This is an article from the Sept. 28, 2015 issue
NEAR THE FINISH
After 24 seasons in the number 24 car, the four-time Sprint Cup Series champion is ready to give his tired eyes a rest. He ranks 12th in the points standings with nine races remaining in the Chase for the Cup.
DAN PATRICK: Do your kids [eight-year-old Ella and five-year-old Leo] appreciate seeing you race?
JEFF GORDON: The greatest experience I've ever had at the racetrack is when I won the Brickyard 400 last year. The kids were there. We got them to kiss the bricks. That was the ultimate. It probably helped me make the decision [to retire] this year.
DP: Do you want them to race?
JG: Not necessarily. We've got a couple of quarter midgets, and my daughter has been driving [them] a little bit. As terrifying as it was that first time I saw her in a quarter midget, I'm not so sure I'm the parent who's cut out for it. But you can't be a part of our family or the NASCAR family and not have your kids be influenced by it. And we have one for my son if he wants to get in it someday, but certainly no pressure.
DP: What if your daughter said, "Dad, this is what I want to do"?
JG: I would introduce her to a whole lot of other things and make sure she's sure about it.
DP: What if she asked to talk to Danica Patrick about being a driver?
JG: Danica has influenced racing in so many ways, especially with girls. We had one of my daughter's classmates come to the Darlington race, and she just couldn't wait to see Danica. It's amazing the impact she's had.
DP: What's the first thing to go on a race car driver?
JG: Your eyesight.
DP: Do you have contacts?
JG: I don't. In first grade I had glasses. I was racing quarter midgets. The glasses were not working in the helmet. I put contacts in, but then my eyes were dried out and irritating me. I just stopped and haven't worn glasses or contacts ever since. It's worked for me all these years, but I'm not sure how much longer it will work.
DP: Will you miss going fast?
JG: No, just going fast has never been it for me. It's always been about going faster than the person you're racing and pushing the limits of your car to find out how you can go one-hundredth of a second faster. It's more the competition.
DP: How many number 24 tattoos have you seen through the years?
JG: More than I could have ever imagined.
DP: Is there an odd one that stands out?
JG: Oh, yeah. There's a woman who has about three different paint schemes of my race car down her back. It's extensive.
DP: Does this woman love you more than your wife [Ingrid]?
JG: [Laughs.] In a different way, yes.
DP: Does your wife have a number 24 tattoo?
JG: No, thank God.
Oregon senior QB Vernon Adams discussed the transition from Eastern Washington of the FCS to the FBS Ducks, who regularly face formidable defenses. "Those guys are big and fast," Adams said. "I got sacked on the third series against [Michigan State] and said, 'Oh, yeah, these boys are big.'" ... Former NFL quarterback Brady Quinn told me he didn't wear tight jerseys just to show off his guns: "You don't want to have a loose-hanging shirt. It's not aerodynamic. You're trying to whip the ball around, and you've got all that drag." ... Oklahoma junior quarterback Baker Mayfield likes that his girlfriend, former Oklahoma State soccer player Baillie Burmaster, hasn't jumped on the Sooners' bandwagon. "She keeps it real," Mayfield said. "She'll be there on the sideline in [OSU] orange when we play them."