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.
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.”