Despite racing on a substitution basis for Dale Earnhardt Jr. during the 2016 season, Jeff Gordon’s Hall of Fame eligibility didn’t change.
Jeff Gordon returned to the race track in 2016. This was due to Dale Earnhardt Jr. sustaining a concussion. Fans loved Gordon’s unexpected return but wondered if Gordon’s Hall of Fame eligibility would be pushed back as a result.
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However, NASCAR spokesman Kurt Culbert confirmed on Tuesday that Gordon’s eligibility status for nomination in 2018 won’t be affected.
“Jeff’s eligibility status for the NASCAR Hall of Fame remains unchanged,” NASCAR spokesman Kurt Culbert said. “The unique situation in which he drove last year was as a substitute. As it stands, Jeff can be nominated in 2018 for the class of 2019.”
Gordon was content being a critical part of FOX’s NASCAR coverage after retiring from racing in 2015. He’s been an asset to FOX’s coverage. Gordon provides good perspective from a former driver’s point of view.
Unexpectedly, Gordon saw an opportunity he couldn’t pass up by filling in for Earnhardt Jr. due to injury. It was great to see one NASCAR legend filling in for another well-liked and successful NASCAR driver. Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. are two of the best that NASCAR fans have ever witnessed.
NASCAR made the right decision ruling that Gordon’s eligibility status didn’t change. It wasn’t Gordon returning to the track in pursuit of a title. He was only filling in on an as-needed basis. With Earnhardt Jr. no longer experiencing ailments and back on the track, Gordon heads back to the broadcast booth with FOX during the first half of the NASCAR season.
With Gordon up for NASCAR Hall of Fame nomination in 2018, he could be the sport’s first unanimous selection. If he isn’t voting in unanimously, Gordon should be enshrined in the class of 2019 overwhelmingly nonetheless.