Jeff Gordon will get to add to his Hall of Fame membership soon with being elected for induction into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
The four-time Cup champion is among five people selected for induction, including NASCAR team owners Gary Bechtel and Bob Bruncati; NASCAR weekly racing series national champion Doug McCoun; and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Eric Norris.
J.D. Gibbs, who died in January due to complications from a degenerative neurological disease, also will be inducted after his election in 2018. His induction was postponed at the request of Gibbs’ family.
The induction will take place June 20 at the Meritage Resort & Spa in Napa, California.
Gordon’s election follows his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Gordon, a native of Vallejo, California, will join former Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. in being a member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the WCSC Hall of Fame.
Joe Gibbs celebrates ‘biggest win’ weeks after son J.D. Gibbs’ death
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Three Super Bowl championships and two previous Daytona 500 wins could not compare to Sunday night for Joe Gibbs.
Watching Denny Hamlin — a driver signed by Gibbs’ late son J.D. — win the Daytona 500 five weeks after J.D. Gibbs’ death was unlike anything Joe Gibbs has won as a Hall of Fame NFL coach and NASCAR car owner.
“This is the most emotional and the biggest win I’ve ever had in my life in anything,” Joe Gibbs said after his cars finished first, second and third Sunday night. “J.D. built our race team and was the guy that ran day-to-day operations for 27 years. He invested his occupational life in our race team. As a part of that, he went up to purchase some Late Model stuff from Denny and struck up a relationship with Denny, put him in a test, put him in a Truck, put him in an Xfinity car at Darlington and finally said we had to sign this guy. That started the relationship.”
J.D. Gibbs died Jan. 11 from complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. He was 49. The family held a public memorial service Jan. 28 that provided a mix of tears and laughter for those who attended the event at a college basketball arena.
Sunday, J.D. Gibbs’ widow and four sons were at Daytona International Speedway as NASCAR honored him on the 11th lap of the race — tying in with the number he used when he raced.
That it is Hamlin’s number is only part of the what makes the No. 11 car special to him. Hamlin also has had J.D. Gibbs’ name over the driver’s side door since 2017.
“The whole family – they did so much for me over the course of my career,” Hamlin said after winning his second Daytona 500 and 32nd career Cup race. “This one is for J.D. We are desperately going to miss him the rest of our lives. His legacy still lives on through Joe Gibbs Racing and (I’m) proud to do this for them.”
Former Joe Gibbs Racing driver Joey Logano also celebrated J.D. Gibbs’ memory after the race.
“For what J.D. has done for my career is the reason why I’m sitting here today,” Logano said after finishing fourth. “As bad as I want to win it, it is pretty cool to think that the first race after his passing, to see those guys one, two, three, it just says he’s up there watching and maybe gave you guys a little extra boost there at the end. Congratulations to them.”
Joe Gibbs knows that Hamlin’s win was divine.
“I honestly believe it was ‑‑ I think the Lord looked down on us, and I know J.D. and everybody in my family was emotional,” Joe Gibbs said. “I called home to (wife) Pat, and I called sponsors that were emotional, too.
“It was just an unbelievable night, unbelievable crowd. The whole thing was just a special memory for me, and it’s one I’ll never forget, and it was the most important night of my occupational life.”
DAVIDSON, North Carolina — Melissa Gibbs stood before 1,200 people who came to celebrate the life of her husband, J.D. Gibbs, and focused on her four sons sitting in the front row.
Looking at Jackson, Miller, Jason and Taylor, she told them: “Nothing you achieve in life will impress me more than the way you cared for your dad. Even in his decline and in his passing, dad was still teaching you guys, long past the point he had anything to give. His life was shaping yours. You are men of character and make me incredibly proud.”
She paused, her voice softening with those final words.
Family and faith were pillars of J.D. Gibbs’ life and they were shared throughout an emotional service Friday that was held in a college basketball arena and attended by former Washington Redskins and those who worked with and competed against Gibbs’ teams in NASCAR.
Gibbs, co-founder and co-chairman of Joe Gibbs Racing, died Jan. 11 from complications following a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease. He was 49.
Tears and laughter punctuated the service, which lasted close to 90 minutes.
Sniffles interrupted Joe Gibbs’ prayer as he spoke of his son. Jackson read entries of his dad’s journal through tears.
Then, there were the stories of J.D. Gibbs’ goofiness. Long-time friend Moose Valliere recalled the wild times he and J.D. had as kids – they’d stay up late, play video games, and make an occasional crank call.
“Clean ones,” Valliere quickly noted to laughs, while looking at J.D.’s parents, Joe and Pat Gibbs.
“That was raising cain for J.D.,” Valliere said. “But we had a blast.”
Valliere also shared how Gibbs influenced his life and helped him with his faith from saying a prayer before every meal to “walk the walk” and value “Godly friendship.”
Melissa also used the service to remind those of the power of faith.
“You are here because his life mattered to you in someway,” Melissa told the crowd at Davidson College’s Belk Arena. “And I am standing before you to make sure his death does as well.
“I don’t intend to waste a bit of his suffering. It had meaning and value. Not that I wouldn’t take a time machine and a miracle cure to get back. But he’s gone and his struggle is over. Better than that, he is with God.”
Dave Alpern, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, also shared how his faith had been shaped by his long-time close friend, along with all the fun times they had together through the years.
He ended his time on the stage by addressing J.D. Gibbs’ four sons.
“You’re dad’s nickname was ‘Son of’ “ Alpern said, noting J.D. Gibbs was the son of a Hall of Fame NFL coach. “Today, we pass the title of ‘Son of’ to you. Consider it a great honor to be considered the son of J.D. Gibbs.”
A public memorial service for J.D. Gibbs will be held at 11:30 a.m. ET Jan. 25 at Davidson College’s John M. Belk Arena in Davidson, North Carolina. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.
Gibbs, the eldest son of car owner Joe Gibbs, died Jan. 11 after a battle with a degenerative neurological disease. J.D. Gibbs was 49.
On a website honoring Gibbs’ legacy, it states that in lieu of flowers, the Gibbs family requests donations to the J.D. Gibbs Legacy Fund. The fund has been established to honor Gibbs and his passion for the Young Life Ministry, which he served as a member of the National Board.
The J.D. Gibbs Legacy Fund has two specific objectives that reflect J.D.’s passion for outreach:
To ensure “every kid” in the greater Charlotte region can be reached with the gospel, the Fund will provide the support necessary to reach adolescents from all socioeconomic backgrounds, those with special needs, and teen moms.
Young Life’s Windy Gap Camp in the mountains of N.C. has been a favorite of J.D.’s and his family for many years. Windy Gap is located just 15 miles north of Asheville, N.C. and the Fund will be used to support the construction of a new dining hall as well as additional facility improvements.