REID SPENCER/NASCAR WIRE SERVICE —- It’s a job change for Jeff Gordon, but there are familiar aspects
From a teamwork standpoint, Jeff Gordon’s new day job won’t be that much different from his old one.
“It’s such a team effort,” said Gordon, who is transitioning this year from the seat of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to the FOX Sports broadcast booth. “(There are) so many comparisons to what I’ve done as a driver in the sport, as to what I’ve already seen in the broadcast booth, whether it was XFINITY races that I did last year, or working with these guys (play-by-play man Mike Joy and analyst Darrell Waltrip) when we did rehearsal at the Truck race in Texas.
“And then following that up in December and January with a lot of meetings, and talking about preparation and the technology that they’re bringing to the broadcast and just how we’re working together as a team, coming up with great ideas. It’s going to be a lot of fun — I can’t wait to get to Daytona.”
Gordon landed his new job after a phone call to Eric Shanks, president, COO and executive producer at Fox Sports. Though Gordon expressed interest in a broadcasting career, Shanks wanted to make sure the four-time champion was a good fit with the brand Joy, Waltrip and Larry McReynolds have established over the last 15 years.
“NASCAR on FOX didn’t exist before Larry, Mike and Darrell,” Shanks said on Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “They created what the NASCAR on FOX brand is. When Jeff said this was something he was interested in, you do take a step back and say, ‘OK, can Jeff carry on the tradition and be a part of the group of what you guys have done?’ which is fun and entertaining and self-deprecating.
“You look at the drivers that are coming out. How many other drivers have hosted SNL (“Saturday Night Live”), and have gone through make-up to be a taxi driver to freak somebody out in a Pepsi commercial? Getting to know Jeff really well and his brand and how it fits with what these guys have created — I think it’s going to be really special.”