- Joe Skipper/Reuters
It’s official: Jeff Gordon will return to racing as he will fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Brickyard 400, NASCAR announced on Wednesday.
Earnhardt, who missed last week’s race also, is sidelined with concussion-like symptoms.
Gordon retired from full-time racing last season and has been working as network announcer for NASCAR races this year. However, at the time of his retirement, Gordon, “never ruled out an occasional return [to racing],” according to ESPN.
This news will see him return to a track this Sunday where he has won on five separate occasions (the most among NASCAR drivers), including the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994. The four-time champion, who is on the shortlist of most famous racecar drivers of all time, will certainly be a boon to NASCAR, who will receive a boost in marketing the Brickyard 400.
Gordon will also be standing in for Earnhardt the following week at Pocono, where he also holds the Sprint Cup record for most wins (6).
Yahoo Sports’ Jay Busbee put the substitution in perspective:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. out 2 races (concussion), Jeff Gordon to sub in.
For non-NASCAR types: Imagine Peyton Manning stepping in for Tom Brady.
— Jay Busbee (@jaybusbee) July 20, 2016
Simply put, this is big news for NASCAR, who thankfully won’t have to go through a two-week period without one of their biggest names, as arguably one of their biggest ever will be replacing him.