Jeff Gordon‘s first Sprint Cup car was his iconic DuPont-sponsored “Rainbow Warrior” car.
But it wasn’t the car he got his first NASCAR win in. That would be the No. 1 Baby Ruth Ford owned by Bill Davis.
Gordon drove the car in the 1992 Busch Series (now Xfinity) season, earning three wins during before making his Sprint Cup debut at the end of the year.
Now the restored car, is about to be auctioned off and Holly Cain at NASCAR.com has the story about how it was found by a different Jeff Gordon and returned to its former glory.
Referenced as “1094.1: 1992 T-Bird NASCAR” for the Barrett-Jackson auction on Jan. 29 in Scottsdale, Arizona, the car was found by a Jeff Gordon who is friends with retired NHRA driver Darrell Gwynn.
Gwynn’s friend met a woman at a car show in Daytona Beach wearing a Jeff Gordon Baby Ruth T-shirt. The Jeff Gordon that wasn’t a racing icon eventually found out the woman and her family owned the No. 1 Ford and it was right there in town.
“So no one in this garage knows at the time that Jeff Gordon’s car is right around the corner, how is that possible?” Gwynn said to NASCAR.com.
The garage Gwynn mentions is the one where he led about a dozen in the efforts to restore the car after Gwynn bought it. Involved in the restoration were team members on the No. 1 team way back in 1992, including original chassis builder Billy Hess, crew chief Keith Simmons and Ray Evernham.
The car was authenticated by Hess, who knew it by an extra roll bar under the dash.
“This car has been sitting for four, five years and Jeff made that announcement he was going to retire, so I felt like it’s time to do this,” Gwynn said.
The funds from the auction will benefit the Darrell Gwynn Quality of Life Chapter of The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.