“Baja Bob” Gordon, a legendary off-road racer, was found dead last Thursday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at the age of 69. Upstairs in their house in Orange, California lay the body of his wife Sharon, 57, who had been strangled to death. Police believe Gordon killed his wife before turning the gun on himself. Baja Bob was the patriarch of a racing family that includes his son, famed NASCAR veteran Robby Gordon, his daughter Beccy, who is a racer herself as well as a pit reporter, and her husband Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 2014.
Family became concerned after the 69-year-old elder Gordon missed a doctor’s appointment last Wednesday. Their bodies were discovered by Bob’s old racing buddy Jay Hooker, who called the gruesome discovery into police. Despite their bloody end and evidence of a struggle, the couple had no history of violence according to family or police. Authorities still have not disclosed a motive and say they may never know what made Gordon kill himself and then his wife.
Friends and family reacted to the news in shock and horror. At a press conference, son Robby said his father was a good man who taught many up and coming racers. After hearing the news, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson tweeted, “Heartbreaking news this morning. Thinking of the Gordon family and friends. #BajaBob.” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on Twitter, “Praying for friends @RobbyGordon @BeccyGordon and the Gordon family during this difficult time. Hope they find strength and support.” In an odd twist, Ryan Hunter-Reay and wife Beccy saw the birth of their third child the same day her father died. Neither Robby Gordon nor Hunter-Reay cancelled planned events and races in the wake of the death, Ryan being quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying "This is all around a family of racers. This is what makes our blood flow."