FLORENCE, S.C.– This namesake is only fitting at Darlington Raceway: The Jeff Gordon Finish Line Terrace Boxes.
Gordon, a six-time Southern 500 winner (four in a row from 1995-98) finished his career with seven overall victories at Darlington Raceway.
Although David Pearson won 10 overall events at the Lady in Black and Dale Earnhardt nine, Gordon’s statistics in the Southern 500 alone make him the greatest driver to have ever competed in this race.
Gordon not only recorded six wins, but nine top-five finishes (three-time runner-up) and two top 10s.
But that’s not all.
By winning the 1997 Southern 500, Gordon became the second driver to win the Winston Million.
“That was a big, big deal in those days,” Gordon said in 2017. “Man, we wanted to win this race so bad. We knew it was a good race track for us. There was a lot of hype. There was a TV show that we did. Just everything with the paint scheme to the media and the press that went into that. And then, to go and actually do it. To be a part of that, and for it to happen here at this race track meant the world to me. So, unforgettable moments here. And now, that’s going to live on forever. I’m very proud.”
And in 1998, Gordon won another million-dollar bonus by winning at Darlington in the No-Bull 5.
It did not take Gordon long to get acclimated to Darlington. He first raced on the Track Too Tough to Tame in 1993, finishing 22nd.
After finishing sixth in the 1994 Southern 500, Gordon went on his streak of four straight victories in this event. In Gordon's first win, Dale Earnhardt was second.
“There was so much pride on the line to win at this race track," Gordon said. "He and I had some great battles here. And I learned a lot from him, too, watching him race here and saving his tires and doing the things he had to do to be there at the end to win at a track like this was tough. He was a hero of mine and obviously a rival."
Starting in 2004, Gordon then had resurgence in the Southern 500 by posting seven consecutive top-five finishes.
That included his final Southern 500 win in 2007. Gordon planned to retire after the 2015 season, but he came out of retirement to race again at Darlington 2016, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was suffering from concussion-like symptoms.
In 2017, Gordon finally retired for good.
But his legacy at Darlington will go on.
“He’s a true ambassador for the sport both on the track and off the race track,” Darlington Raceway President Kerry Tharp said in 2017. “And he’s a champion on and off the race track.”