Dover II: Jeff Gordon preview

Gordon's heart is in victory lane even when he is not DOVER, Del. - Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, has faced many on-track challenges recently as solid runs have turned into...

Gordon's heart is in victory lane even when he is not

DOVER, Del. - Four-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, has faced many on-track challenges recently as solid runs have turned into back-of-the-pack finishes.

However challenged he may feel, Gordon realizes that he does not face the true challenges in life the way that so many less fortunate do and has concentrated philanthropic efforts to those causes and communities that are near and dear to his heart, despite on-track performance.

Several weeks ago, Gordon spent the day here in Delaware to promote and encourage donations to the United Way of Delaware 2003 campaign. Gordon's primary sponsor, DuPont, has many devoted volunteers and has helped set an aggressive goal for this year's campaign.

"The Delaware community has been very good to me over the past 10 years," said Gordon. "DuPont has been with me for my entire Winston Cup career and part of the reason that our partnership has been so successful is because of our shared values.

"Going into the local schools and working to kickoff the United Way of Delaware campaign was a great experience. If I am able to help them achieve their fund-raising goal in any way, then it is well worth the effort."

Gordon established the Jeff Gordon Foundation (JGF) in December of 1999 to help support the physical, social or intellectual needs of children and their families throughout the United States. Money raised is distributed among several non-profit organizations including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Marrow Foundation, Hendrick Marrow Program, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Riley Hospital for Children located in Indianapolis, Ind.

Last month, the foundation hosted a celebrity bowling tournament in Indianapolis leading up to the Brickyard 400 bringing together celebrities and fans to raise money for the Riley Hospital for Children. At the end of the event, Gordon presented a check for $100,000 to the hospital.

"The bowling tournament is such a fun way to raise money for a place that does so much for sick children and their families, "Gordon said. "I grew up right down the road from Riley and have been familiar with what they have done for so many lives for so long. It feels good to get the whole community involved in supporting their efforts."

The next big event will be an "Evening with Jeff Gordon" dinner followed by the third annual Jeff Gordon Go-Kart Challenge in Wilmington, N.C., in October. Gordon will dine with guests and later challenge them to a friendly go-kart race to raise money for The Hendrick Marrow Program in partnership with the Marrow Foundation.

The Jeff Gordon Foundation has also organized a car raffle in which somebody will win a Jeff Gordon Signature Edition 2003 Monte Carlo SS Chevrolet, as well as on-line auctions which promote bids for autographed memorabilia.

However good Delaware has been to Gordon off-track, it has been equally good to him on-track. He has achieved a great deal of success at the "Monster Mile" winning in 1995, sweeping both Winston Cup events in 1996 and one in 2001. He also has two poles (1995 and 1996), 10 top-fives, 14 top-10's and has led 2,101 laps at the 1.0-mile facility, controlling 22.6 percent of the laps Gordon has raced here.

"Racing here feels like racing at home because DuPont's headquarters are here and all the employees make me feel like part of their family," Gordon said. "We've had some amazing performances here and would like to come out the winner on Sunday."

Although Gordon may take the checkered flag on any given Sunday, the real winners are those who benefit from what the rest of us give from the heart each day.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon