Jeff Gordon: "A New Twinkle in His Eye"

Matt EddieContributor IJune 12, 2008

I have been a follower of Jeff Gordon from the time he set foot in a stock car in 1991. As I have followed him over the years I have seen the ups, 1998, and the downs of Jeff Gordon, 2005. This season has started out weaker than many expected after a strong 2007 season. There is finally some light that is showing for Jeff Gordon and the number 24 DuPont team. Although Jeff has yet to record a win in 2008, he has recorded 6 top 5's and 7 top 10 finishes through 14 races and currently sits 8th in the Sprint Cup standings.

Just two weeks ago Jeff and Hendrick Motorsports reached an agreement with DuPont to continue their relationships together through the 2010 season. When I read this it seemed a bit strange to me. DuPont has signed many deals with the 24 crew over the years and this is the shortest one thus far. Why, I asked my self. One thing keeps popping up to me every time I think of this, Ella Sophia Gordon. I have seen Jeff Gordon with the the bigger smile on his face than any other driver on the circuit many times. In the 1990s and up until about 2005, Jeff Gordon seemed to be the most focused driver on the NASCAR circuit. 2005 was a major setback for Jeff and the number 24 DuPont team. He struggled all season and all the high points came in the early portion of the season. Ella Sophia was born in June 2007. That weekend I saw a glow on Jeff Gordon's face that I have not seen since 2004.

What will happen now? What about this short contract with DuPont? Well to be honest with you folks, Jeff Gordon is on his way out of NASCAR. I can see that Jeff is no where near as focused on racing as he has been in his life. Jeff Gordon is ready to become a family man. I have the great feeling that we could be seeing the last of Jeff in the next couple of seasons. I suspect that the reason for the short contract is for that very reason. I was just thinking about how much he doesn't smile at the track anymore and he just wants to get the heck out of dodge. Jeff Gordon is a person that has meant more to the sport than any driver has in a long time and those will be some very large shoes to fill. If Jeff does indeed decide to call it a career, he will be going out on top as one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history and he will be truly missed by many people, even those Earnhardt's.