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Seeking new direction, Gordon changes marketing agency

Jeff Gordon to end a ten year relationship with IMG
With an eye toward his future, Jeff Gordon is leaving IMG to chart a new course with Just Marketing International, a motorsports marketing agency in Indianapolis that has not been in the driver representation business before.

Gordon had spent more than ten years with IMG, and during most of that time he was the only NASCAR driver in the agency's talent stable. But as Gordon, 38, approaches the twilight of his driving career, he's looking for a deeper selection of business opportunities within motorsports that extend beyond endorsements.

“I think Jeff is past the point of looking for the traditional deal that gets you a patch on his sleeve,” said John Bickford, Gordon's stepfather, chief business adviser and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc. “What we're looking for is more integrated business opportunities that will position Jeff post-racing.”

Those opportunities could involve racetrack design, team ownership or other business ventures inside motorsports, Bickford said. Gordon is currently working with a developer in Canada to build a Gordon-signature track that he designed.

“To think about going into a project with the marketing support of JMI behind you, it became crystal clear that this was the direction to go,” Bickford said.

Among the endorsement deals that IMG struck on behalf of Gordon were Tag Heuer watches, Foster Grant sunglasses and Halston Z-14 cologne, the type of lifestyle plays that were good fits when Gordon was at the peak of his driving career. He was represented at the agency by Alan Zucker.

Gordon's #24 sponsors at Hendrick Motorsports include long-time partner DuPont, National Guard, Pepsi and Chevrolet. Those sponsorship arrangements are separate from the personal endorsement deals signed by IMG, which did not sell team sponsorships for Hendrick.

“Jeff was a celebrity client for over ten years, and we had a great relationship,” IMG spokesman Jim Gallagher said. “It was a parting on good terms.”

IMG loses Gordon after a year of growth in its motorsports division. It added a sales and marketing relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing and representation of Danica Patrick as she moved into NASCAR.




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Jeff Gordon is beginning to plan for life after his Sprint Cup racing career. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS finishes in fifth place, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishes in 33rd place in the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 22, 2015 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who led for 87 laps,  was involved in a multi-car incident on the last lap. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 22, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
Tyler Reddick, driver of the #19 DrawTite Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, is interviewed in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Hendrick Motorsports team mates (left) Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet and (right) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet celebrate in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, captures the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015 after posting the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who has said this is his last full season of racing, has won the Daytona 500 three times. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second and will also start from the front row. (Photo by HHP/David Tulis for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, captures the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015 after posting the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, shown with his team and crew chief, Alan Gustafson, said this is his last full season of racing. Gordan has won the Daytona 500 three times. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second and will also start from the front row. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, after capturing the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015. Gordon posted the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida, which he has won three times. He has said this is his last full season of racing. Johnson qualifies second and will also start from the front row.(Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, captures the Daytona 500 pole for the second time in his career Sunday, February 15, 2015 after posting the fastest qualifying time for next Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Daytona Beach, Florida. Gordon, who has said this is his last full season of racing, has won the Daytona 500 three times. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualifies second and will also start from the front row. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during qualifying for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, pose with the Daytona 500 Pole Award and Front Row Award after qualifying for the pole position and front row for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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