NASCAR drivers, personnel share 
their favorite Jeff Gordon memories

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/
Jeff Gordon turns laps during a practice session at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

By Dominic Aragon 
November 22, 2015

HOMESTEAD, Fla.—Today’s race will mark Jeff Gordon’s final career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Various drivers we talked to throughout the weekend share their favorite Jeff Gordon memories.

Tim Barile, Go Green Racing PR

“Growing up in Northern California, probably seeing him win at Sonoma—I don’t know what year it was—that was pretty cool. Then the other one has to be his second-to-last win at Martinsville.

“I was there as a spectator, before I was working in the industry, and I got to see that. That was my first time ever at Martinsville; that was pretty special.”

Alex Bowman, No. 7 Tommy Baldwin Racing

“I cheered for him as a kid, that’s for sure. I mean, my dad is probably one of his biggest fans, kind of like, always has been.

“It was cool, growing up, always cheering for him now being here, racing with him, just crazy to see him go and glad to see him have a chance at winning a championship.”

Derrike Cope, No.70 Derrike Cope Racing

Photo by Dante Ricci/
Alex Bowman talks with fans during a Tweetup at Pocono Raceway in August 2015.

“Jeff is a very unique individual. When he first came into the sport, I was relatively young as well. To see him come in—I remember when he came in the sport and was driving that Busch car, and doing great job for Bill Davis…how proficient he was and when he stepped in the car for the first time, you knew he was something special.”

Jerry Freeze, Front Row Motorsports General Manager

“I’ll be honest with you. My favorite memory of Jeff Gordon—and I was there—sitting in the grandstands, was the first race he ran. Just the whole irony of Jeff Gordon’s first race and Richard Petty’s last race. I think Jeff Gordon came into the sport with, you know, everybody thought he was the next greatest thing, which he was.”

Archie St. Hilaire, Go Green Racing Owner

“That Martinsville win just a few weeks ago was as exciting as anything I’ve seen.”

 Sam Hornish Jr., No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports

“Maybe the favorite memory for everybody is what might happen on Sunday. You don’t know. He’s obviously had a lot of milestones in his career.”

Photo by Benjamin Palmer/
Sam Hornish Jr. drives on pit road at Phoenix International Raceway in March 2015.

Richard Petty, “The King”

“I guess the first time I ever [saw] Jeff at Atlanta, I was out wondering around. Anyway, he comes in, having that little pencil mustache, and I said, ‘I have a 12-year-old grandkid that looks like that.’

“He didn’t prove a whole lot that day, but over a period of 22 years, there’s very few people that have accomplished what he’s accomplished.” 

Jack Roush, Roush Fenway Racing

Declined comment.

Photo by Joe Laracuente/
Richard Petty poses for photos after a press conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November 2015.
Joe Laracuente contributed to this article.

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