Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jeff Gordon joins exclusive club with team's 24 Hours at Daytona victory

Jeff Gordon hugs daughter Ella Sofia after his team’s 24 Hours of Daytona victory.

Associated Press

Jeff Gordon hugs daughter Ella Sofia after his team’s 24 Hours of Daytona victory.

DAYTONA BEACH — Jeff Gordon's latest accomplishment won't take up much room in his expansive trophy case.

But it's sure to get a prime spot.

The retired NASCAR star joined an exclusive club Sunday, the fourth driver to win the 24 Hours at Daytona and the Daytona 500. Racing legends A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti and NASCAR regular Jamie McMurray are the only others to accomplish the feat.

"Not bad company," said Gordon, who has three Daytona 500 victories (1997, '99, 2005). "It was the thrill of a lifetime. I'm just so honored … to be part of this experience."

Gordon was the fourth driver for Wayne Taylor Racing in the endurance race, and although he didn't play a significant role in getting the No. 10 Cadillac to Victory Lane, he was a welcomed addition and quite possibly earned himself an open invitation to return.

"I'm so happy that we could do this for Jeff," team owner Wayne Taylor said. "And let me tell you something, he deserved winning this race. He might not have driven a lot, but when he did drive, do you know how easy it is to screw this race up? Do you know how difficult it is to stay on the same lap as the leaders, and he did that."

Gordon is a four-time NASCAR champion, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and a 93-time winner in NASCAR's top series. Throw in exhibition, all-star and qualifying races and he's one of the sport's most accomplished drivers. Now, the 45-year-old has a Rolex chronograph to put alongside all those shiny trophies.

"Can you believe it? I got him for free," Taylor said. "I made him pay for the paint on the car. Of course, he sold it to his sponsor."

Indeed, Gordon drove for free and kept a promise he made to Taylor in 2007. Gordon raced in the 24 Hours with Taylor's team a decade ago, and even though he was admittedly "pathetic," the team finished third. Gordon felt like he was unable to fully commit, so he told Taylor he would return after he retires.

Gordon was just one of several story lines to come out of the team's victory.

Teammate Ricky Taylor made a bold move late to take the lead and essentially win the race after four consecutive oh-so-close finishes. Teammate Max Angelelli retired after the race, going out on top. And Wayne Taylor got to see his two sons win one of the biggest events of their careers.

Jeff Gordon joins exclusive club with team's 24 Hours at Daytona victory 01/29/17 [Last modified: Sunday, January 29, 2017 9:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI

    Bucs

    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Mariners, with another new look

    Blogs

    Having lost 11 of their last 14 games and dropping to a season-worst four games under .500 at 60-64, the Rays continue to search for ways to get out of their extended offensive slump.

    And with the M's starting LHP Ariel Miranda today, that means another new look to the lineup, which includes having struggling …

  3. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often

    Bucs

    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
  4. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005

    Bucs

    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  5. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge

    Bucs

    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]