It is no doubt a simple question. However, the answers can be complex.
During the month of May 2003, fans sent in their answers to this question.
Following are more of the responses.
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Laura Ancona - Kentucky
Lorrie Meacham - Kentucky
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I became a Jeff Gordon fan when my husband was watching ESPN more than ten years ago. They had a hot young guy on there I believe he was racing in the Busch series at that time. I asked my husband who he was and he said, "Jeff Gordon, a race car driver." The next weekend my husband turned on the race and said here is the race that guy you have the hots for is in. Luckily my husband is not a jealous man. I have been hooked on NASCAR and especially Jeff Gordon ever since. At that time my husband was not a fan of NASCAR of course he knew who Earnhardt was so initially he cheered for him when we watched the race. But quickly I and more likely Gordon's skill as a drive converted him to a Gordon fan and now our 8-year-old daughter is a fan as well. All you have to do is just look at him to be a fan, at least if you're female.
Julee Myers - Pennsylvania
I am a Jeff Gordon fan because I believe that he is a wonderful role model for my 6 year old son, who is also a fan. He is a Christian, generous, and has no alchohol advertised on his car. Through all of his trials this past year, he has handled it with grace and dignity. That is something that is rare nowadays. I know that many people, including my husband, say that I jumped on the bandwagon. If this is true, I can't think of a better one to be on!
I have been a member of Jeff's fan club and I love to watch racing. I watch the race faithfully on Sundays and tape them when I can't. I'm a Jeff Gordon fan because I like Jeff and think he is a great role model for kids and he's a great role model for his sponsors and represents them well. He is handsome, smart, humble,cautious and courteous as a person and a driver. I always read up on how he helps fans out (kids & adults) he has a great big heart and that stands out as a race car driver and a person. I think we need more athletes active in charities, appearances and more involved with the fans and the public. Racing has been a great sport and really gets involved with the public and that is wonderful. I think Jeff's involvement has publicized the sport dramatically. Jeff is a great race car driver and I believe once again he will be a championship driver.
Dick Gordon - Florida
I moved down to Florida from Connecticut in 1995. I had never even heard of NASCAR. Flipping around the channels, one Sunday the race was on and someone named Jeff Gordon was leading in a snazzy looking car. I said "Hey, that's my son's name." So I watched, he won and ever since, after every race, I call my Jeff Gordon and say either you won today or what are you doing. My son, Jeff Gordon, was born in 1969 so we had the name first. Also, my son has a lot of fun at restaurants when he gives them his credit card. "Are you THE Jeff Gordon"? Our whole family are big fans now and look forward to 201 wins and 8 championships.
Emma Lobb - United Kingdom
I have always been into racing, in some sort or another, whether it was watching Formula One, Touring car, or behind the wheel of a Cornish Stock. Since 1976, I have been a fan of all fast motor sport. I'd heard of Nascar, though stories from my father, who would talk about Richard Petty, but it took a while to place this Richard Petty with Nascar, Dad always called it "stocks." In 1984, a satellite channel gained the rights to broadcast the Nascar season, and it became a competition, to choose a driver from the first race and see who's chosen driver did the best. Well, madly enough I went for a young, average good looking, driver of the bright coloured #24! His name Jeff Gordon. Later I learned, because of this young talented, breaking the norm (He was not a good old boy from the south), driver, the satellite company had decided that this American sport was worth its time and money boardcasting the series.
I did not know then but I choose a winner! And, since then I have been along for the ride, though the highs of four championships, and the lows, the split from Ray Evernham and the divorce of his wife Brooke. One thing is for certain, I'm hoping to be here for that fifth championship (if not more), as well.
Annette Wasson - Georgia
It started out as a way to share time with my husband. He watched racing and I thought I'd join him. The first race we watched together, Jeff Gordon won. When he hopped out of the car, the first thing he said was, "I want to thank God." That did it. I am a Christian and to me a person who can stand for his beliefs gets my vote. As the years have passed, I've watched him and cheered him on. In my family, Jeff Gordon is a family name. I even have a friend we call during every race long distance. I believe he has a good sportsmanship quality and a great role model to children.
