Motorsports community reacts to Jeff Gordon’s retirement

Some of the reaction to four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s announcement that 2015 will be his last season as a full-time NASCAR driver:

”Jeff Gordon’s significance to our sport cannot be overstated. He is an incredible competitor, and a favorite of millions of fans. His contributions throughout his career to NASCAR have elevated our sport’s popularity worldwide.” – Lesa Kennedy France, CEO of NASCAR’s sister company, International Speedway Corp.

”Can’t imagine being at the track without (at)JeffGordonWeb. I don’t think I would have ever had my opportunity without Jeff paving the way.” – Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart ((at)TonyStewart) via Twitter.

”He was the guy that got me to start buying souvenirs and T-shirts when I was a kid. I’ve always looked up to him and it’s been a great honor for me to get to race against him, have battles with him, to make him mad at times on the track, but the coolest thing is that he is going out when he is on top. I think that is the hardest thing for any of us to do when we decide we are going to retire.” – NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray.

”Jeff Gordon is a hero to a lot of kids, and the driver I personally looked up to as a kid, especially growing up in Northern California. I raced sprint cars like he did and at a lot of the same tracks he did over the years. To hear that Jeff Gordon is retiring is big news. He’s a hero of mine and I hope he stays involved with the sport.” – NASCAR driver Kyle Larson.

”Anyone who follows racing anywhere around the world knows the name Jeff Gordon. He is a legend in the sport and what he’s been able to accomplish over his career is nothing short of amazing. I wish him all the best in his final NASCAR season.” – Three-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon.

”Jeff’s accomplishments off the track are impressive, but his numbers on the track are unbelievable. I call him the `GOAT’ – the Greatest of All Time. I believe he is the greatest NASCAR driver there has ever been. What he has done outside the sport has grown the sport’s popularity immensely. I give Jeff a tremendous amount of credit for the youth movement in NASCAR. A lot of people think NASCAR started in 1992 because that’s when he came on the scene and brought in a new, young audience because he appealed to the 18- to 35-year-old demographic. We didn’t really have a driver at the time who could do that.” – Hall of Fame driver and current FOX analyst Darrell Waltrip.

”Jeff Gordon transcends NASCAR and will be celebrated as one of the greatest drivers to ever race. We have all enjoyed watching his legend grow for more than two decades, and will continue to do so during his final full-time season. His prolonged excellence and unmatched class continue to earn him the admiration of fans across the globe. Today’s announcement is a bittersweet one. I’ll miss his competitive fire on a weekly basis, but I am also happy for Jeff and his family as they start a new chapter. On behalf of the entire NASCAR family, I thank Jeff for his years of dedication and genuine love for this sport, and wish him the very best in his final season.” – NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.

”Jeff changed the personality and perception of a race car driver in NASCAR. Before he came along, the perception was more about the good old Southeastern boy wearing blue jeans, big belt buckles and boots. But he created a new buzz in our sport because he looked like he stepped off the cover of a GQ magazine.” – retired NASCAR crew chief and current FOX analyst Larry McReynolds.

”I’ve had a lot of good times with (at)JeffGordonWeb and one (crap) one. Weird to think just like all the other greats, that soon he won’t be there!” – NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer ((at)ClintBowyer) via Twitter.

”Hard to imagine this is (at)JeffGordonWeb last full season. Tons of respect for him and what he’s accomplished thus far. A total professional.” – Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. ((at)DaleJr) via Twitter.

”Crazy to hear that (at)JeffGordonWeb is retiring! What an amazing career! Glad I got to race with him!” – NASCAR driver Danica Patrick ((at)DanicaPatrick) via Twitter.

”Grew up a (at)JeffGordonWeb and (at)markmartin fan. Been awesome to race both of them for wins. Look forward to one more year in 2015.” – NASCAR driver Joey Logano ((at)joeylogano) via Twitter.

”Crazy… You’re the man!” – Six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson ((at)JimmieJohnson) via Twitter.

”Very few have done as much for our sport as (at)JeffGordonWeb. Nothing but respect for one of the greatest that’s ever raced.” – NASCAR driver Regan Smith ((at)ReganSmith) via Twitter.

”I feel so lucky to say I have raced against my idol and favorite driver growing up (at)JeffGordonWeb… ready for one more year against you.” – NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger ((at)AJDinger) via Twitter.

”Congrats bud (at)JeffGordonWeb, looking forward to seeing you kick butt one more time. Looking forward to 2015.” – Former Gordon crew chief Ray Evernham ((at)RayEvernham) via Twitter.

”I’ve known Jeff since he was a teenager with a really bad mustache. It has been thrilling to watch him develop from a promising Busch Series driver into perhaps the greatest professional our sport has ever seen. Jeff showed last season that he still has a burning desire to win races and championships. You won’t find a finer professional, person or charitable athlete. We have been fortunate to be associated with him for all of these years. I’m sure all fans, even of the other drivers, will want to show their appreciation to Jeff this year.” – Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage.

”We got to know him when he drove with us back in 2007. He’s just such a normal guy and humble guy, brilliant driver. He is a very special kind of driver. He speaks well and does all the right things. His hair is always perfect. We mocked him because of his stupid helmet with all these flames on it and he really just couldn’t believe we didn’t like the helmet.” – IMSA team owner Wayne Taylor, who had Gordon drive for him in the 2007 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

”A true gentleman, a true team player. He was so humble. He was a champ so we thought, `Oh, man, this guy.’ But he was just normal, down to the ground, stayed at the same hotel as ours.” – Driver Max Angelelli, who finished third with Gordon in the 2007 Rolex 24.