Sunday, March 20, 2016
Will Jeff Gordon in the broadcast booth bring us closer to the race track or just make us uncomfortable because of his uneasiness in his new role?
Jeff Gordon retired from NASCAR after an record setting career. He has returned to the world of NASCAR in the FOX Sports broadcasting booth. Fox has showcased Gordon and is using Gordon to upgrade their broadcast team. He joined anchor Mike Joy and fellow retired driver Darrell Waltrip.
FOX may be using Gordon to reach out to fans outside the traditional Southern fan. Gordon brings knowledge of racing delivered without a Southern drawl. It has long been difficult to get announcers with great expertise from outside the South where NASCAR was born.
Larry McReynolds talks about this problem. In McReynold's book, The Big Picture: My Life from Pit Road to the Broadcast Booth, he talks about the problem of his grammar when he first came to the broadcast booth. FOX provided him with a grammar coach which has been successful in making McReynolds the strong announcer he has become.
Jeff Gordon has broadcast experience developed while he was racing. He is the only driver to have hosted Saturday Night Live as well as hosting Live!With Regis and Kelly and numerous appearances on various shows.
FOX Sports has great hopes for Gordon's presence at the network. Robert Gottlieb of FOX Sports said, "Adding Jeff Gordon to the FOX NASCAR broadcast team has immeasurable value. Outside of his obvious credentials as a four-time NASCAR champion, Jeff crosses over to other sports fans, television viewers and the general pop culture mainstream better than any other racer in the country. You don't have to know racing to know who Jeff Gordon is and what he brings to the table."
I find Gordon's knowledge of racing and what is happening on the track refreshing. He struggles more in interviewing drivers and seems uncomfortable in that position.
Gordon's strength is his insight into what the drivers are thinking and feeling as events unfold on the track.
Gordon is sure to develop his expertise as he continues to feel comfortable in his new position. It will be a benefit to all NASCAR fans when he does.