Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Champ and Hunger Fighter, to Stop Competing

Jeff Gordon next to #24 car

Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR champion and AARP's ally in fighting hunger among older Americans, announced Jan. 22 that he is stepping away from full-time racing after the 2015 season.

In a posting on the Hendrick Motorsports website, Gordon, 43, wrote: “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the off-season, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that."

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Tweets and retweets of the news quickly numbered into the thousands.

The AARP Drive to End Hunger is the primary sponsor of Gordon's No. 24 Chevrolet SS team, and last August renewed the partnership for the 2015 season. Since joining forces with AARP in 2011, Gordon has won 10 races and has given enormous visibility to Drive to End Hunger, which raises "awareness and funds to fight hunger among adults 50+, and [provides] short- and long-term solutions to the problem of older adult hunger." In those four seasons, more than 30 million meals have been donated, helping feed some of the estimated 9 million seniors considered at risk of hunger in the United States today.

Gordon, the NASCAR Rookie of the Year in 1993, is coming off one of his best recent seasons, winning four races and gaining eight second-place finishes, staying competitive throughout the year and missing the championship round by just one point.

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Gordon's place in NASCAR history is assured. He has 92 career Sprint Cup wins — third all-time behind Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty and David Pearson. NASCAR's website says that Gordon's stellar record "boasts all the credentials for automatic first-ballot induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame."

Photo: Jeff Gordon, Inc.

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