Life is good for Jeff Gordon.
He is juggling post-retirement life quite fabulously, mixing in broadcast duties for Fox Sports, working with his former sponsor Axalta and hands-on duties as a partner in Hendrick Motorsports.
He went on a family vacation to Indonesia last year and plans on visiting the Greek Islands this summer.
And he is starting to pick up the well-deserved accolades of a fabulous career, including his NASCAR Hall of Fame nomination and recent induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Daytona Beach, Fla.
But a wheelman never gives up on his first love.
Gordon said he remains smitten at the prospect of driving again, likely in Martinsville, Va., for a Camping World Series Trucks race.
“Under the right scenario, I would consider it,” he said before his induction last week. “It would take more than me to be in that race. I think I would have to convince some other friends of mine.
“Call it the Seniors Tour,” he said, breaking into a laugh.
Those “friends” might include his former teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., or, better yet, his broadcast partner, Darrell Waltrip, now 71.
All it takes is a little prodding and convincing.
“Me and DW joke, ‘OK, what’s the track we can both get in there and get it done?’‘’ Gordon said. “And we both say, ‘Martinsville!’ If I can get DW, that would really be good.”
What say you, Mr. Waltrip? Reached out via text.
“He thinks he’s king of Martinsville. I challenge that!”
Suggest they do it and make NASCAR great again.
Now for logistics: Martinsville has two truck dates — Saturday (not going to happen) and Oct. 27 (that would be the one).
Gordon, 46, likes the feel of the track, mostly because it’s a mainstay that has weathered time very well.
“A trucks race at Martinsville seems to make the most sense,” he said. “I like Martinsville. It’s a track that during my career changed the least amount from technology to driving style.
“So if I’m not active in the car and it’s a shorter race in the truck series, I feel like I can get in there.”
Johnson on the rise
Is Double J back?
Jimmie Johnson has run more like a backpacker than a seven-time Cup champion this season, but he definitely made up some ground this past weekend at Fontana, finishing ninth.
“I think they’re starting to make gains,” said Larry McReynolds, Fox Sports analyst. “This, I think, showed us where they are on speed, and he mentioned it in his post-race interview — they still are lacking. They still need more. Well, next week, we go to a short track [Martinsville] that’s another one of his best tracks and see if they can continue to improve.”
On the flip side, Johnson took another competitive jolt with the announcement that longtime sponsor Lowe’s is leaving at the end of the season. So ends a long and prosperous 18-year run for both parties.
It’s a tough landscape out there. Target, Home Depot, Sprint, UPS, Subway, Great Clips and Dollar General are among the companies that have dropped out of the racing sponsorship business.
“I really don’t view it as a statement of our sport,” Johnson said at Fontana. “I see our sport growing. I see many new sponsors coming into Hendrick Motorsports. I see a returning sponsor coming to NASCAR. I’ve seen full grandstands.
“It’s been an exciting start to the season. I really don’t feel it has a reflection on the sport. It’s a business decision that Lowe’s needed to make, and that stuff happens.”
Rowdy ready to rumble
Kyle “Rowdy” Busch does not suffer in silence when the trolls come knocking on his door in cyberspace.
He took to Twitter on Sunday night immediately after he was criticized for apparently blowing off the Fox Sports post-race crew following his third-place finish. In fact, Busch said the Fox team missed its window of opportunity, and it isn’t incumbent on him to stick around and wait.
It turned into a heavy sparring session on Twitter (@KyleBusch), should anyone want to take a peek.
“Enjoy @KyleBusch engaging the haters along with his fans on twitter. Regardless of your opinion on him, he is great for @NASCAR,” tweeted Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Never boring. Makes my new job easier.”