February 11, 2003
Daytona Beach, Fla. Jeff Gordon's divorce case spilled over to the race track Monday when attorneys for his wife tried to subpoena several car owners at Daytona International Speedway.
NASCAR officials did not allow process servers into the track.
Most of the top teams have been subpoenaed at their home offices in the past month, and all have refused to open their books to Brooke Gordon and her lawyers.
Because the divorce is being heard in Florida, her lawyers want car owners to have to fight new subpoenas in a local court.
"We wanted to take advantage of the fact they are in Florida and issue Florida subpoenas," said Terry Young, an Orlando-based attorney representing Brooke Gordon.
"If they choose to contest them, we want them to go before a Florida judge to do so."
Young said a process server was turned away Friday when NASCAR teams reported to the track to prepare for Sunday's Daytona 500, so the papers were sent again Monday with Volusia County sheriff's deputies.
Young did not know if the deputies had gotten into the track, but a NASCAR official said they did not allow the subpoenas in.
Gordon, the four-time Winston Cup champion, was aware of what was happening.
"It's out of my control, but I think it's really disgusting," he said. "It's a real shame that they are trying to drag all these other guys into this because to me there are other ways for them to get what they are looking for. This is just harassment."
The Gordons met early in the driver's career in Daytona's Victory Lane when the former Miss Winston model presented him with a trophy. They were married for seven years before she filed for divorce in March, citing marital misconduct.
Since then, her lawyers asked to examine the contracts other car owners have with their drivers and sponsors to determine what Gordon is worth as a car owner. The four-time Winston Cup champion owns a stake of Hendrick Motorsports.
NASCAR contracts are closely held secrets because teams don't want to reveal what kind of deals they are able to negotiate.
Car owners have been outraged at requests to open their books, even though Jeff Fisher, Brooke Gordon's lead attorney, promised confidentiality.
"They say they will keep it a secret, but the only way it can be kept a secret is if only two people know and one of them is dead," said car owner Felix Sabates. "This is just plain harassment, and by sending people to the race track, it shows she has no consideration for Jeff Gordon's career and thinks NASCAR is just a toy to play with."
Gordon had to turn over papers in November that estimated his worth at about $48.8 million and that he earned more than $18 million in 2001.
Brooke Gordon has asked for exclusive use of their Highland Beach, Fla., mansion, valued at $10.2 million, as well as alimony, two cars and periodic use of their boats and an airplane. She also wants him to continue to pay the salaries of their housekeepers, maintenance workers and chef.
The racer has countersued, saying he should not have to equally split the couple's estate because he risked his life to earn it.
Florida law requires assets amassed during a marriage to be split evenly.
Originally published at: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2003/feb/11/gordons_wife_causes/