Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International, announced earlier today that Jeff Gordon has been named the first member of the Class of 2011 for the Legends of The Glen. In front of local, regional, and international media, Printup presented Gordon with a hand-blown glass vase made by Vitrix Glass of Corning, NY, during an induction ceremony held in the historic road course’s media center. Mike Helton, president of NASCAR, was also in attendance to acknowledge Gordon’s contributions to the sport and join the celebration. Today’s ceremony will not be the last induction that is scheduled to occur during the 2011 season at The Glen.
“When you talk about Watkins Glen International and NASCAR, one of the first people that have to be mentioned is Jeff Gordon and it is well deserved with the incredible success that he has achieved here,” said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “He has represented The Glen as our champion four times and each time has done so with exceptional class and dignity. We are thrilled to welcome Jeff into this elite group of people that have had such a profound impact on our history.”
Gordon has been more than just good at The Soul of American Racing during his career, from 1995 through 2001 he was flat out dominant. Over the course of those seven races, he finished lower than fourth only once and reached Gatorade Victory Lane four times, including three consecutive visits in 1997, 1998 and 1999. The four-time Sprint Cup Series Champion also owns six top-fives and nine top-10s since making his first Sprint Cup Series start at The Glen in 1993. The significance of his selection was not lost on Gordon and his appreciation was obvious.
“This is a place that’s very special to me and the performances that we’ve have had over the years have been some of my favorites in my career,” said Gordon. “To go down as a legend at Watkins Glen is something that I will always treasure and hopefully we can add to that list of win this weekend. Thank you Michael [Printup] very much for what you guys have done, this is a great facility, great track and we all enjoy racing here. It’s an honor for me to receive this award.”
While Printup and Gordon took this opportunity able to reflect on the award and the impact the driver of the No. 24 DuPont/Driver to End Hunger Chevrolet Impala has had on WGI, Helton took a larger perspective, but the importance of the moment resonated with him.
“It’s been fun to watch Jeff’s career develop and perform and be such a consistent contributor on and off the race track throughout his career in NASCAR,” said Helton. “It’s an honor to be here to share this moment with Jeff and to join everybody to congratulate him.”
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