Gordon Trades In Stock Car For Wine

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Four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon traded in his stock car for a cutting board and chef's coat on Sunday at Infineon Raceway.

Gordon, a native of Vallejo, participated in a Wine Country Luncheon to help promote the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 22-24, at Infineon Raceway. Gordon, who won Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500 in Phoenix, teamed with renowned Bay Area chef Victor Scargle to prepare a gourmet meal at the raceway for Northern California media members.

Gordon and Scargle teamed up to prepare poached Alaskan halibut and grilled Bigeye Tuna for more than 50 media members at the luncheon. Gordon helped with the seasoning, tasting and a number of other elements. He admitted that his wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, is more of the chef at home.

"This is scary. Tony Stewart doesn't scare me but this scares me," Gordon said of preparing the meal. Gordon wore a chef's coat embroidered with the Jeff Gordon Collection logo.

The lunch was paired with wines from the Jeff Gordon Collection, which is produced at August Briggs Winery in Calistoga, and Ravenswood Winery in Sonoma. Gordon served his 2005 Chardonnay with the halibut, while Ravenswood served a Zinfandel with the tuna. Ravenswood will be the sponsor of the raceway's pole-day qualifying on Friday, June 22.

"Driving through the Sonoma Valley a long time ago I always wondered what went on in the vineyards and that's how I developed an interest in wine," Gordon said. "This is something I really enjoy doing and I hope people enjoy my wines. I know I do."

Scargle was the perfect match with Gordon, having worked at the TriBeCa Grill, Aureole, Patria and Gramercy Tavern in New York City. In the Bay Area, he was the executive chef of Julia's Kitchen at COPIA in Napa and he has worked at Aqua and Jardiniere in San Francisco. Scargle, who is currently the executive chef at Go Fish in St. Helena, has also appeared in the Food Network and the hit television show "Top Chef" on Bravo starting Tom Colicchio.

"Jeff is the best at what he does on the racetrack and to come into the kitchen with an open mind like he did was great," Scargle said. "He has the hand-eye coordination down. There's a second career waiting for him if he needs it."

Prior to the luncheon, Gordon took part in a Mini Baby Shower, hosted by raceway president and general manager Steve Page. Gordon and his wife, Ingrid, are expecting their first child, a girl, in late June or early July.

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