NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon announced he’s leaving the television booth to take on his new role at Hendrick Motorsports. Gordon, officially named Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman this week, will assume his new role Jan. 1, 2022. Even before he begins his new journey, the NASCAR Hall of Famer has already had a major impact on the team, specifically Alex Bowman and his crew.
Jeff Gordon’s new role had been discussed for years
Gordon becomes the second-ranking team official to chairman and majority owner Rick Hendrick as vice chairman of the company. In October of 1999, Gordon became an equity owner of Hendrick Motorsports. Now, he’s second in command, and it’s something he and Hendrick discussed for years.
“Jeff and I have talked about this for many years, and I feel it’s a natural evolution for him and our company,” said Hendrick, according to Hendrick Motorsports. “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.”
Gordon will continue working for Fox through the end of the calendar year. He’s eager to assume his new role.
“I cannot put into words what Hendrick Motorsports means to me,” Gordon said. “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.”
Jeff Gordon already making a significant with Alex Bowman
Gordon has already made an impact at Hendrick Motorsports even before taking on his new role. Bowman, who had a rough week in Nashville two weekends ago, but responded with a Poconos win on Saturday, has certainly felt it. The two developed a relationship in 2016 when they filled in for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who sat out while suffering from concussion-like symptoms.
“When I first started driving the 88 and kind of sharing it with him, I didn’t really know Jeff,” Bowman said, according to NBC Sports. “Just with him having to wear so many different hats, having so much going on. But it’s really cool to get to lean on somebody with so much knowledge in so many different areas and have his help and advice.”
Bowman said Gordon sees things from different perspectives as a former driver and an equity owner. He’s sharing that knowledge with Bowman.
“Jeff is super helpful,” Bowman said. “He gets it from an organizational side, he gets it from a race car driver side. That’s been really cool.
“I got to fly home from Raceway Park in Indianapolis, I guess, two weeks ago with him now. That was really cool, to fly home with him and his parents, share old open-wheel racing stories. It’s been kind of cool to build that relationship with Jeff.”
Gordon’s impact goes well beyond Bowman
Bowman’s crew chief Greg Ives said Gordon reached out to him after Bowman’s rough go in Nashville. Ives and Gordon spent about 20 minutes chatting about the race. A week later, Bowman pulls out a late victory by passing Kyle Larson, who blew a tire on the final turn.
“This week, the 48 car had a tough Nashville, right, and the great thing was Jeff gave me time to talk,” Ives said. “He’s been through a lot of situations that involved winning and involved tough days.
“He was able to give me 20 minutes of his time and give me advice. Not only advice but also how to maybe look at some different situations in the future because he’s experienced it. I think it’s a huge impact for Hendrick Motorsports to have that guy that has accomplished so much but also has had a long career.”
Jeff Andrews, GM of Hendrick Motorsports, already sees the difference Gordon makes.
“We look forward to his contributions to our company,” Andrews said. “I think we’ve already seen a lot of things he’s been involved in, behind the scenes, when he wasn’t working in his television job there.”
Gordon hasn’t even officially begun the new role, but he’s already making key contributions. He’s a four-time Cup Series champ and ready to bring that winning culture to Hendrick Motorsports as its vice chairman.