Why Jeff Gordon’s Sprint Cup retirement tour will be unlike any other


Jeff Gordon’s Sprint Cup retirement tour won’t happen until he officially is retired and no longer feted as the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet.

In a changeup from the farewell seasons of recent Sprint Cup stars (such as Rusty Wallace) that featured an incessant salute of pomp and circumstance, the four-time series champion plans to play it low-key in 2015 during his final full-time campaign because he doesn’t want to detract from his push to finish as a champion.

“I want my focus to be on driving that race car to the best of my ability,” Gordon said Thursday in announcing he would step away after his 23rd final full-time season. “I don’t think we can do that and try to have a retirement or sign-off festivities. My plan is to be back in 2016 doing all kinds of things with the fans and with Hendrick Motorsports. I’ll be a major fixture at the track in 2016.

“I look forward to really giving interaction to the fans who have been so loyal to me. They want me to be competitive. That means a lot to them. I found that out through Twitter especially. The only way is to really be focused on with the team meetings, debrief, going over the data. That’s the decision we made that goes beyond ’15 as part of our plans.”

Gordon avoided using the word “retirement” because he is leaving the door open to running the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series in NASCAR or sports car in the future.

But he ruled out a part-time Cup schedule and said the “chances are pretty good” that the Nov. 22 season finale would be his last in NACAR’s premier series.

“The way I see myself in the world, (retirement means) I’d need to go off to a beach somewhere, sit in a rocking chair, drinking coffee, petting the dog, and that’s not me,” he said. “I plan on working. I’m actually going to have to go get a real job. When I think of retirement, I don’t think that’s what I’m doing.

“I want to leave myself open as well to be able to get in a car. … I don’t plan on doing many races … but I know I won’t be retiring. Because I have a lot on my plate already that we have plans for and talked about for the future.”

Gordon scored four victories in 2014, marking the most in a single season since six in 2007. He averaged a finish of 10.4 (best in five years) and starting position of 9.0 (best in a decade) in reaching the third round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

If Ryan Newman hadn’t knocked Kyle Larson aside for a spot on the last lap at Phoenix International Raceway, Gordon would have been among the final four racing for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where his No. 24 Chevrolet led a race-high 161 of 267 laps.

That renaissance helped inspire Gordon to believe the timing was right to step away after the 2015 season because he could exit at the top of his game. He made the decision midway through the 2014 season because his performance “confirmed it even more that I could be 20-plus years into my career and be that competitive.

“There’s no doubt in last couple of years, I’ve been faced with those thoughts that … I wasn’t having fun showing up to the track,” he said. “Last year changed that for me. It built my confidence up. I feel we’re going to be able to continue that momentum in 2015. Nothing would make me happier than signing off on this amazing career I’ve had at Homestead and knowing I went out, of course, on top, but if that’s not possible. I want to go out being competitive.”

And what would happen if his final year was a letdown?

“There’s a possibility we might not have a great year,” he said. “Right now I feel really good about it because of the way we ran. But if we don’t, it’s still a heck of a career. I’m going to try to enjoy myself more than I normally do.

“Normally I take it so darn seriously, that sometimes no matter how we run, I don’t always enjoy it. I want to enjoy this season to the fullest. I want my family around me, being a part of it. I’m looking forward to going to the track and smiling, watching … enjoying the friendships I’ve made over the years.”

Gordon said his decision also was driven by the length of Hendrick Motorsports’ sponsorship contracts. He is a part owner of teammate Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet and intimately involved in the multicar organization’s business interests with team owner Rick Hendrick.

“It was never the plan to end after ’14,” Gordon said. “I made the joke about winning the championship and riding off into the sun, but even if I’d won the championship, that wouldn’t have happened, because I’m partners with Rick, I know how the business is. I knew as competitive as I was, I wasn’t quite ready. There were business commitments there.”

Gordon, who nearly missed last year’s Coca-Cola 600 with an injured back, said his health also weighed in the decision, as well as time with his family. He got emotional sharing the news Thursday morning with his daughter, Ella, before heading to the shop to inform the team.

“Today is an emotional day for me,” he said. “I had to tell my daughter that I was going to tell people. She saw me get emotional. I saw a look in her eyes that she’d never seen me like that. … I’m very proud of what I’ve done and accomplished. I’m a little sad there’ll be a day I step out of the car for the last time. I knew it would come at some time. I feel this is the right time.”

Hendrick seems to have a clear replacement lined up for Gordon’s ride in reigning Xfinity champion Chase Elliott, who is under contract to Hendrick and expected to run a few Cup races this year while defending his title on the lower circuit.

“We’re just looking down the road a little later,” Hendrick said. “We want to focus on Jeff and what he’s accomplished. At a later time, we will focus on who’s going to be in the car.”

IndyCar results, points after 107th Indy 500


INDIANAPOLIS — With his first victory in the Indy 500, Josef Newgarden became the first repeat winner through six race results of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season and made a move in the points.

