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Possibly I liked Gordon because my driver showed respect and appreciation for the young hot shoe, and probably because Gordon was only a year older than I. This was at a time when young drivers were not populating the Cup series like they do now.
But now Jeff Gordon is still compelling, making headlines and creating magic. Admittedly the magic occurs fewer and farther between, but for a 20 year career in Cup, that’s quite amazing.
Whether Gordon is in the society pages with his gorgeous model wife Ingrid, posing in Victory Lane with his adorable family, working tirelessly for the many charities he supports, or racing hard to get into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase like he did this season, Gordon is dynamic.
Few thought Gordon would bounce back from events in his life. Losing Ray Evernham after three successful Cup bids must have been a major quake for Gordon, yet he won another with crew chief Robbie Loomis.
In the aftermath of his divorce from first wife Brooke, many thought Gordon would never marry again. The divorce was messy and acrimonious and cost Gordon a lot of money and fans. He did, however, seem to find true and rewarding love with Ingrid. They form a striking couple and appear to work as a team. Gordon’s fandom is still intact.
I had the pleasure to be at Pocono this year when Gordon won the rain-shortened race. I was in the media center when he came in smiling about his victory, the first of the 2012 season. I had a surreal feeling sitting in the same room as the man I had followed on television for two decades.
When I had the opportunity I raised my hand to ask Gordon a question. I wanted to know what it was like for him to win his 86th Cup race in comparison to the ones that came before, especially with having his family at the venue with him. The following was Gordon’s response to my query:
“The experience to me today means so much more than anything else. You know, we have these race wins that you come up short, the family’s there. My wife said, I so badly wanted to experience that. Even my wife, she’s not been able to experience all of those wins, those multiple-win seasons and stuff. I want her to be able to feel what it’s like. I know how much it means to her.”
There is much for Gordon and his wife to celebrate. Gordon once again secured a slot in the Chase. Their charitable works keep them busy as do their two young children.
Gordon had a rough go of it in Chicago, but hopefully will show more of the mettle he is known. He performed far better at New Hampshire this past weekend earning a third place finish. Regardless of whether Gordon achieves his “Drive for Five” this year I am so tickled he is in the Chase, and another reason why I love NASCAR.
Chief 187™ is a writer, columnist, and blogger as well as creator of the widely popular Chief 187™Chatter. Her column “Why I Love NASCAR” and other articles are featured on Skirts and Scuffs. She can be reached via Twitter by following @Chief187s. To find out more please visit http://Chief187.com.