New York: Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon is retiring from full-time racing after this season but will be far from idle with continued ties to the racing world and a passion to champion children`s health causes.
Gordon will remain involved with Hendricks Motorsports as an equity partner and is expected to do some broadcasting work, and on Tuesday was introduced as spokesman for the "Give Kids A Smile" program providing dental care to under-served children.
"I certainly neglected my own oral health as a kid and I realize how it affected me," Gordon, 43, told reporters. "I had two root canals before I was 12 years old and it was a tough experience.
"I can’t think of anything better than to see a confident, beautiful smile on a young child. There’s just nothing better."
Gordon said he looked forward to spending more time with his wife and two children next year, but admitted he would remain busy between racing chores, work with his Children`s Foundation and support of the Jeff Gordon Children`s Hospital in Concord, North Carolina.
"I’m more worried that I’m going to be busier, but I think I will be able to make my own schedule more, which will be nice," he told Reuters.
"I don’t believe in retirement, I believe in working and staying busy. One thing I know for sure is that the work I do with kids is very rewarding and I’m very passionate about it so that’s going to continue to a higher level."
His farewell NASCAR season begins later this month at Daytona International Speedway, where Gordon is a three-time winner of the fabled Daytona 500.
"Hopefully a four-time winner," said Gordon, whose 92 victories rank third on the all-time NASCAR list behind Hall of Famers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105).
Last year, Gordon finished sixth in the NASCAR standings.
Gordon is joining with new race sponsor 3M of his No. 24 3M Chevrolet SS to support the American Dental Association Foundation`s program that provides dental services to approximately 350,000 under-served children.