Jeff Gordon joins FOX NASCAR on-air team as analyst for 2016 season

As announced Thursday evening on FOX Sports 1’s "NASCAR Race Hub", Jeff Gordon, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion credited with helping take the sport mainstream, joins FOX NASCAR full-time in 2016 as race analyst for its 16th year of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage, teaming with three-time champion Darrell Waltrip to offer seven championships’ worth of expertise.

Gordon, currently competing in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season, served as race analyst for FOX Sports’ coverage of three NASCAR XFINITY SERIES races this year (for video of Gordon calling the Talladega NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race, click here). He has agreed to a multi-year contract that begins this season with in-race reporting from the No. 24 Chevrolet during select Cup Series races, and segues to an analyst role that commences with Daytona Speedweeks in February 2016.

"NASCAR has provided me so many incredible memories, experiences and opportunities throughout my 23 years as a driver, and I can’t wait to start a new chapter in racing with this new relationship with FOX and to be in the booth with Mike (Joy) and Darrell," Gordon said. "I feel so lucky to be a part of a sport that I’m very passionate about, and now I get the opportunity to share that passion to millions of race fans from a whole new perspective."

Gordon will call all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, practice and qualifying sessions for FOX Sports alongside play-by-play announcer Mike Joy and NASCAR Hall of Famer and analyst Darrell Waltrip. Chris Myers hosts the network’s coverage alongside analysts Larry McReynolds and Michael Waltrip.

"Jeff is not only a champion but an icon of a racing generation," said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports President, COO & Executive Producer. "We are thrilled he has chosen to become a part of the FOX Sports family and pair his experience with Darrell. Each is credited with helping elevate NASCAR to the popularity it attained in his respective era, and alongside Mike Joy, this duo will treat fans to unmatched insights each and every week."

Gordon’s move to the FOX booth furthers a career in which his affability and crossover appeal have provided him numerous high-profile television and movie opportunities that include: becoming the only auto racing driver ever to host "Saturday Night Live"; co-hosting "Live! With Regis and Kelly" more than 10 times; appearances as himself on "The Simpsons", "Spin City" and "The Drew Carey Show"; movie appearances in "Taxi", "Herbie: Fully Loaded" and "Looney Tunes: Back in Action"; TV appearances on "Late Show with David Letterman", "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno", "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and "Sesame Street"; and participation on television’s "Celebrity Poker Showdown" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Sports Edition", among others. Gordon also voiced the character Jeff Gorvette in the animated film "Cars 2".

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The California native, one of the most versatile drivers of his era, has driven for Hendrick Motorsports since November 1992, winning four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships (1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001), 92 races and 80 pole positions. With his first Cup Series championship in 1995, Gordon became the youngest champion (24) in NASCAR’s modern era in only his third full season. He sits third behind only NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105) in all-time victories, is a three-time Daytona 500 champion and record five-time Brickyard 400 winner. He holds the record for most consecutive seasons with a pole (23), among numerous other accolades. Furthermore, Gordon is NASCAR’s winningest road-course driver with nine wins and the all-time leader with 12 restrictor-plate track victories.

Off the track, Gordon, named one of "NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers" in 1998, established the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs. He traveled to Rwanda with the Foundation in 2011, and also visited the Democratic Republic of Congo in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative. Gordon was honored with the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Award in 2012, recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of stock-car racing. That same year, he received the Heisman Humanitarian Award, established to recognize those in sports who give significantly to communities and improve the lives of others.

FOX Sports, which began its FOX NASCAR coverage in 2001, is in the first of a 10-year media rights agreement with NASCAR. In 2013, FOX Sports extended its agreement with NASCAR, ensuring the FOX family of networks’ broadcast of the first 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races each season beginning in 2015, as well as the first 14 NASCAR XFINITY Series races of the season and all NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, through 2024.

Jeff Gordon looks on from the FOX Sports 1 broadcast booth during an XFINITY Series race earlier this season.

Jeff Gordon (left) will join Darrell Waltrip (right) full-time in the FOX NASCAR broadcast booth next year.