Jeff Gordon has ruled out occasionally returning to the cockpit after he retires from racing at the end of the current NASCAR season.
The four-time Cup champion announced earlier this year that this will be his last in full-time competition, although at the time he also left the door open for the possibility of making occasional appearances in the future. But speaking at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he drove the pace car at the start of the Indy 500 (RIGHT, with Townsend Bell before the start) before flying to Charlotte for the Cup race, he said that he now plans to walk away for good.
“I’ve known too many drivers that I respect and have raced with that have said, ‘OK, I’ve retired’ and then they come back – “Oh, I’m not quite ready” – and want to run a few more races,” he said. “And that’s why I didn’t say this is my final year of ever competing [at first]. But it really, truly is. And as I get further into the year, and as things start to come together, I don’t see myself doing any races.
“If I do a race, it would be a Martinsville; a short track.”
Gordon will move into TV commentary next year with FOX Sports, and said that he is finding it increasingly difficult to justify the additional effort that the Hendrick team would have to made to field an occasional extra car for him.
“There’s so much that goes into preparing a car for these races at Hendrick Motorsports, which is the only team I’d do it with, and that would take away from their performance,” he said. “And why would I really be doing it? I’m going to fulfill my desire to be a part of the sport by being in the [commentary] booth.
“I don’t plan on doing any other races. I have no plans to do any after Homestead.”