Jerry Bonkowski

Gordon hoping to 'win one for the stache'

Posted September 11, 2012

In the world of sports, we've heard of winning for the Gipper, for the fans, for sick kids, for our armed service members and even players selfishly saying they want to win only for themselves – and the big paycheck that goes along with it.

But I don't think we've ever heard of "win one for the 'stache." Yet, Jeff Gordon has decided that will be his rallying cry as he attempts to return to his successful days of old for two very intertwined reasons.

The way Gordon sees it, if he grows a mustache similar to the one he had early in his illustrious career, it possibly may bring back the equally illustrious success he had way back when – and potentially wind up being the difference between a so-so showing and ultimately winning the championship in the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup.

The "movement" has already gained a lot of traction since Gordon announced he would stop shaving after spectacularly racing his way into the Chase at this past Saturday's race at Richmond. No question, the way he rallied to knock Kyle Busch from making the Chase was classic Gordon – like when he used to sport a mustache.

It's not much of a surprise to see Gordon's logic: Jimmie Johnson grew a beard two years into his five consecutive Cup championships. And then Dale Earnhardt Jr. grew a beard that, while it may not have been the good luck charm he had hoped it to be at the outset, it finally did lead to him breaking his 143-race losing streak earlier this year.

Of course, what did Junior do not too long ago? He shaved off his beard, which could wind up being a move that comes back to haunt him in the upcoming Chase.

But Gordon wearing a mustache for the first time in, what, 15 years or more? Hey, if it inspires him and his fans to success, why not?

I love all the talk on Twitter that has been going on the last few days – I've even good naturedly taken part in what-if's on what Gordon's facial hair should look like (check out @GordonsMustache).

Some say he should go back to the same 'stache he had when he first came onto the Cup scene 20 years ago.

Others are having far too much fun with this, suggesting he grow a handlebar mustache much like Major League pitcher Rollie Fingers sported in the '80s with the Oakland A's.

But Jeff, if you read this, take a bit of advice: to maintain a handlebar mustache not only takes a great deal of time and effort, do you have ANY idea what mustache wax will do to the inside of your helmet? Let's say your car trades paint and bags fenders with Denny Hamlin or Tony Stewart or even Earnhardt or Johnson. Even with the HANS device that is supposed to keep your helmet and head securely in place, just the slightest bit of beating and banging will spread that wax all over the inside of your helmet, potentially even up onto the visor.

Boy, what a mess that would make!

But with Gordon's decision to throw his razor away for the time being, I, on the other hand, think he should make a radical departure from his All-American, clean-shaven look.

We all know how intimidating the late Dale Earnhardt was with his trademark dark black cookie duster. Had Earnhardt raced without a mustache, his equally famous scowl wouldn't have carried nearly as much weight and impact in the intimidation department.

And that's where Gordon needs to look for inspiration. If a mustache was as much of Earnhardt's calling card as was his impeccable use of the so-called chrome horn, then Gordon needs to go as far out as he possibly can.

Here's what I suggest, Jeff:

First, forget just a simple mustache. You need something vibrant, something that stands out, something that's … well, yes, intimidating like Earnhardt.

So, forget the namby-pamby upper lip covering and instead go for the mean, I'll-kick-your-butt look of a Fu Manchu. Granted, with your physical frame resembling more of a jockey than a linebacker, you'll have to make some concessions. Still, if a Fu Manchu works for guys like Hulk Hogan or former Major League pitching ace Rich "Goose" Gossage, I think it can give Gordon some of the desired effect he's hoping to achieve.

Second, shave your head. Now, that may be a radical approach, but Jeff Gordon with a shaved head and a Fu Manchu 'stache will only look all the more angry and intimidating. And after all, Gordon has every right to be angry: he hasn't won a Cup championship in 11 years, since 2001.

Third, Gordon needs to visit a tattoo parlor and get something that really stands out – although it will be covered by his firesuit when he's behind the wheel (unless he decides to replicate Mike Tyson's attempt at "body art" on his face – which would be a bad idea all the way around). Still, wouldn't you love to see Gordon have maybe a skull and crossbow tatt on one arm and a heart with wife Ingrid's name scrolled across it.

Or maybe the names of Ingrid and their two kids, Ella and Leo.

But with a Fu Manchu and maybe a shaved head, I'm willing to bend on a bit on the kind of tattoo he gets: If he doesn't want it to be a permanent fixture to his body, Gordon could always get one of those henna tattoos that kids stick on their skin (only to usually wash off in a few days).

Alright, all kidding aside, if Gordon wants to grow a mustache, more power to him. If it inspires him and, more importantly, his team, all the better. Hey, maybe crew chief Alan Gustafson and the rest of the crew might decide to let their facial hair grow in a show of support.

And then Gordon and his team would go from being the fabled Rainbow Warriors to, maybe, the Hairy Warriors (I know, it's a reach) or how about Cookie Dusters? I can just see the headline now: "Cookie Dusters win Cup championship."

Or maybe the most inspirational thing of all: no one on the No. 24 team, including Gordon, shaves until they win a championship. Of course, that could backfire and may never happen, but that's a whole other story for a whole other time.

So, go on, Jeff, if you want to go out and win one for the 'stache, and if it leads to you finally getting that long-elusive fifth career Cup championship, more power to you.

And if you don't, maybe you can pick up Gillette as your next sponsor.


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  • justabumer Sep 11, 2012

    I once worked at a school where the football coach announced that he wouldn't shave until the team won a game. Some time later he learned that no one cared whether or not he shaved - and he still had a very bad ball team.

  • kornfan2448 Sep 11, 2012


  • pab7165 Sep 11, 2012

    Geesh....did I just read an article about Jeff Gordon growing facial hair.
    Dang I wish I could get those five minutes

  • MarcoPolo Sep 11, 2012

    Gotta say it.....who cares?

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