DuPont Says Goodbye to NASCAR and Jeff GordonBy Ryan O`Hara
Jeff Gordon’s No.24 Dupont Chevrolet. How many times have you heard Jeff Gordon say that over the course of his soon to be 21 year career? Many times. But the season finale at the Ford Ecoboost 400 this past fall was officially the last time we will hear Gordon utter those famous words. DuPont has been a familiar sponsor in the NASCAR garage area since Gordon made his debut during the 1992 season finale at the Hooters 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in what was Richard Petty’s final race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitor.
What does this mean for Gordon? Well, DuPont was bought out by Axalta Coating Systems for nearly $5 billion and they have since stated that they will remain committed to Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon. For Gordon fans, it certainly is going to be a hard transition after 20 years, and myself included. Axalta will sponsor Gordon for 14 races in 2013. The only races that have been confirmed to be sponsored by Axalta for this upcoming season are Texas and the season finale in Homestead. The 22 remaining races will continued to be sponsored by AARP and the Drive to End Hunger.
“While these are big changes for us, our commitment to the No. 24 team, Jeff Gordon and NASCAR remains the same,” Axalta President John McCool said in a statement. “We are proud to continue our sponsorship of the No. 24 team and Jeff Gordon in 2013.”
Rick Hendrick also made a short statement today saying that the new Axalta brand is made up of the “the same folks who have spent more than two decades executing one of the most successful sponsorship programs in sports.” And the win at Homestead has to feel 50 times more special for Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports as they sent off DuPont with a win in their final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race together and in the special paint scheme, which also happened to be Gordon’s first career victory at Homestead. It was just a great night all together as Brad Keselowski became the second driver in NASCAR history to win his first championship in just his third full-time season on the circuit. Guess who was the other driver? Jeff Gordon! Crazy.
Carlyle Group was the business that purchased DuPont for nearly $5 billion late last year. They also own a variety of businesses including Hertz, and Dunkin’ Donuts.