Ray Evernham leaves ESPN

Ray Evernham has left his broadcast position with ESPN to expand his consulting role into competition matters at Hendrick Motorsports.

Evernham, who won 47 races and the 1995, 1997 and 1998 Sprint Cup championships as a crew chief at HMS with driver Jeff Gordon, had been a frequent analyst on ESPN broadcasts since divesting in 2008 of his own Sprint Cup team, which won 13 races with drivers Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield.

"Not doing ESPN will allow me to be involved in some of the management and some of the things they're doing at Hendrick Motorsports," Evernham said on Sirius XM Radio. "The best way to avoid a conflict of interest is to choose one or the other."

Evernham told Sirius XM that he was not returning with an aim toward becoming a crew chief again, pertinent with Steve Letarte leaving Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 program at HMS for the NBC broadcast booth in 2015.

Evernham has worked for a management group dealing with Hendrick's business interests since 2011 but had not immersed himself back into competition until now. He will continue that role, as well as being involved in the "AmeriCarna" television series on Velocity TV.

"Ray has a unique combination of business, racing competition and media experience," team owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement. "We're having a lot of fun with the 'AmeriCarna,' and I'm excited about how he can continue to contribute to the organization in a variety of ways. We have a great friendship, and he's a valuable resource on a professional level."

ESPN will stop broadcasting NASCAR races after this upcoming season.

In a statement, ESPN said: "We appreciate the contributions Ray has made to our NASCAR coverage and have enjoyed having him as part of our team. We wish him all the best."