Gordon swept up in surreal day at Martinsville

Published: 2 months ago

Reading time: 3 minutes

The surreal fashion that Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway was unfolding for Hendrick Motorsports got to Jeff Gordon. There were many emotions layered onto the NASCAR Cup series race as Hendrick Motorsports celebrated its 40th anniversary.

A Historic Victory for Hendrick Motorsports

The race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday was a truly surreal experience for Hendrick Motorsports. As the team celebrated its 40th anniversary, the emotions were running high. The victory by William Byron was made even more special by the impressive 1-2-3 sweep with Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Jeff Gordon, a legendary figure in NASCAR and a part of Hendrick Motorsports, shared his thoughts on the momentous occasion.

Gordon reflected on the race and described how he felt like he was in the car during the final laps. He reminisced about the feeling of leading a race and the anticipation of achieving something truly extraordinary. The emotions overwhelmed him, and he had to remind himself to stay focused and not get carried away with the moment. Gordon expressed his awe at the entire experience, acknowledging that it couldn't have been scripted any better.

A Weekend Filled with Hendrick Motorsports Celebrations

Even before the race began, the weekend was already dedicated to honoring Hendrick Motorsports. The legendary organization owes its existence to Geoff Bodine's victory at Martinsville Speedway in April 1984. To commemorate this milestone, all four Hendrick drivers raced with a special ruby red paint scheme. The facility itself was transformed, with the tunnel leading to the infield adorned with pictures of previous Hendrick Motorsports wins.

The celebrations continued with Bodine and Gordon serving as co-grand marshals. The team's owner, Rick Hendrick, was scheduled to be the pace car driver but couldn't attend due to his slow-healing knee replacement surgery. Various Hendrick Motorsports cars were displayed throughout the property, creating a festive atmosphere. The most notable aspect was the presence of 1,500 people wearing ruby red shirts high above Turn 2. After his victory, Byron made sure to celebrate in front of this enthusiastic crowd.

Engaging Employees and Creating History

Gordon shared his excitement about the tremendous turnout for the event. He revealed that around 1,500 employees and their families attended the race, which was a remarkable show of support. He praised Rick Hendrick for agreeing to organize the celebration and the track president, Clay Campbell, for facilitating it. The invitation didn't just offer free entry; it encouraged employees to bring their family members and provided discounted tickets for additional guests. The response exceeded expectations, with the number of attendees growing each day.

To Gordon, seeing the Hendrick Motorsports team rally behind this milestone and witnessing their enthusiasm was truly incredible. He described the festivities, with music playing and people enjoying themselves early in the day. The victory at the race was the perfect culmination of the day's events, and Gordon acknowledged the positive impact it would have on the company. The engagement of the employees, their connection to the team's history, and the creation of new history in the present made it an unforgettable experience.

Reflecting on a New Role and the Team's Success

As a former driver for Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon has achieved great success, winning four championships and 93 races, including nine at Martinsville Speedway. However, the emotions he felt on Sunday while sitting atop a pit box were different from those experienced behind the wheel. He emphasized that it's not just about the act of driving but also about the emotions and what the moment means to the team.

Gordon acknowledged that winning the race held immense significance for Rick Hendrick, Linda Hendrick, and the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization. He praised William Byron for consistently stepping up during milestone wins for the team. While transitioning from being a driver to a more desk-oriented role wasn't something Gordon initially envisioned, he expressed his gratitude for being in a position to witness and contribute to the team's success.

In Gordon's view, the hard work of the team members is what makes everyone involved look good. He embraced his current role and found it enjoyable to be a part of the team's accomplishments during this special time of celebration.

Overall, the race at Martinsville Speedway was a historic and emotional event for Hendrick Motorsports. The team's victory, combined with the enthusiastic support of employees and their families, created a memorable experience that will be cherished for years to come.


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