News & Media


AARP renewal keeps Gordon in No. 24 through 2014

October 06, 2012, Mark Aumann, NASCAR.com

TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Jeff Gordon's car might be sponsored by an advocacy group for senior citizens, but that doesn't mean he's getting any closer to retirement.

With the announcement this week that the AARP Foundation is renewing its 22-race sponsorship on the No. 24 Chevrolet through 2014, any rumors that the 41-year-old Gordon might be hanging up his helmet for good can be laid to rest for now.

"There is no reason for me to think any differently than saying yes to their offer of going through 2014 right now."

--JEFF GORDON

Gordon said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway that as long as his health holds up and he remains competitive -- and sponsors are interested in him -- there's no reason to stop racing.

"At this point in my career, I don't take it year to year," Gordon said. "I take it based on where we're at with sponsorship. ... If sponsors are saying we want to do a three-year deal or two-year deal or five-year deal, we'll sit down and have these conversations and talk about if where they are at is where I'm at.

"I feel good. Things are going well. We're competitive. I'm as good, back-wise and health-wise, as I've been in a long time. So there is no reason for me to think any differently than saying yes to their offer of going through 2014 right now."

The one-year extension of the contract will allow the foundation to continue to publicize its campaign to bring attention to the plight of senior citizens facing the risk of hunger. According to a study funded by the foundation, nearly nine million older Americans are forced to skip meals or buy lower-quality food.

"Definitely, it's a good thing. I love the work that they are doing," Gordon said. "It's been a privilege to work with them and learn about such an important cause and the fact that they are really making an impact.

"I think from the beginning of this relationship, we knew it's not going to happen in one year or even two years, it takes time to build a program up like that. To get not only the fans support but the corporate sponsor support that it takes to make that program successful. I think this is a great sign that momentum is still building, and they know they need to continue to further that work. I love the fact that they've chosen our team and Hendrick [Motorsports] to do that."

According to Gordon, there was a clause in the contract allowing AARP to re-evaluate its sponsorship after this season, but the foundation not only was happy with the current arrangement but also decided to extend the deal an additional year.

Gordon has a plan in place for his future -- not only in the sport, but beyond -- and the driver who has won 86 races has been upfront with car owner Rick Hendrick about what, where and when.

"Rick and I, we have our conversations about what my plans are," Gordon said. "That involves what Hendrick Motorsports' plans are and how they approach sponsors. So, we have to be on the same page. We are, and I feel good about it."

The four-time Cup champion also has been a strong advocate for children's cancer treatment, and his foundation has raised more than $11 million to help build children's hospitals in Africa.