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Interview

Jeff Gordon on HMS: "This is where my true passion lies"

Jeff Gordon’s decision to leave the Fox Sports TV booth was never going to be about ‘if’ but ‘when.’

Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Victory lane: Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick celebrate
NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rick Hendrick and former NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon
Rick Hendrick and Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Rick Hendrick

The NASCAR Hall of Fame driver has long held an equity stake in Hendrick Motorsports and when Fox’s half of the NASCAR season was complete each year, Gordon would turn his attention to working with HMS.

On Jan. 1, Gordon will formalize his role at Hendrick, becoming its vice chairman, making him the second-ranking team official to chairman and majority owner Rick Hendrick.

The decision to formalize the role following Fox’s 2021 broadcast season was all about timing, Gordon said.

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“The culture that Rick has created and how he’s done that and how it impacts things far beyond just what I was doing as a driver, was interesting to me. So, each year, that ramped up more and more as I had pretty much half the season to dedicate my time to it,” Gordon said.

“The more I did that, whether it was coming to the track or being back at the shop on race day or just 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.”

Gordon, 49, won four Cup Series championships and 93 races in his impressive career all with Hendrick Motorsports. He became an equity owner in HMS in the late 1990s and has played a role in much of the organization’s success, including the hiring of seven-time series champion Jimmie Johnson.

In Gordon there is likely no one more in tune with HMS’ NASCAR success than Hendrick himself.

“From the very beginning (Fox) knew that I had an equity position at Hendrick and that one day this could be home,” Gordon said. “So, this is more about coming home for me.”

It’s certainly a great time for a homecoming.

Although Chase Elliott won the Cup Series title for Hendrick last season, the 2021 season has seen even more dominance by the organization.

Hendrick's current dominance

The four current Hendrick drivers – Kyle Larson (four), Alex Bowman (three), William Byron (one) and Elliott (one) – have combined to win nine of the season’s first 19 races.

Larson’s May 30 victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway gave Hendrick its 269th Cup Series win – breaking the record long held by Petty Enterprises.

Gordon said he sees his primary mission now as ensuring that level of success continues.

“As we move forward, it’s about just continuing to look at the business model and try to understand how we take care of our current partners and nurture those relationships and make sure that they’re excited about NASCAR and Hendrick Motorsports,” he said.

“They certainly are right now, and we want to continue to see that grow. But also, what new partners can we potentially look at and bring in.

“There’s a lot of excitement in our organization right now. So, it makes a great time for me to get into this role.”

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