Then, he granted his son a wish by earning the pole for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN).
"Today is Leo’s (son) birthday, and I told him on the phone earlier that I was going to go try to get a pole for him realistically thinking I had a shot at it," Gordon said. "We were going for it, and we got it done. Happy Birthday, Buddy.
"I wasn't real confident in that statement, but I said it anyway. And now I really can't wait to talk to him. I can't wait to get to my phone. I know it's going to be lit up from Ingrid and the kids so that's pretty cool."
Via his wife Ingrid's Twitter feed, Leo responded and Gordon retweeted:
Leo: "Thank you for the pole Papa" 👍— Ingrid Vandebosch (@ivandebosch) August 9, 2014
The pole was the 75th of his career, third-most all-time. His third Watkins Glen pole ties him with Dale Earnhardt and Mark Martin for most at the facility. His eighth career road-course pole is one shy of Darrell Waltrip's record.
But according to Gordon, this pole might mean more than all of these marks because he's able to share it with his family.
"This has just been one of the best years I've ever had because of how good things are at home and how good things are at the race track," Gordon said. "Life is good. I'm enjoying the heck out of it. I don't know how many years I have racing in this series, and certainly to be this late in my career and be this competitive is something I didn't know it would happen.
"But the timing couldn't be better because Ella appreciates and understands it at 7, and Leo is just kind of starting to. And even Ingrid has never really experienced the type of success we're having this year so it's pretty cool."
Gordon said he appreciated the success more because his son and daughter also question why he doesn't win.
"When your kids come to the race track, and you don't perform very well and they say, "What happened? How come you didn't win the race? Jimmie Johnson won the race. Evie's dad won the race.'" Those kinds of things," Gordon said.
"You smilie and laugh about it on one hand, but you can't help put take that personal. So on the flip-side if you're able to win the race and they get to see that excitement and be a part of it, that bond that you have with your family and the ups and the downs you go through when you get to experience that moment, it makes it even better.