In 1993 most figured that Jeff Gordon, the brash, inexperienced California pretty boy with the Rainbow Warrior handle, would be run out of NASCAR, the Southern-fried sport then ruled by the King (Richard Petty) and the Intimidator (Dale Earnhardt Sr.). But it took 92 victories, four series titles and a 2014 season in which he finished a dominating sixth in the Chase before Gordon, 43, slowed down. Last Thursday he announced that this season, his 23rd, would be his last racing a full-time Sprint Cup schedule. Gordon will still compete on occasion (Off-road? Endurance?) and become more involved with Hendrick Motorsports, the team for which he has raced his entire career and in which he holds a stake. A career in broadcasting seems likely too. Wherever he goes, his legacy as the driver who single-handedly towed NASCAR into the modern age will follow.
STEVE HELBER/AP (GORDON)