Nina Stringham - Illinois
I've been a Jeff Gordon Fan for 10 years since he started out in the Busch races. The first Busch race I watched was Jeff's first one. I thought, "here's a boy that is going places in Nascar." He made me think of my young son. At that time he was racing all the dirt tracks. He just took my heart at that time. He was so good at racing and he's been good ever since. He's done so much for Nascar all these years and he's got one of the kindest hearts of any of those drivers-- always helping some one that needs help. He's also so good with kids and the best racer out there. He'll get his #5 and go to #8. I wish nothing but greatest for him. I will always be a diehard Jeff Gordon fan Jeff is a awesome person on and off the track. He's #1 in my book forever.
Why I'm a Jeff Gordon Fan? Let me count the ways.
He has the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen but I wish he wouldn't wear his sunglasses so often. He is so cute, he is irresistible. He drives that car the way I wish I could. He gets everything he can out of his car. He has a wonderful heart and has helped many people. He never takes himself too serious; he often makes jokes at his own expense. His appreciation of his fans. He believes in God and isn t afraid to let everyone know it. His willingness to win at all costs, but to still remain a nice guy off the track. There are no friends at 200 mph. He is a role model for kids as well as adults. His ability to make everyone (teammates, reporters, fans) feel that they are important. His ability to remain humble. Regardless of how rich, famous or successful Jeff becomes, he has the ability to remain down to earth and approachable.
Jeri Casey - Ohio
I am a Jeff Gordon fan for many reasons, some obvious, some not.
1. Jeff is an awesome race car driver. Despite the advantage people say he has for being a Hendrick driver, and having access to the best of everything mechanical, the fact of the matter is that he could not be as successful as he is if he were not an excellent driver. Many other drivers in Nascar have the same advantages, and are not nearly as consistently successful. Dupont, Pepsi, and all of his other sponsors wouldn't be supporting him if he was not such an excellent driver.
2. Jeff is a consumate professional on and off the track. Jeff went from being a rookie, to being a superstar in an amazingly short period of time. The pressure and the stress must have been incredible. The demands on his time alone, would be daunting to anyone, yet he never lets it show publicly. He is always gracious and polite to his fans, and even those who are not. He never forgets to thank those that support him and cheer him on. He is unfailingly humble and grateful for everything he receives. On camera, he's ever the sweet, young, driver just out there doing his best. Never does he behave as an ego-maniacal, spoiled, tempramental superstar.
3. Jeff is not afraid to say that he is a Christian in a time when that is not a popular thing to do. He doesn't seem to take his success and stardom for granted. I believe that he is truly grateful for his talent and success, and gives God the glory for all of it. More power to him. What a testimony!
4. Jeff is simply the best of the best that Nascar has to offer. He's kind, generous, grateful and professional in all that he does. On the track, he is patiently aggressive. He knows what it takes to win without being an inconsiderate jerk to the others around him. He is intelligent enough to keep his private life as private as possible, and is worthy of great respect for that, and everything else I've mentioned.
I wish Jeff Gordon all the blessings that God, and life, has to offer. He deserves it much more than many others who have it and take it for granted. He is the reason I became a race fan and, am a Nascar fan. He is the reason I look forward to every race. He is the reason I find myself behaving like a man when I watch Winston Cup (i.e. shouting at the tv and other drivers). He is a true champion in every sense of the word.
Dusty White - Indiana
There are many reasons I am a Jeff Gordon fan. To narrow it down, there are three main reasons: Humility, Fellow Gordon Fans, and Work Ethic. Jeff shows humility in a lot of ways. He doesnít end up in Victory Lane every week, but in his post-race comments, it always sounds like he does. He always gives credit (after his sponsors) to his pit crew and Crew Chief. For a driver who didnít win, this may sound absurd. Jeff knows his car inside and out, and for him to credit his crew says a lot. He has to try to relay what he thinks the car needs without being able to show his crew how it is performing. Even when he does win, he thanks his crew for getting him there. From my experience in the garage area on race weekends, Jeff doesnít walk around with his chest puffed out and his nose in the air around his fans (unlike some other drivers). He takes as much time as he can for race fans, whether or not they are wearing his colors or sponsors. He doesnít sprint from one garage to another to avoid signing autographs. He rarely gets in a golf cart to go from one place to another. He walks, usually followed by a hoard of people, from one spot to another. Jeff shows a tremendous amount of humanitarian work out of the spotlight and away from the public. To tell the truth, most of Jeffís humility is shown when there are no cameras or media nearby to 'show off' for.
