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Jeff Gordon and daughter Ella point to Gordon's name on the Chase Grid at Dover International Speedway in September 2014.
On Thursday morning, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon announced that the 2015 season would be his final full-time year. Gordon talked with the media Thursday about his decision to retire.
“Today is an emotional day,” Gordon said. “I had to tell my daughter this this morning when I was explaining to her that I was going to be telling the team and people this and talking about it, and she saw me get very emotional when I was telling her.
“I saw a look that I'd never seen in her eye before where she had never seen me like that, and I had to explain to her. Because most kids see when tears are flowing, it's sadness, and it wasn't for me. It was pride.”
Gordon made the initial announcement inside the Hendrick Motorsports headquarters in Concord, North Carolina in front of HMS employees.
Gordon never used the retirement word, but said there’s a possibility Homestead-Miami in November will be his final Sprint Cup race.
“I think the chances are pretty good that Homestead will be the last race that you see me in,” he said. “But, again, I don't know that for a fact. But I know that I'm not going to come back and do a part-time schedule. I love being competitive. I love racing for wins.”
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Jeff Gordon in 1993.
2014 was one of Gordon’s best seasons statistically in recent memory. With Alan Gustafson atop the pit box, Gordon recorded four wins and qualified for NASCAR’s version of the playoffs, The Chase for the Sprint Cup, for the tenth time in eleven seasons.
Gordon’s 2015 season will be a last time to pad statistics on his future Hall-of-Fame career. With 92 wins, 454 top-ten finishes and 22 consecutive seasons with one pole position start, Gordon likely can put those statistics more out of reach on the all-time lists. Yet, Gordon says he will still be active in the sport once he hangs up his Sprint Cup helmet.
“My plan is that I'll be back at the track in 2016 doing all kinds of things with the fans,” he said. “I'm certainly going to be there at Hendrick Motorsports and the team. I'll be a major fixture at the track quite a bit in 2016, and I look forward to really getting interaction to those fans that have been so loyal to me over the years.”