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GORDON PREPARES FOR LONE STAR STATE SENDOFF

FORT WORTH, Texas (November 4, 2015) – The AAA Texas 500 will serve as the final race at Texas Motor Speedway for four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon at Texas Motor Speedway. He has been a competitor in every Sprint Cup race here since the venue opened in 1997, but his strong ties to Texas Motor Speedway were firmly rooted even before stock cars circled the high-banked, 1.5-mile oval. 

>It was Gordon, who along with Bobby and Terry Labonte and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. CEO Bruton Smith and Ross Perot Jr., helped break ground on Texas Motor Speedway on April 11, 1995. Gordon will close his final chapter at Texas Motor Speedway at Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 (1 p.m. CT, TV: NBC, Radio: 1080 KRLD AM/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), a track that developed into a love-hate relationship with the veteran driver. 

Gordon, the only driver to compete in all 29 Sprint Cup Series events Texas Motor Speedway has hosted since 1997, has experienced the best of times and worst of times at the facility. Texas Motor Speedway is the site of Gordon’s only two career 43rd-place finishes – coming in 1999 and the spring of 2008 – but that was somewhat countered by his only win to date coming in the 2009 spring race. He also owns two poles (fall races in 2008 and ’09), ranks third for career top-five finishes (9) and tied for fourth for top 10s (13). 

“I always go into Texas never knowing what I’m going to get out of it,” Gordon said. “I love the track. I love the multiple grooves the track has, but I can’t say that I’ve always said that about Texas. When we first started racing there, we were fast. We ran well, but it was a very challenging track to drive and not one of my favorite tracks. 

“Now, it’s turned into one of my favorite tracks. I really enjoy going there, even though we’ve had up-and-down results.” 

One of Gordon’s “down results” occurred during last year’s AAA Texas 500 where he appeared headed for a strong performance, leading 49 laps before fellow Chase contender Brad Keselowski made contact with him on a late restart. The contact sent Gordon spinning, resulting in a 29th-place finish and shattering his chances at advancing to the Championship Round of the Chase. 

The tempers spilled over to pit road following the race as Gordon and Keselowski, along with their crews, were involved in a post-race scuffle. As Gordon prepares for his final race at Texas Motor Speedway, last year’s drama is not completely forgotten as it serves as motivation to capture his second victory in Texas. 

“If you look throughout my career and the No. 24 team, when something like what happened to us last year, we are usually pretty good at finding a way to get back on top and take care of unfinished business,” Gordon said. “I look forward to doing that this year.” 

Gordon, however, does have the luxury of not being too concerned about an incident in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 affecting his championship aspirations.  He already has secured one of the four berths in the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Nov. 22, by virtue of his win last week at Martinsville in the opening race of the Eliminator 8 Round. 

“I mean, gosh, I wish everybody could experience what that was like from my standpoint,” Gordon said afterward. “It was unbelievable. I don't know what it feels like to be a rock star, but that's as close as it can get I think. That's a rock star moment right there. 

“There's so much on the line. I already have a tremendous amount of fans that are here pulling for us. But I think a lot of people that maybe aren't my fans are kind of looking at my career, the respect, just winding it down, what it means.” 

Texas Motor Speedway will honor Jeff Gordon throughout the AAA Texas 500 race weekend, some of which include the iconic No. 24 lit up on the back of “Big Hoss TV”, the 24 members of the Re/MAX Skydiving Team will descend carrying flags bearing Gordon’s No. 24 during AAA Texas 500 pre-race activities, renowned sports artist David Arrigo painting a special live mural highlighting Gordon’s career at TMS, and more. 

About the author

The Texas Motor Speedway Media Relations Department is located on the 6th floor of The Speedway Club outside of Turn 1 of the speedway. 

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