Jeff Gordon: This is the right time

Jeff Gordon tells his coworkers at Hendrick Motorsports his decision Thursday (Jeff Gordon Twitter)

Jeff Gordon tells his coworkers at Hendrick Motorsports his decision Thursday (Jeff Gordon Twitter)

NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon made the surprising announcement Thursday that  he will step away as a full time NASCAR driver at the end of the 2015 season.  Talk of the four-time Sprint Cup champion leaving the top tier NASCAR Sprint Cup series has been almost at a whisper given his issues with his back as well as mediocre seasons in 2010 and 2013.  In 2014 however, Gordon won four races and was a contender for a fifth title.  Any talk of him stepping away from the sport was nonexistent, which is why Thursday’s announcement was such a surprise.  As it turns out, Gordon said later Thursday in a teleconference with the media that leaving his iconic number 24 Chevy has been on his mind for some time.

“This is certainly something that I’ve been thinking about for years,” Gordon said.  “Rick (team owner Rick Hendrick) and I have talked about for a number of years.  You’re always trying to, when you get to this point in your career and you’ve done as much as we’ve done as a team, trying to figure out when that right time to step away is.  I always said I wanted to step away on my own terms if possible, and I want to be competitive out there, and I hoped that I could do that all the way through my final year.”

Gordon said the decision to leave was made last season.  He finished sixth in the season ending championship points and in addition to his four wins had 14 top 5 and 23 top 10 finishes and three poles.

“This is the right time,” Gordon said. MORE>>>

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