By: 24_JGordonFan_24 (written in 2006)

It was 1994 and just another average Sunday at our house. Flipping through the channels on TV, she came upon a NASCAR race once again. “Oh great,” she thought with a sigh, “anything but this.” Many times she’d come across these races, annoyed that they were taking the place of any other show that could be on. “Just cars going in circles, what fun is that?” she’d think. But, as she’d soon find out, today would turn out to be quite different….

A brightly colored car with a number 24 on the side caught her eye. Well, this was unusual, as she usually changes the channel faster than you can blink when a race is on. The name Jeff Gordon was mentioned as the driver of that rainbow colored car. “Welcome to the Inaugural Brickyard 400!” Her curiousity was heightened, as the engines came to life and the roar of the crowd filled the stands. “I can’t believe people pay to watch these,” she thought, still very critical, but she just couldn’t take her eyes off that #24 car.

Surprisingly enough, she didn’t change the channel, but instead decided to watch only “some” of this race to see what all the hype was about. “Might as well pick a car to win,” she said to herself, and without hesitation she picked that #24 car. As the race went on, she found herself completely engulfed in this race, unaware of what was about to become the beginning of a great obsession. As Jeff Gordon took the checkered flag, she was on her feet, hands in the air, fist pumping as the driver she picked won the first ever Brickyard 400.

Hold on just a minute, is this possible?? A self-described “race hater” actually getting this excited over cars going in circles?? She couldn’t believe herself and this new interest in watching NASCAR races. But the feeling was all too real to her, and every Sunday after that fateful day in 1994, she found herself in front of the TV pulling for that #24.

It became official, Jeff Gordon was going to be her driver.

The hot shot kid from California, with obvious talent and a great personality. Now you must understand, picking that #24 driver is what was considered by some, a form of rebellion. Especially coming from a family full of Dale Earnhardt fans.

So it was on. Every race day, the Jeff Gordon fan, and her dad, the Dale Earnhardt fan, would take their respective places on the couch and pull for their driver. As you can imagine, that made for some very interesting race days. Even though neither would admit it to the other, they secretly liked and respected each other’s driver. But now, since the untimely death of Dale, she is the only race fan left in her family, as her dad understandably no longer watches the races.

So here it is now, 12 years since that day in 1994, and I’m typing up this story while sitting in my NASCAR room, dedicated to my racing hero, Jeff Gordon. As I sit here, looking around me, it’s hard to believe that I was once a race hater. But every obsession has a beginning, and mine just happened to begin during the inaugural Brickyard 400. As this 2006 season came to a close, I’ve been anxiously awaiting for another year of heart-pounding, fist-clenching, yelling at the top of my lungs for my driver, race day. It will be here before we know it.