Jeff Gordon

November 2, 2015
by Lee

March 28, 1999. That was the day I had the opportunity to go to my first, at that particular time, Winston Cup race. I had watched racing, but had never had an opportunity to attend a race of this magnitude. Even today, I could not tell you how I became a Jeff Gordon fan, but I was.

Strange day that was. I had purchased tickets on the backstretch for the race, and was going with my brother in law Scott. I am not sure, but that might have been Scott’s first big time race as well. Somehow we found a guy selling tickets in the parking lot that sold us the seats on the front stretch we sat in. Gave us face value for the tickets we had, and only wanted the difference in value of the tickets. Later found out the guy worked for Albertsons (Grocery Store Chain), who had no intention of using his free tickets to attend the race. He was simply there to make some money.

I had never seen so many people in one spot. If memory serves me right, at least 200,000+ at the track when totaled that day.

It is only fitting to my sports loyalties, the soon to be retiring Jeff Gordon finished 43 that day. Last place in case you are not aware of the number of cars that start in a NASCAR Cup race. Lap 71 coming through turn four and into the wall. Passenger side of the car damaged beyond repair. I remember a bit after the wreck, the hauler leaving the infield as the race was running. Gordon was still the young punk back then, therefore many people waved and cheered as the hauler departed. 1999 was Jeff Gordon’s seventh full time season in the series, and the first race I attended was his first 43rd place finish.

That 43rd place finish at Texas would define Gordon’s performance when I attended future races.Since that day in March of 1999, I have attended 67 Cup races to see my favorite driver complete. Here is a break down of Gordon’s performance when I am in attendance:

 

Wins 2
Top 5 21
Top 10 35
Top 15 47
Beyond 15 20

Overall not too bad, but only two wins. Both times I have seen Gordon win a race have come at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Every other track I have been to, Gordon has won at, at some point in his career. For those unaware, the only active track Gordon has not won on in the Cup Series is Kentucky.

It seems fitting to me that today (November 1, 2015) that Gordon has punched his ticket to an opportunity to win the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship with his 93rd career win coming at Martinsville. Very early this upcoming Saturday morning, I will hit the road with my family to travel back to the spot where it started it all for me. Next Sunday, I will see my favorite racer take the green flag for the last time at Texas Motor Speedway.

A couple of weeks ago at Kansas, it really hit me that it would be the next to last time I would see Gordon race. I had so many emotions and it was very difficult at the start of the Kansas race to hold them back. Even today when Gordon won, it was hard for me to keep from having tears roll down my face. I honestly had some shaking, and just could not believe that we got the victory today.

Sunday will be hard for me to see Gordon head off into the unknown at Texas Motor Speedway for one more time, and the last time I will get to see him set sail in person. Win, lose, or wreck, it has been an incredible journey every time I have been fortunate enough to see Jeff Gordon take the wheel on the track.

I leave you all with this, a list of the Cup races I have attended, and their winners, and where Jeff finished. Included as well are some pictures I have captured over the years of Jeff, his car, as well as some moments included of me with my Jeff Gordon gear.

Oh, one side note, 2000 I was in attendance for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first Cup win at Texas. Strangely enough, I have never seen him win since.

