published on September 15, 2016 - 10:04 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

(AP) — Police said a husband and wife were found dead inside a home in Southern California and a neighbor said they were the father and stepmother of former NASCAR racer Robby Gordon.

Officers discovered the bodies inside a gated house in an upscale neighborhood in Orange after receiving a 911 call Wednesday afternoon, police Lt. Fred Lopez said.

A rifle was found at the scene, and police do not believe a suspect is at large, officials said Thursday.

The Orange County coroner’s office identified the deceased as Robert Gordon, 68, and Sharon Gordon, 57.

Jill Dombroske, a longtime neighbor, told The Associated Press that the Gordons were the parents of racer Robby Gordon.

The younger Gordon currently races in an off-road series he created in 2013 called Speed Energy Formula Off-Road, following the path of his father. Known as “Baja Bob,” Robert Gordon was also an accomplished off-road racer.

Dombroske said the Gordons were longtime residents of the quiet neighborhood where large homes sit on expansive hillside properties and many people own horses. Residents were out Thursday morning walking and riding horses on dirt trails that run along the winding hillside roads.

“I feel very sad,” she said. “Everyone here will be very sad.”

Another neighbor, Greg Saunders, said everyone in the area knew the family. He said Robert Gordon had a horse feed business and would regularly drop hay off at neighbors’ homes.

“He’s a very nice, down to earth guy. He has his truck and he delivers personally,” Saunders said.

Police in the city about 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles said the cause of the deaths had not been determined. The deceased were married and autopsies were pending as part of the ongoing investigation, Lopez said.

Racer Dale Earnhardt Jr., who has won multiple NASCAR championships, tweeted that he was praying for the Gordon family. “Hope they find strength and support,” he said.

Calls to representatives for Robby Gordon were not immediately returned Thursday.

Gordon, 47, has raced on numerous racing circuits, from NASCAR to IndyCar to Champ Car and IROC.

Known for his aggressive style, he earned three wins in parts of 19 seasons in what is now the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He was a full-time driver early last decade and finished a career-high 16th in the points standings in 2003 driving for Richard Childress Racing. Gordon last raced in the Sprint Cup in 2012.

Gordon is one of only four drivers, joining John Andretti, Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch, to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. He nearly won the 1999 Indy 500 before running out of fuel in the closing laps.

Gordon’s off-road racing team was scheduled to be in Orange County this weekend.

Gordon’s sister, Beccy, is married to 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. The driver tweeted Wednesday that his wife had given birth to a boy.

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