NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon may not be remaining on the sidelines for very long, when it was announced he would fill the spot if Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not be able to drive next weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
— Scott Horner (@ScottEHorner) July 15, 2016
Seeing Gordon in the No. 88 car would be a spectacle to say the least, especially when combined with the fact of who he’d be taking over for. Earnhardt Jr.–who it has not be ruled whether or not he has actually sustained a concussion–would be sitting on the sidelines, one of the most notoriously known drivers in the sport, with Gordon, another legend and magnanimous figure, taking his slot.
Hendrick Motorsports General Manager Doug Duchardt said that “a decision would probably have to be made by Wednesday, to give the team time to prepare the car and fit the seat for Gordon.”
Already confirmed is that Earnhardt Jr. won’t be driving in New Hampshire this weekend, which certainly leaves his status coming into Indianapolis in doubt, leaving the proverbial door open for Gordon.
Gordon announced last year that 2015 would be his last season as a full-time driver, and while he has transitioned to the broadcast booth for the time being, the layoff doesn’t seem particularly extraneous. He may not be anywhere near the necessary level it takes to win the race, but it seems like a positive for everyone involved (minus Earnhardt Jr.) as the notoriety of having Gordon man the wheel will give some increased exposure both for the sport and the No. 88 car.