When I go to the track to be a spectator, I see almost every driver represented on a hat, t-shirt, backpack, cooler, or other 'gear' of some kind. With VERY few exceptions, I have noticed that the people wearing DuPont colors or people that have the number 24 on are not being obnoxious, are friendly, and donít root for someone to be 'put into the wall.' Iím not saying that all the other fans arenít like that. Jeffís fans seem to have adopted a kind of kinship that comes from being grouped as Gordon Fans.
Iím sure I know very little about Jeff Gordon the person. What I know is mostly Jeff Gordon the race car driver. I have, however, had the chance to watch Jeff in the garage area on a few select weekends. If there is anything he can do to help out on the car, he is right there, doing it. I have seen him under the car, checking out the spoiler angle, looking at tires, and even putting a decal back on that had been 'scuffed' in practice! Jeff doesnít just talk the talk, he walks the walk. I am proud to be a Gordon fan, and I support my driver, win or lose.
Kathy Patton - Pennsylvania
Up until April of 2002 I had absolutely no interest in ANY kind of car racing. I had never even heard of the name Jeff Gordon. That all changed very quickly. I am employed by the Spina Bifida Association of Western Pennsylvania. It is a non-profit organization which is designed to improve the quality of life for young adults with disabilities, especially those with spina bifida. What I do is help them with their health and daily living skills so that can live independently and integrate into the community.
One day as I was helping some of my clients, I noticed that they were watching a race. I decided to have some friendly competition with them so I asked which car/driver they wanted to win and who they did not want to win. They root for Dale Earnhardt Jr. because they had been Dale Sr. fans, and they didn't want Jeff Gordon to win. I told them that I would be rooting for Jeff Gordon. They had to point him out to me in the race.
I then decided that if I was going to root for Jeff, that I should learn about him, and about NASCAR. I bought a NASCAR For Dummies book and devoured it. I read about Jeff Gordon. I started to watch Totally NASCAR, etc. The more I read and watched, the more I got into the sport, and the more I liked Jeff Gordon, both on and off the track. When I heard that Jeff was going through a divorce, I wondered if he still put index cards with scripture on them on his steering wheel each race. I knew that Brooke had done that for him. So I wrote him a letter and enclosed 50 index cards on which I had written scripture verses and mailed them to him. I got a very nice letter from his office manager thanking me and stating that "I was an answer to their prayers" as they had been wondering how to keep him supplied with scripture for every race. I was so impressed that I called the person and asked if they would like me to continue to send Jeff scripture on index cards. They wanted me to. And I do. The rest is history. I am a NASCAR addict. I love everything about the sport. I am actually quite knowleagable about it. I respect many of the drivers but in my book #24 is the best on and off the track. I will always be his fan, win or lose.
Cande Griffin - Virginia
I've been following NASCAR for at least 32 years because of my then boyfriend, now husband of 29 years. My husband has followed ever since he could comprehend what he was watching and he's 49 now. We were both very fond of Davey Allison, as well as the rest of the Allisons. Davey had so much greatness in him and his sudden death in 1993 affected us deeply. Enter, Jeff Gordon, the kid with the mustache. Like his team owner, Rick Hendrick, we were impressed with the shear courage and tenacity of this youngster. And, he was and still is, intelligent, amicable, sincere and compassionate. As well as one hell of a driver!
I was an AJ Foyt fan because he was able to drive the wheels off anything with wheels. Enter, Jeff Gordon, a class act. A young gentleman with poise who could speak well and knows how to carry himself, even under difficult circumstances. We haven't missed very many of his races. But we have always suspected he was as nice as he seemed. Last year, just before the fall Talladegah, my husband and I were shopping in a Walmart, when we happened across a gentleman who was wearing a Jeff Gordon shirt we had never seen before. We had to stop him and inquire! He introduced himself and said he drove a hauler for Hendrick Motors, for the past 20 years. I had to ask him about Jeff Gordon! What was he like? Was he as he had seemed from what we viewed, read or heard?
