While @JeffGordonWeb is taking his last ride of the season this weekend at Homestead, one of his sponsors will also be taking their final trip around the track as well. So, to honor their partnership over the past five years, Gordon’s sponsor AARP’s @Drive2EndHunger has developed a unique tribute focusing on that infamous number 24.
Through social media, they asked fans of the 24 to come up with one question that they had always wanted to ask their favorite driver. 24 of those questions were then selected, answered by Gordon and compiled by AARP’s Drive to End Hunger in a You Tube video here.
“We wanted to do something really for the fans,” Jen Martin, AARP Community Strategist, said. “Doing the social media for Drive to End Hunger for the last five years, I’ve seen some of the most amazing questions. I’ve tried to answer them as I can or try to get those answers but then we had this neat idea to crowdsource them.”
“So, we put it out on Facebook and asked the fans what would be the one question they would want to ask Jeff Gordon if they had the chance.”
The social media responses from the fans far exceeded Martin’s wildest expectations, with over 450 questions pouring in.
“A lot of the questions were similar,” Martin said. “We picked the 24 most unique ones and went from there.”
The selected 24 questions and Gordon’s 24 answers ranged from what he ate before a race to his favorite dance move. There were however, also some more serious questions and answers.
“I loved the question about who he would sit down with if he had a moment,” Martin said. “And his answer was God. I actually thought it might have been another driver or maybe his idol from childhood. For it to be a spiritual kind of answer, I thought it was really interesting that he said that.”
Another of the 24 questions asked was how Gordon would feel to be in the championship hunt. What was even more interesting is that the question was asked and answered in September, well before Gordon had even made it to the final four.
“We asked the questions in August so we had no idea that Jeff would be running for the championship,” Martin said. “We got the questions in August, it took about a week to go through them all, and select the ones that we thought were good. We sent our ideas to Hendrick Motorsports and then agreed on the 24 questions.”
“We literally had one day to film all of them with Jeff on September 10th. I’m sure he had a feeling that running for the championship was what he wanted to do but I don’t think anyone knew that this was going to happen for him.”
While Martin and the DTEH team are hopeful that all fans take a look at the video, they are especially excited to see the reactions of fans whose questions made it to the final 24.
“I’m especially excited to see the fans’ reactions to seeing their question asked and then answered by Jeff,” Martin said. “I’m sure that will be special and very meaningful for them.”
Although Gordon will not be behind the wheel of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger car for his final run this weekend, the DTEH team will be on hand at Homestead doing what they have always done, sharing pictures, tweets and Facebook posts as their driver takes the checkered flag for the final time.
“I still want to give the fans as much of a front row seat as to what it is like to be at this race,” Martin said. “This is a very bittersweet race for us as I’m sure it is for the fans. I can’t imagine having been a life-long fan of Jeff and to then witness his final race.”
“I’m reading what the fans are sharing now and it’s really sad because they love Jeff so much. He has meant so much to them and it’s really heartwarming. So, I really want to be able to share that story about his final race this weekend with the fans.”
As with so many of the 24 and Jeff Gordon fans, this last race weekend will also be emotional for the Drive To End Hunger team.
“I’m definitely going to shed some tears,” Martin said. “I witnessed one win of Jeff’s, the 2012 Homestead win when he was in the Axalta car. I can literally go back and say that was the best experience I’ve ever had at AARP doing a work event.”
“Being in Victory Lane and standing next to Jeff Gordon and cheering my face off was the most incredible experience. So, the opportunity to maybe do that again on an even bigger stage with the championship, I just cannot imagine.”
While the sponsorship partnership between Jeff Gordon and AARP’s DTEH will end at Homestead, the need for awareness of helping those who are hungry remains. And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, the last NASCAR race of the season and for Jeff Gordon is the perfect opportunity to remind fans to continue to help.
“So, after fans have a chance to check out the 24 questions and answers video, they can also text HUNGER to 50555 to donate or donate through www.drivetoendhunger.org,” Martin said. “It is a good reminder that during this holiday season there are a lot of older people who don’t have a meal.”
“In addition to the 24 Questions with 24 video, we’ll be mentioning the need to help others this weekend, to always think about that.”
“So, even though Drive to End Hunger is ending its role with Jeff Gordon this weekend, the need for meals for seniors will not go away, nor will DTEH’s efforts to stay connected to the NASCAR community.”
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