There is one race remaining on the Fox Sports portion of the NASCAR schedule before NBC Sports takes over. This race could also mark the end of an era in the booth. The Sports Business Journal reports that Jeff Gordon is considering leaving the broadcast booth and moving to the business side of a NASCAR team.
According to Adam Stern, the NASCAR Hall of Famer is “weighing his future” with Fox Sports and “could take on a larger role” over at Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon is currently working in a three-man booth with Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer, and his potential departure could leave the other two men on their own.
Gordon currently holds an ownership stake in Hendrick Motorsports, which includes the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro that Jimmie Johnson drove before retiring from full-time competition. Additionally, Gordon revealed before his 2019 Hall of Fame induction ceremony that he had the opportunity to take on more leadership responsibilities at Hendrick Motorsports.
“I can tell you how long those conversations have been going on and it’s a long time,” Gordon said during a Hall of Fame press conference in 2019, per NASCAR. “I would love to be in that position one day.”
Gordon Could Become the Head of Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick is 71 years old and has publicly discussed his future during the 2021 season. He could walk away from running Hendrick Motorsports in the near future, which would open up a spot at the top of the proverbial food chain. Gordon could be the man to fill this void.
The two discussed the possibility of Gordon taking over HMS when he retired from racing after the 2015 season, but Hendrick was not yet ready to walk away. The former driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet quickly joined Fox Sports and later opted to sign a three-year contract extension that kept him in the Fox Sports booth through the 2021 season, though he explained to NASCAR at the time that he remained interested in potentially running the team.
“I love the business side of it,” Gordon told NASCAR. “If that day ever comes, I would be truly honored even though I don’t think I could do the job that he’s done, I would be truly honored to take that role on. As I say that, that would be the first time other than when my parents made me sweep floors and run the machine shop when I was a kid during summers where I actually had a real job.
“Running a race team or being in that role on a race team, that is a real job. … That role Rick would have to put me in is one I would have to work at really, really hard. I hope one day when that time comes, I would be ready to do that.”
“That’s the way we’re going,” Hendrick told Autoweek in 2018. “Whenever I finally step away, it’ll be Jeff Gordon in my place.”
Hendrick’s only son Ricky Hendrick had been slated to take over the company leadership before he was killed along with nine other victims, including then-Hendrick Motorsports team president John Hendrick and his twin daughters Kimberly and Jennifer, in a plane crash on the way to a race in North Carolina on October 24, 2004, according to NBC Sports.
Gordon Found Considerable Success During His Time With HMS
Following two seasons and three wins in the Busch Grand National Series, Gordon made the move to the Cup Series. He joined HMS and got behind the wheel of the No. 24, becoming a fan-favorite in the process. Gordon also created a rivalry with Dale Earnhardt, leading to wild showdowns on the race track.
The Hall-of-Famer impressed mightily during his HMS career. He made 805 starts and won 93 races, including the most road course events in NASCAR history (nine). He also made the organization a constant contender, resulting in four Cup Series championships.
Gordon retired from full-time competition after the 2015 season, but he returned to Hendrick for eight races while helping replace an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. When he wasn’t driving the No. 88 Chevrolet, however, he was spending time in the booth and providing analysis about the action down on the track. Now he could make another major career change after the 2021 season.