At the end of the 2015 season, many thought that the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was Jeff Gordon’s final race ever in the Cup Series. After a legendary career that included four championships and nine wins to boot, he was going to trade in his helmet for a microphone, heading into the Fox Sports booth to call Cup races in 2016.
When it was announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr., would be sidelined with a concussion, Mr. Hendrick called on Jeff to split time in the No. 88 with young Alex Bowman. On Jeff’s schedule, there was one race every fan had circled on their calendar, Martinsville Speedway.
The site of Jeff Gordon’s final race in 2016 would come at the site of his most successful track.
For Gordon, the speedway has shown him great fortune, winning an astounding 10 times and racking up over 24,000 laps led at track they call the paperclip.
Back in 2015, as the eyes had shifted to the garage area after a scuffle between Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth ensued, Jeff Gordon quietly and methodically worked his way into the top spot on the race track.
He went on to win the event, holding off Jamie McMurray in a frantic green-white-checkered finish with almost zero visibility, as darkness fell onto the short track.
The win ensured Gordon a chance to race at Homestead in the Championship, giving everybody one last chance to witness Gordon contend for a fifth title and race into the sunset on top of his game, and as fiery and emotional as ever.
While the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville will be his final event in 2016, his future will remain uncertain. When asked if today would truly be his final Cup start, he joked, “Ask Rick Hendrick”. He does not intend to race again, but if the team needs him, he says he’s open to it.
If however, this is his final race ever, soak it all in and remember where you were when Jeff Gordon climbed into a Sprint Cup car to wheel it one last time around Martinsville, chasing yet another grandfather clock.
The opinions expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Race Chaser Online, the Performance Motorsports Network, Scorpion Radio Group, their sponsors or other contributors.
About the Writer
Rence Brown is Race Chaser Online’s West Coast-based correspondent, who currently resides in California and carries a deep passion for NASCAR, but is a follower of multiple forms of auto racing across multiple disciplines.
Brown, 23, is going back to school to pursue a journalism degree at Pierce College.
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