Jeff Gordon Lands New Sponsor

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Jeff Gordon (left) will drive the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet for team owner Rick Hendrick (right) next season. (HHP/Gregg Ellman Photo)
Jeff Gordon (left) will drive the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet for team owner Rick Hendrick (right) next season. (HHP/Gregg Ellman Photo)

CONCORD, N.C. — For the first time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, Jeff Gordon will have a new primary sponsor.

The AARP Foundation’s Drive to End Hunger campaign will be the majority sponsor on Gordon’s No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the next three seasons, with primary positioning in 22 of the 36 events each year beginning in 2011.

“To me this is a really unique opportunity for our sport, for us at Hendrick Motorsports and certainly for all of us on the No. 24 team,” Gordon said Wednesday. “It has always been important for me to give back, but this is a way that we’re going be able to get awareness out there in a way that has never been done before and make a huge impact.”

The AARP Foundation is the American Ass’n of Retired Persons affiliated charity and is dedicated to helping people age 50 and older. The Foundation focuses on four main areas — hunger, housing, income and isolation — and programs are typically funded by grants, tax-deductible contributions and the AARP.

The Drive to End Hunger program will replace DuPont as Gordon’s primary sponsor. Team owner Rick Hendrick said that DuPont, who has been Gordon’s primary sponsor since his Sprint Cup debut in the season finale in 1992, is not leaving the team, instead opting to scale back its involvement in the sport.

Hendrick declined to discuss who would sponsor Gordon in the 14 races not covered by the Drive to End Hunger partnership, but he did say the team was fully backed for the 2011 racing season.

“I have to say that in my 26 years of being involved with the NASCAR sport, this is one of the most exciting things I’ve been a part of,” Hendrick said. “We have a such loyal fan base and our fans support any program that NASCAR is involved in.

AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins said that the program wouldn’t be against working with other organizations that would like a presence on Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet as part of the Drive to End Hunger program.

“Fifty-one million people go hungry in this country every day and of that six million of those folks are over the age of 60,” Jenkins said. “We hope to raise funds for the Drive to End Hunger campaign so we can alleviate hunger in this country.

“We’ll be working with Hendrick Motorsports about sponsorships with other corporations and individuals who want to have a presence on the car who want to help us solve this issue in this country,” Jenkins said.