As explained by USA Today, this conflicting image made for great on-track rivalries with drivers like Dale Earnhardt Sr., but the two had a strong friendship (and eventually a business partnership) off the track.
Gordon became the template for the modern NASCAR driver. Media-savvy, family-friendly, and capable of grace in both victory and defeat, following the Gordon template was a safe move for teams looking to keep their wealthy sponsors happy. Today, drivers that fight, intentionally wreck, and pop off to the press are now the outlier, and no longer the norm.On paper, you could look towards Gordon’s 93 race wins and
four championships (third and fourth on the all-time win list, respectively). But to truly understand the impact that Gordon has had on the sport, simply turn on the TV and observe just how much of a mainstream sport NASCAR has become.