Jeff Gordon, NASCAR’s third-winningest driver and a four-time champion, has announced 2015 will be his final season racing full time.
“I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that,” the 43-year-old driver said. “I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing.”
Gordon won four races last year and finished sixth in the Sprint Cup standings. His 92 wins are the third most all time behind Richard Petty’s 200 and David Pearson’s 105. He is widely credited for inspiring a new generation of NASCAR drivers from outside the Southeast and helping to propel NASCAR into the sports mainstream.
“Jeff Gordon transcends NASCAR and will be celebrated as one of the greatest drivers to ever race,” NASCAR chairman Brian France said in a statement. “We have all enjoyed watching his legend grow for more than two decades, and will continue to do so during his final full-time season. His prolonged excellence and unmatched class continue to earn him the admiration of fans across the globe.
“Today’s announcement is a bittersweet one. I’ll miss his competitive fire on a weekly basis, but I am also happy for Jeff and his family as they start a new chapter. On behalf of the entire NASCAR family, I thank Jeff for his years of dedication and genuine love for this sport, and wish him the very best in his final season.”
Gordon was quick to assure everyone he won’t be disappearing or even leaving Hendrick Motorsports where he is an equity owner in Jimmie Johnson’s #48 car.
“I’ll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the #24 Chevrolet,” Gordon said. “I’m going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship.
“To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media, and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you.”