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.
Lora Short - Illinois
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First and foremost it is because Jeff is class-- day in and day out. He is the sort of person that I would gladly and proudly claim as a son (second only to my actual son who is also a JG fan). He represents his team and sponsor well and does it so naturally. Of course, it is nice to be able to follow a winner. He could never win anything else and still be one of the greatest drivers ever. I don't ever have to feel like justifying things he does on or off the track. I know he can 'bump and run,' but he doesn't crash the other car in doing so. I could probably go on, but it still goes back to having class (being good looking doesn't hurt either).
Jacki Coots - Florida
I'm a Jeff Gordon fan because he has shown me that even when you're in the spotlight, he cares for the fans,. He is always giving not just in body but in spirit. What he does for the kids in my book is just AWESOME. Even with this stuff about him going on in his personal life is just that should be personal nobody in this world is perfect. I applaud him for he is so giving to others who have not been as blessed as he. In my book he is the CLASS ACT OF ALL. One of these days it's my dream is to just say hello to him and God bless him.
Joy Mergen - Arizona
I've been watching all forms of racing since I was five years old. I spotted Jeff driving the bright multicolored car and said anyone who can drive that car has to have confidence. Then I found out he lived for 14 years about 70 miles west (Vallejo) of my hometown in Sacramento (a Californian). He also had a history of driving those midgets, sprint cars--I knew he'd be a great driver in those cars with enclosed bodies. Jeff has been given an incredible ability to drive a race car. I'm a very loyal fan and I'll be with Jeff for the rest of his career.
Norma Hedrick - Ohio
When my husband passed away, I was spending more Sundays at the homes of my sons, both Nascar fans. I had never watched the races, so wasn't too interested at first, but was soon hooked. Both boys had their favorite driver, so I had to choose one also. I could see the colorful car of Jeff Gordon on the track really well, and he was a rookie. So since we were both rookies, I chose him as my driver. It also helped that Jeff and my youngest son share birthdays, August 4. I have stuck with Jeff through the years and am a die hard fan. At 65 years of age, my bedroom is decorated with Jeff Gordon accessories, comforter, pillows, etc. I also have my Jeff Gordon collectibles throughout the house and fly my Jeff Gordon flag all through the season. No one has any doubt who I pull for on race day.
Willa Fearrington - Florida
Geography, plain and simple. I am from a little North Carolina town named Pittsboro. Many years ago some nice folks left Pittsboro and moved to Indiana. They loved their new town so much they named it Pittsboro. I am a convert from endurance racing and did not have a favorite driver when Jeff started running Busch. The very first time I saw his name listed with the home town of Pittsboro, Indiana I knew I had found my driver. What a lucky day for me. It turned out he is the best driver in Nascar, a great humanitarian and very easy on the eyes... none of which I knew when he became my driver!
Diana Smeltz - Florida
My reasons for being a Jeff Gordon fan are quite simple. Other than the obvious (62 wins and 4 championships), he represents this sport well. He handles himself well under all kinds of pressure. I think we saw that best this past year. Jeff is also a good role mode for children. There aren't many super stars these days that I want my children emulating. Children can see that you don't have to fight and swear , and you can succeed without compromising your moral values. Jeff can do it without all the above, and still show that life can be fun and rewarding. But, most of all, it's great to watch him do his thing on a racetrack like nobody else can.
Alice Buck - Florida
Since he first started to racing, I admired the way he raced as a young driver and felt he was certainly being picked on because he was not as old as the other race car drivers were. We simply admired him because he could take up for himself and could feel his feelings as he started his career. He started off just being a real prince of a person and was able to start to express himself. We have been ardent race fans for many years and grew up in the heart of racing in Taylorsville, North Carolina. Jeff certainly could talk with the media and speak up as an individual. Since his first race, he is our HERO and admire him each time he appears in race or whatever capacity he does. I do admire him as he does not allow the media to take over his personal life. He is just a real gentleman.
