FOX NASCAR QUOTES
“Darrell Waltrip: ‘Why will (Gordon) be voted in (on the first ballot)? Because he is eligible’
Charlotte, N.C. — Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and FOX NASCAR analyst Jeff Gordon joined some elite company Tuesday afternoon when he was announced as a nominee to the 2019 NASCAR Hall of Fame class in the first year in which he was eligible. Gordon is among 20 nominees recognized for making significant advancements to NASCAR.
Gordon retired from full-time NASCAR competition at the conclusion of the 2015 season with 93 Cup Series victories, ranking him third on NASCAR’s all-time wins list. He joined the FOX NASCAR on-air team in 2016 to call MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES races alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Joy and analyst and Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip.
Below are quotes from FOX NASCAR’s play-by-play announcers Joy (a NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominating Committee and Voting Panel Member) and Adam Alexander, and analysts Waltrip and Larry McReynolds, on Gordon’s nomination to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Note: Gordon next can be seen on FOX’s live broadcast of Sunday’s MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES race at Auto Club Speedway, live at 3:30 PM ET (with pre-race coverage at 3:00 PM ET on FOX).
FOX SPORTS: Now that he has been nominated, is there any question Jeff Gordon will be voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on the first ballot in May?
“Since the Hall of Fame election process began almost a decade ago, there has been no clearer first-ballot lock since Richard Petty and Bill France Sr. in year one. Jeff bulldozed a new trail through the traditional career path to NASCAR’s front ranks, and many young drivers have followed in his footsteps.”
“There is no question Jeff will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Why will he be voted in? Because he is eligible and there is not a single legitimate argument that can be made as to why he should have to wait. Jeff has no negatives against him. He started the youth movement that truly introduced our sport to a lot of young fans at a crucial time, and is credited with helping grow the fan base exponentially. Plus, he helped car owners see they didn’t have to hire only veteran drivers with 20 years of experience. They can hire a young driver and still hit a homerun. Just ask Rick Hendrick.”
“If Jeff Gordon isn’t voted in at 100-percent on the first ballot, someone in that Voting Panel room doesn’t have their act together. What could you say to vote against him on the first ballot? He paved the way for car owners to begin looking at younger drivers. There have been some watershed moments over the years with drivers who have made a mark in our sport. Jeff Gordon, looking like he stepped off the cover of a GQ Magazine when he entered the sport, definitely made his mark and helped move the needle in our sport by a significant margin.”
“There is no question Jeff Gordon is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The four championships and near 100 career wins put him in the conversation of best all-time. That and the growth he helped create in the sport in the early days of his career make him a no brainer-selection. It will be the next in a line of many well-deserved honors.”
FOX SPORTS: What is Jeff Gordon’s most significant contribution to NASCAR?
“More than any driver before or since, Jeff came to the Cup Series as a fresh-faced young man who was ready to compete for wins and championships almost right away. Additionally, Jeff attracted notice to and respect for the sport far beyond traditional race fans and media.”
FOX SPORTS: Have you given any thought to the fact the FOX NASCAR broadcast booth could have two NASCAR Hall of Famers in it later this season?
“I definitely have, and I expect we will have two of us in there by the time we get to the Charlotte race. I’ve only really known Jeff (Gordon) from my time with him in the FOX booth — I didn’t get to race against him much in the latter part of my career. But we have bonded well in the booth and I have learned he is a great teammate. We pick on each other and each other’s accomplishments, but when I call that man ‘The G.O.A.T.’ (The Greatest of All Time), I mean it. When I finally looked at his career as a whole, from his NASCAR success to his early days, I was blown away by the body of work. I didn’t know how much he had done. It is incredible.”