Only eight months after his retirement, Jeff Gordon is making a NASCAR comeback, but don't expect it to last long. For the next two Sprint Cup races, Gordon will take the wheel in the place of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is missing time with concussion symptoms
It's possible that Gordon stays around even longer than the next two races, but that depends on Earnhardt's health. He said in a podcast released on his website Monday that while his mind feels sharp, his balance is off and he's dealing with nausea. There's no timeline for his return.
Last week, Alex Bowman stepped in for Earnhardt at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, but now Hendrick Motorsports is turning to one of NASCAR's most recognizable names to replace another.
Gordon, who's now working as an analyst for Fox, is the all-time wins leader at both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway, where the next two Sprint Cups races will take place.
Last year Gordon undertook a retirement tour akin to those we've seen in other sports by guys like David Ortiz and Kobe Bryant. He received some pretty luxe parting gifts during that tour, including a two Shetland ponies and 96 bottles of bourbon, but always hinted that he might find himself back on the track.
That time has come, perhaps sooner than some thought. But even though Gordon isn't even a year removed from his last race, his return to the track will still feel weird for longtime fans. Unlike the first 797 Cup races of his career, Gordon won't be driving the number 24 this weekend. He'll be in Earnhardt's 88.