Donna Johnston - Connecticut
I'm a high school teacher and a song lyricist. Last year before Jeff got that first win, I wrote the following. Since it still seems relevant to the question, I'm submitting it here. Hope you like it!
Lora Short - Illinois
Sherry Renfro - Texas
Jeff Gordon is a great Nascar driver who doesn't seem to get the credit he deserves. No matter what kind of car he ends up with during a race, he makes the best of it and drives it hard. He never fails to credit his crew chief and pit crew, along with Hendrick Motorsports for giving him good equipment. He speaks intelligently and appears to be a genuinely nice person. His Jeff Gordon Foundation's link with Make a Wish proves he is willing to go the extra mile for kids in need of a special wish. I think he is a great role model for kids who want to succeed. I thoroughly enjoy watching him race, win or lose, because he gives it his all. That's why I'm a Jeff Gordon fan!
Audrey Goven - Alabama
I think the main reason is beacause of who he is. As a 54-year-old mother and grandmother, I think he is a fine young man, not perfect as know one is but a good person who has a heart and cares about others. I will pull for Jeff as long as he races. He makes my Sunday afternoons. I have watch Jeff from his very first race in Nascar. Racing would be very boring without him. We just love Jeff Gordon. He is number one in our home.
Kristen Wolfe - Pennsylvania
I'm a Jeff Gordon fan not only because of the amazing and thrilling things I've seen him do and accomplish inside of a race car but also because of the amazing person he is away from the racetrack. He seems so sincere and appreciative of his fans and hasn't let his huge amount of success go to his head. I've seen on countless occasions where he goes out of his way to make someones day even if it just means shaking someones hand or posing for a picture with them. Thanks, Jeff, for never forgetting that if it wasn't for the fans there would be no NASCAR.
Wendy S. - Michigan
I started watching racing and Jeff Gordon at the same time. I wouldn't have been able to tell you what Jeff even looked like unless it was through the windshield of his car. I was hooked by this "kid" that was giving the "veterens" a run for their money. My husband was a fan already of Dale Earnhardt and watched races every chance he had (that's how I heard about Jeff). So now we are a Winston Cup kind of family who have friends over for EVERY race and collect seriously any type of Jeff Gordon and racing "stuff." Jeff Gordon gave me the opportunity to feel a part of the best sport around. For that I'll always be a loyal fan.
Anita Parsil - Arizona
Jeff Gordon is my favorite driver because he always drives a clean race. While other drivers try to bump cars and/or try to cause an accident, Jeff relies on his driving ability to win races and to stay in a competitive place in the points. He always makes his way to the winner's circle when his teammate wins.
Geni Wojtek - Texas
What makes a champion a true champion? Is it money? Fame? Glory? These are some of the things that seem to compose a champion, whether it be Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, Dale Earnhardt, or, of course, Jeff Gordon.
Something about Jeff Gordon stands above the rest. These things are his poise, integrity, competitiveness, and, most importantly, his generosity. This is why I am a Jeff Gordon fan. He came along at a time when NASCAR needed a serious boost to get into the 21st century. He was that much-needed boost. I watched Jeff Gordon win all the time with my father. I've always been a tomboy and it seemed right that I developed a love of NASCAR and of Jeff Gordon. My room is a shrine to him and his achievements.
Since my father died in December 2001 when I was 14, he took with him many a good time watching racing with me. One of the last things I remember seeing him do with absolute joy was watch Jeff lift up the huge 4th championship trophy and accept the awards at the annual banquet in New York. Jeff Gordon has helped me through some rough times. Now 16, I have reminisced about times with my father while watching every race. Jeff is a champion, on and off the track. I especially admire his help with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and his foundation, the Jeff Gordon Foundation.
Jeff has a heart that's as big as all the cheers- and boos- he receives at every race. I am also a fan because Jeff doesn't care what people say about him and continues to be a good role model for America's youth.
