It’s hard to maintain anonymity when you’re a pro athlete — even more so when you’re one of the best in your sport. You have to really work at finding privacy, which might mean spending a lot of money. That’s exactly what NASCAR great Jeff Gordon did at the height of his career. He spent millions of dollars just to get some privacy.
Jeff Gordon’s NASCAR career
NASCAR.com recaps Gordon’s prolific career on the circuit. He earned his first win on the then-Busch Grand National Series at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1992, the fourth race of his sophomore season. Later that year, Gordon made his first Cup Series start — also in Atlanta. But he wouldn’t race in the Cup Series full-time until 1993.
Gordon’s career really took off as he won Rookie of the Year honors while finishing 14th in the season standings. He earned his first victory in the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race, in 1994. In 1995, Gordon won his first Cup Series season title, with seven wins that year — the first of four championships he would win in his career.
Gordon won the Daytona 500 — dubbed “NASCAR’s Super Bowl” — in 1997, the first of three wins in the 500. Overall, he won 93 Cup Series races, earning him induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2019.
Jeff Gordon’s $10 million hunt for privacy
Gordon is well-known and recognizable in much of the United States, but not everywhere in the country is a NASCAR hotbed. One area that lacks a passion for auto racing is New York City, which is a major reason why Gordon chose the Big Apple to try to live in privacy.
Speedway Digest reported, “Gordon can ride the train with son Leo from Manhattan to Yankee Stadium and take in a ballgame in relative anonymity.” The NASCAR driver estimated that 99% of his fellow passengers “had no idea” who he was. But living in the big city is costly. Gordon and his family spent $10 million to live in New York.
Business Insider tells us that he and his wife, Ingrid Vadebosch, bought a 3,454-square-foot condo overlooking Central Park in 2007 for $9.67 million. The Gordon’s completely customized and redecorated the condo, which has an open floor plan Brazilian cherry floors.
The living room houses an oak “sushi bar,” while the kitchen features “Italian ceramic floors, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, and a wine cooler.” The couple sold that Manhattan pad in 2013 and moved to a less-expensive abode near Madison Square Park. While the actual sale price of the Central Park West condo wasn’t made public, it was listed for $30 million.
When and why did Gordon retire?
Gordon retired from full-time racing with the 2015 season. Autoweek reports that it was because the NASCAR legend didn’t want to “be that guy” who goes on “distracting farewell tours” like he has seen other drivers do.
Gordon says he always thought of racing in NASCAR as being an “incredible dream and yet that chapter of my life has been fulfilled and it’s now time to go to the next step and the next chapter.” In retirement, the Gordons spend most of their time in North Carolina but still maintain their apartment in New York City.
Not living in New York full-time hasn’t stopped Gordon from advocating to have a race track built there. According to Elite Sports NY, Gordon advocated for a track — preferably a short track — to be built in the area, and that a track at the Meadowlands complex in New Jersey “could even bring him back in the driver’s seat.”