordon Retiring from Full-Time Racing After 2015 Season

An era is ending in NASCAR.

After competing for the championship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 1993, Jeff Gordon will retire from full-time racing following the 2015 season, his 23rd.

Gordon announced the decision this morning (Jan. 22) via a press release.

“As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said in a press statement. “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.”

That means that Gordon, 43, may still stick around the sport past 2015, perhaps in a part-time capacity or otherwise. And he may not. Currently, the future is unclear.

“I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing,” he said. “I’m a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I’m passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I’m a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that’s stood behind me every step of the way.”

For now, he’ll be focused on one thing and one thing only: winning that elusive fifth championship.

“I’ll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet,” he said. “I’m going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship.

“To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you.”

Added team owner Rick Hendrick: “There’s simply no way to quantify Jeff’s impact. He’s one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There’s been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I’m so grateful for everything he’s done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners.”

Gordon enters 2015 as the driver of the No. 24 for Hendrick Motorsports, a ride he’s held since the final race of the 1992 season. Since then, he’s amassed four championships (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001), 92 wins, three All-Star Race victories and three Daytona 500 wins, among many other major career achievements.

Hendrick Motorsports noted that its plans for 2016 would be revealed at a later date. Chase Elliott, the defending champion in the XFINITY Series, has been rumored for the ride once Gordon stepped away.

Read the full statement from Gordon below:

“As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said. “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.

“I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing. I’m a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I’m passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I’m a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that’s stood behind me every step of the way.

“Racing has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity that’s been extraordinarily rewarding and fulfilling in my life. The work we’re doing with the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation will continue to be extremely important to me. Outside the race car, my passion is pediatric cancer research, and my efforts will remain focused there when I’m no longer driving.

“I’ll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet. I’m going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship.

“To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you.”

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12 Comments
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meh

He seemed to have more passion whining about rules and getting them changed to suit him an hour before the flag than making aggressive moves.

At least he can enjoy his nice view from the back of the pack this year, rather than having to put on a show pretending he cared about points & position and wasn’t waiting out the minutes until he could fly back to his vineyard or $30 million dollar Manhattan penthouse.

Tim S.

If one is a Hendrick Kool-Aid drinker, it’s going to be a great year to watch Cup racing. If not, it will be tough to catch bits of news and competition on the “Gordon’s Last Ride At This Cookie Cutter” show.

Bill B

Did you even watch last season, idiot? I didn’t see him riding at the back of the pack much last year or for that matter any year.

You may be confusing him with Darrell Waltrip’s final season(s).

Steve

Meh, I challenge you to name one rule that was changed at the bequest of, or for the benefit of, Jeff Gordon. And Bill B? Great response, especially the “idiot” part.

Upstate24fan

Comments like these are why I became a Jeff Gordon fan. I loved watching him beat and piss off the “Rednecks”.

JC

Meh, I’m guessing that you were a Dale Sr. fan that watched races with blinders on. Couldn’t face the fact that Sr. was no longer the threat on the track. I wasn’t a Sr. fan, but mourned as much as anyone at his passing because I respected what he did for the sport and it would never be the same. At least the Gordon fans can say that our guy went out competitive. This year open your eyes and watch a race for once and see how the sport will never be the same after Homestead!!!
To repeat what Steve said, I challenge you to come up with a rule change that he spearheaded!!

Upstate24fan

Wow, just in shock. It is to be expected, but it appeared the sponsorship was lined up for Jeff to run a few more years. I hope the fans give Jeff the send off he deserves.

Robin1

Probably the best thing for him. He said just the other day that his back issues were a daily struggle and IMO he probably didn’t like the new changes to the Chase format. He will continue to play a big role in the sport in some capacity for years to come.

Capt Spaulding

Any bets on the 24 winning the Daytona 500?

Bill B

Man, if that happened you will hear cries of “fix” for the next 5 years. Of course, being a Gordon fan, I’d love it.

Capt Spaulding

Not a Gordon fan, but a win wouldn’t bother me,,,,,,,,but if Danica pushed him to the victory, I would have to draw the line.

Chris

When Gordon first came on the scene I admit that I wasn’t is biggest fan but over the years I’ve come to respect him as a driver. Now I hate to see him retire but if he’s having back issues and all that I can understand and if you add to it the current Chase format it makes even more sense I suppose. What will be tough this season; and this will be no fault of Gordon, will be the non-stop coverage of his every move by NASCAR and the media. That will get old really quick.

There are quite of few Gordon fans so I have to wonder how many will follow NASCAR after he retires? I predict that NASCAR’s current dwindling fan base will be a tad smaller next year at this time.

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