After six seasons, Jeff Gordon is stepping down from his colour commentator role at Fox Sports as he takes an elevated role at Hendrick Motorsports. On Wednesday, HMS announced the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and team co-owner will assume the position of Vice Chairman, effectively making him the second-in-command to owner Rick Hendrick. His new duties begin on 1 January 2022.
“I cannot put into words what Hendrick Motorsports means to me,” said Gordon. “In many ways, it’s my home and the people here are my family. I’ve never lost my passion for the organization, for our sport, and for the sheer challenge of racing and winning at the highest level. Being part of the competition is where I’m happiest and feel I can make the biggest contribution to the continued, long-term success of the team. Rick and I have a shared vision, which is based on the values he’s instilled, the culture he’s built and our desire to be the very best in all categories, on and off the track.”
Gordon spent his legendary Cup career racing exclusively for Hendrick from 1992 to 2015 (including a backup driver stint in 2016), during which he won ninety-three races and four titles. In 1999, he became an equity owner in the team and it is widely expected that Gordon takes over full operational responsibilities in the future.
“Jeff and I have talked about this for many years, and I feel it’s a natural evolution for him and our company,” commented Hendrick. “I’ve always been impressed with his business instincts. On some level, he’s been involved in every major decision we’ve made over the last two decades, and his influence has continued to grow since he stopped driving. He understands our culture, our values, and the importance we place on our people and our partnerships.
“I love racing and competing, and Jeff is the only person I know who hates to lose as much as I do. I feel great physically and have no plans to go anywhere anytime soon, which is exactly why it’s the right time. In the years to come, I couldn’t be more energised about working arm-in-arm with him and cementing the future of Hendrick Motorsports together.”
After his retirement from full-time driving, Gordon joined Fox’s Cup Series coverage in the booth alongside Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip. For 2021, he worked with Joy and fellow ex-driver Clint Bowyer. Fox had recently wrapped up its broadcast for the season at the All-Star Race. Fittingly, Gordon’s final points race called was at Sonoma Raceway near his hometown of Vallejo, California, where he has a record five wins; Hendrick driver Kyle Larson won both that race and the All-Star.
“I’ve really enjoyed @JeffGordonWeb at @FOXSports and I learned from him,” Joy tweeted. “With a look or a nod, we could anticipate each other’s next direction. He’s a good friend and I’ll miss him being on our team.
“Next year will still be fun, but it will be different. Right, @ClintBowyer?”
“Happy for @JeffGordonWeb,” posted Bowyer. “An incredible opportunity for him. So glad I got the chance to share my first year broadcasting with him. Trust me! No two people ever had more fun than we did this year.
“At least I won’t have to agree with him on how good his cars are next yr.”
“I cannot thank the entire FOX Sports family enough for the incredible opportunity I’ve had over the past six seasons,” added Gordon said. “I’ve come to truly appreciate the responsibility of bringing the sport to our fans and the tremendous work that goes into our broadcasts each and every week. I’m certainly going to miss it, but I will forever be grateful to Fox for the experience and for the trust they’ve placed in me. It’s been a privilege to work with such a talented group of people.”
A replacement at Fox was not immediately announced. While two-person booths are not uncommon (Fox’s 2020 coverage was anchored by just Joy and Gordon after Waltrip’s retirement), Fox and fellow NASCAR network NBC typically employ a trio.