Winning a race takes more than a fast car and a first-class driver — it takes the skill and resources of a superior team. Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet SS, is a premier driver of a premier team. Jeff’s accumulation of an astonishing roster of victories is part of an incredible team effort. From the long-distance transporter drivers who get the cars across the country for every race, to the office staff who manage critical business details, every team member is inspired with a spirit to win. Led by driver Jeff Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson, the 24 team is committed to success.
The No. 24 Chevrolet team has a winning history dating back to the team’s formation in 1992. Exceptional expertise and absolute professionalism are the hallmarks of this team and its enduring success.
The team was formed following the signing of Jeff Gordon’s contract, which occurred on May 8, 1992. It began with Jeff, John Bickford, Ray Evernham, and Jimmy Johnson (then General Manager of Hendrick Motorsports). In June of that year, Evernham officially started building the team and organizing the shop.
The first employees were hired in late August of 1992. Despite the excitement of starting up a new team with a talented young driver, Evernham was experiencing a painful reality after learning his son was diagnosed with leukemia the month before. However, he managed to hire 19 skilled individuals to start the 1993 season. The young team ended up running the Atlanta race in November of ’92, which was Jeff’s first Cup race and Richard Petty’s last. The new No. 24 team moved on to the ’93 season and it served as a building and learning process. At some point during that year, the media christened the pit crew with the nickname “The Rainbow Warriors”. This was due to the brightly colored ‘rainbow-designed’ car and uniforms, a result of the DuPont Performance Coatings sponsorship. Ray continued to build and work people in the shop over the next couple of years until they created a championship team.
1994 marked the beginning of a long winning tradition with the team. They won their first race at The 600 in Charlotte in 1994 as a result of a two-tire pit stop, a very rare call by a crew chief in those days. Then came the Inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jeff and the Rainbow Warriors cruised to victory and kissed the bricks in historical fashion.
In 1995, the team moved to a new location on the campus of Hendrick Motorsports after the museum had been built, and they continued to grow in numbers. They would end up moving again in 2002 to a new race shop on campus, housing both the No. 24 and No. 48 teams.
1995 marked the pinnacle achievement–with Evernham serving as crew chief and Jeff Gordon behind the wheel, the No. 24 Chevrolet team won their first championship trophy in that year. That same successful team combination would experience more incredible accomplishments, winning championships in 1997 and 1998, with a combined 40 victories from 1995 through 1998. Thirteen of those wins came during the 1998 season alone.
In October of 1999, Evernham decided to pursue other opportunities outside of Hendrick Motorsports and left the team. Brian Whitesell filled in as crew chief at that time, and Jeff and the team won two races with Whitesell at the helm.
Robbie Loomis was hired to take over as crew chief for the 2000 season. As with any transitional period when adjustments are made, it takes time for things to come together. The team had their fair share of struggles that year, but they came back to win a championship in 2001.
2002 through 2005 continued the winning tradition of the No. 24 Chevrolet team with Loomis as crew chief. In the fall of 2005, Loomis elected to change his career path and go ‘back home’ to the place where he had first come from to HMS, Petty Enterprises. That left the job open, and the logical choice to fill Loomis’ shoes was a young 26-year-old by the name of Steve Letarte. Steve had been with the team for a decade and had worked his way up through the ranks. With Letarte now guiding the team, they won their first race together in fine fashion at Martinsville in October of ’05.
Success continued for the powerhouse driver/crew chief combo in 2006 as they led Team 24 to two poles, two victories, secured a spot in the Chase for the Cup and a sixth place finish to the season. They continued to accomplish great things in 2007, having won six races and capturing seven poles in their bid for another championship.
Although 2008 ended with the team claiming no victories, they finished a strong seventh in the points, scored four poles, and racked up 13 top-fives and 19 top-tens. They began 2009 with a Gatorade Duel win at Daytona and several strong top-ten finishes on intermediate tracks. In April they scored their first win at Texas Motor Speedway. The ’09 season concluded with many additional impressive runs on intermediate tracks and a third-place finish in points.
The 2010 season was a solid year for the No. 24 team. While there were no trips to Victory Lane, the team collected 1 pole, 11 top-fives, 17 top-tens and led a total of 919 laps. Jeff and the team finished the season 9th in points.
2011 was a season of change for Jeff and the #24 team. Jeff paired up with crew chief Alan Gustafson and joined the AARP Foundation’s ‘Drive to End Hunger’ campaign in a pursuit to end hunger amongst elder Americans. It proved to be a year of resurgence as Jeff went on to win 3 races including his historic 85th win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which placed him in sole position of 3rd on the NASCAR All-Time Wins list. Jeff finished the season 8th in points with 3 wins, 13 Top-5s, 18 Top-10s, 1 pole and 922 laps led.
In 2012, Jeff and Alan Gustafson completed their second year together as a driver/crew chief combination. The Drive to End Hunger team finished the year with 2 wins, 2 poles, 11 Top 5’s, 18 Top 10’s en route to a 10th place points finish. The #24 made its way to Victory Lane in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in a DuPont celebratory paint scheme highlighting their 20 years of partnership with Jeff Gordon.
At the close of the 2013 racing season, Jeff finished 6th in points and had amassed totals of 88 victories and 74 poles – both third all-time in NASCAR after claiming his 8th win at Martinsville Speedway and poles at Charlotte and Richmond. Jeff and the #24 team partnered with Drive to End Hunger, newly re-branded Axalta Coating Systems and Pepsi Max throughout the season.
The No. 24 Drive to End Hunger team is ready to battle for the championship in 2014. With three years experience working together, Jeff and crew chief Alan Gustafson are ready to take on the competition as they contend for more wins and that coveted fifth championship. Jeff and the No. 24 team will again be partnered with Drive to End Hunger, Axalta Coating Systems and Pepsi Max throughout the season.