— Adam Stern (@A_S12) October 1, 2017
Adam Stern is that guy who plants the thought and lets it grow in your brain. He gets people talking and eventually the things he speculates about come true. The Tom Clancy of the NASCAR garage was at it again this weekend, this time it was with Jeff Gordon’s future in mind.
Gordon commented on his future in broadcasting with FOX Sports and it doesn’t sound like a relationship that is going to mirror his NASCAR career. He also mentioned that he has taken on a larger role within Hendrick Motorsports in recent months. Gordon has a financial interest in Hendrick Motorsports and will likely be heavily involved in the team when Rick Hendrick steps away. Not re-signing with FOX seems more likely than an extension at this point.
Gordon Laid The Groundwork To Step Away
When I read that comment, that to me is Gordon laying the groundwork to walk away from the booth. “If my role increases at Hendrick Motorsports, it’s hard to do both.” That to me means he wants to do HMS stuff and not the broadcast booth anymore. This gives him an out for not extending his contract with FOX.
Since joining the booth Gordon has been a breath of fresh air. A booth that grew stagnant thanks to the same announcer lineup since 2001 finally had a driver analyst who has actually driven these race cars. His addition to the booth didn’t come without controversy. First, there was the perceived clash with Darrell Waltrip which seemed to be a real thing. A second was the accusation of favoritism by Brad Keselowski. Now, this weekend at Dover he sat on the #24 pit box, openly rooted for Chase Elliott to win and then exchanged words on pit road with Ryan Newman. The broadcast is a time commitment as well, typically a three-day commitment, just like driving.
Jeff Gordon is more suited for a team owner role than a media role. He’s great at what he knows and that’s the business around racing. It’s hard to be impartial when you’re a team owner (vested interest) and a broadcast commentator. Michael and Darrell Waltrip couldn’t separate the two but they also both blew their teams up so it’s different in a sense.
If Gordon does leave the booth FOX could be looking to replace Waltrip too. Mike Joy appears to enjoy doing the broadcast still but Waltrip is getting up there in years. My guess, Mike Joy, Michael Waltrip, and Kevin Harvick will make up the booth if not in 2019 then 2020.
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