NASCAR: A familiar face is returning this weekend

mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, NASCAR (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, NASCAR (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /

It didn’t take long for the first guest analyst of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season to find himself back in the Fox booth.

For the first time in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, an individual who made an appearance as the third member of the Fox booth earlier in the year is set to return for another race.

Three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart opened up the season alongside lead announcer Mike Joy and analyst Clint Bowyer, and he spent two races in the booth.

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Stewart joined the full-time duo for the unofficial season-opening Busch Light Clash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, and he also joined them for the official season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.

At Auto Club Speedway, it was 2003 champion Matt Kenseth who joined Joy and Bowyer, and at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway, it was Danica Patrick. Then at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it was four-time champion Jeff Gordon.

Gordon had been in the booth full-time for six years prior to 2022, but he left after Fox’s portion of the 2021 schedule.

He is now the vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports. After spending his entire 25-year Cup Series career with the team, the 93-time race winner is now the second-ranking member of the team to chairman and majority owner Rick Hendrick, and he is the lone partner in the organization.

Gordon has long been touted by Mr. H as the man to take over his spot at the helm of the sport’s all-time winningest team following his eventual retirement, so the move was not one that came as much of a shock.

His departure marked another change for the booth. After the 2019 season, three-time champion Darrell Waltrip retired, leaving just Joy and Gordon for the 2020 season. Bowyer joined them for the 2021 season, and Gordon’s departure left just Joy and Bowyer, plus the third seat that has been shared by multiple individuals so far in 2022.

Following Gordon’s first appearance since stepping away from his full-time role, Stewart is set to return this weekend at Circuit of the Americas for the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix. The race is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET, so start your free trial of FuboTV now!

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Beyond this weekend, the schedule for the third spot in the Fox booth has not been confirmed. Thus far, the individuals joining Joy and Bowyer have been announced on pretty much a weekly basis as the season has progressed. Nothing is currently set in stone moving forward.