Sunday nights All-Star race has capped what has been a polarizing year for NASCAR broadcasting headed up by FOX. The crew consisting of Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon, and Clint Bowyer ended their season no better off than how they began. The commentating at the race yesterday was off more so than usual. Seconds would pass by where nobody would say anything, and it seemed like the trio just struggled to form cohesive topics. Many rumors are circulating about Gordon leaving the booth after this race, maybe that’s what threw off the already funky mojo for the team.
It’s been no big secret that Jeff Gordon would have a big role with Hendrick Motorsports in the future. He’s already a minority owner of the team, but we’re talking about potentially being the majority owner once Rick Hendrick retires. Due to the tragic death of Ricky Hendrick, the team lost the chance at having a family successor.
Jeff Gordon is arguably the biggest reason that Hendrick Motorsports has become the most successful NASCAR team in history. He and Chad Knaus seem to be poised to lead Hendrick into the future, and both are ideal choices to do so.
On Wednesday, a rumor came out that Jeff Gordon is considering stepping out of the FOX booth and starting a larger role with Hendrick next season. This would be a decision that most fans are universally in favor of or indifferent to.
Since joining the broadcasts, Jeff Gordon has struggled to adapt to his role no matter who he was paired in the booth with. He has a personality that doesn’t make for exciting color commentary, and while he’s knowledgeable, he doesn’t have the wits on the mic to show off that knowledge live in front of an audience. Overall, I think Gordon wanted to stay involved in the sport and gave this a try, but he’s not built for it.
The pairing of Clint Bowyer and he seemed like it was FOX’s last-ditch effort to coax some personality out of Gordon, and while it had its moments the booth still felt awkward. More times than not, it feels like Mike Joy is having to lead the conversation while Clint Bowyer makes a quip and Gordon laughs at it. It’s a dry affair at every race.
Jeff Gordon is not the sole reason for FOX broadcasts being so difficult to deal with at times but replacing him with a more entertaining figure that has better chemistry with Joy and Bowyer would help a lot.
The poor response to FOX overall, more than likely influenced Gordon to maybe rush his process into a big role at Hendrick. Having him stick around in the sport is something that we as fans should relish but having him back as a competitor – even If it’s as an owner – is where fans will get the most enjoyment out of his personality.
Knowing who FOX currently has under their banner, I think Jamie McMurray or Phil Parson’s would be solid replacements for Gordon. McMurray in particular is good at conveying his information to the audience and while he is still a little dry, he has more charisma when he broadcasts than Jeff. I also think he and Bowyer would balance each other out very well.
I’m sure Michael Waltrip’s name will get brought up a lot when replacements are discussed, but I’m not sure the pairing of two ‘funny guys” would work well in the booth. At times Michael can struggle to add a lot to truck broadcasts, so I don’t think the jump to Cup would work out.
Whoever they decide to replace with Gordon, they need to ensure that they have chemistry with Clint Bowyer. While Clint did struggle in his rookie broadcasting career, I think the poor chemistry with Gordon added a lot to that. He has the potential to be an entertaining wingman to a more straight-laced partner, but he’s never going to get there with Gordon.

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