Jeff Gordon is a four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, third on the all-time series wins list, and is slated for 2019 induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, but his fame as one of the sport's top drivers wasn’t enough to get him out of a speeding ticket in 2007. Instead, a future teammate on the phone got him out of trouble.
Gordon detailed the incident as a guest on a special edition of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Dale Jr. Download podcast this Tuesday.
The four-time champ was on his way to dinner and on the phone with Earnhardt Jr. to congratulate his soon-to-be teammate on his hiring by Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt Jr.’s move to Hendrick ahead of the 2008 season wasn’t yet known publicly, but Gordon, as an insider, already knew.
"All of a sudden, I’ve got blue lights in my rear window,” Gordon recounted. "I’m like, ‘Uh oh, I’m getting pulled over.’ I wasn’t sure if I should stay on the phone with Dale or not, but I said, ‘No, no. Stay on here, I may need you.’”
Being Jeff Gordon didn’t get the four-time champ anywhere with the officer who pulled him over—an officer who just happened to be an Earnhardt Jr. fan.
“First, the guy says to me, ‘You know you’re not supposed to be on your cell phone?’ Then second, ‘You know you were speeding?’ Then I just said, and I never do this, but I said this is the moment where I got to pull this off. I said, ‘I know, and I’m sorry. You don’t happen to be a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, are you?’” Gordon said as he continued his story in his conversation with Earnhardt Jr. “He said, ‘Yeah, why? What does that have to do with anything?’ I said, ‘I’ve got him on the phone, I was congratulating him on something.’ He goes, ‘What?’ and I just handed him the phone off, and you spoke to him for just two seconds and got me out of it!”
Earnhardt Jr. said he got Gordon out of a ticket to make an impression on his new teammate.
Junior and Gordon were teammates at Hendrick Motorsports for eight seasons, until Gordon officially retired from competition as a NASCAR driver at the end of 2015. Gordon, though, returned for eight races in the second half of the 2016 season as a substitute for Earnhardt Jr., who was sidelined with concussion symptoms.
Earnhardt Jr. retired after the 2017 season and has since followed in Gordon’s footsteps by going into NASCAR broadcasting.