This is pretty cool…Governor Pat McCrory surprised NASCAR champion and North Carolina resident Jeff Gordon by awarding him with the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award the governor can bestow. Governor McCrory celebrated Gordon’s achievements and the contributions of the motorsports industry to North Carolina at a banquet with nearly 400 business leaders, elected officials and members of the motorsports community.
“Jeff Gordon has been a tremendous ambassador of motorsports, NASCAR and North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “We are not only recognizing Jeff tonight for his performance on the racetrack, but also for his philanthropic work in communities across our state and nation.”
Gordon has achieved an unparalleled roster of victories totaling 93 career NASCAR Cup victories and four NASCAR Cup Series championships.
Off the track, Gordon is passionate about his philanthropic efforts to support pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs through the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord, N.C.
The North Carolina Motorsports Association estimates that more than 25,000 jobs in North Carolina are related to the motorsports industry. Charitable NASCAR nonprofits — operated by both drivers and owners — is a $20 billion industry which has provided millions of dollars to support and enhance the quality of life for families in North Carolina.
North Carolina is home to 1,000 motorsports businesses, teams and tracks and 90 percent of the world’s NASCAR teams are based in the state. In 2011, stock car racing became the official State sport of North Carolina.