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Monday, November 23, 2015

Jeff Gordon #1 Baby Ruth Ford

    Today is the first official day of Jeff Gordon's retirement from NASCAR racing~ It seems like it wasn't that long ago that "the kid" was taking NASCAR by storm, but now the storm has settled, and his historic career has come to an end~ This post is about Gordon's time in Bill Davis's #1 Baby Ruth Ford~

    The 1992 BGN season would be Gordon's second and last full time season in the series, and he was sponsored by Baby Ruth candy bars~ His first qualifying attempt in the car was a failure, with Gordon qualifying 44th in the 44 car field for the Goody's 300 season opener @ Daytona~ He stormed hard toward the front, gaining great track position, before his engine gave out on lap 102 of 120, resulting in a 23rd place finish~

    He turned things around the following week @ Rockingham, in the Goodwrench 200, grabbing the pole, and finishing 9th place after leading 22 laps~ The following week, in the Hardee's 200 @ Richmond, Gordon again won the pole position, and finished 8th, after leading 142 laps~ He then won his 3rd pole in a row in the Atlanta 300, leading the race for 180 laps, in his first victory of the season~ This was the first BGN event held @ Atlanta, and was also the race that caught the eye of Rick Hendrick, who quickly signed Gordon to a Cup deal~

                                               Gordon in victory lane @ Atlanta~ 3-14-92~                                  
Jeff Gordon #1 Baby Ruth Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN win 1992 Atlanta

      Gordon followed up his Atlanta win with a 6th @ Martinsville, followed by a 26th place finish @ Darlington, in the Mark III Vans 200~ Following the Darlington race, Jeff picked up another top 5 finish with a 5th @ Bristol in the Budweiser 250, after qualifying on the outside pole~ He grabbed another pole in the Nestle 300 @ Lanier, leading 134 laps, and finishing 10th~ This was followed up by a 5th place finish in the Granger Select 200 @ Dublin~

    In the Pontiac 200 @ Nazareth, Gordon qualified 5th, and led for 34 laps before his engine let go, resulting in a 26th place finish~ He turned things around the following week @ Charlotte, in the Champion 300, where he started on the pole, leading 58 laps on his way to his 2nd victory of the season~

    Jeff qualified 2nd in the Goodwrench 200 @ Dover, leading 75 laps, but late race issues resulted in an 18th place finish~ He would finish 5th in the next 2 races, the Roses Stores 300 @ Rougemont, and the Carolina Pride/Budweiser 200 @ Myrtle Beach, racking up another pole in the Myrtle Beach race~ He won the pole again for the X-1R Firecracker 200 @ Volusia County, but was involved in a late race crash, resulting in an 18th place finish~

                                                     Jeff Gordon with the Baby Ruth team~
Jeff Gordon #1 Baby Ruth Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN win 1992 Atlanta

    In the next event of the season, the Budweiser 300 @ Loudon, Busch North driver Tony Hirschman entered the race with the #1~ Under the rules at the time, the driver who qualifies highest, has the right to use the number in the race~ Jeff qualified 44th in the 46 car field, with Hirschman qualifying 22nd, giving him the right to use the #1 for the race, which forced Gordon to run the #4~ This was the first and only time during this season that he wasn't in the #1 car, and he finished in the 29th position~

    Gordon won the pole for the Detroit Gasket 200 @ Michigan, but had in ill handling car all day, resulting in a 19th place finish~ The next event was back in Loudon, and this time Gordon had better luck, qualifying 8th, and finishing in 4th place~ He led 120 laps of the Food City 250 @ Bristol, after starting on the outside of the front row, but was involved in a crash on lap 156, resulting in a 19th place finish~ The next race was in Darlington, for the Gatorade 200, where Gordon started, and finished in 3rd place~

    He won the pole for the SplitFire 200 @ Dover, leading 35 laps, and finishing 12th~ In the All Pro 300 @ Charlotte, he started from the pole, and led 90 of the 200 laps, on his way to win his final race of the season~ He won his final pole of the season in the AC-Delco 200 @ Rockingham, leading 44 laps, and finishing in 2nd place~ In his final full time BGN start, Gordon qualified 2nd in the Pantry 300 @ Hickory, led for 32 laps, and finished in the 11th position, 1 lap down~ He finished the season with an amazing 11 poles, 3 wins, 10 top 5's, and 15 top 10's, while finishing a BGN career best of 4th place in the final points standings~

                                                       Jeff Gordon #1 Baby Ruth Ford~
Jeff Gordon #1 Baby Ruth Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN
                                                           Click pics to enlarge~
Jeff Gordon #1 Baby Ruth Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN

    Sometimes, simplicity says it best, as with this paint scheme~ Simple, yet very noticeable, this paint scheme stands the test of time, and holds up quite well~ Anytime I was watching a BGN event back then, I instantly knew where Gordon was, the same goes for Jeff Burton when he drove the #8 Baby Ruth car~ If not for the words "Baby Ruth" on the car, it would look  like the most common of un-sponsored cars, but that bright red really catches your eye, and draws you to the car~

    I always thought it was funny seeing Jeff Gordon with a mustache back then~ He's the one guy I know that doesn't even look manly with a stache~ :P And I guess that's the one thing that kept me from being a fan of his~ I wanna root for a man, and Gordon just doesn't fit the mold, at least he didn't back then~ As he's gotten older, and had kids, and a family.. he's become more of a man, he may not look like much, but it takes a real man to be a family man~ :)

    In closing, as far as quality goes, I'd give this car/card an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ The card is nice, and brings back memories... and the car does the same, with no major, or even minor flaws paint wise~ Jeff did things in a race car that most will never duplicate, and I personally think injuries and concussions took a lot away from him starting around 1999-2000~ The guy won 13 of 33 races in 1998.. I mean heck, in 3 years, he won 33 Cup races~ That's 1/3 of all his wins in 3 seasons~

    I never thought I'd end up pulling for Gordon, but as the years went by, and he was getting older, and not winning as much.. I kinda started pulling for him if he was doing good in a race~ Now that he's retired, I feel a little sad.. it doesn't seem that long ago, when I would boo him, while Dale Sr. was winning another race, or getting one stole by Jeff, and now, they're both gone... the guy we once called "The Kid" is now considered an old man, and that's just odd to me~ Thanks for stopping by the blog, below are some videos based on Gordon's earlier career~
                                                               Thank you Jeff Gordon~
Jeff Gordon #1 Baby Ruth Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog BGN win 1992 Atlanta

                                                   Jeff Gordon wins @ Charlotte - 1992~

                                        Young Gordon talks about moving up to Cup Series~

                                             1991 "Air" Gordon interview - 3 race weekend~

                                                  Jeff Gordon @ Myrtle Beach - 1992~


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