Why Hendrick won’t retire the No. 24

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When Jeff Gordon told car owner Rick Hendrick “it’s time,’’ then came the next question.

What to do with the No. 24?

While NASCAR does not retire car numbers, Hendrick wondered if he should run the number. No driver other than Gordon has won a NASCAR Sprint Cup race with the No. 24 and Gordon’s 92 victories rank third all time. If ever a number deserved to be retired, this seemed to be good time.

Hendrick asked Gordon what he wanted to do with the number. As a four-time champion Gordon earned the right to have a say.

“I thought it would be appropriate if he wanted to to sit it out a year or whatever NASCAR would let us do,’’ Hendrick said. “HIs comment was, ‘We have a lot of fans, we have a lot of sponsors involved with that number and they want to see it go on.’ He said, ‘I’d rather see it go on.’’