By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer
Late last month, four-time NASCAR Champion, and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon was named Vice Chairman of Hendrick Motorsports. The role ranks Gordon as the second-ranking team official to owner and chairman, Rick Hendrick. Gordon will assume the strategic executive management role on the first of January 2022, and he’s excited about taking the role on officially.
“I’m excited. It’s been in discussion for a long time between Rick [Hendrick] and myself, said Gordon. “My presence has been there but now it gets ramped up to a whole other level. It wasn’t a choice about leaving Fox. It was really about the opportunity and the timing of moving into this role full time.
Gordon has spent the last six NASCAR seasons in a broadcast role with Fox. Gordon stated that the decision to step away from that role was tough because he has enjoyed working with Fox. He went on to gain a great perspective on the entertainment and TV side of the sport. However, it came down to the ‘opportunity and timing’ of moving into the role at Hendrick Motorsports on a full-time basis.
“I had [a lot of] fun, especially this year working with (Clint) Bowyer and Mike (Joy) and those folks. This year was a lot of fun, expressed Gordon. “I’m forever grateful, really, for that opportunity and appreciate Eric Shanks and his whole team for bringing me on board. Maybe it wasn’t a mutual decision, but it was one of those things where they understand. From the very beginning they knew that I had an equity position at Hendrick and that one day this could be home. So, this is more about coming home for me.”
The path to ownership goes back to 1999. Gordon has been behind the scenes, understanding and learning the business side. As he got closer to stepping away from the driving aspect of the sport in 2015; his interest in the business side things, the culture that Rick created and the impact it had on things beyond what Gordon was doing as a driver piqued his interest even more.
“Each year, that ramped up more and more as I had [pretty much] half the season to dedicate my time to it. The more I did that, whether it was coming to the track or being back at the shop on race day, or talking to the marketing department about sponsorship or talking to NASCAR about Next Gen or any business decisions that were going on there with other owners, I realized that this is where my true passion lies. I love the sport. I love racing. But the competition and being a partner with one of the best owners there will ever be in NASCAR, that’s really what I was getting excited about looking ahead.”
Jeff Gordon spent his entire NASCAR career behind the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. In a career spanning 25 years, Gordon earned an impressive four Cup Series Championships, 93 wins, 325 top-five, 477 top-10 finishes and was inducted into the 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“I’m really excited about this challenge and this role. I feel like I’m at the place in my life where I’m really ready for it. Most importantly, I’m just fortunate to work side-by-side with a guy that’s shown us all how to do it right for so many years and will continue to do that for a number of years to come.”
Feature Photo Credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo