END OF AN ERA: Veteran Jeff Gordon will retire from Nascar at the end of the 2015 season. Image: AP / Darryl Graham
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida - Through driver changes, a new championship format, and Nascar's push to reinvent itself, the one constant for more than two decades has been Jeff Gordon behind the wheel every week of his iconic No. 24.
In 2015 however he will buckle up for his final season.
The four-times Nascar champion will compete in his final Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.
‘I WANT TO RACE HARD’
Gordon said in January 2015 that he would give up full-time driving at the end of 2015 and while he didn't rule out racing in the future, the season-opening Daytona 500 will mark his final appearance in the "Great American Race" on February 22.
Gordon said he did not want the focus to be on him throughout the season: "I am concerned about it. The statements and comments and accolades have already been overwhelming. I want to race hard and be competitive and be focused at the race track.
"We're trying to do all that we can to talk to the tracks and talk to Nascar about how we can maintain that level of focus."
STAYING FOR THE FANS
Gordon has already offered to return to race tracks in 2016, when he's out of the car, to help with any tributes.
He said: "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to be here. It only makes sense for me to commit to the fans and the sport for all it's given to me and I can't do that when I'm trying to be focused on the track."
Gordon came close to a fifth championship in 2014 - it was won by Kevin Harvick - winning four races a but a sequence of events in the third segment of Nascar’s new elimination-round playoffs knocked him out of title contention.
In 2015, he will need to be just as good to have a shot at reaching the finale in Homestead, Miami where four drivers will race for the Cup.
2015 NASCAR SERIES
The 2015 Cup cars have smaller spoilers, less power, and drivers will be able to make their own adjustments from inside the cockpit.
Nascar has replaced officials with 45 cameras that will police the pits. The cameras will be monitored from a command centre and it will be tough for teams to dispute calls.