- 4 time Winston Cup (now called Sprint Cup) Champion: 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001
- 3 time Daytona 500 winner: 1997, 1999, 2005
- 5 time Brickyard 400 winner: 1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014
- 3 time All-Star race winner: 1995, 1997, 2001
- 2 time Busch Clash (now called Sprint Unlimited) winner: 1994, 1997
Sprint Cup Statistics
- Best points finish: 1st (1995,1997, 1998, 2001)
- First win: 1994 Coke 600 - Charlotte
- Last win: 2015 Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 - Martinsville
- Most wins in a season: 13 (1998)
- Total Sprint Cup wins: 93
Sprint Cup Series Career
Gordon made his cup debut in the 1992 Hooters 500 at Atlanta, the final race of the season, where 6 drivers had a chance at the championship, with Alan Kulwicki ultimately taking the title. The race was also significant as it was the final race for 7 time champion "The King", Richard Petty.
1993 was Gordon's first full time season. Though he won a Daytona 500 qualifying race (a non points event that doesn't count towards official wins), he crashed often because he'd push the cars too hard. He would, however, finish his first full time season 14th in points, taking the Rookie of the Year award. Ray Evernham was assigned as his crew chief and they would go on to form one of the most successful pairings the sport had ever seen. On meeting Gordon for the first time Evernham recalls that his briefcase only contained a racing magazine, a can of peanuts, and a Nintendo GameBoy.
In 1994 Gordon won his first career race at the Cup level in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, one of the sports biggest races, and certainly it's longest. On August 6th he won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR's first race at the historic track. Though born in Vallejo California he grew up in Pittsboro Indiana and considers IMS to be his home track and considers his inaugural victory at the Brickyard to be the biggest of his career. 1994 would also be the year that Dale Earnhardt won his seventh, and final, championship. Gordon would finish the season in 8th place.
1995-2001: Rise of a Superstar
1995 was the year everything came together. Jeff won a total of 7 races (the most that season) and held off a late charge by Dale Earnhardt to win his first Winston Cup championship. Earnhardt had joked that due to his young age they would give him milk instead of champagne at the awards banquet. Gordon went on to toast him with a champagne flute of milk during his speech. Around this time he also acquired the "Wonder Boy" nickname.
Despite going on to win a season high 10 races in 1996, he would lose the championship to Hendrick teammate Terry Labonte. Labonte only won twice but was able to consistently finish higher, and thus score more points, than Gordon.
1997 started off with a bang as Gordon won the sports biggest race, the Daytona 500, with Hendrick Motorsports teammates Terry Labonte and Ricky Craven finishing right behind him. At 25 he was the youngest Daytona 500 winner, a record that stood until 2011 when Trevor Bayne won at the age of 20. Gordon would rack up a total of 10 victories en route to his second championship. However, 1998 was arguably his most dominant year. He set a modern-era record with 13 wins, including his second Brickyard 400, and easily claimed his third championship.
1999 would be a big year of change for the team, as long time crew chief Ray Evernham departed late in the season to try to form his own team. Despite 7 victories, including a second Daytona 500, he would finish 6th in the points. At the end of 99 Gordon and Hendrick signed a life-time contract which gave Gordon an equity stake in his team. Paired with new crew chief Robbie Loomis the team struggled in the 2000 season, winning only 3 times and finishing 9th in points. Though at Talladega he claimed his 50th career win, a milestone he reached quicker than any other driver.
Amidst criticisms and concerns that Gordon was no longer as competitive without Evernham, he would go on to dominate the 2001 season. He won 6 times, including a third Brickyard 400, on his way to his 4th championship. This made him just the third driver to win more than three championships, along with Petty and Earnhardt who each had a total of 7.
2002-2007: The Protege and the Chase
Gordon entered the 2002 season with what's been deemed the "drive for five" in hopes of obtaining his 5th championship. Though he performed well he only scored 3 wins each in the 2002 and 2003 seasons, finishing 4th in the standings both years. In 2002 under Jeff's advisement Rick Hendrick hired Jimmie Johnson to drive the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet full time in the cup series (he'd made 3 starts in 2001). Rick and Jeff are co-owners of the 48 car.
2004 was a big year for the 24 team. He won a total of 5 races including his 4th at the Brickyard 400, where he has the most wins of any driver. However, 2004 was a year of big change for NASCAR, with the implementation of the 10 race 10 driver (expanded to 12 drivers in 2007) chase format, which acted as the series playoffs. Although he scored the most points total that year, under this new format he finished 3rd behind teammate Jimmie Johnson and champion Kurt Busch.
Gordon would start 2005 with his third win in the Daytona 500. Unfortunately inconsistency would plague him throughout the year. He missed qualifying for the chase and finished the season in 11th place with 4 wins. Steve Letarte replaced Robbie Loomis as crew chief late in the year. In 2006 he won twice and finished 6th in the points as teammate Jimmie Johnson grabbed his first Sprint Cup championship.
2007 saw the 24 team back in dominating form. Jeff won for the first time at Phoenix, the victory was significant as it tied him with Dale Earnhardt at 76 wins. He drove around with a number 3 flag after the race as a tribute. The very next week he won at Talladega, surpassing Earnhardt and giving him sole possession of 6th on the all time wins list. He would finish the season in second place with 6 wins, though much like in 2004 he scored the most points total but Jimmie Johnson dominated the chase en route to his second championship.
Although he finished in 7th place, 2008 was a major disappointment as he would finish the season winless for the first time in his career since his rookie season of 1993.
He won his only race in 2009 at Texas, his first at the track. This leaves Homestead-Miami and Kentucky (introduced in 2011) as the only tracks he has not won at. He would go on to finish 3rd in the final standings behind teammates Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson.
Jeff and Mark were unable to carry their momentum through to the 2010 season. He went winless for the third time in his career and finished 9th as Johnson grabbed his historic 5th consecutive championship. Despite winning yet another championship team owner Rick Hendrick saw need to restructure his organization by swapping crew chiefs on all his teams except Johnson's 48 team. It was announced that Alan Gustafson would be Gordon's new crew chief for the 2011 season. It was also announced that long time sponsor Dupont would scale back their involvement to 14 races for the 2011 season and AARP's Drive to End Hunger program would be his primary sponsor.
At Phoenix in the second race of the 2011 season Gordon snapped a 66 race winless streak. Despite being involved in an early wreck triggered by Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch, he would go on to dominate, leading the most laps, and winning his 83rd career victory, tying him with Cale Yarborough for 5th on the all time wins list. On June 12th at Pocono Gordon won for the fifth time at the track. This was his first multi-win season since 2007, and, more importantly, tied him with Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison for 3rd on the all time wins list with 84 wins. On September 6th Jeff once again rewrote the history books by winning at Atlanta for career win number 85. He is now in sole possession of 3rd on the all time wins list; ahead of him are David Pearson with 105 wins and Richard Petty with 200 wins. With the roll he was on the media, as well as other drivers, considered him a serious threat to win the championship. Unfortunately his momentum didn't last as he had a terrible chase. Five finishes outside the top 15 relegated him to an 8th place finish in the standings.
2012 turned out to be a roller coaster season, often described as "snake-bitten" as, despite fast cars, on track issues frequently kept him from getting good finishes. He did, however, make the Chase in dramatic fashion (narrowly edging Kyle Busch) and won twice including the season finale at Homestead-Miami in a special Dupont paint scheme celebrating their 20 years together. With the win Gordon has won at every track he has raced on except Kentucky, which was introduced in 2011. He finished the season in 10th place.