“How the heck did we get here?”
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In this excerpt from the forthcoming biography, author Joe Garner recounts the first time Jeff Gordon met Tom Cruise in 1997 at Vanity Fair's glitzy, A-list packed post-Oscar party, and the humbling encounter Gordon had with another Hollywood mega-star, Leonardo DiCaprio.

Jeff may have been the biggest name in racing at the time, but he was just a guppy in a giant pond of celebrity, still shy enough to be starstruck.
Just weeks after the Daytona win, Rick Hendrick reached out to Tom Cruise and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, whom he had become friendly with during the filming of the 1990 racing movie Days of Thunder in Charlotte, and landed Jeff and his then-wife Brooke an invite to Vanity Fair magazine's exclusive post-Academy Awards party in Los Angeles.
"It was the A-list of who's who in Hollywood," Jeff remembers. "We were like, 'How the heck did we get here?' I'm sitting there, and nobody really knows who I am, and everywhere I looked I'm seeing every major actor, director, and entertainer in Hollywood - I mean they're just standing right next to us. It was amazing."
He and Brooke tried to cozy up to Cruise, who had been nominated for a best actor Oscar for Jerry Maguire, but the megastar had a line of VIPs a mile long just waiting to shake his hand. They joined the queue.
"Mr. Cruise is not taking any more visitors at this time," his security detail eventually told them. "No problem," Jeff said. "Can you just pass along a message that Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick say hi?"
Then he and Brooke turned to go. They hadn't gotten more than a few steps before he heard someone shout his name. It was Cruise, waving them back.
"He sits us down in his booth and says, 'Oh my God, this is awesome. It's such a pleasure to meet you.' He introduces us to Nicole [Kidman]," Jeff recalls.
They were flabbergasted. He and Cruise talked about racing, about Hendrick Motorsports, about the track at Darlington, where he'd raced the previous day. "He couldn't have been nicer."
But the kicker for Jeff was when they passed twenty-two-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio on the way out.
"He had these purple sunglasses on, two glasses of champagne. I said, 'Leonardo, I know you're probably not a NASCAR fan, but I'm a NASCAR driver and I love your work, and congrats on everything.'
"I'll never forget, he looks at me and goes, 'Ah, man, I don't follow NASCAR, but if you're in here, you must be somebody."

Pre-Order Your Copy of Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny!
Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny is now available for pre-order from here.

Those who pre-order the book directly from will receive exclusive bonus material digitally before the book ships in October that will not be made available anywhere else!
The exclusive bonus material will give behind-the-scenes insight into the making of the book.
Additionally, those who pre-order the book directly from will receive an exclusive poster included with their book when it ships in October!
Gordon’s meteoric rise through racing’s ranks is a classic American success story. Readers will find inspiration in Gordon’s candid take on his pivotal life episodes.
The first-ever authorized biography, Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny is being written by Joe Garner, the five-time New York Times bestselling author.
Garner was given unprecedented access. “What truly impressed me in the making of this book is the time Jeff invested. There are so many books with very little time invested by the drivers, but Jeff gave me unparalleled access at the race track, at special events – and at his home – over the past 15 months,” says Garner.
The book is based on those extensive interviews with Gordon – as well as in-depth interviews with dozens of family members, friends, competitors, and colleagues, some of whom have never gone on the record before.
“He put nothing off-limits and encouraged the people to speak honestly,” says Garner. “And Jeff speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about his childhood, his much publicized divorce, those he competed against, his family, and life after racing.”
This fully illustrated 192-page 8.5”x12” hardcover biography will allow privileged access to a wealth of exclusive unseen and rare material from Gordon’s personal photo and memorabilia collection.
Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny is scheduled to be released on October 18th, 2016.
This book has been and continues to be a very special project for Jeff that provides the opportunity to open up about his personal life on and off the track, as well as pay tribute to those who have supported him.
If you pre-order the book, please let us know by replying to We’d love to hear from you and your thoughts about the book excerpts as they are released leading up to the launch of the book.
Pre-Order Your Copy of Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny!
Jeff Gordon: His Dream, Drive & Destiny will also be available wherever fine books are sold.
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