It’s official. Jeff Gordon has just announced his retirement from full-time racing. The 2015 season will be his 23rd and his last racing on the Sprint Cup circuit.
Hendrick Motorsports made the official announcement online on Thursday morning with Gordon himself telling the news to his assembled team. He’s been driving the No. 24 car for the team since 1992 when he first signed on with Hendrick.
His first career series start was back on November 15, 1992 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway where he finished finishing in 31st place. Gordon’s first race also marked the last NASCAR event for seven-time series winner Richard Petty.
Gordon said in the official announcement,
“I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. 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.”
Gordon has racked up an impressive number of wins during his racing career. He’s won the Daytona 500 three times and the Brickyard 400 a record five times with that record 5th win happening just last year. He also has the most overall wins as a road course driver with a record nine victories.
He’s managed to spread his wins across every track on the Sprint Cup circuit except the Kentucky Speedway. A total of 92 career Cup victories and 77 career Cup pole positions puts him in third place on both of those lists.
He also noted that just because he’s stepping out from behind the wheel doesn’t mean that he’s stepping away from racing altogether. Gordon is not only passionate about the sport that has had a huge place in his life, but is also an equity partner in Hendrick Motorsport along with Rick Hendrick, all but assuring his continued involvment in racing.
Letting team know this will be my final year competing for a championship. pic.twitter.com/s7aH8OpGQZ
— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) January 22, 2015
One area where he plans to spend more time is on his charitable efforts through the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and pediatric cancer research. In the 15 years since the foundation was established, it has raised over $14 million for children’s health organizations.
He went on to say that his focus right now is on this final season and driving it to the best of his ability. As for what happens after Gordon’s departure, Hendrick Motorsport hasn’t yet announced their plans for 2016.