HomeWorld NewsNASCAR Hall of Famer Gordon comfy in new role at Hendrick

NASCAR Hall of Famer Gordon comfy in new role at Hendrick

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Jeff Gordon known as NASCAR races for Fox when his outdated boss popped in for a go to and left behind a be aware. Rick Hendrick had good-naturedly posted hours of his 12-plus-hour work days for his former star driver. Those are the grueling calls for of the job whenever you personal greater than 100 automotive dealerships and have your identify on the winningest group in inventory automotive historical past.

“I knew I could never live up to that,” Gordon stated, laughing.

Now look at Gordon.

For the primary time in his 50 years, Gordon jokes that he lastly has an actual job (minus the TPS studies). Yes, he has an workplace and a desk and if he must punch a clock, effectively, Gordon may begin with one of the 9 grandfather clocks he received at Martinsville.

And his day begins as quickly because the working dad drops his two children off at faculty.

Gordon has settled into his each day role at Hendrick Motorsports because the new vice chairman and the second-ranking workforce official to the 72-year-old Hendrick. The transfer positioned Gordon to sooner or later succeed Hendrick and run the operation. The real-world gig for the four-time champ already got here with an early efficiency overview from Hendrick.

“He’s showing up on time with his game-face on,” Hendrick stated.

Whew! Next cease, worker of the month.

Few drivers ever confirmed up in the large moments fairly like Gordon. He received 93 races — third on the profession checklist — and 4 Cup titles earlier than retiring in 2015. He received the Daytona 500 in 1997, 1999, and 2005.

Gordon now has a hand in all elements at Hendrick, from competitors conferences and advertising to securing sponsorship and social media concepts. He’s a mentor of kinds to Hendrick’s 4 Cup drivers — defending champion Kyle Larson, 2020 champion Chase Elliott, William Byron and Alex Bowman. And why not? Gordon blended wild success with off-track superstar like no different driver earlier than him (and possibly since). Gordon has inspired the drivers to step out of their skilled consolation zone and discover new methods they may promote themselves and the game.

Gordon ought to know find out how to stretch past racing. He hosted “Saturday Night Live,” voiced a number of cartoon characters, and acted in varied TV exhibits, motion pictures and commercials.

“If the drivers are growing their following, then likely the sport is benefiting from it, too,” Elliott stated. “I think he’s just trying to help everybody win.”

Winning remains to be what Hendrick does finest.

Hendrick swept the entrance row for Sunday’s Daytona 500 with Larson on the pole and Bowman beginning outdoors. It was the seventh pole in the final eight Daytona 500s for Hendrick.

The workforce’s dominance was launched by Gordon, handed off to seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson and will seemingly proceed for many years. Hendrick stated he was near signing Byron and Elliott to contract extensions and hoped each drivers — like Gordon — would end their careers with the group.

Gordon, the face of NASCAR because it exploded in recognition in the Nineteen Nineties, had an fairness stake in Hendrick Motorsports since 1999, and his curiosity in the enterprise aspect of the game solely grew, at the same time as he known as races in the Fox Sports sales space. So did his realization he wasn’t executed making a distinction at Hendrick.

“I always thought if I’m not the one driving the car, then the championships or wins won’t mean as much,” Gordon stated. “I beg to differ. I think in some ways that it’s as rewarding, in other ways even more rewarding, because I’m connecting with Rick.”

Gordon needed greater than a seat at the desk. He wanted extra seats in the pit field after he was squeezed out at the championship race final season.

Did he get some?

“Oh, yeah,” he stated.

Of course he did.

For a driver who mastered the Bricks at Indy — he’s a five-time Brickyard 400 winner — Gordon will quickly showcase his expertise with Lego bricks. Gordon and Byron are set to visitor this season on an episode of “Lego Masters.” Byron is a grasp builder — he flashed his handiwork on Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium — whereas Gordon insisted he’s way more of a novice.

“I can only pull the instructions out of the box,” he cracked.

He already helped design the blueprint to construct a dynasty at Hendrick

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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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