NSCS: Jeff Gordon ponies up at Texas

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Friday, Nov 06 1312
You can count on Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage to go over the top in just about everything he does—and that includes honoring Jeff Gordon, who is retiring from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the end of the season.

After Gordon took the dais in the Texas Motor Speedway media center, Gossage presented the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet with a gift that was still on the hoof—a pair of Shetland ponies for Gordon’s daughter Ella and son Leo.

“Scout” and “Smokey” were delivered to Gordon in the media center, prompting a stunned response from the four-time premier series champion.

“Are you out of your mind?” Gordon exclaimed. “Are you out of your mind? Oh, my God, Eddie, you have no idea what you just did to me.”

“Yes, I do,” Gossage replied.

The ponies were the highlight of the speedway’s tribute, which also included a pair of custom boots, a street sign replicating the one on TMS property that bears Gordon’s name and a mural commemorating his 2009 victory at the 1.5-mile track.

"With all due respect to drivers like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Jeff is perhaps the most important driver in NASCAR history," Gossage said. "He was the most transformative driver our sport has seen. He won races and championships while changing the perception of people around the globe about NASCAR race car drivers.

"He successfully guest-hosted shows like 'Saturday Night Live' and 'Live with Regis and Kelly,'introducing a whole new audience to racing. It's no coincidence our sport enjoyed unprecedented growth during his prime years. Jeff is a champion in every way."