Four-time NASCAR Sprint champion and driving legend Jeff Gordon announced Thursday that the 2015 season will his last as a full-time driver.
“As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said in a release to the Associated Press. “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.”
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) January 22, 2015
For many, this is a surprising move as Gordon is coming off his most successful season in years. Last year, the NASCAR titan won 4 separate races (including the Brickyard 400), finished in the top-5 14 times, and even finished the season 6th in the Sprint Cup standings.
Slotted to race the entire 2015 season, Gordon is set to solidify a staggering career by becoming the Cup Series all-time leader when it comes to career starts. Also amongst his long and prestigious career resume, Gordon has currently racked up 92 career victories (3rd all-time), 4 Sprint Cup Championships, 3 Daytona 500 victories, and a record 5 Brickyard 400 wins.
Still, even with the horizon in sight, Gordon plans to give everything to the 2015 season.
He says, “I’ll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet. I’m going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship.”
“I don’t foresee a day when I’ll ever step away from racing. I’m a fan of all forms of motorsports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I’m passionate about the business and its future success,” Gordon said. “As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I’m a partner with Rick [Hendrick] and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come.”
“… Racing has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity that’s been extraordinarily rewarding and fulfilling in my life.”
With Gordon’s retirement looming, what does everybody think? Should Gordon be a part of racing’s Mount Rushmore, or when it comes to all-time greats, is he second-tier?