Granted Jeff Gordon hasn’t always been one of the fans favorite drivers. He has passed the late legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr. in wins and he is still racing, much to the dismay of diehard Dale Sr. fans. Who knows how many races the man may end up winning before he decides to retire from Nascar Sprint Cup Racing. He just turned 38 this month (August 4th, 2009).
The man has won 82 Cup races in his career and 4 Championships in the Nascar Series. He has had 257 top fives and 351 top ten finishes in his career so far. So far. Including a second place finish today in the race at Michigan International Speedway. Not bad for a 38 year old man. He was the first driver to win over $ 1 million dollars in race winnings. That does not include his salary or his sponsor deals. When a Nascar driver wins a race, he personally does not get to keep all of the purse winnings. He gets a percentage depending on his contract with his team owner. The purse money is split between the driver, the team, and the owner. I have heard that some of the top named drivers receive up to 35% of the purse. But in racing, it really is all about the trophy and not so much the money, at least not in the Cup Series.
Jeff started his foundations; The Jeff Gordon Foundation in 1999. Jeff was driven to start his organization when he watched his former crew chief and friend, Ray Evernham, go through many years of treatment of cancer on his young son, Ray J. That experience helped convince Jeff Gordon to make it his personal mission to provide support for children facing cancer. Over the years his foundation has raised over $ 7 million for charities benefiting children. All of this started because of one child.
Since then Jeff and his wife Ingrid have had a daughter of their own, Ella Sophia. She has come to the racetrack numerous times and has even been to Victory Lane with her dad. Jeff Gordon is also slated to receive this year The Silver Buffalo Award, the Boy Scouts highest award for his work as a Boy Scout Recruiter and for his humanitarian work. Jeff’s foundation lends support to The Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital which is located in Concord, North Carolina.
Even though I don’t cheer for Jeff Gordon on race day, I still admire the man for all that he has accomplished and continues to do for kids. Plus, he is a pretty darn good racecar driver, smart, precise and fast. OK, maybe I do root for him sometimes, after all he does do a lot for childrens charities.