Jeff Gordon adjusting to new roles beyond driving
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Although Jeff Gordon prepares to enter the broadcast booth this season, he’ll still have a role with Hendrick Motorsports, his home since making his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut in 1992.
Just exactly what that role is has yet to be defined.
“Rick (Hendrick) and I have already agreed that this year let’s see how it goes with this adjustment and different role and we’re going to evaluate it after this year,’’ said Gordon, who has an office at Hendrick Motorsports.
Although Gordon’s focus in the first half of the season will be his broadcasting duties with Fox Sports, he still will do things for Hendrick Motorsports.
“I’m a partner at Hendrick and in that partner role I think a big part of my support is from the sponsorship side of things, the marketing side of things,’’ the four-time champion said Tuesday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. “If a team feels like they can use me or need me for anything competition wise to help them, then I’m certainly ready to jump and help them as well.’’
Gordon noted he’s scheduled for production work Friday with NAPA, which is sponsoring Chase Elliott in the No. 24 car vacated by Gordon after last season.
Gordon said most of his input with a Hendrick team since leaving his ride has been helping Elliott and crew chief Alan Gustafson.
Gordon also knows he’ll have to balance his roles with Hendrick and the Fox. He’ll know Hendrick secrets but also will need to keep secrets of other teams he learns while preparing for his broadcast role.
“I want people to able to trust me,’’ Gordon said. “It goes both ways. Hendrick, I have a lot access to information there. I can’t ruin their trust in me there by giving away too much information. It would be the same way with any other team because I want to go to those shops or speak to those drivers and talk to other people in the sport.’’
Gordon admits he faces another challenge nearly as big with viewers.
“It’s going to be hard to not be biased toward Hendrick because I have too much of a past there and I love their group,’’ he said. “But I’m also going to have to be honest. When they make the mistake, I’ve got to call them out on it.’’