LONG POND, Pa. – Jeff Gordon retired in 2015 and had the conversation with Rick Hendrick that the Hall of Fame driver could pursue other ventures — broadcasting, business, travel — but one day would get the call to come home.
Years later, Gordon is set to head from the broadcast booth back to the boardroom. Should Hendrick ever need to hand over the reins to Hendrick Motorsports, Gordon is now next in line.
“I feel like I’m at the place in my life where I’m really ready for it,” Gordon said Sunday at Pocono Raceway. “I’m just really fortunate to work side-by-side with a guy that’s showed us all how to do it right for so many years, and will continue to do that for a number of years to come.”
Gordon is set take a daily role at Hendrick Motorsports as vice chairman and the second-ranking team official to the 71-year-old Hendrick. The move positioned Gordon to one day succeed Hendrick at the top of NASCAR’s winningest organization. He will formally begin the executive management role at the start of 2022.
Gordon, the four-time NASCAR champion and face of the series as it exploded in popularity in the 1990s, had an equity stake in Hendrick Motorsports since 1999 and his interest in the business side of the sport — topics ranging from the development of the new car to driver sponsorship — only grew, even as he called races in the Fox Sports booth.
“I realized this is where my true passion lies,” Gordon said. “I love the sport, I love racing. But…