There is no doubt that Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, is rich. In fact, Gordon's riches have been recently measured by Forbes magazine.
Forbes has listed Gordon as No. 63 on their list of the top 100 richest celebrities. The wealth rating magazine also estimates that Gordon brings in approximately $30 million annually.
Matt Miller of Forbes disclosed that Gordon's worth as a celebrity is calculated based on his winnings at the race track, his share of co-owning the No. 48 car driven by his friend and past champion Jimmie Johnson, endorsements, and licensing of various products.
"Jeff Gordon is a major brand," said Miller. "His selection to the list is based on a combination of money, fame, and power."
Miller cited Gordon's new ventures, including video games, a wine label, and his move into race track design, as also contributing to the wealth ranking.
In addition to the new ventures, Forbes also reviewed Gordon's 17-year career in NASCAR in formulating their decision as to his position on the list. Miller advised that, "Gordon has been consistent with his wealth in spite of ups and downs in his personal life."
Gordon acknowledges that some of the fame may have indeed come from his "nasty divorce." While he was hounded at that time by the paparazzi, he has put that chapter in his life behind him.
When told of this ranking, Gordon said, "I am fortunate to see it happen. This is something to be proud of."
While Forbes has indeed measured Gordon's wealth in millions, off the track and in his personal life, Gordon could be considered even richer. Over the past few years, Gordon's fans have watched him move from being a newly single man to husband of a beautiful model.
Gordon became even richer, however, two years ago when his wife Ingrid gave birth to their first child, Ella Sofia. Gordon continues to be a devoted and doting father, with Ella and Ingrid often at the track in support of his "drive for five" quest for his fifth NASCAR championship this year.
While Gordon himself may be rich beyond measure, he managed to "share the wealth" with a lucky fan at last weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway.
With Mark Martin and Gordon finishing in the first and second positions in the race, fan Donna Musgrave was awarded $1 million in a sweepstakes offered by race sponsor LifeLock, an identity theft company committed to supporting the sport.
Gordon has also shared his wealth with so many others in need, especially children. The Jeff Gordon Foundation has supported everything from the Jeff Gordon's Children's Hospital to funding programs of The Marrow Foundation and the Make-A-Wish program.
Gordon's most treasured moments have indeed often come when meeting children who participated in these programs or who are helped at the Children's Hospital. He is an avid fundraiser for the Foundation, and his philanthropic efforts have become some of his highest priority work.
Jeff Gordon is indeed rich, as evidenced by his listing in Forbes' list of the 100 richest celebrities. But the true measure of his wealth, family, friends, and philanthropy are well beyond being captured in mere dollars and cents.
Photo Credit: Mary Jo Buchanan during driver introductions at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.