Jeff Gordon will retire if he can win a fifth NASCAR championship, leaving a fantastic career behind. But is Gordon really serious about leaving the tracks? The 42-year-old says he wants to leave on a high note.
“If that happened, that would be all the reasons I need to say, ‘This is it. I’m done,'” Gordon told the Associated Press. “Go out on a high note.”
He won his fourth and last Winston Cup title in 2001. Gordon said Thursday that he’d retire by driving off into the sunset if he could win a fifth — and first under the Sprint Cup name.
During his career to date, Gordon has won championships in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001. He won all of them when NASCAR’s top series ran under the Winston Cup banner, and he wants to add a Sprint Cup title to his resume.
Gordon, who recently said he was “jokingly serious” about retiring after another championship, insisted Thursday that he was no longer joking.
“I go home and I look at my trophy room. I see four trophies, championship trophies,” he said Thursday at Daytona 500 media day. “But they say Winston Cup on them. You can name me a four-time Sprint Cup champion for technical reasons all you want, but to me, I’m still not. I want that before my career’s over.”
He would love to make a push in the No. 24 in the revamped Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Gordon was added to the Chase last season when NASCAR chairman Brian France used his power to make an unprecedented expansion to the field after two separate investigations into radio chatter revealed numerous instances of race manipulation at Richmond.
France determined Gordon did not have a fair chance to race his way into the 12-driver field because of the actions of at least three organizations over the closing laps.
Gordon was sixth last season in the standings, his best finish since he was third in 2009.
He has 88 Cup victories, third on the career Cup list, and has had only two winless seasons since 1993.
“I’ve put in 20-plus great years,” he said “I do this now because I love it, because I like being competitive, and because I want another championship. I want to get a Sprint Cup championship.”
Gordon’s retirement may be near with or without a win after spending more than 20 years in the races.