The driver of the hauler smiled and spoke of Jeff in the way one would speak of a dear friend - who was also known to be a real prankster! He laughed and told us of a practical joke Jeff Gordon and Terry Lebonte had pulled on the hauler drivers one time. He prefaced his story with the axiom concerning hauler drivers and falling asleep behind the wheel and crashing into the woods. He said, this has always been his worst nightmare. So, there came a time when he and his fellow hauler drivers, were taking catnaps in the cabs of their parked tractor-trailers. Unknown to them, Gordon and Lebonte had been collecting broken tree limbs and laying them carefully on the hoods of the tractors, as they didn't want to awaken the drivers. Once the limbs were in place, those two pranksters ran around the haulers and began to beat on the sides of the trailer, yelling and screaming - causing quite a commotion! The driver we were speaking to said he jump up, only semi-awake (no pun intended) and slammed on the brakes of the tractor, after his eyes saw the branches on the hood. He said the entire trailer jumped into the air. The next thing he heard was the sound of laughter. Gordon and Lebonte were standing in front of him, doubled over and pointing.
Jeff Gordon is so talented and such a good role model for kids. I truly believes he cares and it's not lip service. This kid wears his feelings on his sleeve and still gets emotional every time he wins. There's no arrogance in him, no pridefullness, no self righteousness either. Sure, he's passionate and driven but not at the expense of others. We live in Earnhardt country. When Dale was killed, alot of the folks I work with, went into mourning and hated Gordon even more. But it's a curious thing - as we watched the many 'specials' about Dale and his career, we noticed Jeff Gordon was in alot of the pictures they used. Was this intentional? Perhaps not, but it disputes the commonly held belief that Gordon and Earnhardt didn't like each other. Quite the opposite - really.
I remember the race, the weekend following Daytona and Darrill Waltrip was delivering the benediction. A camera panned over to where Jeff was standing under an umbrella with his now estranged wife. Jeff had his face partially covered with one of his hands and afterwards, wiped his eyes. I saw that same sort of emotion in his eyes when he won his 4th championship that year - accrediting his success to his mentor, friend, confident and hero - Dale Earnhardt. Anyway, I think I may have digressed too much. Jeff Gordon represents the most feared type of individual - he is talented, skillful, determined, genuine and real. Yet self effacing, modest and guarded. Can't blame him for being so guarded - with his success and our media, not to mention the fans who think they own him, he has little time to himself for himself.
Nicole Robinson - North Carolina
Jeff Gordon is a champion and a winner. A man who defines leadership and quality. He is a God-fearing man and is not afraid to speak his mind and opinions. He battles controversy and wins. He shows what a true American and NASCAR hero is. He is a winner both on and off the track. When the stakes are high, he always delivers and wins big. Jeff Gordon is like no other driver, he's rare, one in a million. He does a lot for sick and ill children, usually without seeking publicity. I am a Jeff Gordon fan because he is the best driver to ever drive a stock car. Also, he is my hero and my role model. He's respected by his peers and needs to be respected by every fan. The future of motorsports has been reached and Jeff Gordon, you have reached dynasty!
Dot Scheebeli - Pennsylvania
When I meet someone my first impression is 100% right. I am never wrong about a person. The first time I saw Jeff Gordon in a race and watched him on TV, I had a very good impression of him. He was an ordinary guy doing a very very good job and his personality shines when he is in his race car. He does not speak badly about any other drivers, at least not to his millions of fans. When he is upset with anyone after a race he speaks his mind but does not drag it out for long. I just like him because he is young, polite, good looking and reminds me of one of my children. I would love to have him call me MOM.
Elaine Schweyer - Canada
I've been a Jeff Gordon fan since the first day I saw a NASCAR race on TV. I found Jeff to be very personable, polite and fair in the way he races. He's also a Christian and not afraid to admit it which is important. From what I saw on "Saturday Night Live" when he hosted, he appears to have a great sense of humor as well. He's a good role model for all young men. And, of course, I have to admit he's very good looking! I wear a very loud colored Jeff Gordon jacket with all his sponsors listed on it. I purchased it from a friend who was lucky enough to go to a race in the U.S. Unfortunately being in Canada, it's not easy to get to one. I tried two years ago when they were racing in Michigan on my birthday in August, but even all the hotel packages were taken-- I couldn't get a ticket anywhere. Perhaps one day I'll get my wish and get down to a race, in meantime I'll just continue rooting for Jeff as I was the races on TV. He's probably one of the all time great NASCAR drivers and will go down in history as such.
