NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon will trade in the microphone for the front office at Hendrick Motorsports.
The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will become the second-ranking member of the organization to chairman and majority owner Rick Hendrick. The 49-year-old Gordon will assume the executive management role effective Jan. 1, 2022.
“I cannot put into words what Hendrick Motorsports means to me,” Gordon said in a team press release. “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 joined FOX Sports as an analyst in 2016 following his retirement at the conclusion of the 2015 season. He will continue his broadcasting duties with FOX Sports through the end of the 2021 calendar year. He will not return to the FOX booth for the 2022 season.
“I cannot thank the entire FOX Sports family enough for the incredible opportunity I’ve had over the past six seasons,” 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.”
Following the release of the news from Hendrick, Eric Shanks, the Chief Executive Officer & Executive Producer at FOX Sports had this to say: “Just like he did on the track, Jeff distinguished himself as an all-time winner on our FOX Sports team. While we are sad to see him go, everyone at FOX Sports wishes Jeff nothing but continued success.”
As vice chairman and co-owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon will report to Hendrick and work alongside team president Marshall Carlson and general manager Jeff Andrews. In addition, he will join Hendrick on NASCAR’s team owner council and assume Hendrick Motorsports’ seat on the sanctioning body’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee.
In January 2019, Gordon said that he would welcome a larger role at Hendrick Motorsports when the time was right.
“I love the business side of it,” Gordon said then. “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,” he added. “… 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.”
In 1999, Gordon became an equity owner of Hendrick Motorsports and continues to be the only partner in the organization. He was first listed as the owner of the No. 48 Chevrolet when seven-time championship Jimmie Johnson began his tenure with the team in 2001.
Hendrick says this plan has been in the works for many years, but he has no intentions of stepping away from his majority role.
“I’ve always been impressed with his business instincts,” Hendrick, 71 said in a team release. “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 energized about working arm-in-arm with him and cementing the future of Hendrick Motorsports together.”
The 13-time Cup Series championship-winning organization also owns the most Cup Series wins in history with 271 race victories, the last coming with Kyle Larson’s Nashville Superspeedway win last Sunday. Gordon recorded 93 victories for the organization during his 25-year career at NASCAR’s highest level.