Jeff Gordon is one of the best drivers in NASCAR history. His 87 career wins have him in sole possession of third place on NASCAR's all time wins list. He has won three Daytona 500's and four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and is one of the sports most popular drivers off all time. He has become a leader in the garage area and has helped build Hendrick Motorsports to what it is today. However, could all this becoming to an end soon?
Could it be true? Gordon will only be 43 years old at the end of the 2015 season. Plenty of drivers have won numerous races past the age of 43. True, but during a press conference at Pocono for sponsor Axalta Gordon made a comment that shocked some people. Axalta announced they would sponsor Gordon for not only the 2013 season, but three additional seasons after that 2014, 2015 and 2016. Gordon then made the comment and said that Axalta signed the extension with the #24 team, not Jeff Gordon.
Not Jeff Gordon? Gordon's contract at Hendrick Motorsports is a lifetime contract. He owns a piece of the #48 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. When Gordon went through a bitter divorce in the 2005 season he stayed at Rick Hendrick's house until everything was settled. There is no doubt that Gordon will finish his career, right where he started it, in a Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. So what did Gordon mean when he said that Axalta signed with the #24 team and not, he, himself? He is not going to drive for another organization. That could only mean one thing, right?
Chase Elliott has been rumored to be Gordon's replacement whenever Gordon decided to hang it up. Elliott is currently in a Hendrick Motorsports development program and car owner Rick Hendrick confirmed talks are in-place to have Elliott run in the Nationwide Series full time in the 2014 season for JR Motorsports. Is Elliott going to be groomed to drive the #24 car?
I doubt Rick Hendrick would move Elliott to the Cup Series after just one year in the Nationwide Series but is it absurd to move Elliott after two years? That would start Elliott's career in the 2016 season, Axalta's last year as sponsorship of the #24 Chevrolet.
There have been a few other incidents in which the "R" word has been mentioned around Gordon this season. At age 41, should Gordon be even thinking about retirement?
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