Jeff Gordon delivers 1 millionth meal for Drive To End Hunger to 89-year-old race fan

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As a four-time Sprint Cup champion and one of the most recognized and popular drivers in NASCAR, Jeff Gordon admits he “gets to do a lot of really cool things.”

On Thursday, Gordon was able to do another “really cool thing,” but it was also extremely meaningful in the process, delivering the one millionth meal served by one of Gordon’s key sponsors, the Drive To End Hunger.

On his way to Martinsville Speedway, Gordon stopped by the house of 89-year-old Freida Evans, who lives not far from the speedway in Stoneville, North Carolina.

It’s a toss-up who was more happy about the visit: Gordon or Evans.

“It’s opened my eyes so much to this cause and how many millions of people are dealing with hunger issues in America,” Gordon said during Friday’s weekly media availability at Martinsville. “Yesterday was definitely one of the highlights.

“A woman named Freida (Evans) … relies on Meals on Wheels to deliver her meals every day. She’s the classic story of individuals who need those meals desperately because she worked so hard to feed her family throughout her whole life and gave everything for them.

“And now, she relies on those meals. And it was pretty cool to be able to deliver that one-millionth meal for Meals on Wheels to her in the state of North Carolina.”

Gordon didn’t just drop off the meal. He spent a significant amount of time talking and visiting with Evans, who confided she watched him race on TV this past Sunday at Talladega.

“(It) was very special,” Gordon said. “I spent some time with her in her home with her family and she is such a sweet lady.

“When you live this close to Martinsville, they said that at times they can actually hear the cars going around the track. Her husband, who had passed away, was a big NASCAR fan and a lot of her family members are big NASCAR fans.

“She is a big Richard Petty fan; even brought up Lee Petty’s name. So that was very special to be able to do that and to help somebody like that.”

Click here to see a video of Gordon’s visit with Evans.

Gordon explained that Drive To End Hunger isn’t just a sponsor, it’s a cause he supports and believes in.

“It’s not just fund-raising, it’s getting the word out there for more people to understand how serious this issue is,” he said. “And we need more volunteers. We need more people to be aware of it to really get involved and make an impact.

“It starts in local communities and it spreads throughout the country and every little bit helps. I think, obviously Freida and her story and how important that meal was to her is the greatest way to spread that word.”

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.