Jeff carries an attitude about him that shines everywhere he goes. He projects the image of a champion, both and off the track. He is not just Jeff Gordon, 4-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion. He is also Jeff Gordon, role model, community leader, volunteer, and, most importantly, good-hearted person. He is the kind of champion that makes mothers proud; the kind who does as much charity work as he does racing. He is the kind of champion who represents his sport with as much character as he does while walking down the street. He is a friend, a companion, and a world-class winner. He is strong, tough, and a fierce competitor. He is Jeff Gordon, a true champion. He is a winner in every form. He is Jeff Gordon. My hero.
Andrea Garafalo - Pennsylvania
Despite his obvious innate talent for racing, which his track record proves, Jeff is also a man of character. When he wins, which he often does, he wins fairly. When he's in the top five and interviewed, he doesn't blame another person or thing for not winning, he just gracefully thanks his team and sponsors and is truly grateful for his great finish. My interest in racing started as a child when my father and Godfather raced at the local track. When I became an adult, my Godfather crashed into the wall and passed away, but yet I continued, in his honor, to dedicate my interest to this sport. When Jeff Gordon came along, I was impressed with his skills and demeanor and chose him to follow. I felt he was different from the rest. He was polite to all, even those who angered him. His mature ability to channel his anger is impressive. When the fall of his marriage became public, he was able to grab himself by the bootstraps and move ahead, yet with a smile. I am proud to be a Jeff Gordon fan and grateful for the opportunity to share it.
Joy Young - Kentucky
The first time I saw Jeff on television was in 1997. I did not know who he was or what he did, but he had a way of speaking from his heart about racing, his family, and his religious beliefs that I was just drawn to his personality. I learned who he was from that program and decided I would watch the race the next Sunday. It happened to be the race at Sears Point Raceway (Infineon Raceway) and of course I loved the car. I've always been a Chevrolet fan, so when he won the race and was so gracious in victory lane he made a fan for life. I have every race he has ever been in on tape since that day and have been lucky enough to be able to attend several races. My only disappointment has been that I have never got to see Jeff win in person. But I will be at Daytona in July to keep cheering on the main reason that I watch NASCAR and Jeff Gordon.
Tammy Haney - Connecticut
Many women might say that he's cute, and he is. Men might say he knows how to kick butt on the race track, and he does. But the main reason that I chose to root for Jeff Gordon over the other drivers is his open relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not many athletes who proclaim to be where they are because of Jesus and it's the ones that do that I pay attention to. Being a Christian myself, I look up to those who aren't afraid to proclaim their need for a savior in front of the whole world. Another reason that I like Jeff is because he is what he says, a generally nice guy. You can't claim to be a Christian and then live a life contradictory to that. I feel that Jeff's attitute and the way that he carries himself reflects his love for God. Anyone who has met him realizes that when he shakes your hand, he thinks he is the blessed one for having met you. He made me feel like I was the famous person and he was the fan. Talk about a class act!
Lynda Bowman - Maryland
I started following Jeff Gordon when he was still running in Busch races. I remember with great fondness, his first Winston Cup Debut on the same day that Richard Petty was making his final run. Oh, what a day. Jeff immediately made a name for himself and I enjoy those memories. Jeff Gordon is important to me as a citizen, as a mom, as a race fan and as a human being. He has always set his standards and goals very high, he gives great example to the youngsters and he has a tremendous love of the sport and of all mankind. He cares about people, he gives of himself through many charitable organizations and he will take the time to say hello and talk like one of the guys to his fans at his fan club events. Jeff takes pride in his TEAM, his sponsors and his fellow race colleagues. Jeff rarely ever shows his temper, he knows that sweetness can bring you more success than being nasty.
Rarely, if ever, will you find Jeff deliberately running into another car to get him out of the way like some drivers. He is a fantastic driver and can place his #24 car in narrow areas that most would never even try to place a car. He has learned to make wise decisions beyond his years and even when his fairytale marriage ended, he still shows reasonable kindness. He respects people and I respect him. I wish there were hundreds more like him. I am very pleased to see that Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick have discovered the talent of Jimmy Johnson, who Jeff has coached into a great talent. I feel confident that Jeff will continue to have much success both on the track and off and the small bumps in the road will never show. What a great example Jeff Gordon is for all of us.
