Jeff Gordon, Clearly Suffering From a Racing Addiction, Plans 24 Hours With a Cadillac
Automotive athletes tend to age a little better other sports figures. While Formula 1 drivers tend to be a little younger, the average NASCAR driver is in their late thirties. That means racing retirement can be delayed well-past the comparative norm for an Olympic boxer or linebacker in the NFL.
However, every sport seems to share the common theme of athletes’ complete inability to remain retired after making a public announcement that they were packing it in.
Jeff Gordon, now 45, is stock car royalty. He is a four-time Sprint Cup champion, a three-time Daytona 500 winner, and has participated in more consecutive races than any other driver in NASCAR history. So, when he announced that 2015 was to be his last season as a full-time racing driver, we collectively understood that he had earned the respite.
The self-imposed retirement was short lived.
Gordon immediately volunteered to substitute for Dale Earnhardt Jr. after a June crash at the Michigan International Speedway left him with a severe concussion. Doctors eventually decided that Earnhardt should return for the 2017 season, leaving Jeff to split duties with Alex Bowman for the remainder of this year. Gordon said that he would happily assist Hendrick Motorsports for “as long as they need me.”
However Hendrick will have to do without him on January 28th and 29th, because he’ll be competing in the Rolex 24 after a 10-year absence. Having previously taken third at the 24-hour endurance event in 2007, Gordon seems keen to rejoin the Wayne Taylor Racing team while continuing his farcical retirement.
“I really enjoyed racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2007 with Max, Wayne and Jan,” Gordon said in a statement. “When I announced I would no longer be competing full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, my hope was that I would get an opportunity like this to compete again in such a prestigious event – with Konica Minolta and Wayne Taylor Racing – with the hopes of winning it this time. I know that Ricky and Jordan are super-fast, and I believe it will be a very strong combination.”
In addition to Wayne Taylor’s sons, Gordon will also be sharing the brand new No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R with endurance veteran Max Angelelli. “I think it is exceptional to have Jeff back with us after 10 years,” said Angelelli, a man who actually retired from full-time driving in 2014.
The 55th Rolex 24 is scheduled to begin on January 28, with the annual Roar Before the 24 testing set for three weeks prior at the Daytona International Speedway.
Meanwhile, Jeff Gordon’s racing career was scheduled to wind down last year.
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