Ella Sofia Gordon: NASCAR's Little Princess

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IMarch 28, 2009

In NASCAR, the race car drivers are like rock stars.  Some would even argue that the fans actually treat them more like royalty.

This is especially true of NASCAR's most popular drivers. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. can barely move between his motor coach and any event at the track without being besieged by his most loyal fans, "Junior Nation."

The same star treatment holds for Jeff Gordon as well. He too is often mobbed by his faithful fans, who watch his every move on and off the track.

So, there is no wonder that NASCAR fans have now extended their worship to the next generation in the Jeff Gordon family, his young daughter Ella Sofia Gordon. Even proud papa sometimes refers to her as his "little princess."

But Ella is fast becoming NASCAR's little princess as well. Fans seek her out at the track as often as they do her four-time champion father.

In a recent blog post on Jeff Gordon's Web site, proud grandpa John Bickford tells of his experience with Ella at the track in California. Even without her daddy in tow, Ella was greeted like a princess by the fans.

Since obviously Ella is just a tad young yet to sign autographs, Opa, as grandpa Bickford is known to Ella, gave her some lessons on how to interact with the adoring fans. She obliged, smiling and waving to the crowds.

Opa also revealed that Ella is intrigued with cameras, perhaps taking after her model mom Ingrid Vandebosch. So, this young heir to the NASCAR throne seemed to have no problems also posing for some pictures. 

Ella's Opa praised her for her good job working the crowds for her first time without her parents.

What makes this little girl so special and deserving of all the adoration sent her way by the fans?  It is a curious question, especially since many other race car drivers have children of their own who are often at the track.

There a few other NASCAR children that take the spotlight periodically, like Michael Waltrip's daughter Macy.

This beautiful 12 year old is currently starring with her proud papa in an Aaron's commercial, begging her daddy to please let her drive the Aaron's Dream Machine car.

But fans remain particularly enamored with little Ella Sofia Gordon.  They have doted on her from their first introduction to her when she was born on June 20, 2007.

What is the fascination?  Perhaps it is because Jeff Gordon is the most visible NASCAR driver to have straddled both the racing world and the world of celebrity.

For many years, he has been stalked by paparazzi as he vacationed and he was pursued vigorously through his bitter divorce from first wife Brooke.

But the celebrity watching really took hold when Gordon began dating Belgium beauty and model Ingrid Vandebosch. Their marriage and then announcement of Ingird's pregnancy took the NASCAR world by storm.

The baby watch by fans and celebrity reporters alike began in earnest. Even seasoned racecar veterans were giving Gordon parental advice and lessons on how to change a diaper.

Ella, in the meantime, completely acquiesced with her father's racing schedule and was born between two races, in time for Gordon to be at his wife's side for the birth and return to the track for the next race.

Since that time, Ella and her mom Ingrid have been loyal fixtures at the track.  They have accompanied Jeff during driver introductions and princess Ella has even taken her turn in the seat of the number 24 Dupont Chevrolet race car.

Ella has been most visible, however, after her proud papa won one of the Gatorade Duels prior to the Daytona 500.  Although a non-points race, Gordon proudly hoisted Ella in his arms in Victory Lane, teaching her the traditional raised index finger victory sign.

There is no doubt that Jeff Gordon is just waiting to introduce all of his loyal fans to Ella in Victory Lane in a race that really counts this season. 

In fact, he is so hungry for the win and has been so close to it that it seems just a matter of time, perhaps even this weekend at Martinsville, before this fairy tale dream will come true.

Until that time Princess Ella will no doubt go on entertaining and engaging the throngs of admirers. 

Soon, she will not only wave but most likely grab the microphone and share a few of her own thoughts on NASCAR racing with the loyal subjects of her daddy's fan base.