CONCORD, N.C. -- Hendrick Motorsports in Concord was the perfect place for fans and followers to reflect on Jeff Gordon's career Thursday, following the race car driver's announcement 2015 would be his final full season with NASCAR.
John Garrigues is a huge Gordon fan who has been to countless races and watched the iconic driver win many times. "It's going to be tough not seeing him on the track every year. It's not going to be the same for me, I know that. But he's a family guy and I see how happy he is posting pictures with his family so I'm happy for him too."
He was visiting the museum and team shops in Concord along with other Gordon fans.
Jeff Gordon's first crew chief Ray Evernham was also at the team's shop today. "We've always had a relationship that's more than driver-crew chief. It's more like big brother little brother," he told FOX8.
"In a world where sometimes athletes blow off a fan or they don't take the time with a child, I watch Jeff make eye contact, talk to kids and smile," Everham pointed out, saying those are the qualities that really make him proud of Gordon and his winning growth over the years.
"I'm going to miss seeing Jeff Gordon on the racetrack," Evernham added.
At Charlotte Motor Speedway, President and General Manager Marcus Smith referenced several pictures of Jeff Gordon's first career win in 1994 at the Coca-Cola 600.
"We all remember him pulling into Victory Lane, tears just streaming," Smith described. "Everybody just knew that it was special. And more special than a regular win... It was this natural-born racing superstar and his first win."
Smith said it doesn't feel that long ago. "But really it was a whole career ago."
He added, "We're really proud to call him our hometown hero and a neighbor. Somebody who competes here at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I know fans from all over the country and the world will be joining us this year for Jeff Gordon's last season."