Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Things Finally Going Jeff Gordon's Way; Success Comes Full Circle with Marriage, Pending Fatherhood

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Things Finally Going Jeff Gordon's Way; Success Comes Full Circle with Marriage, Pending Fatherhood

Article excerpt

Byline: DON COBLE

Despite not winning a championship in five years, Jeff Gordon has never been happier.

His success in racing is well documented with four championships and $87 million in earnings. His personal failures are well known, too, with a highly-publicized divorce. (Remember his ex-wife Brooke demanding a jet, sports cars, half his fortune, full-time housekeepers and gardeners as part of her settlement?)

His recent marriage to model Ingrid Vandebosch and the pending birth of their first child later changed everything for Gordon.

And in the process, his racing career is back on track.

"I finally found the right person at the right time in my life," Gordon said.

Gordon leads the Nextel Cup Series point standings heading into Sunday's Pocono 500 at the Pocono International Speedway. He's not only willing, he's eager, to give that lead away to be with his wife when their daughter is born. After making a mess of so many other aspects of his personal life, he's determined to get this right.

"There are only two things I can think of as to why I would miss a race," Gordon said. "One is that I wasn't healthy enough to be there. And two would be because I have a baby being born. ..."

The baby is due the week of the race at the New Hampshire International Speedway on July 1.

Gordon's already got Mark Martin on call to drive for him a week earlier when the series makes its stop on the road course at Sonoma, Calif.

Will it change him as a driver?

"I know there'll be more responsibilities and some sleepless nights. I want to be like any other father and do the best that I can while doing the best I can at my job," Gordon said. "Once I put the helmet on and flip the switch, nothing's going to change my competitiveness of wanting to win on the race track. ..."

GREEN FLAG

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