Jeff Gordon spent more than two decades on the NASCAR track, where he experienced many memorable moments. Gordon accomplished it all, lifting himself into racing lore as one of the greatest all-time drivers. With that in mind, he pinpointed the one race that skyrocketed him into stardom.
Jeff Gordon’s illustrious NASCAR career
Gordon began his NASCAR career competing in the Busch Series before receiving the opportunity to race as a full-time Cup Series driver for Hendrick Motorsports.
It sparked a 25-year run that featured four championships while he finished third all-time with 93 Cup Series victories. His success included three Daytona 500 wins and three career grand slams.
Gordon holds the all-time records with 12 restrictor-plate track victories, and nine road course wins. He also stands alone with 23 straight seasons with at least one pole position.
Gordon’s dominance on the track earned him recognition as one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers. It led him to receive inductions into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and NASCAR Hall of Fame. Before his career took off to great heights, he circled one race as the lifting point.
Jeff Gordon reveals the NASCAR Race that altered his racing career: ‘It changed my life forever’
Gordon‘s NASCAR racing career quickly lifted to stardom shortly after transitioning to a full-time Cup Series driver.
The four-time champion noticed that shift after only his second trip to victory lane. Gordon recounted that moment in a video NASCAR on Fox, pinpointing the 1994 Brickyard 400 win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, calling it the race that changed his life.
“The emotions started sinking in,” Gordon said via Alt Driver. “It was just flooding in as I was crossing the start/finish line. It changed my life forever. Who would have thought that a kid that lived in Pittsboro, Indiana before going to NASCAR would end up getting the trophy and pulling into Victory Lane that day?”
Gordon dominated the race leading 93 of the 160 total laps, which narrowed down to a back-and-forth battle against Ernie Irvan. The latter unfortunately suffered a flat front left tire that took him out of the mix. After that, Gordon controlled his fate, holding off Brett Bodine to secure the victory.
Beyond earning the win, Gordon held a strong pull to the event, given that he grew up in Indiana. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is also a legendary track that many drivers raced over the years. All that placed great importance in his mind to perform well at the inaugural Brickyard 400.
After the 1994 season, Gordon’s career skyrocketed as he won three Cup Series championships over the next four seasons. During that stretch, his only failed title attempt saw him place second in the points standings while winning 40 total races.
His career took off to tremendous heights that he will forever feel started after that memorable 1994 win.
“Incredibly special and certainly changed my life afterwards,” Gordon said.
Life remains forever attached to NASCAR
Since stepping into retirement, Gordon‘s involvement with NASCAR remains steady.
The 49-year-old has spent the last few years in the broadcast booth for NASCAR on Fox covering races. He’s also honed strong skills as an interviewer, conducting such segments for Fox and Axalta World of Racing.
Gordon’s influence on NASCAR goes beyond the track as he holds a stake in the No. 24 car for Hendrick Motorsports. He’s also expected to take over control of the company once Rick Hendrick steps into retirement.
Gordon may no longer be behind the wheel on the track, but his pulse on the sports hasn’t waned.