2010: Livin' Part Of Life

Season Recap

Jeff Gordon kicked off 2010 on a dusty road in rural South Carolina. He would end the racing season in a cloud of smoke on the racetrack in Homestead, Florida. In between came a series of highs and lows, disappointments and joy.

In January, Gordon filmed an episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" in South Carolina. The Suggs family was rewarded with a new house through the television show. Gordon helped with some of the structural work, and took a few laps around the backyard dirt bike course. He went to Daytona for FanFest and then participated in the annual pre-season media tour in Charlotte, N.C. Gordon also threw his name and support behind several track projects, including one in Canada and another in Columbus, Ohio. The racing season kicked off in February with the Daytona 500. Gordon cut a tire on the final lap and finished 26th. An engine issue the following week in Fontana, California resulted in a 20th place finish -- the first time Gordon started a season with two sub-19th place efforts since 1996.

He rebounded with a dominant performance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by leading 218 of the 267 laps. However, a late two-tire change proved to be his undoing as Jimmie Johnson passed him for the race lead with 17 laps to go. Gordon departed Las Vegas and headed for Arizona where he Gov. Jan Brewer declared March 1 as "Jeff Gordon Day" in the desert state. In mid-March he visited Patrick Henry Elementary School in Martinsville, Va., following a promotional appearance at the track. Gordon sat in a classroom for a SMART Board presentation that focused on racing. Gordon finished 14th at Bristol and then found controversy in the late stages at Martinsville. Gordon held the race lead in the late stages and was approximately 200 feet from taking the white flag when a caution flag waved, thus necessitating a green/white/checkered finish. Gordon was bumped by Matt Kenseth entering turn one. He ran side by side with Kenseth on the backstretch and turned into Kenseth to ensure that the Ford driver would not win the event. Denny Hamlin scooted by on the inside to take the lead and the victory.

Gordon was once again in position to win the following race at Phoenix. However, he spun his tires on the final restart and handed the win to Ryan Newman. Nevertheless, the DuPont team was undeterred and headed for Texas in search of that elusive victory. Gordon spent a day training with the National Guard Special Forces in the week leading up to the Texas race. As it turned out, the training would be apropos for the race. Gordon led 124 laps at Texas and took no prisoners in his march to the front -- at one point upsetting his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. The pair traded paint on the frontstretch when Gordon passed. A late race wreck caused by Tony Stewart eliminated Gordon from contention. The next "near miss" for Gordon came at Richmond in early May. He led the race in the closing stages but was passed by Kyle Busch after a restart with 5 laps to go. As it turned out, after Richmond in May, he wouldn't finish higher than 3rd for the rest of the season.

The Jeff Gordon Foundation was re-branded as The Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation with a detailed focus on finding a cure for children's cancer. An uber consistent stretch in June and July brought five consecutive top-5 finishes and launched Gordon up to 2nd in the series points standings. As the mid-summer calendar turned to August, Gordon looked forward to the birth of his son. On August 9, Gordon's wife, Ingrid, gave birth to Leo Benjamin Gordon in New York City. With his greatest joy at home, Gordon returned to the racetrack looking for a title. However, his performance declined as the team struggled in qualifying for the balance of the season. From August thru November, Gordon started outside the top-10 in 13 out of 15 races. Handling issues resulted in just one top-5 finish during that 15-race span. Gordon was distantly behind Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick as the 10-race Chase for the Championship wound down. He looked to be in position to win at Talladega in October after getting a drafting push to the lead from Johnson in the closing stages, but an engine issue forced him to crack the throttle. That was as close as Gordon came to victory lane in the second half of the season.

One of the major questions heading into 2010 was Gordon's sponsors. DuPont signaled its intentions to scale back on motorsports sponsorships as the season began. For the first time in his Cup series career, Gordon and team owner Rick Hendrick were actively searching for a new primary sponsor for the #24 car. In October, Gordon and Hendrick announced a 3-year partnership with The AARP Foundation's Drive To End Hunger charity. The charity will be the primary sponsor for 22 events each season thru 2013, with DuPont serving as primary for 14 races, and Pepsi for its usual 2 events.

In his own words (from SI interview)
"I've been very successful. I've made a lot of money; won a lot of trophies, but there is a lot more to life than just that and you have to balance it out. These days, I'm not winning like I was in the mid- to late-90s. I think back to those days when all you thought about was racing and winning and going to victory lane and popping the Champagne and hold up the trophy and smile for the cameras. That's not really who you are and there is so much more you have to have to back that up to make you happy. If you are waiting for that next win you are going to be a pretty unhappy person because life has its own way of balancing life out." - Jeff Gordon

2010 Statistics
RaceStartFinishPts Position
Daytona 500212626
Auto Club 500282022
Shelby American2313
Kobalt Tools 50051811
Food City 50051411
Goody's 5001137
Subway 600k1025
Samsung 50012315
Aaron's 49952210
Crown Royal 400426
Southern 500244
Autism Speaks 40015116
Coca-Cola 6001564
Gillette Fusion 50010327
Heluva Good 400647
Save Mart 350555
Lenox 3011645
Coke 400532
Lifelock 400632
Brickyard 4008232
Pennsylvania 500462
Heluva Good at the Glen16102
Carfax 40036272
Bristol Night Race26112
Emory Healthcare 50018132
Air Guard 40022128
Sylvania 3001764
AAA 40015118
Price Chopper 400355
Pepsi Max 4001794
Bank of America 5001234
Tums 50011205
Amp Energy 5003184
AAA Texas 50015376
Kobalt Tools 500k22116
Miami 40011379

0 wins. 9th in points

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