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Jeff Gordon named Hendrick Motorsports vice chairman

Hendrick Motorsports confirmed Wednesday that NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon will become the organization’s new vice chairman, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

Gordon, who won four Cup Series titles and 93 races with HMS in his driving career, will continue his broadcast duties with Fox Sports through the end of the year before taking his new role. Gordon has been a driver analyst for NASCAR on Fox since the 2016 season.

The story was first reported by Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic.

In a press release, HMS said that Gordon - who has kept an equity stake in the organization since October 1999 - will “maintain a daily presence ... with a focus on the organization’s competition and marketing groups.”

Gordon will be the second-ranking team official to chairman and majority owner Rick Hendrick. He will work alongside HMS president Marshall Carlson and general manager Jeff Andrews.

Additionally, Gordon will join Hendrick on NASCAR’s team owner council and assume Hendrick Motorsports’ seat on the sanctioning body’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee.

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

In his own comments, Rick Hendrick called the announcement “a natural evolution for (Gordon) and our company” after he and Gordon talked about it for “many years.”

“I’ve always been impressed with his business instincts,” Hendrick said. “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.”

That future has already been taking shape in recent years, both on the track and in the shop.

The departure of seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and the addition of Kyle Larson entering this season completed a driver overhaul that was ongoing since 2016.

That year, reigning Cup champion Chase Elliott replaced Gordon following the latter’s retirement from full-time driving.

Then, in 2018, William Byron and Alex Bowman came on board - Byron replacing Kasey Kahne, Bowman replacing the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Additionally, seven-time Cup champion crew chief Chad Knaus moved off the pit box to become the organization’s vice president of competition this season. Knaus was Byron’s crew chief in 2019 and 2020.

This season has seen the organization reclaim its dominance in the Cup Series. HMS has won eight of the season’s 17 races, including the last five. Larson himself has won the last three.