NASCAR star Jeff Gordon has announced that 2015 will be his last full season in the sport. He broke the news to his team, Hendrick Motorsports, who he’s driven for since November 1992, at a meeting this morning.
Gordon competes in NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup Series and already has four titles under his belt, 92 points-paying race wins and 77 pole positions. This means he is third in all-time victories behind NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105).
He will now compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season, aiming for a fifth title.
Hendrick Motorsports will announce a replacement for Gordon at a later date, though there are already rumors that youngster Chase Elliott, the 2014 Xfinity Series champion, will fill his seat.
“As a race car driver, much of what I’ve done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions,” Gordon said in a statement. “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship—I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there’s always the possibility I’ll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that.”
Today’s news doesn’t come as a total surprise as the 43-year-old has had some issues concerning his back. Last May, severe back pain forced him to miss a practice session for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day weekend.