Jeff Gordon was getting lots of love before his final race, maybe even more than expected.
Fellow drivers Danica Patrick and Kyle Larson wore Gordon tribute hats. Patrick's was old-school "rainbow warriors" colors. Joey Logano posted a picture Sunday of him and Gordon on Facebook and wrote, "You were my idol growing up. Never did I think I'd race against you for wins. Congrats on a great career Jeff Gordon."
NASCAR presented Gordon with a tribute video during the pre-race drivers' meeting and then everyone in the room gave him a standing ovation.
"Jeff, congratulations on an outstanding career," NASCAR President Mike Helton said. "We thank you for all you've done for NASCAR and will do. You're a true champion and a top-shelf guy."
Fans lined a red carpet leading to the meeting and showered Gordon with praise. Gordon responded by high-fiving hundreds of them.
Gordon had presents for his colleagues, too.
Gordon gave each driver in the finale field an inscribed, carbon-fiber box to commemorate his last race. Gordon recalled Richard Petty doing something similar during the 1992 season finale in Atlanta. Petty gave each driver in that race a "Petty blue" money clip.
"Something I've always cherished," Gordon tweeted along with a picture of the clip.
And count No. 42 among those pulling for No. 24.
Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, expressed support for four-time champion Jeff Gordon on his Twitter page.
"I'm excited to watch (@JeffGordonWeb's last thrilling ride tomorrow. He's a great friend to me and to the @ClintonFdn. Best of luck #Team24!" Clinton posted.
Gordon is one of four drivers remaining in contention for the title. Kyle Busch, defending series champion Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. also will race for the championship Sunday.