Jeff Gordon returns to the TV booth for the third and final time this season when he works as an analyst in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Will he appear more frequently on Fox Sports next year when he vacates the No. 24 Chevrolet for the first time since 1993?
We could know soon.
“That decision will be made, I think, before the summer,” Gordon recently told NBC Sports. “It’s not something I think that needs to happen last minute. This is Step One to me and them, whether this is realistic.”
The four-time series champion was an analyst for Xfinity Series races April 10 race at Texas Motor Speedway and April 18 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Though he admitted to being jittery before his debut, he settled in and enjoyed calling the race, which marked Erik Jones’ first Xfinity win.
“That was pretty cool to see him win his first race,” Gordon said. “I was energized, and the adrenaline was flowing, and it was fun. I was certainly very nervous to start.”
He said the feedback mostly has been positive.
“When I look at social media, most of it is biased toward me, so I don’t always want to put too much into that, but they could have said bad things,” he said with a laugh. “From speaking to the Fox folks, they seemed happy.”
After announcing his 2016 retirement from full-time competition in NASCAR, Gordon spoke openly in January about considering a TV career as an option. Several other veterans have stepped out of the car and into the booth, such as NBC Sports analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett (who was a Sprint Cup analyst for ESPN the past few seasons).
Darrell Waltrip retired from driving in 2000 and began working for Fox Sports the following season as the network began NASCAR’s national broadcast deal. Jeff Burton will make a similar leap in July when NBC Sports will begin its 10-year deal of broadcasting Sprint Cup.
If he follows that path with Fox, Gordon also would be interested in being a Sprint Cup analyst
“There’s certainly a lot more involved, a much bigger time commitment, a longer race,” he said. “It becomes a bigger business. It’s fun to dabble with it on an Xfinity race, but I take it very serious if I were to do (Sprint Cup). Even though it’s half a season, it’s a full-time commitment.”