Jeff Gordon leaves Fox's NASCAR booth for bigger role at Hendrick Motorsports

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Jeff Gordon leaves Fox's NASCAR booth for bigger role at Hendrick Motorsports
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Jeff Gordon's Fox Sports broadcasting career is over. 

The four-time Cup Series champion has been an analyst for Fox's NASCAR TV coverage since he retired from the Cup Series at the end of 2015. But he's stepping away now that Fox's 2021 Cup Series telecasts have concluded to become a vice chairman at Hendrick Motorsports.

Gordon has retained a role at Hendrick since he retired, and that role will expand now that he is no longer doing TV work for every Fox Cup Series race. Gordon will be the No. 2 person at Hendrick behind team owner Rick Hendrick effective Jan. 1. 

“I cannot put into words what Hendrick Motorsports means to me,” Gordon said in a team statement. “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.”

Jeff Gordon won 93 races for Hendrick

Gordon drove for Hendrick during the entirety of his 25-year Cup Series career. He won 93 races and the 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001 Cup Series titles in the No. 24 car. 

His expanded role at Hendrick makes him the man positioned to take over the team once Hendrick, 71, steps down. Gordon has been an equity owner in the organization since 1999 and his name had long been listed as the car owner of Jimmie Johnson's No. 48.

“Jeff and I have talked about this for many years, and I feel it’s a natural evolution for him and our company,” Hendrick said. “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."

Hendrick Motorsports has been the dominant team of the 2021 Cup Series season so far as each of Hendrick's four drivers has won at least one race. Kyle Larson has won four points races and also won the All-Star Race.

Larson's win in the Coca-Cola 600 made Hendrick the winningest team in NASCAR history ahead of Petty Enterprises. 

Gordon provided good insight in the booth

Gordon was a welcome presence in the Fox booth after Darrell Waltrip's driver insights had become aged and he had become a caricature. Gordon and Waltrip were together with play-by-play voice Mike Joy for three seasons until Waltrip retired in 2019. Gordon was the only analyst for Fox in 2020, though that only lasted for a season. Fox hired Clint Bowyer for another three-man booth for the 2021 season. 

Fox did not immediately announce a replacement for Gordon or if it would have just Joy and Bowyer in the booth in 2022. 

Gordon's balance of his Hendrick role and analyst role was an unusual one in the broader sports TV landscape but not unusual at all in NASCAR. While team owners and employees typically do not broadcast events involving their teams in other major American sports, numerous NASCAR TV personalities do and have been analysts on broadcasts involving their race team employers. Dale Earnhardt Jr. works Xfinity Series broadcasts for NBC despite owning four cars in the series and Brad Daugherty did TV work for ESPN and NBC while being a minority owner of JTG-Daugherty Racing. 

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