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Jeff Gordon shifts gears

The NASCAR legend looks in his rear-view mirror

Updated: October 8, 2010, 10:55 AM ET
By Ryan McGee | ESPN The Magazine

With daughter Ella in his arms, Jeff Gordon stands by his Chevy on the Atlanta Motor Speedway grid, flashing that steely-eyed smile. "Pretty cool, huh?" he says to his 3-year-old, about the 24 car's special paint scheme, the one she designed. Then the 38-year-old vet does something rare for him. He gets reflective.

Gordon is typically future-focused, politely rerouting questions about his 82 wins and four Cup titles to talk about the next ones. But just before his 606th career start ...

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