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22 November 2015 @ 11:56 pm
memory lane up in the headlights has got me reminiscing on the good times  
I cannot believe Jeff Gordon just raced his final NASCAR race.
It seems like yesterday I was a kid watching my first NASCAR race because of him.

When he announced his retirement this year, I couldn't wrap my head around what NASCAR would be like without JEFF GORDON. I've never known NASCAR without him. I just kept telling myself to take it all in "but I don't know what I'm gonna do come Homestead..." and in the blink of an eye, here it is - Homestead. Through all the photo montages, video packages, and tributes I believed it was real but it still didn't seem true. It still doesn't. The fact that the 2016 season is going to start in February and the 24 car won't be driven by Jeff Gordon... that is just so crazy to think about. As a fan, I'm so thankful to have been a part of Jeff's journey; to see everything he accomplished - the legacy that he left both on and off the racetrack. I'm thankful for all the memories I made at Pocono and Dover: sitting in the DuPont Hospitality Tent at Dover when I was 13 hearing him speak before the race, getting my picture taken with him in the garage at Pocono, getting autographs on autograph alley at Pocono, seeing him win twice at Pocono, and simply watching him interact with the fans and seeing the respect he has in the garage area. It's really hard to believe that the next time I go to the track I won't be watching him strap in to the 24.

Today was also the end of another era, Michael Waltrip Racing. I was a fan from day 1, watching them build the team from the ground up. I remember watching ESPN's weekly special, "Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era" to see the progress they were making before their first full season, 2007, and seeing them transform and old movie theater into Raceworld USA. I remember bawling during the episode when Mikey sat David down in a meeting room and told him he was hiring him to drive the #00. I was so happy to see someone as talented and humble as David get a Cup ride. 2007 sure as hell wasn't an easy year. Everything was new - the manufacturer, the crew chiefs, the teams, the drivers, but they continually learned and improved. Watching David's career at MWR through the good and the bad are the absolute best memories I have as a NASCAR fan. The memories I made with David and MWR are second to none. I obviously hate the way things ended for David there, still find it unprofessional, and still wonder what things "could have been" and who was really responsible for the decision. But, I can't believe the team that David spent almost his entire career driving with is closing its doors.

NASCAR without David isn't always easy for me. There's some races where I still find myself looking at the leaderboard waiting for his name to go across the screen. And the hardest part was I never knew it was going to be the end of his career. There was no announcement or anything to prepare you, it just ended. NASCAR has never even close to being the same for me after that. But, I still had Jeff. There was still a reason to turn on the race every week and cheer for someone I'm a die hard fan of; the one who started it all. Although I'll always be a racing fan, I can't believe that everything I've put my heart and soul into in NASCAR is no longer there. 
Mood: sadsad
Music: sorry - justin bieber
Jamie: nascar ; jeff ; 24hermionesparkle on November 28th, 2015 03:50 am (UTC)
I can very much relate to everything you said about Jeff. NASCAR will never be the same. <3