Jeff Gordon at the Daytona 500
The anticipation mounted. It was the Daytona 500. It was a new season for NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. And he had a new sponsor for his No. 24 car: the Drive to End Hunger, sponsored by AARP and AARP Foundation.
It wasn't meant to be for Gordon at Sunday's Daytona 500. In a 14-car crash that included three of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, the NASCAR champ and his crumpled Chevy Impala were knocked out of competition.
After a quick pit stop to assess the car's damage, the five-time champ continued to race for points. He finished 35 laps behind winner Trevor Bayne. At 20, Bayne became the youngest winner in Daytona history, breaking the record Gordon set when he won the race in 1997 at age 26.
Although it was the end of the line at Daytona, it's just the beginning for Gordon's goal of wiping out hunger. Next stop: Phoenix, for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 on Feb. 27.
Gordon will race his No. 24 — splashed with logos for the Drive to End Hunger campaign — through 22 NASCAR races to raise awareness of the campaign. The program aims to stamp out hunger among older Americans. More than 6 million seniors struggle to get enough food and often are forced to skip meals.