Year Spring/Fall Track Winner Gordon Finish
1999 Texas Motor Speedway Terry Labonte 43
2000 Texas Motor Speedway Dale Earnhardt Jr. 25
2000 Phoenix International Raceway Jeff Burton 7
2001 Texas Motor Speedway Dale Jarrett 5
2001 Phoenix International Raceway   Jeff Burton 6
2002 Texas Motor Speedway Matt Kenseth 2
2002 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Bill Elliot 6
2003 Texas Motor Speedway Ryan Newman 3
2003 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Kevin Harvick 4
2004 Texas Motor Speedway Elliot Sadler 3
2004 Spring Dover International Speedway Mark Martin 36
2004 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jeff Gordon 1
2005 Spring Texas Motor Speedway Greg Biffle 15
2005 Spring Dover International Speedway Greg Biffle 39
2005 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tony Stewart 8
2005 Fall Texas Motor Speedway Carl Edwards 14
2006 Spring Atlanta Motor Speedway Kasey Kahne 4
2006 Spring Texas Motor Speedway Kasey Kahne 22
2006 Spring Dover International Raceway Matt Kenseth 12
2006 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jimmie Johnson 16
2006 Charlotte Motor Speedway Kasey Kahne 24
2007 Spring Atlanta Motor Speedway Jimmie Johnson 12
2007 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Kyle Busch 3
2007 Spring Dover International Speedway Martin Truex Jr. 9
2007 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Tony Stewart 3
2007 Fall Bristol Motor Speedway Carl Edwards 19
2008 Spring Atlanta Motor Speedway Kyle Busch 5
2008 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Jeff Burton 11
2008 Spring Dover International Speedway Kyle Busch 5
2008 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jimmie Johnson 5
2008 Fall Texas Motor Speedway Carl Edwards 2
2009 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Kyle Busch 4
2009 Spring Dover International Speedway Jimmie Johnson 26
2009 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jimmie Johnson 9
2009 Fall Bristol Motor Speedway Kyle Busch 23
2009 Fall Texas Motor Speedway Kurt Busch 13
2010 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Jimmie Johnson 14
2010 Spring Dover International Speedway Kyle Busch 14
2010 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jamie McMurray 23
2010 Fall Bristol Motor Speedway Kyle Busch 11
2011 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Kyle Busch 14
2011 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Paul Menard 2
2011 Fall Bristol Motor Speedway Brad Kesolowski 3
2011 Chicagoland Speedway Tony Stewart 24
2011 Fall Texas Motor Speedway Tony Stewart 6
2012 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Brad Kesolowski 35
2012 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jimmie Johnson 5
2012 Fall Bristol Motor Speedway Denny Hamlin 3
2012 Chicagoland Speedway Brad Kesolowski 35
2012 Fall Talladega SuperSpeedway Matt Kenseth 2
2013 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Kasey Kahne 34
2013 Spring Talladega SuperSpeedway David Ragan 11
2013 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ryan Newman 7
2013 Fall Bristol Motor Speedway Matt Kenseth 7
2013 Chicagoland Speedway Matt Kenseth 6
2014 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Carl Edwards 7
2014 Spring Michigan International Speedway Jimmie Johnson 6
2014 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Jeff Gordon 1
2014 Fall Bristol Motor Speedway Joey Logano 16
2014 Chicagoland Speedway Brad Kesolowski 2
2014 Fall Kansas Speedway Joey Logano 14
2015 Spring Bristol Motor Speedway Matt Kenseth 3
2015 Spring Michigan International Speedway Kurt Busch 21
2015 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Kyle Busch 42
2015 Fall Bristol Motor Speedway Joey Logano 20
2015 Chicagoland Speedway Denny Hamlin 14
2015 Fall Kansas Speedway Joey Logano 10
2015 Fall Texas Motor Speedway ?

 

Here are the wins by percentage of races I have attended:

Driver Wins Win Percentage
Kyle Busch 9 13.43%
Jimmie Johnson 8 11.94%
Matt Kenseth 6 8.96%
Brad Kesolowski 4 5.97%
Carl Edwards 4 5.97%
Joey Logano 4 5.97%
Kasey Kahne 4 5.97%
Tony Stewart 4 5.97%
Jeff Burton 3 4.48%
Greg Biffle 2 2.99%
Jeff Gordon 2 2.99%
Kurt Busch 2 2.99%
Ryan Newman 2 2.99%
Denny Hamlin 2 2.99%
Bill Elliot 1 1.49%
Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 1.49%
Dale Jarrett 1 1.49%
David Ragan 1 1.49%
Elliot Sadler 1 1.49%
Jamie McMurray 1 1.49%
Kevin Harvick 1 1.49%
Mark Martin 1 1.49%
Martin Truex Jr. 1 1.49%
Paul Menard 1 1.49%
Terry Labonte 1 1.49%