Jeff Gordon: ‘I was asked to drive Tony Stewart’s car in Daytona’

Jeff Gordon revealed today that he was asked to drive in place of Tony Stewart at Daytona.

During his media availability at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the substitute driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was asked if he would’ve been available to drive in a substitute role had this been during the FOX portion of the season.

“Well the crazy thing about all this I was asked to drive Tony Stewart’s car in Daytona to start the season out with his injuries and the incident that happened there,” Gordon said. “No, I wasn’t able to do it because of my commitments to FOX. Now, Rick has some amazing ways to convince people into things that the average person might not be able to. So, I don’t know maybe he could have called Eric Shanks (president, COO and executive producer of FOX Sports) or something, but no I don’t think so.”

Following the conclusion of the 2015 season, Gordon moved to the broadcast booth to work the first 16 Sprint Cup Series races of the 2016 season for FOX Sports.

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He was on vacation with his family in France while the Sprint Cup Series was in New Hampshire when he was contacted by Rick Hendrick about driving the No. 88 car.

“I was in the South of France at that time,” he said. “I get that text (from Hendrick), and I looked at her (Ingrid) and said ‘Oh boy, here we go.’ I had no idea. When Rick said to me ‘Are you coming to Indianapolis?’ I said ‘Yes I am. I am coming on Saturday.’ He said ‘Well, you better bring your uniform.’ I asked what he was talking about and he started to tell me about what was going on.”

It was announced last week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that if Dale Earnhardt Jr. was unable to compete at Indianapolis, Gordon would drive in his place.

“Honestly I didn’t have to think twice about it,” Gordon said. “When Rick calls, he has that confidence in me, and asked me to step-up and do something for the organization – whether it was driver, or other responsibilities. The way he has been there for me. The way this team and organization has been there for me over the years, I didn’t anticipate this. This is certainly the last thing that was going to happen. But I knew it was Indianapolis. I didn’t think about it. I felt like if there was one place that I was capable of doing it, it would be here.”

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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

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