An open letter to Jeff Gordon:
My son, Presley, who is now almost 13, became your biggest fan at age 4. My husband and I had literally NEVER EVER watched a Nascar race before. One Sunday, as my husband was flipping through the channels, Presley yelled “STOP!” It was a Nascar race. For the next 3-4 hours, he sat glued to the tv. He couldn’t take his eyes off. When the race was over, (you didn’t win that one) Presley stood up, turned around, and announced “The 24 car is my favorite.” From that moment forward, your biggest little fan was born. Presley is on the autism spectrum, so it wasn’t just a little phase for him. Jeff Gordon, you don’t know it, but you were at the forefront of Presley’s life for years to come.
Two of his birthday parties were Jeff Gordon themed with awesome racetrack cakes and of course the 24 car on them. And for two Halloweens in a row, you guessed it, he was Jeff. One of his favorite Christmas presents was an authentic Nascar jacket – boy did he make redneck look cute. He would spend hours reinacting races out on his train table with his little cars. It always cracked me up because he would have Kyle Busch’s car in the garage with engine problems. (Kyle gave him fits those season he always won). And of course, Jeff always won his imaginary races.
Even when my husband, who doesn’t like losing, tried to convince Presley to become a Jimmy Johnson fan, Presley Cole wasn’t having it. He was loyal to 24 to the core. Some of the happiest moments I’ve ever seen Presley are when the 24 crossed the finish line at the checkered flag. He would go ballistic jumping up and down and running around the room. He knew every stat from every race, who wrecked at what lap, where they were in the standings, every single detail. It was really amazing, actually (that’s also part of that autism brain). He would talk to people in the grocery store about Jeff Gordon, people in the mall, people at church, people on his football team…you get the picture. And 99.9% of those people had no idea what or who he was talking about. But Presley didn’t care – he kept right on talking.
He actually raced junior sprint cars for a season. My poor, precious husband didn’t even know what a clutch was, but he wanted to help Presley achieve his dream of becoming “the best Nascar driver”. It was really hard because he was also playing football and we have two other kids younger than Presley…so we had to have him “retire” after one season. Boy did I love watching him race. He was in his element. He absolutely loved being out on that track. Of course, he was the number 24. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to pick it back up – after all, how can he become the “best Nascar driver ever” if he’s not racing?!?!
So Jeff Gordon, to sum this letter up, I want to say thank you. Thank you for putting the love of racing into my son. Thank you for the years of memories that we have with him. Thank you for being a good example of an athlete with a strong work ethic and great sportsmanship. Thank you for your love and commitment of the sport. Thank you for giving my son something to strive for, a dream, a goal…even though it may be far-fetched, he dreams about it – and if it’s his dream, then it’s mine too. We will certainly miss seeing the 24 car taking laps, but we’ll never forget what you gave our son…without even knowing it. Enjoy your retirement – you certainly deserve it!!
#24forever #nascar #espn #sportscenter #jeffgordon #autismspeaks #24EVER
Please share this!! I would love for Jeff to somehow, some way see it!!!!
Open letter to Jeff Gordon
An open letter to Jeff Gordon: