Jeff Gordon’s stepfather’s role in making him a NASCAR legend: “I don’t have $5,000. How am I going to get $5 million?”

Jeff Gordon is a leading figure in the NASCAR Cup series. During his time, everyone knew the #24 DuPont Chevrolet would make its way through the tracks and he had a good reputation for it too. Furthermore, Gordon made his way to the top four and earned four cup series titles. Now, he is now Vice President of Hendrick Motorsports.

However, the legendary driver had a very modest start. And for Father’s Day, Jeff Gordon’s stepfather, John Pickford, took fans on Jeff Gordon’s racing journey in an interview with Fox Sports.


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Jeff Gordon’s stepfather highlights the crucial decision that made him racing

We all know racing is an expensive hobby. And doing it professionally is in a completely different financial hurdle. So, naturally, Jeff Gordon had some problems in the money department as his stepfather said, “We started talking to the car owners and they were saying, ‘Yeah, Jeff would be great. How much money can you bring in? We need about $5 million or $6 million. I said, ‘I don’t have $5,000. How am I going to get the $5 million?'”

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His stepfather shared the crucial conversation that took the driver to where he wanted to be. “So when we had the opportunity to drive a normal car, we said, ‘Well, we never thought about that, but maybe we should try it. So Ken Schrader told me, ‘You have to go see Buck Baker if you want to know about a stock car. I think Jeff would be fine with that.'”

What is the big decision?

Well, Jeff Gordon’s stepfather revealed, “It was 1990. Jeff wasn’t even able to rent a car. Carol had to take him to Buck Baker Racing School in Rockingham, NC and Jeff called me on the phone and said, ‘I think that’s what I want to do. I can drive these cars.”

KANSAS CITY, KS – SEPTEMBER 30: Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Dupont Chevrolet, looks in the garage, during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Cup 400 banquet on September 30 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

“And they’re racing. And they want to race here. That’s all about racing. It’s not about getting in, going fast and being very careful. They will push you here. I think I can do that.”


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Of course, Jeff Gordon proved to be very fast and got a deal as his stepfather said, “And Hugh Connerty (restaurant owner) came in. Hugh was a friend of Buck Baker and he was there and he (NASCAR owner) was Leo Jackson’s son-in-law.”


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He said, ‘Jeff, I really think you can drive. I’ll Hire You to Drive My Car (NASCAR Busch Series). And that’s pretty much the story.”

There are many things we owe to our families. And we probably wouldn’t have seen Jeff Gordon on the Trophy Series track if it wasn’t for his stepfather.

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