Newgarden, who celebrated with fans in the grandstands, moved from sixth to fourth in the championship standings with his 27th career victory and second this season (he also won at Texas Motor Speedway).

The Team Penske star won his 12th attempt at the Brickyard oval, tying the record for most starts before an Indy 500 victory with Tony Kanaan (2013) and Sam Hanks (1957). Newgarden, whose previous best Indy 500 finish was third with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2016, became the first Tennessee native to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and the first American since Alexander Rossi in 2016.

He also delivered the record 19th Indy 500 triumph to Roger Penske, whose team ended a four-year drought on the 2.5-mile oval and won for the first time since he became the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar in 2020.

Newgarden, 32, led five laps, the third-lowest total for an Indy 500 winner behind Joe Dawson (two in 1912) and Dan Wheldon (one in 2011).

The race featured 52 lead changes, the third most behind 68 in 2013 and 54 in ’16, among 14 drivers (tied with ’13 for the second highest behind 15 leaders in ’17 and ’18). Newgarden’s 0.0974-second victory over Marcus Ericsson was the fourth-closest in Indy 500 history behind 1992 (0.043 of a second for Al Unser Jr. over Scott Goodyear), 2014 (0.0600 of a second for Ryan Hunter-Reay over Helio Castroneves) and 2006 (0.0635 of a second Sam Hornish Jr. over Marco Andretti.).

It also marked only the third last-lap pass in Indy 500 history — all within the past 17 years (Hornish over Andretti in 2006; Wheldon over J.R. Hildebrand in 2011).

Ericsson’s runner-up finish was the ninth time the defending Indy 500 finished second the next year (most recently four-time winner Helio Castroneves in 2003).

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the 107th Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:


Click here for the official box score from the 200-lap race on a 2.5-mile oval in Indianapolis.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Indy 500 with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (17) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
2. (10) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 200, Running
3. (4) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 200, Running
5. (7) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 200, Running
6. (6) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
7. (8) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
8. (16) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (21) Colton Herta, Honda, 200, Running
10. (2) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
11. (18) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (27) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 200, Running
13. (25) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 200, Running
14. (14) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 200, Running
15. (20) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 200, Running
16. (9) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 200, Running
17. (24) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
18. (32) Jack Harvey, Honda, 199, Running
19. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 198, Running
20. (13) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 197, Contact
21. (11) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 196, Contact
22. (33) Graham Rahal, Chevrolet, 195, Running
23. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 195, Running
24. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 192, Contact
25. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 192, Contact
26. (26) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 192, Contact
27. (3) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 183, Contact
28. (15) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 183, Contact
29. (23) David Malukas, Honda, 160, Contact
30. (19) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 149, Contact
31. (31) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 90, Contact
32. (28) RC Enerson, Chevrolet, 75, Mechanical
33. (29) Katherine Legge, Honda, 41, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 168.193 mph; Time of Race: 2:58:21.9611; Margin of victory: 0.0974 of a second; Cautions: 5 for 27 laps; Lead changes: 52 among 14 drivers. Lap leaders: Palou 1-2; VeeKay 3; Palou 4-9; VeeKay 10-14; Palou 15-22; VeeKay 23-27; Palou 28-29; VeeKay 30-31; Rosenqvist 32; Rossi 33-34; Palou 35-39; VeeKay 40-47; Palou 48-60; VeeKay 61-63; Rosenqvist 64-65; O’Ward 66; Power 67; Herta 68; Rosenqvist 69; O’Ward 70-78; Rosenqvist 79-81; O’Ward 82-89; Rosenqvist 90-94; Ilott 95-99; Rosenqvist 100-101; O’Ward 102; Rosenqvist 103-107; O’Ward 108-109; Rosenqvist 110-113; O’Ward 114-115; Rosenqvist 116-119; O’Ward 120-122; Rosenqvist 123-124; O’Ward 125-128; Rosenqvist 129-131; Ferrucci 132; Ericsson 133-134; Castroneves 135; Rosenqvist 136; Ericsson 137-156; Newgarden 157; Ericsson 158; Ferrucci 159-168; Ericsson 169-170; Rossi 171-172; Sato 173-174; O’Ward 175-179; Hunter-Reay 180-187;
O’Ward 188-191; Ericsson 192; Newgarden 193-195; Ericsson 196-199; Newgarden 200.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the GMR Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 219, Ericsson 199, O’Ward 185, Newgarden 182, Dixon 162, McLaughlin 149, Rossi 145, Grosjean 139, Power 131, Herta 130.

Rest of the standings: Lundgaard 122, Kirkwood 113, Rosenqvist 113, Ilott 111, Ferrucci 96, VeeKay 96, Rahal 94, Malukas 84, Armstrong 77, Daly 73, Castroneves 69, Harvey 65, DeFrancesco 63, Canapino 61, Pagenaud 55, Pedersen 51, Robb 47, Sato 37, Carpenter 27, Hunter-Reay 20, Kanaan 18, Andretti 13, Enerson 5, Legge 5.

Next race: The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, which has moved from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown, will take place June 4 with coverage starting on Peacock at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.