DuPont NASCAR Day 2004

WILMINGTON, DE.- - The 11th annual DuPont NASCAR Day was held in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday, June 3. More than one thousand DuPont employees and their family members attended the event, which featured an autograph session with Jeff Gordon. Several of Gordon's showcars and trophies were also on display. In racing, sponsors are the lifeblood of the sport. Without DuPont taking a chance to sponsor a relatively unproven stock car driver in 1992, Gordon's road to NASCAR success might have been even more of an uphill climb. The event went off without a hitch under bright sunny skies. Don Denelsbeck attended the event and sent in a report and some pictures.

By Don Denelsbeck

Near perfect weather and more then a thousand Dupont employees and family members greeted Jeff Gordon at the Dupont Barley Mill Plaza Site near Wilmington, Delaware. On display were the #24 Cut-away car, the Flames Monte Carlo, the Sesame Street car complete with Bert and Ernie, the Rainbow #24, the #48 car and the #25 car. Dupont Automotive Finishes “Hot Hues” refinish paints also displayed several custom cars and a motorcycle using the products. A popular attraction was the ThunderDome 28 ft. banked turn racetrack where young future racers could “drive” 4 radio controlled #24 cars in different colors. The results were hilarious, looking much like a short track Bristol race. Two racing simulators featured Dover’s Monster Mile were available to challenge any JG wannabees. The Pit Crew Challenge allowed the more macho attendees to see how fast they could change a Goodyear Eagle tire. (It takes me 30 minutes to get a wheel off my lawnmower, I didn’t take the challenge.)

Also on display were Jeff’s 4 championship trophies and his 'fire and flames' racing suit and helmet along with several Dupont product booths. The Action Performance Apparel Trailer served a steady stream of fans seeking shirts, hats, socks, jackets, pennants, flags with JG on them and 1:24 scale #24 cars offered for sale. Another trailer offered food and beverages for those who skipped lunch to see Jeff.

Jeff was introduced promptly at 1pm to cheers from the crowd, no boo-birds here. Jeff appeared relaxed and comfortable as he spoke briefly about being happy to return Delaware and Dover International Speedway and how much he appreciated his Dupont fans and the company’s sponsorship. He was then interviewed about his career and current plans. Jeff said they weren’t really that far off on the Charlotte setup but got victimized by the long “Green” runs which put them laps down. He promised that this week’s performance at Dover would be better. When asked about the future, specifically when he hung up his driving gloves and helmet, he said that he would likely stay involved with racing as a car owner. He thought it would be exciting to find another young driver, like Jimmie and Brian, to bring into Cup racing. He admitted that this was far in the future and for the present he was concentrating on winning more races AND CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Following the interview, Jeff posed for pics with Bert and Ernie in front of the Sesame Street Car, then proceeded to the tent for the long awaited autograph session. Jeff Gordon posters and Information/Autograph cards were distributed to anyone who wanted them. While the autograph signing was taking place, cards were drawn for door prizes which included 1:24 scale cars, hats, and Jeff’s new book, Jeff Gordon:Racing Back to the Front—My Memoir. All in all, it was quite a day.

Signing away | Another autograph | Meeting the fans | Signing the book
An all-Gordon race | Rainbows | Sesame Street | Merchandise trailer
Bert and Ernie | Hood open | The crowd waits | Heavy metal | Trophies

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