CONCORD, N.C. (WNCT) – NASCAR champion and North Carolina resident Jeff Gordon received the highest award the governor can bestow on Wednesday.
Governor Pat McCrory surprised Gordon by awarding him with the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
During a banquet on Wednesday, McCrory celebrated Gordon’s achievements and the contributions of the motorsports industry to North Carolina.
“Jeff Gordon has been a tremendous ambassador of motorsports, NASCAR and North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory. “We are not only recognizing Jeff tonight for his performance on the racetrack, but also for his philanthropic work in communities across our state and nation.”
Gordon has achieved an unparalleled roster of victories totaling 93 career NASCAR Cup victories and four NASCAR Cup Series championships.
Off the track, Gordon is passionate about his philanthropic efforts to support pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs through the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord, N.C.
Governor McCrory also discussed the major contributions of the motorsports industry to North Carolina’s economy.
“NASCAR and the motorsports industry are a major part of our state’s identity and our economy,” said Governor McCrory. “In fact, the motorsports industry has a $6 billion economic impact on North Carolina and employs more than 25,000 people in our state.”
North Carolina is home to 1,000 motorsports businesses, teams and tracks and 90 percent of the world’s NASCAR teams are based in the state.