Jeff Gordon has earned countless honors in his racing career, but few likely compare to the surprise civic honor he received Wednesday evening.
During a banquet of the North Carolina Motorsports Association honoring Gordon’s career, his contributions to motorsports and his philanthropy, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory presented Gordon with the state’s highest honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
“Jeff Gordon has been a tremendous ambassador of motorsports, NASCAR and North Carolina,” McCrory said, according to a report on WNCT.com. “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.”
See McCrory’s speech and presentation of the award to Gordon in the following video, courtesy of McCrory’s office:
Gordon, who retired from racing after the 2015 season, will assume a new role in 2016 as an analyst on NASCAR on Fox TV broadcasts.
He’ll also continue to be very involved in a number of charitable ventures, including pediatric cancer research, as well as the programs offered by his foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord, N.C.