Say it ain’t so Gordo


Editor’s note: Making his last chaotic Daytona 500 qualifying run, Jeff Gordon learned from the mistake he made last year when he waited too long to start his green flag run. This time he crossed the start finish line with 1 second remaining to get the greatest possible draft from the cars in front of him to grab the Pole for the Great American Race.

Anyone that knows me, knows I am a racing nut. I wasn’t raised that way however, I’m not from a rural town and blue collar parents. I didn’t grow up going to dirt tracks or anything like that. Quite the opposite.

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I remember the race quite vividly, but I have had trouble tracking down what year it happened (I was 8 or younger, so some key details have escaped me.)

I was home and someone had left the TV on, on was a NASCAR event that I believe was an exhibition for the Daytona 500 the next day. On the final restart Jeff Gordon was in the lead and Dale Jarrett was on the outside, I had never seen a stock car race before so I was just trying to keep up. Jarrett jumped the restart and won the event, a very upset Jeff Gordon in the post race interview said something to the effect “If NASCAR won’t rule properly about Dale jumping, then I’ll just have to win tomorrow.” This young, well spoken kid did just that the next day as I watched. I was hooked.

It is because of Jeff Gordon that I will watch or attend anything related to racing. I go to Watkin’s Glen International Raceway multiple times a year. I support my local dirt track, I’ll watch any racing event on TV, all because of Gordo. The reason you even know NASCAR exists is because Jeff Gordon brought it main stream.

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So this year as I will be writing weekly NASCAR Fantasy columns, I’ll also have a focus on the 24 car.

It took me some time to write this because I spent most of the week in disbelief. I’ve watched him race every weekend for two decades and next year that won’t be the case. Usually when a driver retires they don’t pass the torch to anyone except in rare instances. Luckily, Jeff said a few years ago to keep an eye on this Kyle Larson kid, “he reminds me of me.” He sure does.

– Adam Dulski

Follow me @adamdulski