Jeff Inducted Into Walk Of Fame

On Friday, April 28, Jeff Gordon was inducted into California Speedway's "Walk of Fame" for the second time in his career. The speedway commemorates each Winston Cup winner at the track with a plaque in the Walk Of Fame the following year. Gordon, who also won at California in 1997, held off Jeff Burton to take the checkered flag in last year's race. George and Sandy Champlin attended the festivities and sent in a report and some pictures.

The Walk Of Fame at the California Speedway consists of a plaque set in the ground in front of Gate 12 commemorating the winner of each of the Winston Cup races held at the track. As the plaque is placed in the wet cement, the winner places his footprints and autograph beside it. Of course, Jeff Gordon already had the honor of being the first by winning the inaugural race in 1997. Mark Martin won in 1998 and Jeff became the first repeat winner by taking the checkered flag in 1999.

We attended the Walk of Fame Ceremony at the California Speedway, along with several thousand Jeff Gordon fans who got up in the wee hours of the morning to make the trek to the track in hopes of getting a glimpse of their hero.

The ceremony was scheduled for 9:30 am, but it was obvious that many in attendance had been there for several hours. We arrived at 7:45 am only to find fans already 2 and 3 rows deep around the barricaded site. You could feel the excitement mount as the time grew near. By 9 am the crowd had swelled from several hundred to several thousand, all decked out in rainbow-colored race gear. It was great to be in a crowd that had only cheers for Jeff.

Jeff arrived right on time and was received with thunderous cheers which drowned out the emcee (We all wanted to show Jeff our support). There were the obligatory ceremonial remarks, which could not be heard due to all the enthusiastic fans. At the close of the ceremony, Jeff was given an official California Speedway logo Rip Curl boogie board. He graciously posed for media and fan pictures as time permitted. On his way out he stopped by to shake hands and sign a few autographs for the special section that was set up for wheelchair access.

Jeff departed for the infield for the only practice session held before qualifying and we headed for the stands to cheer him on. Quite a morning.

The plaque
Jeff's plaque at the Walk Of Fame

Jeff is interviewed during the ceremony

Photos 2000 George and Sandy Champlin
All rights reserved
Used by permission

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