On November 22, 2015 Jeff Gordon raced his last professional race. It has been an incredible career for this man. He is a four-time Sprint Cup champion. He also won the Daytona 500 three times. He is third on the all-time Cup wins list, with 93 career wins, the most in NASCAR’s modern era. Gordon’s 81 pole positions led all active drivers and is third all-time; Gordon won at least one pole in 23 consecutive seasons, making this a NASCAR record.
Jeff Gordon has been successful to say the least, so it makes sense to learn a little about him.
As I heard about Jeff’s final race, I realized I didn’t know much about him, so I went to my local library. They didn’t have any book about him in the Adult section, so I went to the Children’s section and found a few small kid’s books on Jeff.
There was one book in particular (“Jeff Gordon”by Mark Stewart) that looked interesting, so I checked it out. In it, I thought the following excerpts were all interesting:
-Jeff’s need for speed began before he reached his third birthday. He skipped tricycles and training wheels and went straight to a 2 wheeler
-his stepfather encouraged him and tried to teach him that the best way to achieve things in life is to set goals and go after them with every bit of energy and determination you’ve got
-most kids in quarter midgets race maybe 20 weekends a year.We raced 52 weekends a year. We practiced 2-3 times a week.
-With Jeff having good qualifying times,but having a hard time getting to the front in the races, Jeff’s mother saw how disappointed he was, and knew that no matter how many hours he practiced, he would never be able to learn the tricks needed to pass cars quickly . So she asked her husband to buy her a car. Over the next few months, she and Jeff raced around the track at the fairgrounds . Carol would try to block her son, while Jeff read her car and developed a set of slick moves to pass her.
-because Jeff was still underage, they moved to Indiana, …the family struggled over the next few years. The prize money Jeff earned was barely old enough to keep his car running. . Carol worked to pay the household bills. And John did whatever he could, including working on other race cars–to help make ends meet. There were no motel rooms or fancy meals when Jeff went to a race, and often they made their own parts instead of buying them. It was a tough life with a lot of sacrifices.
I enjoyed this short little book about Jeff Gordon. It again showed me the passion necessary for someone to be the best. It also showed me that rarely, if at all, will someone achieve success without faithful supporters, in this case his mom and step-father.