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By Joe Posnanski - NBC Sports

“I established why a lot of NASCAR pan don’t favor Jeff Gordon, and it’s not since Gordon wins every various other week. A most NASCAR pan don’t favor Jeff Gordon due to the fact that Jeff Gordon enunciates. And also there really ain’t a place for that kind of stuff in NASCAR.”

— Jeff Foxworthy

The man who adjusted NASCAR is sinking into one of those comfy chairs they have in the corners that his favourite Starbucks. Jeff Gordon likes this Starbucks because they understand him through name, and it’s quite quiet in here, and likewise it’s close to the hospital that functions on his back every week. His back, you need to know, always hurts. That’s one of the stark realities the his 44-year-old life.

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“Right now, it hasn’t sunk in,” the says. That is talking about the end of his control career, which happens in much less than 2 months in ~ Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon it s okay annoyed when human being call it “retirement.” He’s not retiring. He will be working as hard as ever before as a team owner and a NASCAR broadcaster because that FOX and also a businessman and also a dad. He’s no retiring in ~ all. He simply won’t drive a race vehicle anymore.

“I think at homestead it will sink in,” he says. “Then again, it can not be until this time following year. I don’t know. Right now I’m excited about next year. I’m very content with the decision. That time because that me.”

He shrugs. A man in the comfy chair beside him is working on a computer, and also he keeps glancing over, possibly in a “Oh, wow, that’s Jeff Gordon, four-time Cup Champion” means or perhaps in a “Hey, save it down, i’m doing some job-related here” way. It’s hard to tell. Gordon no seem come notice.

“I could say something totally different right now next year or two years from now,” Gordon continues. “I might say, ‘You know what? ns was a fool. I should have drove that vehicle for an additional 10 years.’”

“Do you execute that often?” ns ask him. “Do you make a decision and also then a year later on regret it?”

He look at up and smiles a little. “No,” he admits. “It’s time.”

We gain up native the comfy chairs, and also Gordon tells me that his chair actually wasn’t comfortable in ~ all, the the whole time he satellite there his ago was barking favor seals off the Norfolk coast. The back pain is constant now, so much so that also his children know not to jump on him when he isn’t expecting it. This is a huge reason why he’s leaving racing. “I don’t desire to live a life whereby I can not play with my kids,” the says. We start to walk out to his car, but prior to we do, Gordon turns to the other male sitting in the Starbucks.

“Sorry if us disturbed you at all,” the says, and the male looks up in ~ Gordon in a surprised way, and he certainly thinks among the two things human being have to be thinking around Jeff Gordon ever because he was a son driving a rainbow-colored gyeongju car. The man might be thinking, “Wow, what a quite guy.” He additionally could be thinking, “I preferred it once Earnhardt put you in the wall.”

* * *

“I drive fast, call me Jeff Gordon In a black SS through navigation.”

— Nelly, “E.I.”

NASCAR had outsiders prior to Jeff Gordon. Tim Richmond. Darrell Waltrip. Junior Johnson was absolutely an outlaw, if no an outsider. But, from the start, there to be something different about Gordon, something around his...

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