HARRISBURG, N.C. (Oct. 6, 1999) Jeff Gordon, whose 48-win, three NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship career has been achieved entirely with Hendrick Motorsports, Wednesday announced a "lifetime agreement" with Rick Hendrick that will make him...
HARRISBURG, N.C. (Oct. 6, 1999) Jeff Gordon, whose 48-win, three NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship career has been achieved entirely with Hendrick Motorsports, Wednesday announced a "lifetime agreement" with Rick Hendrick that will make him an equity partner in the ownership of his No. 24 DuPont Automotive Finishes Chevrolet team as well as its driver. Gordon and Hendrick, the CEO of the race organization that bears his name, joined in making the announcement at the Hendrick Motorsports Museum here. They said it would become effective Jan. 1, 2000 and will continue for the duration of Gordon's motorsports career. It assures his ongoing role as the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Monte Carlos and as a business partner with the team for the future.
"This is something Rick and I have been working toward for quite some time, and it enables me to take a more active role in the overall management of the No. 24 team," Gordon said. "I know I have a great deal more to offer this team than just driving the car and I am very excited about getting more involved. This is a great feeling, because Rick has built something here that is really special and now we can take a long-term approach to seeing where we can take it next."
In addition to his responsibilities with Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon also owns a NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division race team with his wife, Brooke, and former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Ray Evernham. Gordon will drive the Gordon-Evernham Motorsports Pepsi Chevrolet in Saturday's All Pro Bumper to Bumper 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in nearby Concord, N.C.
Under terms of the long-term contract announced Wednesday, Gordon will become an equity partner in Hendrick's No. 24 team, which will continue to be operated as part of the three-car NASCAR Winston Cup Series operation fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, Hendrick said. In addition to the No. 24 Chevrolet driven by Gordon, the organization also fields the No. 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet driven by two-time series champion Terry Labonte and the No. 25 Budweiser Chevrolet currently driven by Wally Dallenbach. The organization also fields No. 24 GMAC Financial Services Chevrolets in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for driver Jack Sprague.
In 2000, Hendrick's No. 25 cars will be sponsored by Michael Holigan Homes and driven by Jerry Nadeau.
"Our No. 5 and No. 25 Winston Cup teams, and our championship Craftsman Truck Series team, as well as the No. 24 team, will continue to benefit from the full resources of Hendrick Motorsports, including our research and development, chassis and engine departments," Hendrick said. "This in no way affects our commitment to any of our teams. In fact, I think it will pull our operation closer together."
"I know I have a great deal more to offer this team than just driving the car and I am very excited about getting more involved." — Jeff Gordon Gordon drove his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series race for Hendrick in the NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in November 1992. While Evernham's recent departure from the operation was seen as a black cloud in its development, everyone present on Wednesday called the decision to involve Gordon in the ownership of the team nothing but a positive step.
Hendrick called the partnership "a decision for the new millennium that I could not be happier with, and one that should help ensure that we can keep this team at the top of the very competitive sport of NASCAR Winston Cup racing.
"I think everybody is aware that Jeff is one of the greatest drivers ever in any kind of motorsports, but what I've also seen is that he is one of the brightest business minds in the industry. Jeff has reached a point in his career where he is ready to contribute in more ways, and our team is at a stage where his added involvement is both needed and welcomed. We also believe Jeff's knowledge and experience will complement Brian Whitesell in the further development of the team."
Under the agreement Hendrick said Jeff Gordon Inc., a company wholly owned by Gordon, will continue to manage the licensing activities of the No. 24 team and would work in conjunction with Hendrick Motorsports in seeking out and negotiating future sponsor relationships for the team.
John Hendrick, Rick Hendrick's brother and president of Hendrick Motorsports, called the agreement "a great step into the future for all concerned."
Whitesell, formerly Gordon's team engineer who had worked with the team since its inception and who was named crew chief of the 24 team last week upon Evernham's departure, said, "The opportunity to work with Jeff long term is a dream come true for me. The team welcomes his expanded involvement. We know it will make us better and even closer as a team."
Gordon's 48 wins in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series have been achieved in 217 starts, all with Hendrick Motorsports. He debuted in the series in the last race of the 1992 and scored his first victory in the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the site of Sunday's UAW-GM Quality 500.
Since his first race in 1992, Gordon's winning percentage of 22 percent leads all drivers over the 217 races run during that time.
Source: NASCAR Online