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jeff gordon retires
jeff gordon retiresJeff Gordon announces his retirement


I was absolutely stunned when I saw the report on that Jeff Gordon had announced his retirement from NASCAR at the end of the 2015 season. When the checkered flag drops at Homestead this coming November, regardless of who wins the Sprint Cup Championship, the racing world will lose. Love him or hate him, when Jeff Gordon unstraps his HANS device and crawls out of the window of his #24 Drive To End Hunger/3M Chevrolet for the final time, it will not just be the end of a magnificent career, but also the end of an Era.

As y’all well know, I’ve never been a fan of noted wine connoisseur Jeff Gordon. I’ve resorted at times (quite a few too many times perhaps) to the shameful derision and/or jocular banter of Junior Nation by referring to him as That Homo Jeff Gordon. I’ve rooted for start ‘n’ park drivers to punt him into wall ((and ditto btw for his {{***jocular banter alert***}} Uni-browed Butt-Buddy Jimmie Johnson)). But all that aside, I’ve had at the very least a respect for him and his accomplishments as a driver.

More recently, as Gordon has gotten older, and as a counterpoint to the damned ability of Jimmie Johnson, whose team he owns, I’ve softened my approach considerably. I even was at a point of rooting for Gordon to win the Championship instead of Jimmie Johnson.

I’m at a point now, that I would not mind in the least if he won the Championship in his final season, even if it has to be at the expense of Matt Kenseth. I might even root for that. Maybe.

But not that I’d become a fan….like THESE two guys:




jeff gordon fansTwo of Jeff Gordon’s earliest fans


Yes indeed!! These two loved Jeff Gordon to death when first burst onto the scene in 1993, Gordon’s frist full season in Winston Cup.

DaleEarnhardt dubbed him the Wonder Boy and he affectionately named his pit crew The Rainbow Warriors!

Darrell Waltrip even bragged up Gordon to Gordon’s boss Rick Hendrick, touting, “….He’s hit everything but the pace car!!”

As Gordon settled in and started winning, his fan base grew to enormous levels, The adulation was remarkable. It reached a fever pitch in what was probably my favourite Jeff Gordon racing moment, his victory in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega April 24th, 2004 when thousand of screaming fans tossed cups and cans and bottle of Budweiser beer onto the track as Gordon lead the final parade lap under a caution brought out by a Brian Vickers wreck, and then did celebratory donuts as the rain of beer continued. Fabulous!! Donuts are All-Season, Almighty, and All-OKAY!!!

My second favourite Jeff Gordon moment was on lap 192 of the AAA Texas 500 at the Texas Motorspeedway on November 10, 2010. After a little dust-up with Jeff Burton, Gordon got out of his car and strolled down the track with a jaunty purpose in mind. That jaunty purpose was to punch Jeff Burton in the face.  Comedy then ensued, and with exception of both cars, no harm was done. Magnificent!! Gripping!!

The third favourite moment was, I believe at Bristol or Richmond, but I don’t recall andI’m too lazy at the moment to look it up, when Jeff Gordon decided to pick a fight with Matt Kenseth over the sort of racing moves that Gordon perfected and prided himself on over the years at Bristol and Richmond. Unlike the argy-bargy with Burton, Gordon did not remove his helmet…and it all purses and handbags as they’d say in England. Funny and ha ha.








Cecil GordonSneak preview of Gordon’s new ride for the 2015 season


The #24 in NASCAR has become synonymous with Jeff Gordon. In the minds of many, it’s as if no one ever drove the #24 Chevrolet until Jeff Gordon stepped in the ride at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Hooters 500, the final race of the 1992 season. His accomplishments since then have been legendary and extraordinary. He will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible. The #24 car is almost as legendary and iconic in NASCAR as the #3and the #43.

But Jeff Gordon was not the only Gordon to pilot that ride in NASCAR’s top series.


cecil gordon


24hCecil Gordon  1941-2012

Cecil Gordon raced the #24 car from 1968-1985 in NASCAR’s Winston Cup Series….449 races in that span of time. He turned  112,908 laps, but never led a single one of the. He had 29 top 5 finishes, and 111 top 10s. He finished third in the points in 1971 and 1973. A yeoman’s career, but one that should be lauded for it’s longevity. It was a different era, one that’s long gone except for the local short tracks. For the majority of his career, Cecil Gordon owned his own team and drove his own rides. When we think of the #24 car, we should tip our hat to the “other” Gordon who was no relation to Jeff, except in racing spirit.

63 different drivers have piloted the #24 sled in NASCAR. The two Gordons lead the charge with the most laps, wins and money earned. Some notable drivers had the #24 for short term or one-off rides….Dick Trickle, Bobby Allison, Morgan Shepherd, Tiny Lund, Kenny Wallace, Glen Wood, and even The King himself have taken at least a lap or three in the #24.

But I scrolled down the list, one driver’s name jumped out at me and I had to find out more about the driver named Spook Crawford. Spook raced 1956-1960. He was from Fayetteville, North Carolina. He competed in only 6 Sprint Cup races. He earned his only top 10 in the second to last race of his career at the Heidelberg Raceway outside of Pittsburgh PA.

He drove the #24 Ford just one time. On May 29, 1960 he entered the race at the Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsboro, North Carolina. The speedway has returned to the forest from which it was carved and serves as a park and hiking trail, but back it the day it was quite the venue.

Spook started the race 16th, and finished 22nd when he broke an axle on lap 91, 19 laps short of finishing. He won $60 for his efforts. And he never a #24 car after that. He raced 2 more times that season, but in a #20 Plymouth. His finished 8th at Heidelberg 10 laps down, winning $150. The final race of his career was at Dixie Speedway in Birmingham where his finished 13th, 24 laps down, and pocketed $110.

Spook also raced 2 races in the NASCAR Convertible Series. He drove a #67 Plymouth convertible. He finished 17th at Columbia Speedway on May 2, 1958. He finished 23rd at Wilson Speedway on May 4th, 1958. Spook Crawford owned a second car, the #66 driven by Roy Tyner. Tyner finished much better than his boss in those 2 races. He finished in 8th at Columbia, and 7th at Wilson and might have finished higher except that he ran out of gas. Tyner started 17 races for Crawford that in the #66 Plymouth and finished 7 of them in the top 10.

So that’s a little bit more about the famous #24, and one of the best NASCAR driver names of all-time. Here’s to you, Spook.




24bThe Fate of Jeff Gordon


I’m not going to bother to explain the implied metaphor here. Mainly because I’m afraid I can’t do it justice in the few words I have left on my plate. All I will say is that unlike Madoka, Jeff Gordon will always be remembered.

One more season on the track, a grand farewell, and a final Drive for Five. And after the hallucinogenic roar of the engine fades into silence,  after the tool boxes snap shut, the lights extinguished, and the garage door slowly closes, it will be a new a different NASCAR world for everyone. In 2016 an essential piece of the puzzle will be missing for quite awhile after those famous words are uttered,


and it’s someone else who fires up the #24.

Jeff Gordon


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