Jeff Gordon

From Academic Kids

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Jeff Gordon
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Jeff Gordon (top) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. battle for position at the EA Sports 500 in 2004.

Jeffrey Michael Gordon (born August 4, 1971 in Vallejo, California), a four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion, drives the #24 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. His sponsors include DuPont, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Quaker State, SDRC, AC Delco, Rain-X, Slick 50, Haas, GMAC, Delphi Automotive, Lowe's.

Jeff Gordon was a racing child prodigy. Gordon began racing when he was about four years old. According to his step-father racing was Jeff's idea. It may have been Jeff's idea, but his family fully supported him. Gordon's family moved to Indiana just for the racing opportunities available for drivers in general but especially for minor-aged drivers. Before the age of 18 Gordon had already won three short-track races and was awarded USAC Midget Car Racing Rookie of the Year in 1989. The next year Gordon won the USAC Midget title. In 1991, Gordon moved up to the USAC Silver Crown and at the age of 20 became the youngest driver to win the title. Gordon then went on to spend two successful years in the NASCAR Busch Series (he set a NASCAR record by capturing 11 poles in one season). Coincidentally, almost symbolically, Gordon's first Winston Cup race, the 1992 Hooters 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, was also the final race for Richard Petty. In 1993, Gordon raced a full season in the Winston Cup for Hendrick Motorsports, he won the Rookie of the Year award. Finally, in 1995, at the age of 24, Gordon won the first of four NASCAR Winston Cup Championships. There are only two other drivers with more than four Cup titles: Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt (both had seven titles). In 2004, Jeff Gordon also became the only NASCAR driver with four Brickyard 400 victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and one of only four drivers to have four victories at the historic track.

Jeff Gordon is widely regarded as the best active driver in NASCAR because he achieved so much through sheer talent at such a young age. It is also thought by many that he opened NASCAR up to the rest of the nation; before Gordon's success in NASCAR, the sport and organization was not popular outside of the Southeast United States. Gordon is still one of the best known drivers in NASCAR.

Fan reaction to Gordon's continuing success has been sharply divided. Currently, many fans in NASCAR divide themselves into two major factions: Jeff Gordon fans and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans. Gordon remains popular in his home state of Indiana and his birth state of California, but is often booed by fans in the deep South.

Gordon was married to Brooke Gordon (also known as Brooke Sealy) who was Miss Winston in 1992. Their marriage ended in a very public and bitter divorce in 2003.

Gordon has also participated in some off-road events, including a winning drive with Team USA at the 2002 Race of Champions. He was slated to run it again in 2004 against Formula 1 Champion Michael Schumacher but was sidelined by the flu, and Casey Mears took his place.

On February 20, 2005 Jeff Gordon won the Daytona 500 for the third time. He previously won "The Great American Race" in 1997 and 1999.

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