Home For The Holidays
GULF STREAM, FLA. (December 21)- - Jeff Gordon's off-season schedule tends to resemble his schedule during the racing season. The only thing missing are the race weekends. In the weeks before Christmas, Gordon participated in a number of promotional campaigns on behalf of Quaker State, Pepsi, and Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse. His schedule relaxed during Christmas and New Year's. "Brooke and I always spend Christmas in our home in Florida with our families. It is great to be at home over the holidays since we spend so much time traveling during the year. Christmas morning is great and Brooke always figures out exactly what I need or want. She makes it so special because she really puts thought into her gifts." When January rolls around, the DuPont team will kick it into high gear once again. Their first track test will be a three day session at Daytona International Speedway from January 7-9. "I'm excited about it," Gordon said. "Normally this time of the season I'm ready to take a rest and just sit at home and try not to think about racing. But right now, that's all I can think about. It's because of this team. This team has really stepped up to another level and I think they have another step left in them. As well as they came together this year, I think they're only going to mature and grow and get even better. That inspires me. I look forward to working with them and having another great year."
Keeper Of The Flame
ALONG A1A IN FLA. (December 8)- - Jeff Gordon participated in the Olympic Torch relay on Friday afternoon in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon held a brief press conference at Daytona International Speedway before being taken to Peninsula Drive and International Speedway Boulevard where he carried the torch 2/10th of a mile shortly after 4 pm. The caravan of floats and police escorts, including an open truck carrying the torch flame, rolled in from Interstate 95 and arrived at Granada Boulevard and A1A. There, a runner lit a torch from the truck cauldron and began the relay through Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach.
On Thursday, Kyle Petty, Dale Jarrett, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Teresa Earnhardt carried the torch in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Olympic Torch will travel for more than 13,500 miles in 65 days through 46 states leading up to its arrival in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 8 for the beginning of the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Driver Of The Year
NEW YORK, N.Y. (December 5)- - On the heels of winning the 2001 Winston Cup title, Jeff Gordon was named Driver Of The Year for the fourth time. He also received the honor when he won the championship in 1995, 1997, and 1998. Gordon was selected over other champions-- Kevin Harvick in Busch Grand National, Gil de Ferran in CART, Sam Hornish in the Indy Racing League, Kenny Bernstein in the National Hot Rod Association, and Danny Lasoski in World of Outlaws sprint cars. Gordon has won the award more than any driver in history. Darrell Waltrip and Mario Andretti both won the award three times, which has been given annually since 1967. The selection is made by a 16-member panel of motorsports writers and broadcasters. Gordon received 13 out of 16 first place votes. Harvick, de Ferran, and Bernstein each received single votes. Gordon's selection marked the fifth consecutive year-- and the 14th time in 28 years-- that a Winston Cup driver has been chosen. "It's been an amazing year for me," Gordon said after receiving the award. "I owe a tremendous amount to the team Rick Hendrick put together and the work that Robbie Loomis did as my crew chief. We heard a lot of things about how we couldn't put it all together with a new team and new crew, but I think we proved ourselves. It's been a very gratifying year because there were a lot of critics that probably didn't expect us (to contend) and were vocal to that point: 'He's done, they're done, it's not going to happen,'" Gordon said. "We certainly didn't go out trying to get revenge in that sense. We go out trying to win races and knowing all that, it feels extremely good." He'll be presented with the Driver Of The Year trophy at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Talladega Superspeedway in April.
Man Of The Year
NEW YORK, N.Y. (December 2)- - Jeff Gordon was named True Value Man of the Year at the Winston Cup awards ceremony in New York City. The annual award is given to a driver for their unselfish charitable efforts during the course of the year. There were four nominees for this year's award, Gordon, Rick Mast, Bill Elliott, and Mark Martin. Gordon, who won the award in 1996, became a two-time winner. The $100,000 was to be divided evenly between the driver and the charity of his choice. Gordon announced that the full amount would be donated to the Jeff Gordon Foundation which was set up by Jeff and Brooke Gordon to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Marrow Foundation, The Hendrick Marrow Program, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana. "Brooke and I had the opportunity to start the Jeff Gordon Foundation a couple of years ago," Gordon said. "We've been able to do some tremendous work through our foundation to raise a lot of money for children and families that are in need and are struggling with some type of illness-- leukemia or some type of cancer. We've been so blessed in our lives to have the opportunities that we have to be able to give back. This means a lot to not only give the $50,000, but the additional $50,000-- because I'm not going to accept any of it-- back to the Jeff Gordon Foundation and continue to give more and more to these great organizations that we support."
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