Am I a fan, you bet I am? I recently purchased the Jeff Gordon 2003 Monte Carlo Signature car. I proudly drive this vehicle with the MYMAN24 tags. I will always be a Jeff Gordon fan.
Marcia Horton - Louisiana
I am a Jeff Gordon fan because no matter what he is going through and regardless of how some of the racing fans treat him, he always has a smile. It seems as though he does not let anything get him down. That really inspires me. I lost my sister to cancer last month and I didn't really care about being happy. I didn't care about living. But when I see that smile on his face, it let's me know I can survive. I can live and be happy.
Jeff Quick - Indiana
We have been Jeff Gordon fans since his days of racing sprints and midgets. At the Hoosier Hundred at the Indianapolis State Fair Grounds when he was very young he waited until everyone had received an autograph before returning to the pits. He was the last driver to leave and ignored several calls to return to the track for introductions. We were the last in line and he waited until we received his autograph and gave us his ink pen before leaving.
Before that time we were not familiar with him but started following him and expected to see him continue up the ranks in open wheel. So we have been a big fan of his before he made it big in NASCAR.
I've been a Jeff Gordon fan since way back in 1991 when I was in Daytona for Speedweeks. We went to a place called Club Mutombo for drivers signing autographs and nobody was around this driver named Jeff Gordon. He was the only one there with no one around him and he took time out to hang with us and gave us autographed glossy's of his Baby Ruth car #1, told us to watch him in the next days Goody's 300, and we've been a fan of Gordon ever since. I now own many of his early collectables and attend five races a year in person.
I am a Jeff Gordon fan because he is Jeff Gordon. You can look at many other drivers in NASCAR's history, but Jeff Gordon has done more to increase the popularity of the sport more than all others combined. If you like him, you waited for the last ten laps of the race to see if he could pull out another victory by staying out front or coming up from the back. If you dislike him, you pull for any other driver to beat him. My wife could never understand what I saw in cars going around and around without really going anywhere. Then she saw Jeff Gordon work the traffic with ten to go for the first time, and was so impressed, she immediately became a fan. When I would see Jeff in tenth place with a few laps remaining, and say it's over for this race, she would say what do you mean, Jeff came back from that far last week. She became a bigger believer than me. That is what makes Jeff Gordon so special, the never quit, the "refuse to lose", attitude. It becomes infectous. I can't thimk of one team or player in any sport, who starts out with the attitude, let's lose today. Jeff comes out even being down 100 laps to get the best possible finish he can. I think most of us never want to give up, and even when it would be easier to do so, Jeff has taught all of us who care to look, never give up up, do you best, and the results will even surprise the person looking back at you from the mirror.
John Weaver - Florida
You can say I jumped on the bandwagon or whatever. Back in 1996 my wife got me into watching the sport and I didn't know anyone and she liked Jeff so I started pulling for him. Then I found out that he and I were the same age and he was just awesome. When people started booing him I pulled for him even more. He's the man. I wish he was driving like he was in the old days.
Dwight Nelms - Texas
He is a Christian and it shows. He is easy going and good looking. He doesn't get too upset with the other drivers. He is very funny (SNL), and can laugh at himself (falling off a golf cart while racing). Oh, and by the way, he's a great driver!
It all started one day when I walked into the house with 2 bags of groceries and saw the car on TV and said "Wow I like that car!" My husband who has been watching racing for ever said, "He is just a rookie; don't pay any attention to him." I said I don't care I like that car and to tell you the truth at that time I couldn't stand racing. I always said to my husband how can you sit there for hours watching them cars just go around and around a track. Then I was hooked and I wanted to know what I could on Jeff Gordon and collect anything I could afford of his. My office at work was full of Jeff Gordon collections. I even took over my cube mates space for my collections. For my 40th birthday September 14, 1997 in Loudon, N.H. friends of my husband gave me a pass to go to the hospitality tent and I got to ask Jeff a question. He won that day and I will never forget it. I will always be a Jeff Gordon fan. He is a very talented driver.
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