NASCAR AMERICA: Rick Hendrick on Jeff Gordon’s impact (VIDEO)

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Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon will be remembered for many things when his full-time Sprint Cup career comes to a close at season’s end.

There’s the on-track success, of course, and his off-track philanthropy, too. But Gordon’s important role as a trailblazer for young drivers – particularly those from the open-wheel, sprint car world – cannot and will not be forgotten either.

Indeed, NASCAR has prospered in many ways thanks to Gordon’s efforts. His boss and friend, team owner Rick Hendrick, certainly knows that.

“When you think about what Jeff Gordon has really meant to the sport, when you think about how he opened the door for all the young drivers, the open-wheel drivers – he’s been responsible for so much success, not just for our company, but the whole sport,” Hendrick said to NASCAR AMERICA’s Marty Snider in today’s episode.

For more of Hendrick’s thoughts on Gordon’s decision, as well as what a post-Gordon future may hold for his team, check out the full interview above.

NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.