DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Jeff Gordon joined a very exclusive club on Sunday afternoon at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Gordon was on the Rolex 24-winning Wayne Taylor Racing team alongside Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli. The triumph made him one of just four drivers to have victories in the Daytona 500 and the Rolex 24.
He joins Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Jamie McMurray on the very exclusive list. He credited the car, the new Cadillac DPi-V.R, and the Wayne Taylor Racing team for doing most of the work.
Gordon didn’t spend a lot of time behind the wheel. He only drove twice for three stints, but his last stint came in soggy conditions that saw Gordon lead the race. With more bad weather overnight, the Taylor brothers got back behind the wheel and Gordon ended up watching the final hours of the race from pit road.
Still, Gordon was on the winning team and now he has a Rolex watch to help him remember his experience.
“I love driving this car I love working with this group. They have an amazing team, and they put a lot of hard work, sweat, blood, tears and preparation into getting here, and I felt pretty early on there was something special about it, and it’s great to see how it’s turned out, especially that great move that Ricky made at the end,” said Gordon.
Gordon, who ended his full-time NASCAR career at the end of the 2015 season, previously raced in the Rolex 24 in 2007 with Wayne Taylor Racing. With his NASCAR career behind him, Gordon said he felt like this was the time to attempt the Rolex 24 again.
It clearly paid off.
“I felt like in 2007 I just wasn’t able to fully commit, and this time I was able to and it made a difference,” Gordon said. “I want to be full pace and I want to contribute and add and make sure that it’s something that helps this team win. I feel proud to be a part of it, but these are the real winners. I did my part and I’m proud of that, but these guys, the job they did was amazing.”
One thing Gordon spent a great deal of time on in advance of the race was the driver changes. He noted in multiple interviews before and during the race that he was bruised and beat up after practicing driver changes with the team, but said he focused on that so much because he was so bad at it during his first Rolex 24 attempt in 2007.
“My driver changes in 2007 were really pathetic,” Gordon said bluntly Sunday afternoon. “I went to the shop and I pit practiced — driver change practices with these guys. I mean, I was so proud of my driver changes. Every driver change I had was like, ‘Yes, it went so good.
“You know, I felt more prepared, and it was a better experience than I even had in 2007, which was a good one.”
With a victory in the Rolex 24 now in his back pocket, is there a chance that we might see Gordon head across the Atlantic to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
“Well, see, this is where I got myself in trouble. I said, let’s see how this goes,” Gordon said. “I have a busy schedule, a lot going on with my FOX commitments and my commitments to Hendrick (Motorsports). I am going to stay in close contact with Wayne and Ricky and Jordan and Max and see what potential opportunities there may be out there. I’ve got a great relationship with Cadillac and GM. But I have no plans at this time.”