Michael Snyder - Kentucky
I'm a Jeff Gordon fan not only because he wins so much that my head spins, but because he is an all-around good kind of guy. When he crashes, I never see him get mad on television or intentionally take everything out on somebody. He is very calm and rational about things and is very patient with his career. Sure, he gets a little mad at others sometimes, but you aren't that good of a race car driver if you aren't determined to win every race you drive in, and don't have patience and sportsmanship when things don't go your way.
Jeff Gordon also never forgets to spend time with his fans. I always see him at promotions and hosting a show every now and then. In fact, in April, Jeff drove an 11-year-old boy to school who had been diagnosed with leukemia. That boy became a star for a day, because Jeff Gordon cares. This is something else Gordon is good for, his foundation in which supports people with leukemia. He is never too busy to give a lift, as the Kansas City Star reported. That is most definitely true.
Some people buy their favorite driver's collectables and clothes to show who they really like as a driver. That doesn't show all the reasons that he is a hero of mine. Yes, I do buy items licensed by JG Motorports, but when someone asks me why in the world I like Jeff Gordon, I tell them a little something like this. He is a great race car driver, but he's a whole different guy under that firesuit.
Linda Christlieb - Oklahoma
I never was much of a race fan until a few years ago when I would happen to hear the TV commentator say something about a your racer he called Jeff Gordon. I would stop and watch the TV to see what they were talking about. I would see this good looking young man winning races and then thanking everyone that had a hand in his success. He always mentioned God, his family, his team, sponsors, and his fans. He just seemed like a down to earth, grateful young man. From that point on, there has not been many races I have missed on TV. Jeff Gordon is the reason I watch the races. To me Jeff Gordon is Nascar. I have yet to see a race in person, but hopefully someday I will get that opportunity. That is, as long as Jeff Gordon is at that race.
Tracy Osbolt - Georgia
Two simple words: Why Not?
Andrew - Canada
I started to like Jeff Gordon in 1998 the year he won 13 races. This would be when he had the rainbow car. He turned out to be my favorite because of all the bright colors on his car at the time. When I started to see him go to victory lane so often he appealed to me even more. Once I understood the sport more I watched it and Jeff every weekend. I still like his combination of colors today (Fire and Flames).
Rodney Godwin - Texas
The obvious reason, of course, is that he is a proven winner. Now for the real reason, it's what Jeff Gordon is off the track that really makes me pull for him. 1. He is a christian 2. He always gives others credit for his accomplishments. 3. He takes time out of his busy schedule to make a lot of sick kids happy with is visit. 4. Spends a lot of his $$$ on worthwhile causes.
Now for a few on the track reasons.. 1. When it is his fault, he admits it &he doesn't pass the blame to someone else. 2. He wins and loses with class!!! 3. He wants to win, but I feel, he honesty is proud of others and their accomplishments. 4. He has a great eye for winners (Jimmie Johnson).
It started as a way to bond with the guys at work, as I was a newly promoted team leader at a major auto manufacturing plant. They all talked about NASCAR and I knew very little about the sport. They told me to pick a driver and start watching...so I did. I read up on the drivers and decided that Jeff Gordon was a very talented driver and had already won a couple of championships at such a young age. He must be good and was good looking to boot.
Over the years my just watching NASCAR has turned into a slight obsession, I must admit, and part of that reason is that I enjoy watching Jeff Gordon leading laps, being aggressive when it counts, and winning races. I've read everything that I can get my hands on about him and have met him on three occassions, as I now attend about 7 races each year. I know that he's not only the greatest driver to ever put on a racing suit, but that he is also a compassionate and giving person. He's not afraid to express his faith in God, which is very admirable in times of such "political correctness". One example of his caring ways is when he drove a child with Leukemia, Enrique Zendejas, age 11, to school back in April 2003. He devotes some of his precious time to many charities, including the Make - A - Wish foundation, the bone marrow program, and the children's hospital in Indianapolis.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Jeff Gordon in person and have gotten his autograph three times. He never once tried to avoid me or act as if I wasn't important. He is truly an outstanding individual. Why am I a Jeff Gordon fan? Why would I be anything else? He's my hero!
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Laura Ancona - Kentucky
Lorrie Meacham - Kentucky
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