Jesus Apolinar grew up in a Jeff Gordon family. His father, Jesus Sr., was such an avid fan of Gordon that the back of his headstone is etched with No. 24 and Gordon’s signature.
And Apolinar went on to honor his father by getting a massive and intricate tattoo of the former NASCAR superstar’s car at his favorite track, Texas Motor Speedway. In the middle is a portrait of his late father.
Apolinar, a 29-year-old San Antonio resident, posted his tattoo on Twitter and it caught the attention of TMS President Eddie Gossage, who extended an invite to Apolinar to the races this weekend. As an added bonus, Apolinar got to meet with Gordon on Friday.
“He thought it was awesome,” Apolinar said of Gordon’s reaction. “Just the dedication to sit there through the pain, to do something to honor my dad and Jeff Gordon. He thought it was awesome.”
The Monster Energy Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 begins at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The Xfinity race is set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
“Growing up, my dad was a big Jeff Gordon fan, and so I was, too,” Apolinar said. “My dad had the decal, he had the work shirts and it just grew on me. We’d watch the race every Sunday, and that’s how we bonded. If it wasn’t the Spurs, it was NASCAR.
“So the tattoo is a tribute to my dad and the bond we had.”
Apolinar said the tattoo took approximately 12 hours to complete and praised the work of his tattoo artist, Martin Mauricio of San Antonio.
“Just the detail and the artwork that he did … you can actually see the Valvoline logo by the rear tire, it’s just incredible,” Apolinar said. “I’m glad I didn’t think twice about it.”