Random News - September 1999

Golf Classic
SMYRNA, DE. (September 23)- - The Jeff Gordon-DuPont Motorsports Golf Classic was held on Thursday. Gordon participated in the tournament with a few of his competitors and other widely known motorsports personalities in order to raise money for the Leukemia Society of America. "This team has supported the Leukemia Society for a long time," said Gordon. "When your crew chief's son and your team owner are both affected by this terrible disease, it hits home. It's nice to see DuPont Automotive Finishes, my primary sponsor, and my peers jump in and get involved." Crew chief Ray Evernham's son, Ray J., and Gordon's car owner Rick Hendrick have both battled the disease. Dale Jarrett, Tony Stewart, Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven participated in the tournament along with Geoffrey, Brett and Todd Bodine, Kenny Wallace, Rick Mast, Mike Skinner, Bill Elliott and Tim Fedewa.

Remembering Charles Hayward
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (September 19)- - In 1997, Charles Hayward, a University of North Carolina-Charlotte basketball recruit, was diagnosed with leukemia. John Hendrick, whose brother Rick was also battling the disease, developed a friendship with Hayward soon after. In March 1998, Jeff Gordon participated in an autograph session in Charlotte, North Carolina in order to benefit the fund that UNCC had set up for Hayward. During the summer of 1998, Hayward appeared to have made a miraculous recovery. He was leading all of UNCC's big players in conditioning runs, and bench-pressing 275 pounds, more than ever before. He had a tattoo of a wolf placed on his right biceps, above the word "survivor." However, the leukemia returned that fall and Hayward underwent a marrow transplant in April 1999. He passed away on September 12 from complications of the transplant at the age of 21. "He never gave up," UNCC basketball coach Bobby Lutz said. "Charles was an inspiration to us all. I know he was to me personally in the way he approached his struggle and the way he approached life. He always handled it with class and dignity."

Hoosier Days
PITTSBORO, IN. (September 20)- - As summer fades into autumn in central Indiana, one of the highlights from the past summer was Jeff Gordon's return to Pittsboro. During the Brickyard race weekend in early-August, Gordon returned to Pittsboro, Indiana for a town ceremony. Gordon moved to Pittsboro when he was 14 and graduated from Tri-West High School in 1989. Approximately 2000 people gathered in Pittsboro on August 4 to welcome him back. County Commissioner J.D. Clampitt welcomed Jeff and his wife, Brooke, to the town and read a proclamation declaring August 4th as "Jeff Gordon Day." Town council president Steve Shirley gave Jeff a ceremonial key to the city and a plaque commorating the naming of County Road 275 East in Pittsboro as Jeff Gordon Boulevard. Larry Herring gave him an apple cobbler a la mode from Frank & Mary's Restaurant, one of his favorite local hangouts when he lived in Pittsboro. A Jeff Gordon decorating contest was won by the Berkey home on North Maple Street. The two runners-up were the Warren home on Poplar Drive and the McDaniel home on East Main Street. (Pittsboro Community Flyer)

Stories From The Desert
TUCSON, AZ. (September 17)- - Imagine losing your prized piece of racing memorabilia. Bad feeling, huh? Now imagine if someone broke a window and stole it from you. Ray Cramer, owner of Ray's Racing Products in Tucson, had a race-used piston autographed by Jeff Gordon on display in his store. He had received offers of up to $2,500 for the item, but steadfastly refused to part with it. On the night of September 1st, someone broke the store's glass door and grabbed a number of items, including jewelry, die-cast cars and the piston. The stolen piston was returned to its owner last week, with a story of intrigue to boot. A Tucson waitress had tried to sell the piston for $600 but called police after being told that it was a stolen item. "She saved herself when she dialed 911," Tucson police Detective William Schneider said. Schneider said. "She said she didn't know it was stolen." Schneider said he believes the woman received the piston as part of a drug deal. (Daily Star)

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